Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 33, pp 33038–33055 | Cite as

Water infrastructure and well-being among First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals in Canada: what does the data tell us?

  • Melanie O’Gorman
  • Stephen Penner
Water, sanitation, pollution and health in the Arctic


This paper documents the association between water and sanitation infrastructure and health indicators in Canada for First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals living on and off-reserve in Canada. We use two data sources: the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and a survey conducted in a First Nations community in northern Manitoba—St. Theresa Point First Nation. We find statistically significant relationships between water infrastructure and health status in both sources of data. In particular, among individuals living off-reserve, contaminated water is associated with a 5–7% lower likelihood of reporting good self-rated health and a 4% higher probability of reporting a health condition or stomach problem. Those in St. Theresa Point First Nation without running water are four times more likely to report an illness relative to those with running water. Off-reserve, this likely suggests a need for improved public education on the management of private water supplies and more frequent water testing. Our case study suggests that further investment in water/sanitation infrastructure and housing is needed in the community.


Water and sanitation infrastructure Health First Nations, Métis and Inuit people 



We are very grateful for the time and knowledge shared with us by participants of this study. The survey that forms the basis for this paper could not have been conducted without the assistance of Raymond Harper, for which we are very thankful. We appreciated the support with logistics for this study provided by Morgan Vespa and Shianne McKay of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER). Finally, we thank Helen Fallding for her guidance since the beginning of this project and Karen Busby for the academic leadership which led to the funding of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

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