Partner Mark Bain and associate Jessica Earle have penned an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail that discusses infrastructure improvements in First Nations communities, particularly related to the quality of drinking water.
The article, titled “How the Private Sector can Boost First Nations Infrastructure,” discusses a range of ways the private sector can assist in accelerating recent progress made by the government when it comes to First Nations infrastructure.
A small expert from the article is below.
While the extended funding commitment is better suited to the long-term nature of water assets, this marks the 10th time since 1983 that the federal government has revamped its fiscal approach in relation to First Nations. Despite previous efforts, the latest data show approximately 75 per cent of on-reserve water systems pose medium to high health and safety risks – roughly the same percentage listed in a 2001 government assessment.
And while the government lifted 62 long-term drinking water advisories over the past 2½ years, it also added 33 new advisories, suggesting that a durable solution will need additional resources beyond government funding.
Mark and Jessica discuss giving the private sector a role in the design, build, operation, maintenance and financing of the water infrastructure projects. They continue, saying “[a]nother possibility is bundling smaller-sized projects together to create the scale needed to attract private sector expertise.”
Mark and Jessica's focus on the need to further Canadian infrastructure ties into the CanInfra Challenge, a Canada-wide contest which invites groups to submit their next-generation infrastructure concepts in hopes that their idea will receive financial backing and the support of the country.
Torys has been working with CanInfra both as a sponsor and through the hands-on support of our Infrastructure Practice.
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