As a wealthy country with a modest population of 35 million and vast supplies of freshwater in many parts of the land, one would expect Canada to play a leading role in championing the protection of water resources and ensuring optimal water and sanitation services for all.

Yet for decades Canada has stood in the way of international recognition of water and sanitation as a human right. Now that it has been recognized since 2010 through resolutions at the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council, Canada is attempting to rewrite history by eliminating all references to the resolutions in international documents including the Rio+20 negotiating text which is to frame the discussions at the World Summit on Sustainable Development next June.

Domestically, Canada ignores the fact that it is now bound by international obligations to ensure that the Human Right to Water and Sanitation are enjoyed by all current and future generations and that Canadian corporations do not obstruct this right for other communities abroad.

On March 22, World Water Day, thirteen organizations in Canada including the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Indigenous Environmental Network, KAIROS Canada, Oxfam Canada, Eau Secours! Concert’eau and the Polaris Institute have sent a letter to parliamentarians urging them to demand that the government recognize the human right to water and sanitation. To read the letter, please go to:

Civil society groups are seeking justice for Indigenous communities throughout the country who continue to lack access to adequate water and sanitation services, demanding better funding for public water and sanitation services and calling for stronger environmental protection. We are urging parliamentarians to stand up for the right to water by signing the following pledge:

Please join us by letting your parliamentarian know that Canada must recognize water and sanitation as a human right.

Meera Karunananthan

Meera Karunananthan

Meera Karunananthan is the national water campaigner at the Council of Canadians.