OTTAWA, UNCEDED ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON, Nov. 2, 2020 /CNW/ - First Nations individuals and organizations are leading the efforts to ensure their communities have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. The hard work and dedication of these people is vital in achieving the goal of safe and clean drinking water in First Nations communities.
Today, Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, congratulated Éric Sioui, this year's recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) created the annual National First Nations Water Leadership Award in March 2018 to recognize First Nations individuals or organizations that have demonstrated leadership and outstanding dedication to the advancement of clean and safe drinking water in First Nations communities.
Mr. Sioui is a Huron-Wendat chemical engineering technician and a water treatment systems technician from Wendake, Quebec. He is being recognized for his leadership and for sharing his expertise with other First Nations water operators across the province of Quebec through the Circuit Rider Training Program. The Circuit Rider Training Program consists of a team of qualified experts who travel to First Nations communities to train the people responsible for operating, monitoring and maintaining drinking water and wastewater systems. As a Circuit Rider, Sioui also assists other First Nations operators in obtaining and maintaining their certification, and provides advice to Chiefs and Councils. Effective support for water operators through the Circuit Rider Training Program has helped Quebec First Nations prevent drinking water advisories and address them quickly when they are issued. As such, there are currently no long-term water drinking advisories in the province.
Some of his contributions to water leadership also include the development of a web page to assist water operators through the Circuit Rider Training Program, training courses, and the creation of a centralized equipment loan program for materials, including an inspection camera, a leak detector and other water system-related equipment.
"Water operators are essential to ensuring First Nations communities have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. They work long hours, often with little recognition, to watch over their community's water supply. The hard work and dedication of people like Éric is vital in helping us to achieve the goal of safe and clean drinking water in First Nations communities. Thank you Éric, and congratulations on receiving the National First Nations Water Leadership Award."
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
"I am honoured and proud to accept this wonderful acknowledgement. I share it wholeheartedly with my team of Circuit Rider trainers, as well as all the First Nations water treatment operators in Quebec whom we have trained and supported for already 20 years. From the start, we have worked hard and made tremendous progress on many aspects of our work. As a result, a beautiful relationship of trust has developed over the years. Together, we have shared our knowledge and cultures, passionately and respectfully. Our concerted efforts now ensure the health and safety of the majority of the population and improve the quality of life in communities, while also protecting the environment. This great exchange is a win-win situation for everyone."
Circuit Rider Training Program Coordinator
The recipient of the inaugural National First Nations Water Leadership Award was Lorraine Crane, Chief of Slate Falls Nation - Ontario, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication to the advancement of clean drinking water in her community.
The recipient of the 2019 National First Nations Water Leadership Award was Deon Hassler, a First Nations military veteran and former water operator in his home community of Carry the Kettle, Saskatchewan.
Nominees are First Nations individuals, community members or leaders, or First Nations organizations or communities.
Nominations are reviewed by a First Nations Advisory Committee.
The recipient is also honoured through the creation of bursaries in their name to support water operators in their professional development.
In 2018-2019, Indigenous Services Canada invested $15.5 million toward training, including through the Circuit Rider Training Program.
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada
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