Elevating Community-Based Water Monitoring in Canada: A National Discussion

December 6, 2018


  • We heard from the federal government about existing supports for CBWM programs.  Presenters from Environment and Climate Change Canada ( View slides ) as well as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada ( View slides ) identified the decisions, priorities and broad strokes of what government is currently doing to support CBWM through programs, funding streams and relationships.
  • We learned about Indigenous-led water monitoring programs  from presenters from the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Manitoba Métis Federation and the Assembly of First Nations ( View slides ). Presenters spoke about different contexts where water monitoring is important and how these initiatives help exercise inherent water rights and associated responsibilities.
  • Experts hosted “ask me anything” discussions  highlighting how different organizations are collecting and using freshwater data across North America.
  • Breakout Sessions  focused on: Capacity building; Effective monitoring; Regional and national collaboration; and data management. Participants were able to share a wide range of monitoring experiences from all regions of Canada.
  • Keynote:  Meredith Brown, from Ottawa Riverkeeper, delivered a keynote address focusing on local efforts to monitor and steward the Ottawa River and its tributaries. She shared two decades of experience championing CBWM in the Ottawa River Watershed ( View slides ).
  • A snapshot of diverse CBWM initiatives from every corner of the country were showcased during a series of fun, fast-paced Ignite-style presentations:
  1. On Capacity Building:  Tim Soucie & David Atkinson, ARCTIConnexion, Pond Inlet ( View slides )
  2. On Effective Monitoring:  Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation ( View slides )
  3. On Regional & National Collaboration:  Graeme Stewart-Robertson, ACAP St. John ( View slides )
  4. On Data Management  : Catherine Paquette and Simon Mitchell, WWF Canada ( View slides )
  5. On Mobilizing Knowledge for Action  : Mike Low, Dehcho First Nation ( View slides )
  6. On Sustainable Funding  : Jana Kotaska, Coastal Stewardship Network ( View slides )

What comes next?

Additional information about outcomes and timeline will be released in late-2018 or early-2019.

Notes from the discussion will be shared with participants and made publicly available online in the coming weeks. This will include information about: the unique perspectives which were shared; and experiences and feedback exchanged during different sessions.

Key feedback provided on draft recommendations for the federal government will be incorporated into a final summary document. Stay tuned for opportunities to participate in this process in the winter, 2019.

List of Speakers & Facilitators

Sharlene Alook,  Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Leon Andrew,  Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated  and  Tracking Change

Caleb Behn,  Assembly of First Nations  ( View slides )

Meredith Brown,  Ottawa River Keeper  ( View slides )

Sherry Campbell,  The Gordon Foundation

Adam Chamberlain,  Gowling WLG

Alice Cohen,  Acadia University  ( View slides )

Heather Crochetiere,  WWF-Canada

Marlene Doyle, Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program,  Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)  ( View slides )

Carolyn DuBois, Water Program,  The Gordon Foundation

Katarina Hartwig,  Living Lakes Canada

Elizabeth Hendriks,  WWF-Canada

Paul Jiapizian, Science and Technology - Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance,  Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)  ( View slides )

Alexis Kanu,  Lake Winnipeg Foundation  ( View slides )

Elaine Kicknosway, Elder, Wolf Clan, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation)

Jana Kotaska,  Coastal Stewardship Network, Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative ( View slides )

Mike Low,  Dehcho First Nation  ( View slides )

Tony Maas, Director,  Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW)  ( View slides )

Dawn Martin Hill (Mohawk, Wolf Clan), Global Water Futures,  McMaster University

Simon Mitchell,  WWF-Canada  ( View slides )

Shaunna Morgan Siegers,  Indigenous Leadership Initiative  ( View slides )

Joanne Nelson,  Decolonizing Water Project, University of British Columbia

Gabrielle Parent-Doliner,  Swim Drink Fish Canada

Catherine Paquette,  WWF-Canada  ( View slides )

John Parenteau, Fisheries Minister,  Manitoba Métis Federation

Brenda Parlee,  Tracking Change, University of Alberta ( View slides )

Cleo Reece,  Keepers of the Athabasca  and  Athabasca Watershed Council

Jeff Schloss,  University of New Hampshire

Tim Anaviapik Soucie,  ARCTIConnexion  ( View slides )

Graeme Stewart-Robertson,  ACAP Saint John  ( View slides )

Carla Torchia, Great Lakes National Program,  Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)  (  View slides  )

Emma Wattie,  Atlantic Water Network


Geraldine King,  NVision Insight Group Inc.