Aquatic bugs that form the base of the food chain are thriving in Canada’s waterways.


The ambitious goal for Our Living Waters is for all Canada’s waters to be in good health by 2030. The overall health indicator directly signals whether we are getting closer or further away. Unfortunately, while we aspire to enjoy clean, living waters across all of Canada, knowing the health of our fresh water continues to be a challenge. Until recently, there was no place to find out how healthy our waters were right across the country. This changed in June 2017 when WWF-Canada released their country-wide assessment of all Canada’s waters in their Watershed Reports.

WWF-Canada assessed Canada’s 25 major watersheds (and the sub-watersheds within them) based on four key factors:

  1. Water flow – how much water flows in rivers and when.
  2. Water quality – the levels of pollutants in the water over time.
  3. Fish – whether the number of native fish has declined over time.
  4. Benthic invertebrates – whether a river contains a large number and diversity of the right kind of bugs.

Each of these factors were individually evaluated, and an overall health score was assessed by averaging the score of these four factors.

An overwhelming finding from this first Canada-wide assessment is that there is a significant lack of data across the country to determine how healthy our waters are. 60% of our watersheds simply do not have sufficient data to tell whether or not it’s healthy. This underscores the importance of making progress towards our Accessible Data and Open Access Hubs impact measures.

Last updated June 2018

Overall Health|Measures the percentage of Canada’s 25 major watersheds rated as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ for overall health
Aquatic bugs that form the base of the food chain are thriving in Canada’s waterways.
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: