Elevating Community-Based Water Monitoring in Canada: A National Discussion

December 6, 2018


  • We heard from the federal government about existing supports for CBWM programs.  Presenters from Environment and Climate Change Canada ( View slides ) as well as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada ( View slides ) identified the decisions, priorities and broad strokes of what government is currently doing to support CBWM through programs, funding streams and relationships.
  • We learned about Indigenous-led water monitoring programs  from presenters from the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Manitoba Métis Federation and the Assembly of First Nations ( View slides ). Presenters spoke about different contexts where water monitoring is important and how these initiatives help exercise inherent water rights and associated responsibilities.
  • Experts hosted “ask me anything” discussions  highlighting how different organizations are collecting and using freshwater data across North America.
  • Breakout Sessions  focused on: Capacity building; Effective monitoring; Regional and national collaboration; and data management. Participants were able to share a wide range of monitoring experiences from all regions of Canada.
  • Keynote:  Meredith Brown, from Ottawa Riverkeeper, delivered a keynote address focusing on local efforts to monitor and steward the Ottawa River and its tributaries. She shared two decades of experience championing CBWM in the Ottawa River Watershed ( View slides ).
  • A snapshot of diverse CBWM initiatives from every corner of the country were showcased during a series of fun, fast-paced Ignite-style presentations:
  1. On Capacity Building:  Tim Soucie & David Atkinson, ARCTIConnexion, Pond Inlet ( View slides )
  2. On Effective Monitoring:  Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation ( View slides )
  3. On Regional & National Collaboration:  Graeme Stewart-Robertson, ACAP St. John ( View slides )
  4. On Data Management  : Catherine Paquette and Simon Mitchell, WWF Canada ( View slides )
  5. On Mobilizing Knowledge for Action  : Mike Low, Dehcho First Nation ( View slides )
  6. On Sustainable Funding  : Jana Kotaska, Coastal Stewardship Network ( View slides )

What comes next?

Additional information about outcomes and timeline will be released in late-2018 or early-2019.

Notes from the discussion will be shared with participants and made publicly available online in the coming weeks. This will include information about: the unique perspectives which were shared; and experiences and feedback exchanged during different sessions.

Key feedback provided on draft recommendations for the federal government will be incorporated into a final summary document. Stay tuned for opportunities to participate in this process in the winter, 2019.

List of Speakers & Facilitators

Sharlene Alook,  Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta

Leon Andrew,  Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated  and  Tracking Change

Caleb Behn,  Assembly of First Nations  ( View slides )

Meredith Brown,  Ottawa River Keeper  ( View slides )

Sherry Campbell,  The Gordon Foundation

Adam Chamberlain,  Gowling WLG

Alice Cohen,  Acadia University  ( View slides )

Heather Crochetiere,  WWF-Canada

Marlene Doyle, Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program,  Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)  ( View slides )

Carolyn DuBois, Water Program,  The Gordon Foundation

Katarina Hartwig,  Living Lakes Canada

Elizabeth Hendriks,  WWF-Canada

Paul Jiapizian, Science and Technology - Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance,  Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)  ( View slides )

Alexis Kanu,  Lake Winnipeg Foundation  ( View slides )

Elaine Kicknosway, Elder, Wolf Clan, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation)

Jana Kotaska,  Coastal Stewardship Network, Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative ( View slides )

Mike Low,  Dehcho First Nation  ( View slides )

Tony Maas, Director,  Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW)  ( View slides )

Dawn Martin Hill (Mohawk, Wolf Clan), Global Water Futures,  McMaster University

Simon Mitchell,  WWF-Canada  ( View slides )

Shaunna Morgan Siegers,  Indigenous Leadership Initiative  ( View slides )

Joanne Nelson,  Decolonizing Water Project, University of British Columbia

Gabrielle Parent-Doliner,  Swim Drink Fish Canada

Catherine Paquette,  WWF-Canada  ( View slides )

John Parenteau, Fisheries Minister,  Manitoba Métis Federation

Brenda Parlee,  Tracking Change, University of Alberta ( View slides )

Cleo Reece,  Keepers of the Athabasca  and  Athabasca Watershed Council

Jeff Schloss,  University of New Hampshire

Tim Anaviapik Soucie,  ARCTIConnexion  ( View slides )

Graeme Stewart-Robertson,  ACAP Saint John  ( View slides )

Carla Torchia, Great Lakes National Program,  Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)  (  View slides  )

Emma Wattie,  Atlantic Water Network


Geraldine King,  NVision Insight Group Inc.

Reeds and wheat blowing in the wind next to a lake

Community Based Monitoring in Canada

Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) is a fundamental part of collecting freshwater data in Canada. Mackenzie DataStream depends on the hard work of these CBM programs and their willingness to share their data online. However, many people around the country and the world do not know what CBM is or what it does.

Keep ReadingCommunity Based Monitoring in Canada