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Friday, November 9 • 1:00pm - 4:30pm
Brainstorming for Canada’s National Water Vision / Réflexion sur la vision nationale de l'eau au Canada

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Organized by: Pacific Water Research Centre and Ryerson University Water, Nick Reid and Zafar Adeel

Co-led by the Pacific Water Research Centre and Ryerson Urban Water
Emerging water challenges in Canada can be tied to climate-change impacts on water availability, urbanization and population growth, water pollution, and threats to aquatic ecosystems. A 2017 report from the World Wildlife Fund in Canada (WWF-Canada) indicated that most of the watersheds in Canada are showing significant disruptions from human activities such as hydropower dams, discharges from agricultural and industrial activities, rapid urbanization, extensive application of road salt, and incidents involving natural resources extraction. At the same time, Canada has an unmatched, century-long history of peacefully managing shared water resources with the United States. In recent years, landmark water-sharing agreements have emerged, which engage Indigenous communities as important stakeholders. Canadian companies have developed advanced technologies for water treatment and monitoring.

Public perceptions play an important role in this respect. In a recent survey conducted by RBC, 45% of Canadians believe water is Canada’s most important natural resource and 50% believe water is an important part of Canada’s national identity. However, only 6% of Canadians say they put extra effort into saving water and only 50% of Canadians say they have an adequate understanding of the impact of climate change on water availability and quality. These findings reveal some contradictory perceptions held by the Canadian public, which value water an important natural resource, and yet demonstrate inattention to water resources under the presumption that it is an abundant resource.

One major stumbling block for Canada is that it does not have a common, ambitious and visionary national strategy to manage its water resources, unlike almost all developed countries in the world including those with similar federated constitutions. This means, for example, that no federally enforceable standards exist for safety and environmental/economic sustainability for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and ground water extraction. Further, the absence of a national water vision has led to varied, and sometimes chequered, approaches for addressing the water management challenges in Canada, including disproportionately disadvantaged indigenous communities, an increasing water infrastructure deficit and failing to declare water as a human right. Development of a common national vision that is jointly developed through engagement of stakeholders at various jurisdictional levels is an important first step in addressing Canada’s water challenges.

In this respect, a new comprehensive framework can be used to address these interconnected water challenges in one fell swoop: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations that aim to achieve significant and ambitious improvements by the year 2030. Countries across the globe, including Canada, are re-tooling their national development strategies to meet these global targets. Another pertinent development is the designation of 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development.” A pan-Canadian alliance of universities, civil society organizations, private sector leaders, and environmental groups – called the International Water Decade Alliance (IWDA) – brings together the SDG implementation with the new water decade.

This symposium will highlight the need for a national water vision in Canada and bring together experts from across Canada to begin a discussion on the opportunities and obstacles of achieving a common vision. This symposium will foster ideas, leading to actionable strategies, and steps necessary for making this visioning process a success.

avatar for Zafar Adeel

Zafar Adeel

Professor, Resource and Environmental management at Simon Fraser University ; Executive director, Pacific Water Research Centre
Dr. Zafar Adeel serve as the Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre, and as Professor of Professional Practice at the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He has over 25 years of experience in a broad range of environmental... Read More →
avatar for Julia Baird

Julia Baird

Assistant Professor, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University
Julia Baird is an Assistant Professor at Brock University in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and a Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience. Her research focuses on resilience... Read More →
avatar for Courtney Bridge

Courtney Bridge

Graduate Student, Simon Fraser University
Courtney Bridge completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at Nova Southeastern University. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management at SimonFraser University. Her research focuses on national water policy in Canada.
avatar for Ogimaa Kwe (Chief) Linda Debassige

Ogimaa Kwe (Chief) Linda Debassige

M’Chigeeng First Nation
Ms. Debassige, who graduated with honours from Confederation College’s Civil Engineering program in Thunder Bay, was born and raised in M’Chigeeng. Ms. Debassige was first elected to council in 2013 and became involved and active in a number of portfolios including the audit and... Read More →
avatar for Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher

Chief Executive Officer, Council of the Great Lakes Region
Mark Fisher was appointed President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region by the Council’s board in 2014. Established in 2013,the Council is a bi-national nonprofit that brings decision-makers frombusiness, government, academia and the nonprofit sector together to deepen... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Hendriks

Elizabeth Hendriks

Vice President, Fresh Water Program, WWF Canada
Elizabeth Hendriks is Vice-President of the National Freshwater Program at WWF-Canada, one of Canada’s oldest conservation organizations. She has fifteen years’ experience working internationally and nationally on water policy and in 2017, she led the release of the first national... Read More →
avatar for Irving Leblanc

Irving Leblanc

Director, Housing, Infrastructure & Emergency Services, Assembly of First Nations
Irving Leblanc is the Director - Housing, Infrastructure, and Emergency Services at the Assembly of First Nations. His responsibility is to represent the AFN on the various initiatives and committees related to housing, infrastructure, water and sanitation, source water protection... Read More →
avatar for Merrell-Ann Phare

Merrell-Ann Phare

Executive Director, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources
Merrell-Ann Phare is a lawyer, writer and the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), a national First Nation charitable environmental organization. As Chief Negotiator for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Merrell-Ann lead... Read More →
avatar for Lisa A Prime

Lisa A Prime

Principal Consultant, PRIME Strategy & Planning
Lisa A Prime is the Principal of PRIME Strategy and Planning and is on the Advisory Board ofRyerson Urban Water where she contributes to research, education, policy, and think tankinitiatives and advancements. Lisa is an industry leader in sustainable community developmentand the... Read More →
avatar for Nick Reid

Nick Reid

Executive Director, Ryerson Urban Water Centre
Nick Reid is Executive Director of Ryerson Urban Water (RUW) with a focus on achieving healthy and sustainable urban water cycles through applied research, education and outreach, and supportive policy.He is a long standing member of the American Water Works Association, currently... Read More →
avatar for Francis Scarpaleggia

Francis Scarpaleggia

Member of the Canadian Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis
Francis Scarpaleggia was First elected to the House of Commons in 2004, Francis Scarpaleggia was re-elected to Parliament in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. He is the Chair of the National Liberal Caucus.Since first being elected, Francis has made the protection of Canada’s freshwater... Read More →
avatar for Larry Swatuk

Larry Swatuk

Director, Master of Development Practice (MDP), and Associate Professor, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo
Larry Swatuk (PhD) is Professor of International Development in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is also Extraordinary Professor in the Institute for Water Studies, University of Western Cape, South Africa, and... Read More →
avatar for Banu Örmeci

Banu Örmeci

Professor and Jarislowsky Chair in Water and Global Health, and Canada Research Professor, Carleton University
Banu Örmeci develops technology to clear pathogens and contaminants from wastewater and sludge, so they do not pose a threat to public health and environment. She has two U.S. patents with another commercialization on its way by one of the largest multi-national companies in the... Read More →

Friday November 9, 2018 1:00pm - 4:30pm EST
Delta Hotel - Richelieu