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Environmental and Workplace Health

Water Quality

Clean water is essential to life. Our health and well-being depend on it.

In Canada, all levels of government play a role to make sure our water supplies are safe. While provincial and territorial governments are generally in charge of making sure our water supplies are safe, the federal government has a number of responsibilities in this area.

Health Canada's Role

Health Canada is involved in many activities related to water quality, including:

  • Developing national drinking water guidelines with provincial and territorial drinking water authorities
  • Providing emergency advice in cases of drinking water contamination, when requested by another government department or agency
  • Developing guidelines for water used for recreational activities, such as lakes where people swim
  • Ensuring the safety of drinking water on cruise ships, airlines, passenger ferries, trains, and other common carriers
  • Working with other departments to make sure all federal government employees have access to safe drinking water in their workplaces
  • Working with First Nations communities south of 60 degrees parallel to ensure that drinking water quality monitoring programs are in place on their lands
  • Regulating the safety and quality of bottled water, prepackaged ice, and water used in food processing
  • Working in collaboration with partners and stakeholders on broader water quality issues, including the development of water policies and research priorities

What information can you find here

This section includes information on a range of topics related to water quality. Some of these are written for a general audience while others are very technical or scientific in nature.

To find what you are looking for, use the search field in the bar at the top of this page or click on one of the topics in the upper right hand corner. Each topic page gives a general overview with links to more resources.


Water quality documents for public comment are available under the consultations section of Environmental and Workplace Health.


Health Canada encourages Canadians to keep up-to-date on new health developments. This section is updated as new information becomes available, so check back regularly.