Assented to 2013-06-19
An Act respecting the safety of drinking water on First Nation lands
This enactment addresses health and safety issues on reserve lands and certain other lands by providing for regulations to govern drinking water and waste water treatment in First Nations communities. Regulations could be made on a province-by-province basis to mirror existing provincial regulatory regimes, with adaptations to address the circumstances of First Nations living on those lands.
Whereas it is important for residents of First Nation lands to have access to safe drinking water;
Whereas effective regulatory regimes are required to ensure such access;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to improving the health and safety of residents of First Nation lands;
And whereas the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister of Health have committed to working with First Nations to develop proposals for regulations to be made under this Act;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Marginal note:Short title
1. This Act may be cited as the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act.
2. (1) The following definitions apply in this Act.
« eau potable »
“drinking water” means water intended for use by humans for drinking, bathing or food preparation.
“drinking water system”
« système d’alimentation en eau potable »
“drinking water system” means a system for the collection, storage, treatment or distribution of drinking water, and includes a well.
« première nation »
“First Nation” means
“First Nation lands”
« terres »
“First Nation lands” means
« ministre »
“Minister” means the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
« organisme provincial »
“provincial body” means a body established by a provincial Act.
« fonctionnaire provincial »
“provincial official” means a minister of the Crown in right of a province, a person employed by a province or a person appointed to or employed by a provincial body.
“waste water system”
« système de traitement des eaux usées »
“waste water system” means a system for the collection, treatment or disposal of waste water.
(2) The Governor in Council may make regulations providing, for the purposes of this Act, that a band, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act, is a First Nation and that lands described in those regulations are First Nation lands.
Marginal note:Aboriginal rights
3. For greater certainty, nothing in this Act or the regulations is to be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any existing Aboriginal or treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, except to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of drinking water on First Nation lands.
Marginal note:Recommendation of Minister
4. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations governing the provision of drinking water on First Nation lands and the disposal of waste water on First Nation lands, including regulations respecting
(a) the training and certification of operators of drinking water systems and waste water systems;
(b) the protection of sources of drinking water from contamination;
(c) the location, design, construction, modification, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of drinking water systems;
(d) the distribution of drinking water by truck;
(e) the location, design, construction, modification, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of waste water systems;
(f) the collection and treatment of waste water;
(g) the monitoring, sampling and testing of waste water and the reporting of test results; and
(h) the handling, use and disposal of products of waste water treatment.
Marginal note:Recommendation of Minister of Health
(2) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, make regulations respecting standards for the quality of drinking water on First Nation lands.
Marginal note:Recommendation of Minister and Minister of Health
(3) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister and the Minister of Health, make regulations respecting
(a) the monitoring, sampling and testing of drinking water on First Nation lands and the reporting of test results;
(b) the making of remediation orders if standards established under subsection (2) have not been met; and
(c) emergency measures in response to the contamination of drinking water on First Nation lands.
Marginal note:Included powers
5. (1) Regulations made under section 4 may
(a) specify the classes of drinking water systems and waste water systems to which the regulations apply;
(b) confer on any person or body any legislative, administrative, judicial or other power that the Governor in Council considers necessary to effectively regulate drinking water systems and waste water systems;
(c) confer on any person or body the power, exercisable in specified circumstances and subject to specified conditions,
(i) to make orders to cease any work, comply with any provision of the regulations or remedy the consequences of a failure to comply with the regulations,
(ii) to do any work that the person or body considers necessary and to recover the costs of that work, or
(iii) to appoint a manager independent of the First Nation to operate a drinking water system or waste water system on its First Nation lands;
(d) fix, or prescribe the manner of calculating, the fees to be paid to any person or body for the use of a drinking water system or a waste water system;
(e) fix the rate of interest to be charged on amounts owing under the regulations;
(f) subject to subsection (2), establish offences punishable on summary conviction for contraventions of the regulations and set fines or terms of imprisonment or both for such offences;
(g) establish a system of administrative monetary penalties applicable to contraventions of specified provisions of the regulations and set the amounts of those penalties;
(h) confer on any person the power to verify compliance with the regulations, including the power to seize and detain things found in the exercise of that power;
(i) confer on any person the power to apply for a warrant to conduct a search of a place;
(j) confer on any person the power to audit the books, accounts and records of persons or bodies that exercise powers or perform duties under the regulations;
(k) require the collection, recording and reporting of information relating to the quality of drinking water or to waste water;
(l) prescribe rules respecting the confidentiality or disclosure of any information obtained under the regulations;
(m) prescribe rules of procedure for hearings to be held in relation to a drinking water system or waste water system, including rules for the issuance of subpoenas to require the appearance of persons and the production of documents and rules requiring that evidence be given under oath;
(n) prescribe the obligations of any person or body that exercises powers or performs duties under the regulations, and specify the penalties that apply in the event of the breach of those obligations;
(o) subject to paragraphs 11(1)(a), (2)(a) and (3)(a) and section 12, set limits on the liability of any person or body exercising a power or performing a duty under the regulations, and establish defences and immunities for such a person or body;
(p) require permits to be obtained as a condition of engaging in any activity on First Nation lands that could affect the quality of drinking water, or as a condition of engaging in any activity governed by the regulations, specify the terms and conditions of those permits and provide for their issuance, suspension and cancellation;
(q) deem a First Nation or any person or body, for the purposes of this Act, to be the owner of a drinking water system or waste water system of a prescribed class, and prescribe classes of drinking water systems and waste water systems for that purpose; and
(r) require that an assessment of the environmental effects of drinking water systems or waste water systems be undertaken in circumstances where the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act does not apply, and establish a procedure to be followed in such assessments.
Marginal note:Offences under provincial law
(2) If a contravention of the regulations that is an offence under paragraph (1)(f) would have been an offence under provincial law had the contravention occurred outside First Nation lands in the province in which it occurred, the fine or term of imprisonment imposed for the contravention by the regulations may not exceed that imposed by provincial law for such a contravention.
Marginal note:Incorporation by reference
(3) Regulations made under section 4 may incorporate by reference laws of a province, as amended from time to time, with any adaptations that the Governor in Council considers necessary.
Marginal note:Provincial variations
(4) Regulations made under section 4 may vary from province to province and, within any province, may be restricted to the First Nations specified in the regulations or exempt specified First Nations from their application.
(5) Section 4 does not authorize the making of regulations respecting
(a) the allocation of water supplies; or
(b) the issuance of permits for the use of water for any purpose other than the provision of drinking water.
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