The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters Visits the Hill

Fifteen meetings. Seventeen Members of Parliament and federal officials. Twelve representatives from the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters.

Two lobby days in Ottawa. Countless weeks of prep and follow-up.

Here’s your window into the intricate choreography that federal water advocacy calls for!

From left to right: CCHW members Mathieu Laneuville, Nicole Trigg, Andrew Stegemann, Coree Tull and Denise Cloutier in front of Parliament Hill


The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters (CCHW) spent two lobby days on the Hill on October 18 and 19, meeting MPs representing four federal political parties, as well as other federal officials.

Lead Up

Since its inception last year, the Coalition's suite of actions enabled it to unify and broadcast its message with one voice in Ottawa, including:

One week before arriving on the Hill, a few CCHW members also published an op ed piece in The Hill Times. The article framed two CCHW asks within the current environmental and economic context right before the lobby days took place. The asks were:

  1. Creating a Canada Water Agency as a separate entity (like the Parks Canada Agency);
  2. Funding the Freshwater Action Plan through an historic investment of $1 billion over five years.

Lobby Days

From left to right: Andrew Stegemann, Coree Tull, MP Laurel Collins, Justin Duncan, Roberta Webster, Nicole Trigg and Emily Hines inside MP Collins’ office
From left to right: Nicole Trigg, Gia Paola, Parliamentary Secretary Terry Duguid, Andrew Stegemann and Justin Duncan inside MP Duguid’s office


This kind of work is about relationship-building. To advance a large-scale vision, face-to-face meetings matter a lot. Once in Ottawa, CCHW members met with individuals on the Hill in small groups. The CCHW mini-teams entered each meeting with a strategy in mind, having planned which asks they would advance based on the MP they were meeting with. These included, for example:

  • Asking a question or making a statement in the House of Commons to government (something both Elizabeth May (Green Party) and Laurel Collins (NDP) did already!);
  • Speaking out within their respective caucus in favour of the CCHW asks;
  • Speaking out publicly or writing an op ed;
  • Speaking to or writing a letter to Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland advancing the asks & asking MPs within their party to sign on.

Follow Up

This kind of work is ongoing, following the rhythm and pace of federal politics. In order to bring as many MPs and officials on board as possible, the CCHW members followed up on an individual basis after leaving Ottawa. In many cases, this follow-up required providing documentation. For example, in many meetings MPs asked for proof there is a return on investment for water funding. Back at home, the CCHW went to work creating a two page document to capture why we should invest in water and what will happen if we don’t. 

What’s Next

We’ve seen some MPs advancing the message, as both Elizabeth May and Laurel Collins did, and we have a commitment from some MPs to write a letter to the Ministers; a commitment we’re following up on to best ensure it happens. As is always the case with government relations, work is ongoing and we continue to focus on the creation of the Canada Water Agency and a properly resourced Freshwater Action Plan as the best ways that the government can show leadership on supporting healthy waters across the country.

If you want to follow the CCHW’s work more closely, sign up as a member here. If you have any questions about current or past actions, please reach out.

Rebekah Kipp
About Rebekah Kipp
Network Communications Lead, Our Living Waters: mother, freshwater champion, beachcomber, and origami enthusiast
The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters Visits the Hill
The Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters Visits the Hill
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: