Water quality monitoring suspended in Canada
Last week, I made two alarming discoveries:
- The federal government has suspended water quality monitoring since the beginning of the pandemic.
- The federal government recently signed an agreement with the province of Alberta to reduce and cut funding for environmental monitoring activities in the oil sands.
Protecting water, ecosystem health and downstream communities from polluters must always be a top priority. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see the federal government signalling its polluter-friendly agenda and encouraging provinces to do the same, putting many downstream communities’ health and well-being at risk.
The federal government can’t continue to disregard our health this way. Will you send a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and demand that these critical monitoring activities resume immediately?
Just this spring, the Council of Canadians shared a leaked memo from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that was sent to several federal cabinet members requesting the suspension of water quality monitoring under the Fisheries Act. Considering this memo, the latest suspensions raise serious red flags that our government is caving to corporate influence, putting polluters’ interests before environmental and community health. You can read my blog for more information about why these suspensions are problematic.
Even when the government is monitoring freshwater in Canada, it is not as comprehensive as it should be due to a fragmented approach across departments, the lack of strict regulations to mandate monitoring and reporting, difficulties working across jurisdictions, and a lack of Indigenous involvement and consultation. By neglecting its own water monitoring duties and actively making deals with provinces to allow them to abandon theirs, the federal government has failed to take a leadership role in protecting water and community health in more ways than one.