Sustainability Research Institute External Seminar

Chris Metcalfe, Trent University Canada

Water-Related Problems and Solutions in First Nation Communities in Canada

Abstract: First Nations are one of the three constitutional Indigenous groups in Canada, and currently the fastest growing demographic within the Canadian population. At any one time among the First Nation communities on Treaty Lands in Canada, there are typically more than 120 drinking water (i.e. “boil water”) advisories and many of these advisories have been in place for several months or even years. Consequently, there are greater incidences of water-related illnesses among First Nation communities relative to non-Indigenous communities in Canada. Although some First Nations have installed new or upgraded water treatment technologies, communities continue to express concerns about the risks of contamination of their drinking water sources from pollution that originates off-reserve.  In this presentation, Prof. Metcalfe will describe the many factors that contribute to the lack of Water Security among First Nation communities in Canada, and he will describe some of the solutions to this problem, including “source water protection” planning.

Bio: For over 35 years, Dr. Metcalfe has been a Professor at Trent University in Peterborough, ON, Canada, and he has developed an internationally recognized research program in determining the environmental fate and effects of chemical contaminants. He has utilized a wide range of analytical instrumentation to evaluate the distribution of contaminants in water, soils, sediments, effluents, fish, birds and marine mammals, and he has also used in vivo and in vitro techniques to evaluate the biological and toxicological effects of contaminants to fish and amphibians. Dr. Metcalfe also has extensive experience in water quality problems in countries with emerging and developing economies, including countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and in Southeast Asia. Dr. Metcalfe is the Director of the Institute for Watershed Science at Trent University. This multi-disciplinary centre is involved in research and training on watershed management and recently, has focused its activities on water management in Indigenous communities in Canada. Dr. Metcalfe is also a “Senior Advisor” with the UN University, Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) in Hamilton, ON, Canada.