About Us


The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters is a non-partisan coalition of organizations advocating for federal government leadership and policy to support the health of fresh water—including all inland waters—across Canada. Collectively, the organizations of the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters have hundreds of thousands of supporters from different walks of life, from coast to coast to coast.

The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters is a non-Indigenous led coalition.
Any statement or policy position coming from the Coalition does not speak for Indigenous Peoples.

Forest Stream
Hands catching water

What Unites Us

Protecting healthy waters requires a bold vision to shift the way we relate to, manage, and govern fresh water across the country. 

This must be a collaborative effort that involves all levels of government, engages Canadians, and leverages the population’s wealth of scientific, ecological, and traditional water knowledge. The federal government has a critical role to play in leading this transformation, and the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters is united around advocating for the federal government to play a strong and appropriate leadership role.

The Five Foundational Pillars

The federal government can play a strong and appropriate leadership role in protecting and restoring waters across the country by mainstreaming the following cross-cutting foundational pillars in every aspect of the government’s many policy and institutional levers—including federal legislation, regulations, policies, institutions, and investments: 

Advancing Reconciliation. Meaningfully advance the federal government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, including recognizing and upholding inherent Indigenous water rights and authority and fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Supporting Knowledge Creation and Mobilization. Play a key role in creating and mobilizing the knowledge and tools – both Western and Indigenous – needed to understand, predict, and respond to water challenges and opportunities, particularly against the backdrop of climate change.

Strengthening Cooperative Federalism. Strengthen cooperative federalism around shared water decision-making and management among different levels of government, especially considering the transboundary nature of watersheds in Canada and the impacts of climate change.

Cultivating a Watershed Approach. Lead an approach that emphasizes the importance of watershed boundaries in all freshwater decision-making. The watershed approach takes into account interconnected ecological, social, economic, and cultural values that must be balanced to ensure the well-being of communities and ecosystems across the watershed.

Pursuing Deep Legislative Reform. Renew Canada’s outdated federal water laws and policies. This will involve engaging with a broad range of actors within and outside the federal government to conduct holistic analysis, and ensure renewed laws and policies provide the right tools and framework to safeguard the health of waters in Canada.

Advancing Reconciliation

As part of our approach to embodying the foundational pillar on Advancing Reconciliation, the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters:

Commits to not take or apply for funds that are designated for Indigenous led organizations.

Endeavors to not occupy space that should be occupied by Indigenous Peoples and to create space with decision makers for Indigenous Peoples.

Commits to make it clear in our materials that any statement or policy position coming from the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters does not speak for Indigenous Peoples.

Endeavors to align our policy positions with what Indigenous Peoples are asking of the federal government, recognizing that there are often multiple interests amongst the diversity of Indigenous nations within the country.

Our Asks

Build a robust Canada Water Agency

Canadian freshwater management is spread over 20+ federal departments, leading to ineffective management, poor decision making and limited conflict resolution. An independent Canada Water Agency will act as a catalyst to advance the necessary water law, policy, and governance reforms needed to bring Canada’s freshwater management regime into the 21st century. The Agency would work closely with and support Provinces, Territories, indigenous nations, local communities, scientists, and researchers to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.

Renew the over 50 year old Canada Water Act.

The renewal of the 50-year-old Canada Water Act is one important avenue to address current
and future water issues, including but not limited to climate change resilience, improved
ecosystem protection, Indigenous water rights and shared authority, improved governance and
the evolving role of the private insurance industry in flood risk mitigation. Canada can become a
leader in transboundary water management and undertake a legislative co-drafting process
with Indigenous Nations rooted in reconciliation and consistent with UNDRIP.

Invest $1 Billion dollars in freshwater over 5 years through the Freshwater Action Plan.

Promised in the 2021 Liberal Platform, the historic $1 billion over 10 years represents a critical
and necessary investment that is necessary across Canada. Moreover, it matches our US
neighbour’s initiative to invest in water and recognize water security as a national threat.

Meet Our Co-Chairs

As of October 6, 2023, Dominique Monchamp (above left) of the De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and Emily Lorra Hines (above right)of Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW) have taken on the role of co-leaders for the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters. We look forward to working together to further the accomplishments of the Coalition, and expand our reach across Canada. Our thanks go to Andrew Stegemann of Our Living Waters, who has held the fort for the past two years. His work is in good hands and will continue to flourish

Join Us

Add your organizational voice in support of healthy waters!