2019 Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators for First Nations

The Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators (ELC) for First Nations provides operators
with a basic understanding of water characteristics and public health, water science and
mathematics, treatment and distribution systems.
It is delivered over a two-week period:
• Week 1 – facilitated self-study with face-to-face instructor support
• Week 2 – classroom instruction and hands-on component delivered by two instructors
No registration fee – expenses reimbursed!

Take a look at this flyer for more info: ELC FN Poster 2019

New Water and Wastewater Specialist Richard Shawanda

The Ontario First Nations Techncial Services Corporation is announcing the hiring of a Water and Wastewater Specialist Richard Shawanda.  Mr. Shawanda will be providing water and wastewater services to Unaffiliated First Nations (no tribal council affiliation) in Ontario. The OFNTSC remains committed to working with First Nations to deliver quality drink water to communities in Ontario. Mr. Shawanda has over 15 years of experience delivering quality drinking water, as well as an extensive history in training plant operators to meet and exceed provincial regulations.

Services delivered by the Water and Wastewater Specialist will relate to water and wastewater quality regulations, operations and maintenance plans, sampling/testing, record keeping and reporting, training plans, safety awareness and emergency response plans.

For those Unaffiliated First Nations who would like to request service from the OFNTSC’s Water and Wastewater Specialist please contact Richard directly at rshawanda@ofntsc.org or by phone at (705) 698 0240.

Webinar: What’s Fair in Water and Wastewater Service Pricing

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is sharing the chance to view a webinar being provided by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) – Community Infrastructure Partnership Program. The Webinar titled “What’s Fair in Water and Wastewater Service Pricing” will take place on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 2pm (EST). The webinar will be presented in English only.

Reaching an arrangement on pricing for water and water services in a First Nation–municipal joint service agreement is one of the most challenging negotiation issues. John Kingsbury from the Ontario Clean Water Agency will tackle these key questions:

  • What costs should be included?
  • How should costs be apportioned?
  • What are fixed costs and variable costs?
  • How can communities jointly address asset management?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of equity ownership versus user fees?

John has 20 years’ experience in the water and sewage sector working with municipalities and First Nations on developing joint service agreements and addressing issues such as costing, reporting, performance factors and scope of services.


The event password is ‘green’.

Wastewater System Effluent Regulation (WSER) limits now in force

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation is informing First Nations and Tribal Councils that the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) that came into force in 2012, under the Fisheries Act now has effluent limits that are in force. The limits came in to force on January 1, 2015. TheWSER aims to monitor the amount of effluent discharged into bodies of water at any given time. First Nations with wastewater systems designed to collect an average daily volume of 100 m3 or more of influent (this includes lagoon systems) are now required to engage in sampling, testing, record keeping, and reporting. In addition to the above mentioned items First Nations must also register their systems with Environment Canada. It should be noted that Health Canada will not be assisting First Nations in monitoring/sampling of wastewater effluent. Below is a brief checklist of items First Nations should have completed to be in compliance with the WSER:

  • Submit identification report
  • Submit effluent monitoring reports
  • Submit transitional authorization application (if applicable)
  • Include funding required (if applicable) to AANDC capital application to meet monitoring requirements, and wastewater system upgrades

It is the responsibility of the owner/operator of the wastewater system to ensure that regulatory compliance is met. For further information on the effluent limits that came into force on January 1, 2015 please read the attached information on the WSER.

Have a question on the WSER? Please contact Stephanie Allen, Environmental Scientist at (416) 651 1443 ext. 243 or Meiru Zheng, Water and Wastewater Engineer, (807) 623 9595 ext.112.

Need to contact Environment Canada on WSER? Please contact Lisa McClemens, Environmental Officer, (613) 949 8278 or by email at Lisa.McClemens@ec.gc.ca



Water mains breaks and repairs training

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is pleased to announce training for water plant operators in water mains breaks and repairs.  The training will be taking place from Sept. 29- Oct.3, 2014 at the Hilton Double Tree in Niagara Falls, ON.

This comprehensive three day course will cover equipment, techniques and procedures used to safely repair drinking water distribution lines. Also explored during this course are water audits, fundamentals of leak detection, types and causes of breaks and the organization of repair procedures.

Upon completion of this course recipients will receive 1.4 CEU’s.  To register for this course please CLICK HERE! Please note there is a 25 person limit for this course.  Registrations will be on a first come, first served basis. There is a $800.00 course fee to register for this course. The fee covers breaks, lunches, meeting room rental and course material. Attendees will be responsible for travel and accommodations.

For more information this course please contact Pat Seguin or Tracey John at our Thunder Bay office at 1 807 623 9595.

CRTP: Water – Statement of Operations

-To our First Nation Clients we wish to inform you that after 16 years of serving water plant operators, the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) will no longer be providing the Circuit Rider Training Program (CRTP) Water Service. The Service has discontinued its operations as of May 30, 2014.

The CRTP: Water Service delivered professional training to First Nation water and wastewater plant operators across Ontario. The service was first delivered right after the Walkerton tragedy, to ensure First Nation plant operators met the same standards as their provincial counterparts. Over the years operators gained certification, community water plants operated more efficiently and most importantly; there were no lives lost.  The OFNTSC wishes to congratulate all First Nation water wand wastewater plant operators who have made valuable contributions to their communities, and who continue to do so.

The OFNTSC would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the trainers, and CRTP staff for their dedication to First Nation plant operators. We also wish them the best in their future endeavors. Through the efforts of the CRTP: Water Service staff we are very proud of their respective achievements, and services that they have delivered for First Nations in partnership with Ontario Tribal Councils. The OFNTSC’s discontinued delivery of the Circuit Rider Training Program will not impact Doug Stuart, of the Fuel Systems Management Service.



Bob Howsam, Executive Director

Mathew Hoppe, Technical Manager

Results of the National Assessment of First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems

The results for the National Assessment of First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems have been released by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).

An overview of the results can be found here: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/enr/wtr/nawws/index-eng.asp

For Ontario’s results click here: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/enr/wtr/nawws/ruront/fsont-eng.asp

For Ontario’s roll up report click here: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/enr/wtr/nawws/ruront/ruront-eng.asp

The National Assessment is a comprehensive assessment of water and wastewater systems serving 571 participating First Nations that was conducted between 2009 and 2011. On July 14, 2011, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development released the results of the assessment, enabling First Nations and AANDC to focus resources on priorities and improve the provision of safe drinking water in First Nation communities.

Canada-Ontario First Nations Pilot to Improve Drinking Water Quality

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (July 6, 2011) – The Governments of Canada and Ontario are pleased to announce the Canada-Ontario First Nations Pilot to Improve Drinking Water Quality, a new joint three-year initiative harnessing innovative and alternative drinking water systems to improve water quality in Ontario First Nation communities. The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is also supporting this initiative through the provision of technical support to First Nations and Tribal Councils.

“Together, we are taking an important step towards improving on-reserve water by looking at innovative solutions that address the needs of First Nation communities,” said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. “This pilot project is a concrete example of our ongoing commitment to working with First Nations and other stakeholders to ensure that these communities have access to improved drinking water.”

This initiative will support a select number of projects in Ontario First Nation communities, which may benefit from the use of innovative approaches in ensuring a high quality of drinking water for residents. The projects will pilot the use of innovative processes, technologies and strategies to determine if there are sustainable and economically viable options that can improve access to drinking water in these communities.

“Innovative approaches and technologies can play a key role in ensuring clean, safe drinking water,” said John Wilkinson, Ontario Minister of the Environment. “We are committed to working with First Nations to protect their drinking water in ways that work for them”.

The Government of Canada will provide a total of $5 million in funding. The Ontario government and the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation will provide technical support and training.

The First Nation communities selected for participation in this pilot project will be responsible for commissioning appropriate design and technology solutions for their communities through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

“Innovative water technology combined with expert technical support will help First Nations deliver quality drinking water” said Bob Howsam, Executive Director, OFNTSC. “Innovation in the delivery of safe drinking water to First Nations will improve the quality of life for residents in First Nations. The OFNTSC is pleased to support First Nations in their attainment of innovative water technology through the Canada-Ontario First Nations Pilot to Improve Drinking Water Quality.”

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca

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The application for this pilot is now available at the bottom of this page as an attachment.


Canada-Ontario First Nations Drinking Water Improvement Pilot

New Guidance Documents Available

New Guidance Documents Available for Drinking Water Quality and other related updates:

The new Guidance Document for Chloral hydrate, approved by the Federal- Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment, is now available on Health Canada’s web site:


The new Guideline Technical Document for Haloacetic Acids, approved by the
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment, is now available on Health Canada’s web site:


Environment Canada to Require Reporting on Nanomaterials. Please look at the following website for more information:


Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care releases a Guideline entitled ”Response to Standard Exceedances of Lead in Drinking Water Supplies under O. Reg. 170/03”. The guidance document also gives background information as well as those who are at greatest risk. Please download the document at the following web site:



NOTE: For any questions/inquiries regarding drinking water quality news, please post on our website’s discussion forum under “water and wastewater “and we will respond in a timely manner.

Water Well Workshop for First Nations

The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) is pleased to announce that in partnership with Green Communities Canada (GCC) we will be providing technical workshops on drinking water wells. The workshops are intended for individuals who are in the fields of housing, public works, and health to learn about the Well Aware Program (Well Aware).

The half day workshops will focus on technical components such as well siting, construction, proper plugging and sealing an unused well. Discussions will also focus on water testing and impacts of wells on source water protection.

Please note that the workshops are open to only Tribal Council staff and First Nation employees. There are also a limited number of seats available for the Workshops, so don’t delay and register now!

For more information on this workshop please download the attached introduction letter and flyer. To register for this workshop please CLICK HERE!


Water Well Workshop flyer

Water Well Workshop Invitation