By Laura Dern, Global NewsThe federal government will receive $5 billion from the province of Quebec and the federal government, along with a small amount of provincial money, to cover the costs of building and maintaining new infrastructure to treat and treat water for clean-water treatment in the province.
“This is a major, important investment that will help Canadians protect our clean water and provide our communities with a clean and safe environment,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a statement Monday.
“It’s important that we provide for our communities to enjoy clean water, so they have a healthy, stable environment, as well as a safe, clean environment for our children and our children’s children.”
Ontario Environment Minister Peter Kent said in an interview with Global News the money will be used to “fund new water treatment plants, to upgrade existing facilities, and to provide more capacity to deliver clean water.”
He said the money could be used for “new plants, upgrades, more capacity and additional infrastructure.”
The province and federal governments will each receive a $5-billion, 20-year commitment.
The money will go toward the construction of new wastewater treatment facilities to be built at the two Canadian ports of Vancouver and Toronto.
It will also go toward improving the infrastructure to handle and treat municipal wastewater.
Kent said the project will also provide a “new opportunity” for businesses to locate in the region, as more businesses seek to take advantage of the growing demand for clean drinking water in the area.
Ontario is one of Canada’s poorest provinces, with one of the highest levels of chronic water shortages in the country.
The province also ranks second-worst in the world for cleanliness.
In recent years, the province has been grappling with a chronic water crisis.
In the summer of 2015, nearly 60 per cent of Ontario’s municipal water supply was shut off because of contamination.
The water was also shut off during the peak of the 2014-2015 drought, which has seen an estimated 200,000 residents evacuated from their homes.
The province also faces the biggest water deficit in the entire country, with the amount of water the province needs to draw down from Lake Ontario reaching nearly 40 billion litres per day.