Media Release

Environmentalists Applaud Release of Ontario's Progress Report on Drinking Water Safety

May 31 2005

Toronto. Environmentalists applauded today’s release of the Progress Report by Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Inspector under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.“We strongly support the community’s right to know about all aspects of drinking water safety,” stated Richard Lindgren, staff lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA). “We believe that the public information within this report enhances accountability and transparency within Ontario’s drinking water regime.”The Progress Report concludes that Ontario’s municipal drinking water is of “very high quality”, but describes various instances where municipal drinking water systems in Ontario were not in compliance with regulatory requirements.  In such cases, Ministry of the Environment officials generally elected to issue legally binding orders to remedy the non-compliance, although a number of prosecutions have also been undertaken by the province.“The findings of this report appear to confirm that most Ontarians enjoy access to safe drinking water,” noted Mr. Lindgren.  “However, the examples of non-compliance documented in the report mean that drinking water regulators, suppliers and consumers cannot become complacent about drinking water safety in Ontario.  Clearly, there is more work to be done, particularly in relation to assisting smaller or northern communities that have experienced difficulty in meeting regulatory requirements.”CELA represented the Concerned Walkerton Citizens at the Walkerton Inquiry, and has been actively involved in the protection of drinking water quality and quantity.- 30 -For more information, please contact:Richard Lindgren (CELA) 613-385-1686