The Okanagan Indian Band has about 2,000 members living on its 100 square kilometres located in one of Canada's most beautiful regions. (Okanagan Indian Band)

B.C. First Nation reports water problems as Ottawa wonders

Problems with their water have long plagued people living in First Nations communities across Canada.

A CBC News investigation in 2015 found that 400 out of 618 First Nations in the country had some kind of water problem between 2004 and 2014.

Of course, the problems go back long before that and continue to this day.

The federal government has committed to removing all long-term drinking water advisories on reserves by 2021.

Some Eighty-seven water quality advisories have been lifted since 2015, according to the Indigenous Services Canada website.

Fifty-six remain in place.

Now, another First Nation, the Okanagan Indian Band, based in Vernon, B.C. is suing the federal government for failing to improve the water system on its 100-square-kilometre reserve that draws water from underground aquifers.

Our citizens shouldn’t have to jeopardize their health by turning on their taps,’ said Chief Byron Louis. (

“There’s about seven systems, but they’ve only made upgrades to one of those systems,” Okanagan Chief Byron Lewis told CBC News’ Bob Keating.

“Our largest system is under a do-not-consume order

“It’s no different than any other community. Our citizens shouldn’t have top jeopardize their health by turning our their taps.”

Chief Lewis says he’s been working with Ottawa for nine years to fix the problems.

But the chief’s complaints are news to federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, who told Keating he’s surprised by the chief’s comments.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan (seen during question period in the House of Commons on Friday Nov. 23, 2018) says he has a different assessment of the quality of the water on the Okanagan Indian Band’s reserve. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

O’Regan says the water is entirely safe.

“To be honest, my regional officials talk to Chief Louis all the time, and this is the first we’ve heard of a lot of this.

“It’s safe because it’s certified.”

O’Regan says five of the six water systems on the reserve are certified as safe.

The sixth, O’Regan said, was deemed “high-risk” because of unacceptable levels of manganese but those problems had been cleared up by the First Nations Health Authority and certification was coming “very soon.”

To be continued.

With files from CBC, CTV, Government of Canada

Categories: Economy, Environment, Health, Indigenous, Politics, Society
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *