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Protecting Canadians' drinking water

Target 3.11: Drinking water quality – Help protect the health of Canadians by developing health-based water guidelines.

Four guidelines/guidance documents pertaining to drinking water quality have been approved by the federal/provincial/territorial Committee on Health and the Environment. These were guidelines on: Protozoa; E. coli; Total Coliform; and, guidance for Heterotrophic Plate Count.

Since 1968, guidelines and guidance documents on drinking water have been developed and published. While provinces and territories help set priorities, provide exposure data, and approve and apply guidelines, federal leadership in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality ensures national consistency and economy of scale, with the scientific expertise required for health assessments. The federal/provincial/ territorial Committee on Health and the Environment provides policy approval from their respective jurisdictions.

The guidelines provide the foundation of every drinking water regulation and requirement in Canada, and provide health-based limits and guidance for over 80 microbiological, chemical and radiological contaminants in drinking water. Through the development of new guidelines and the updating of older ones, the system keeps up with new scientific developments, as well as emerging contaminants of concern.

For additional information on the implementation strategies that support this target, please consult the following websites: Environment Canada and Health Canada.

Progress towards Target 3.11: Health-based water guidelines

Four guidelines/guidance documents pertaining to drinking water quality have been approved by the federal/provincial/territorial Committee on Health and the Environment. These were guidelines on: protozoa, E. coli, total coliform and guidance for heterotrophic plate count.


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