Political parties respond on water issues

In May, 2018, the Ontario Municipal Water Association sent emails to all four main political parties in the upcoming provincial election.  We asked them to answer several questions related to their party’s policies regarding water and infrastructure, in order to better educate our members for the election.

Of the four parties, the Green Party, the Liberals and the NDP acknowledged our request. The Progressive Conservatives did not. However, only the Green Party and NDP responded with answers. Their replies are linked to PDF files, below.

Here is what the OMWA asked:

  1. Does your party have a policy for water management in Ontario, and if so can you please provide a copy of your statement to share with our members.
  2. Does your party policy include provisions for:
    • Stormwater management?
    • Backflow prevention?
    • Managing Lead levels in drinking water?
    • Microplastics in water and the environment?
    • Climate change mitigation?
    • Controlling Inflow & Infiltration to reduce wastewater spills & bypassing?
    • First Nations’ water issues?
  3. Does your party have plans for helping Ontario municipal water suppliers sustainably maintain and improve their water infrastructure? If so, please provide your policy statements to share with our members.

Answers as provided follow.
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Electricity, natural gas and water reporting

Did you know?

Electricity, natural gas and water utilities are required to give building owners who request it aggregated monthly data for their building’s electricity, water and/or natural gas use.

Ontario Regulation 20/17, Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use, outlines what building owners and utilities must do to comply with Ontario’s Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) initiative.

 How and what to report

To see the types of buildings that are subject to the reporting requirements, and the data building owners will need to report, visit ontario.ca/energyreporting.

If you have questions about the EWRB initiative, please call 1-844-274-0689 or email EWRBSupport@ontario.ca.

 

Nick Benkovich given George Warren Fuller Award

Niagara Falls, ON, May 1, 2018: Nick Benkovich was named as the winner of the George Warren Fuller award, presented by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) at Ontario’s Water Convention, in Niagara Falls, today.

George Warren Fuller Awards are presented annually by the American Water Works Association to the sections’ respective selected members for their distinguished service to the water supply field in commemoration of the sound engineering skill, the brilliant diplomatic talent, and the constructive leadership which characterized the life of George Warren Fuller. The recipients of the George Warren Fuller Awards are selected by the individual sections of the Association from among their own members to recognize publicly the contribution toward the advancement of water works practice.

Sudbury-born Nick Benkovich retired from his long-time position as Director of Water & Wastewater Services for the City of Greater Sudbury at the end of December, 2017. He also stepped down from his position as director on the Ontario Municipal Water Association board at that time. He had been on the board since 2004, and served as its president in 2008.
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OMWA to sponsor Autumn Peltier at Water Conference

The Ontario Municipal Water Association is proud to sponsor Autumn Peltier as a key speaker at Ontario’s Water Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls. Autumn Peltier is a 13-year-old Anishinaabe-kwe, and self-described ‘water warrior.’

Autumn is a well-known and vocal advocate for safe drinking water for Indigenous communities and for clean waterways in Canada. She has been advocating for clean drinking water since she was about 8 years old. She comes from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She will be joined by her mother, Stephanie Peltier.

Autumn was inspired by her great aunt, Water Walker Josephine Mandamin, whose 2003 trek around all five Great Lakes began a tradition of walking for water and bringing media and political attention to what threatens our most precious natural resource.

Autumn attended the 2015 Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, a meeting of 64 concerned, engaged children from 32 different countries that delivered its message to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Autumn is the only Canadian nominated among 151 nominees for the 2017 Children’s International Peace Prize. She won the 2016 Canadian Living “Me to We” award for the Youth in Action (12 and under).

Her meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations gathering in Gatineau, Que., in 2016, resulted in his promise to take steps to protect Canada’s water.

Earlier this year, Autumn was chosen as the 2017 Ontario Junior Citizen award recipient from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA). In late March, she addressed the UN General Assembly, telling its 193 member states to ‘Warrior Up’ in their efforts to provide clean and safe water for all nations. This week, Autumn will be speaking about the protection of our water and its significance to Indigenous peoples.

OMWA president, Rosemary K. MacLennan, said, “The Ontario Municipal Water Association is honoured and delighted to present Autumn Peltier as a speaker for this convention. Autumn is a role model for Canadian youth to engage in key issues such as water and the environment. She has proven that her generation’s concerns can and will be heard and recognized, not only by their local elders, but by the whole world. Through her passion and her wisdom, other Canadian youths are inspired to also speak out for their future. Their voices matter and we should all be listening. We hope all attendees at this event will take the time to hear her speak.”

Please join us in welcoming Autumn Peltier to Ontario’s Water Conference in Niagara Falls, and hear her words of advocacy for water: 2:15 p.m., Wednesday May 2, 2018.

Call for submissions

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is looking for articles for our next installment of (Water)3, coming this spring.

The topic is Water 101: What Every Municipal Politician Should Know.

Whether they are an incumbent member of municipal council running again, or a candidate seeking election for the first time, we want to be the source for education about municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems that politicians can easily access and refer to. We want to help politicians to be fully and accurately informed about municipal water issues even before they file their papers. And not just about drinking water systems: we want to know how you teach them about your wastewater and stormwater facilities and management, too.
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OMWA launches revamped website

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is pleased to announce a new look and new functionality for its website. It incorporates both the previous website’s content and the new (Water)3 posts in a WordPress standard platform.

We hope that this new look makes it easier for visitors to find the information and data you need. If you encounter problems or have questions about access, please contact us.

 

President’s message for Pipeline, Spring 2018 issue

This year will Ontario will have two important elections: a provincial election in June, and a municipal election in October. We have the opportunity to bring our issues, our concerns and our comments to candidates ahead of these elections, to make sure the importance of water is recognized in their campaigns.

We must be prepared for change: expect new faces will appear in the legislature; possibly we’ll see new ministers, new aides, new deputies, and even perhaps a new government in power. Water agencies and associations will once again need to quickly establish relations with Queen’s Park, make or renew contacts, put ourselves in the forefront as advocates to be engaged when the next government comes to legislation and policy-making.

We face the possibility similar upheavals in the municipal sector: new councillors, new mayors, new directions. Both lower-tier and regional governments will be affected. And even when incumbents are returned, we should expect changes in position, in responsibilities and committee appointments.

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