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OFNTSC Environmental Services: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities in Source Water Protection, Contaminated Sites, Solid Waste Management and Environmental Assessment

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Environmental management on First Nation’s reserves, as in other jurisdictions across the country deals with a number of issues related to how lands and waters are managed to ensure the protection of the local environment and healthy living conditions for people and wildlife. The Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation (OFNTSC) delivers a number of services to support First Nations to manage reserve lands to comply with federal and provincial regulations and to make improvements in support of a healthy environment and living conditions. OFNTSC’s supports First Nation’s on-reserve communities both in the development and maintenance of environmental infrastructures and in infrastructure required for environmental protection. Specifically, OFNTSC supports First Nation in four (4) main service areas:'

  • Source water protection
  • Contaminated sites assessment and remediation
  • Solid Waste Management
  • Environmental Assessment

In Canada, there is no one authority over the environment and jurisdiction, roles, and responsibilities are shared between federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.1 However, under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act 1867, the federal government has authority over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians.”2 This directly involves the federal government with environmental management activities on reserves. Each section of this paper therefore provides an overview of federal legislation, policies, and programs as they relate to each of OFNTSC’s environment service areas. Following the overview, this paper describes funding mechanisms in place in support of environmental services and best practices in each service area. Under each service area, this paper also discussed key challenges and opportunities for OFNTSC’s environmental service.