Article Title

Insights and Opportunities: Challenges of Canadian First Nations Drinking Water Operators


Providing safe drinking water continues to be a challenge in Canadian First Nations communities. In 2011, in Ontario and British Columbia, only 45 percent and 51 percent of 143 and 160 First Nations had water systems with a fully trained certified operator, respectively. The objective of this research was to investigate the issues of operator training, retention, and job satisfaction through semi-structured interviews and surveys of water system operators in Ontario and British Columbia. Operators reported the lack of funding for operation and maintenance, and a lack of support from band council as challenges in performing their jobs. Of those who reported being unsatisfied with their position, wages, hours of work, and lack of funding or support were cited as primary reasons.


Research funding from the National Centre of Excellence program through Res’Eau WaterNET is gratefully acknowledged. As well, the opportunities for participation in the AANDC meeting, including discussions with the operators at the meeting, was extremely important to the results of the research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

This document is now available on OJS