As a nation woven together by lakes and rivers, the Canadian identity is partly defined by our enjoyment of these waters. Knowing if our waters are safe for recreation is important. While there are national guidelines for recreational water quality, they are not legally enforceable. This means that recreational waters are monitored quite differently from province to province, which poses a challenge in aggregating data.
According to the Canada Beach Report, all provinces/territories monitor recreational water quality in some way; however, only 6 out of 13 provinces/territories having some form of established recreational water quality monitoring guidelines (although Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are in the process of developing theirs).
However, having monitoring programs or established recreational water quality monitoring guidelines does not mean that the public is adequately informed of the results of that monitoring.
Manitoba is the only one of the 13 jurisdictions with a full system of communicating results to the public, while British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia do communicate results, but it varies depending on where you are in the province.
5-Year target: Eight provinces and territories with established recreational water quality monitoring guidelines. In addition, with increased attention on making data transparent, we would also expect that the systems of communicating results to the public would improve over this timeline with at least 3 provinces/territories reporting consistently.
Last updated June 2017