Water on First Nations unacceptable, majority say in national poll

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Three in four Canadians — 74 per cent — say water infrastructure in many First Nations communities is unacceptable and must be fixed immediately, according to an online survey by Probe Research Inc.

The findings are part of new research conducted for the Winnipeg-based polling firm”s national syndicated study, A Clear Perspective of Canadians and their Drinking Water. With more than 100 First Nations under a boil-water advisory and many others grappling with aging or inadequate treatment systems, the findings suggest that significant public support exists for improvements to drinking water on reserves, Probe said in a press release.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES</p>
<p>A water bottle sits outside a home on Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. The reserve has been under a boil-water advisory for years because its water treatment process does not meet the requirements for providing safe drinking water.</p>
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JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

A water bottle sits outside a home on Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. The reserve has been under a boil-water advisory for years because its water treatment process does not meet the requirements for providing safe drinking water.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS</p>
<p>Pressure is growing on the federal government to help fund construction of a road for a reserve that is under one of Canada”s longest boil-water advisories. Stewart Redsky, former chief and current Alcohol/Drug Counsellor of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, walks past one week”s worth of 20 litre water bottles in the community”s water storage room in this 2015 photo.</p>
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<p>JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS</p>
<p>Pressure is growing on the federal government to help fund construction of a road for a reserve that is under one of Canada”s longest boil-water advisories. Stewart Redsky, former chief and current Alcohol/Drug Counsellor of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, walks past one week”s worth of 20 litre water bottles in the community”s water storage room in this 2015 photo.</p>
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<p>When asked if they agreed or disagreed that the poor condition and low quality of water infrastructure in many First Nations communities in Canada is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately, just 11 per cent of Canadians disagreed. Fifteen per cent said they were unsure.</p>
<p>Twelve per cent of Manitobans disagreed and eight per cent of respondents were unsure in this province, where frustration with the state of First Nations’ water is strongest.</p>
<p>A majority — 79 per cent — of Manitoba respondents agree that infrastructure on reserve is subpar and requires prompt attention. Canadians over the age of 55 were also more likely to be troubled by on-reserve water woes, with 81 per cent agreeing the situation is unacceptable and requires a speedy fix.</p>
<p>The study was conducted online among a stratified sampling of 2,050 Canadian adults from coast-to-coast between July 22 and Aug. 12. Disproportionate regional sampling was used to get a more accurate examination of the research results in less-populated regions of the country, Probe said. The results have been weighted to obtain national results that conform to the actual population distribution according to the most recent census data available.</p>
<p>As an online survey is a sample of convenience, no margin-of-error can be ascribed. A random and representative non-convenience sample of 2,050 adults would have a margin of error of ± 2.16 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.</p>
<p>Minor statistical weighting was conducted to ensure that the sample of respondents closely reflects known demographic characteristics of the entire Canadian adult population.</p>
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<strong>The question</strong> </p>
<p>The Probe Research Inc. survey asked: “Would you agree or disagree that the poor condition and low quality of water infrastructure in many First Nations communities in Canada is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately? (Is that strongly or moderately agree/disagree?)”</p>
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