On November 27-28, a national discussion focused on identifying potential government supports for community-based water monitoring (CBWM) initiatives took place in Ottawa. More than 60 attendees, from across Canada, took part.

The discussion was convened by The Gordon Foundation, Living Lakes Canada and WWF-Canada. It brought together experts, innovators and practitioners from across the water sector to share unique perspectives regarding initiatives to monitor and protect watersheds across Canada.

The day and a half discussion considered how the federal government can meaningfully and effectively engage with and support CBWM work.

Representatives from local, regional and national initiatives were present. They included: CBWM practitioners; federal government scientists and policy makers; environmental non-governmental organizations; and academics.

Collectively, the participants sought to identify actionable steps the federal government can take to show leadership and support in advancing community-based monitoring of freshwater ecosystems in Canada.



  • We heard from the federal government about existing supports for CBWM programs. Presenters from Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada 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. 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.
  • A snapshot of diverse CBWM initiatives from every corner of the country were showcased during a series of fun, fast-paced Ignite-style presentations: On Capacity Building: Tim Soucie & David Atkinson, ARCTIConnexion, Pond Inlet; On Effective Monitoring: Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation; On Regional & National Collaboration: Graeme S. Robertson, ACAP St. John; On Data Management: Catherine Paquette and Simon Mitchell, WWF Canada; On Mobilizing Knowledge for Action: Mike Low, Dehcho First Nation; On Sustainable Funding: Jana Kotaska, Coastal Stewardship Network.

What comes next?

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

Meredith Brown, Ottawa River Keeper

Sherry Campbell, The Gordon Foundation

Adam Chamberlain, Gowling WLG

Alice Cohen, Acadia University

Heather Crochetiere, WWF-Canada

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

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)

Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation

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

Jana Kotaska, Coastal Stewardship Network, Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative

Mike Low, Dehcho First Nation

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

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

Simon Mitchell, WWF-Canada

Shaunna Morgan Siegers, Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Joanne Nelson, Decolonizing Water Project, University of British Columbia

Gabrielle Parent-Doliner, Swim Drink Fish Canada

Catherine Paquette, WWF-Canada

John Parenteau, Fisheries Minister, Manitoba Métis Federation

Brenda Parlee, Tracking Change, University of Alberta

Cleo Reece, Keepers of the Athabasca and Athabasca Watershed Council

Jeff Schloss, University of New Hampshire

Tim Anaviapik Soucie, ARCTIConnexion

Graeme Stewart-Robertson, ACAP Saint John

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

Emma Wattie, Atlantic Water Network


Geraldine King, NVision Insight Group Inc.