Freshwater Future Canada Blog

Canadian Freshwater Alliance Job Opportunity

Director Position

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance builds, unites, and activates networks of freshwater champions across Canada in order to secure healthy waters for everyone. We work with organizations and individuals who are freshwater champions to strengthen citizen engagement and participation in the
protection of our lakes and rivers. We drive change through advocacy campaigns, engagement organizing, and by serving as a national and regional voice on key freshwater issues.

We are seeking a new leader to guide the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and shape the future of water in Canada. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a clear vision of where the freshwater community needs to go in the coming years and the persistence to get there.

Click here to view the full job posting.

Freshwater Canada Weekly – August 20, 2020

This week: Flint Children Beneficiaries of Legal Settlement + New York’s Environmental Justice Communities Eligible for New Water Infrastructure Project Financial Incentives + The 2020 Water Is Life Festival Goes Virtual Sept 5 and 6th + The Great Waterspout Outbreak of 2020 + Show Your Lake Erie Love on Social Media, August 26th with #WeAreLakeErie + Fall Project Grants Due September 30!

Flint Children Beneficiaries of Legal Settlement

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office announced the Flint Water Crisis victims will receive an anticipated $600 million settlement from the State of Michigan. The funds will be primarily directed to Flint children harmed from the exposure of lead contaminated water. While Freshwater Future is happy to see that some responsibility is being taken by the state, we know that this will not make Flint residents whole, and we will support their efforts to ensure the needed resources become available.

New York’s Environmental Justice Communities Eligible for New Water Infrastructure Project Financial Incentives

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced changes to New Yorks’ financing tools giving priority to water infrastructure projects that provide critical financial assistance to disproportionately affected low-income and disadvantaged communities that have historically faced some of the worst environmental impacts from years of neglect and disinvestment. New York’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund will provide zero- and low- interest loan incentives to support critical water infrastructure that protect the environment and public health.

The 2020 Water Is Life Festival Goes Virtual Sept 5 and 6th

The Annual Water is Life Festival celebrates our connection to the water and builds power through community to protect water resources. This year’s live-stream event encompasses music, art, youth activities, as well as poignant discussions on water equity. The Water is Life Festival is free-of-charge and open to the public. For event information and to register, visit their info page. 

The Great Waterspout Outbreak of 2020

Great Lakes water temperatures have climbed high under the scorching sun this summer. Recent cold fronts that have passed over these warm waters in conjunction with changing wind direction resulted in a massive waterspout outbreak.  During the week of August 10, 84 waterspouts were spotted around the Great Lakes, crushing the previous record in 2013 at 67. 

Show Your Lake Erie Love on Social Media, August 26th with #WeAreLakeErie 

As western Lake Erie continues to be plagued by annual—and sometimes toxic—algal blooms, Ontarians and Americans are being asked to join in a social media rallying cry for urgent action to protect the lake and, along with it, drinking water for millions of people. People can participate in this 4th annual social media event by sharing Lake Erie stories and photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie to help create a virtual wave of support for the lake to demonstrate to decision-makers the important role the lake plays in the lives of so many people. The event was created in 2017 by three Canadian environmental organizations: Environmental Defence Canada, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, and Freshwater Future Canada. Anyone who participates will be entered into a draw to win a custom “I Love My Lake” tee.

Fall Project Grants Due September 30! 

For 25 years, Freshwater Future has provided grants to community and grassroots groups supporting advocacy efforts to protect or improve drinking water, rivers, lakes, wetlands, shorelines, and groundwater in the Great Lakes region.  Check-out Freshwater Future’s 2020 grant opportunities guidelines to see if your organization is eligible.  Visit our website for additional information:

Grant Opportunity!

Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk is offering funding for projects that help the recovery of aquatic species at risk. Information on the objective of the Fund, proposal criteria, and how to apply here.

ESA Review Comment

In January, the Government of Ontario initiated a review of the province’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). The stated intent of the review is to “improve protections for species at risk, consider modern and innovative approaches to achieve positive outcomes for species at risk, as well as to look for ways to streamline approvals and provide clarity to support economic development.” However, the government’s discussion paper on the review [LINK to:  ERO #013-4143 Review of the Endangered Species Act, 2007] seems to place  much more emphasis on streamlining approvals and providing clarity for economic development than on the core purpose of the legislation, which is to identify species at risk, protect endangered species and their habitats, and promote strategies and stewardship activities that advance species recovery.
The review, which is framed as a response to “barriers to economic development” associated with the ESA, includes a number of troubling options that could undermine the very cornerstones of the law, including listing of species based on science (including Indigenous Traditional Knowledge), mandatory habitat protection, and legislated timelines for planning and reporting. Freshwater Future is one of over 35 organizations endorsing a formal submission to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks on the ESA discussion paper developed by Ontario Nature, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Environmental Defence. We believe the recommendations outlined in the submission will be critical to ensuring the protection and recovery of species at risk and the habitats and aquatic ecosystems they depend on to thrive and survive. You can read the full comment here.

New Advocacy Rules for Charities: Limits on (non-partisan) Political Activities Lifted

The Canadian federal government has proposed new rules for charitable policy advocacy. These rules would allow charities to engage in public policy dialogue and development activities without limitation as long as it furthers the organization’s charitable purposes. Policy advocacy groups will probably not be able to become charities, but the definition of charitable organizations would include groups where some or all of their activities are public policy dialogue and development activities for charitable purposes. This means non-partisan political activity restrictions will be lifted for charitable organizations. Here is a break down of the new rules and what they could mean for your charity.

Public Policy Dialogue and Development Activites will have to further an organization’s charitable purpose not a political one.

Public Policy Dialogue and Development Activities (PPDDAs) further a charitable purpose if:

  • The PPDDAs relate to the stated charitable purpose
  • The PPDDAs will benefit the public

What is a charitable purpose?

A charitable purpose must meet the following three criteria under the Canadian policy statement CG-027

  • The purpose appears in the charities governing documents
  • The purpose benefits the public
  • The purpose falls within one of these four categories
    • Relief of poverty
    • Advancement of education
    • Advancement of religion
    • Other benefits to the community: protect the environment, uphold human rights, promote health ect. (see Annex A for a more complete list)

Partisan activities are still prohibited, including supporting or opposing a political party or candidate.

Under the Income Tax Act a charity may agree or disagree with a decision but may not support or oppose any candidate or party for public office. A charities communication should focus on the policy issue and not refer to any candidate or political party

You can read more about the draft administrative guidance here. And provide feedback to the Canada Revenue Agency until April 23rd here.