Federal government needs to up spending to give First Nations clean water, PBO says

Clean water needs cash

The parliamentary budget officer says the federal government would need to increase planned spending to provide clean drinking water in First Nations.

Yves Giroux’s report this morning says the government has set aside enough money to build water and wastewater systems over the next five years.

Where the government falls short is to help First Nations operate the systems, which Giroux's office estimates would need $138 million more annually in federal funding.

The Liberals had promised in their successful 2015 election campaign to end all boil-water advisories in First Nations within five years of taking office, a timeline that was supposed to be met this year.

But the government last year said the target wouldn't be met, pointing to the pandemic among a variety of other factors in its way.

Giroux's report warns the longer it takes to fulfil that pledge the more expensive meeting the goal is likely to become.

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