Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner made the following statement in response to reports that the provincial government will propose new rules for bottled water companies:
“Ontario’s broken water taking rules are still in place, and they need to be fixed now.
In response to thousands of citizens demanding change to protect our water, the province has taken a first step in this direction. The proposed moratorium on new permits for water bottlers for two years is positive news.
But our water is still under threat.
The permit to take water process needs to be overhauled to put water for communities first. The water taking fee must also be raised.
It’s outrageous that municipalities don’t have priority access to water over aggregate or water bottling operations. It’s wrong that taxpayers subsidize multinational water bottling companies because water taking fees are too low to cover administrative costs.
I want to be clear that delayed action is no action. Our water is too precious to allow the government to drag its feet in fixing the rules.
Just look at the Aggregate Resources Act review promised first in 2011. Proposed changes were only delivered recently. We cannot afford to have the Liberals delay action to protect our water for another five years. We need action now.
I want to thank the thousands of citizens across Ontario, especially those in Guelph and Wellington County, who have sent letters and postcards calling on the government to fix the water taking rules. Your efforts are making a difference.
I will continue working with citizen and community groups to pressure the province to fix Ontario’s outdated water taking rules as soon as possible. Ontario must stop giving our water away.”