Building upon the dialogue from the 3rd National Water Symposium and Tradeshow “First Nations Water Future Post-2021”, this year the theme will be “Protecting Water During Uncertain Times”.

Access to safe, clean water is more important than ever as the ongoing impacts of the pandemic highlight the uncertainty facing First Nations with respect to water. This uncertainty also includes the Government of Canada acknowledgment that their commitment to end all long-term drinking water advisories by March 2021 will not be met. In addition, looming legislation, questions around sustainable funding, and the implications of a new national water agency has only fueled questions. It is clear that access to water and sanitation is a human right that too many First Nations don’t have, in comparison to most Canadians.

Symposium Overview

The AFN Water Symposium will host virtual plenary sessions, workshops and dialogue opportunities to hear a wide range of views on long-term goals, objectives and strategies for First Nations water and wastewater future post-2021.

This Virtual Symposium will also provide an opportunity to update the existing AFN National Water Declaration and to convey to the Government of Canada and the world our goals, objectives and priorities as First Nations in the post-2021 water future.

Who should attend?

  • Chiefs and Councillors or their representatives, Public Works Managers, First Nations Water and Wastewater Operators, and individuals who are working in the field of water and wastewater management.
  • First Nations organizations and technicians interested in improving the ways water and wastewater infrastructure is understood, managed and delivered.
  • Consultants, industry, academia and other non-governmental entities involved or interested in First Nations water issues.

The Symposium topics will include:

  • The impact of the pandemic and the importance of water to First Nations health
  • Repeal of the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act and what it means for First Nations;
  • Addressing water quality issues and long and short-term drinking water advisories;
  • Climate change impacts on water quality and quantity;
  • Health aspects of water and quality of life;
  • Solid waste, water and wastewater treatment innovative technology;
  • Sustainable Water Management, Watershed and Source Water Protection;
  • New approaches to training; and
  • Medium and long-term trends in water issues and water governance.
*Note that for water operators we are actively seeking accreditation so that this event will count towards your Continuing Education Units.


Wednesday February 17, 2021

Time: 10:45AM - 3:30PM

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Technical assistance available

Opening Ceremonies and Welcome
Hand Drummer Awema Tendesi, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg
Opening Prayer by Nookomis Roberta Oshkabewisens
Water Ceremony by Sally Gaikezheyongai
Welcome from Chief Dylan Whiteduck, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg

11:20 AM
Address by National Chief Perry Bellegarde,
Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

11:35 AM
Symposium Opening Remarks
Regional Chief Roseanne Archibald (ON)
Regional Chief Kevin Hart (MB), AFN Housing and
Infrastructure PortfolioHolder
Federal Representative (invited)

12:00 PM
Setting the Context for the Symposium
Irving Leblanc, P. Eng., Director of Housing, Infrastructure and Emergency
Services, AFN

12:15 PM 
Keynote Presentation
Tanya Talaga, Award-winning Journalist/Author

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM Operator Training (registration required)

1:00 PM 
Wellness Break

1:15 PM 
Panel Presentation – First Nations Women and Water

2:15 PM 
Wellness Break

2:30 PM
Workshop Period #1
Five possible sessions to choose from on a variety of topics

3:30 PM
Summary of the Day

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Networking Event
Join us and meet your colleagues for a chat about the day’s events!
Entertainment, games and prizes!


Thursday February 18, 2021

Time: 10:45AM - 4PM

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Technical assistance available

Welcome/ Agenda Overview

Panel Presentation on Impacts of COVID-19

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM – Operator Training (cont’d)

12:15 PM
Keynote Address

12:45 PM
Workshop Period #2
Five possible sessions to choose from on a variety of topics

1:45 PM 
Wellness Break

2:00 PM 
Workshop Period #3
Five possible sessions to choose from on a variety of topics

3:00 PM 
Summary of the Symposium/ Closing Remarks/ Closing Prayer

4:00 PM 
Symposium adjourned



Registration is now open! (closes February 15, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST) Sign up for Early Bird Registration by February 10, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST for your chance to WIN an iPad. Be one of the first 400 registrants and receive a thank you gift from AFN.

Registration for the AFN’s 4th Annual Water Symposium is now closed.

Register On-line Registration Form


Registration Coordinator

Tash Cote
Telephone: (613) 241-6789
Ext. 274
Fax: (613) 241-5808
Email: [email protected]

General Inquiries

Telephone: (613) 241-6789
Fax: (613) 241-5808
Email: [email protected]

Sid Lee2021 Water Symposium