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A People's Campaign for Water Justice -- Part 2: Nestlé

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

On July 13th, the Wellington Water Watchers hosted a talk about the current changes in Nestlé's operations in Canada. This is part of the People's Water Campaign -- a series of talks and gatherings to strengthen water justice advocates across Ontario.

The first talk for the PWC was about plastics and the third one was about privatization.

In a nutshell, we learned this summer that Nestlé plans on selling its operations in Canada (with 1 plant in British Columbia and 3 locations with bottling plants and wells in Ontario) to Ice River Springs. The 'Pure Life' brand will continue to be packaged, with Ice River Springs licensing the label from Nestlé.

What does this mean for the water justice movement in Ontario? How do we keep up our effective advocacy and ensure that bottling water for profit will be phased out and the rules for water permits are radically changed?

Mike Balkwill (Campaigner with the Wellington Water Watchers) hosted this discussion with 7 other voices as took questions from the online audience. Here are a few summary slides from Mike's introduction.

Other voices for this webinar included:

  • Arlene Slocombe (WWW Executive Director) on our successes so far and the need to also change the current colonial rules governing who has legitimate jurisdiction over water decision-making.

  • Rob Case (WWW Board Member) on the activist journey so far and how our collective power is forcing Nestlé to leave and the Province to update its water permit rules.

  • Rod Whitlow (Six Nations of the Grand River) about the lack of good water for his Haudenosaunee community, the politics of water permits, and how Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Council of the Grand River Territory and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy gave Nestlé a Cease and Desist statement.

  • Donna McCaw (Save Our Water) on the strategies forward and her mixed reactions to the proposed policy framework.

  • Suz Coulter (Hope, British Columbia) about organizing 200,000 signatures against Nestlé, BC's new water policy, and on how water authority and jurisdiction needs to be decolonized.

  • Vi Bui (Council of Canadians Water Campaigner) on Canada's and the global fight against bottled water.

  • Franklin Frederick (political activist and writer) on his article about Nestlé and the global connections.

Watch the recording of this event.

A critical next step following this webinar include the September 26th Watershed 2020 online gathering which will be another stage in working for water justice in Ontario. Register here.

It is going to be a very active fall with Nestlé's sale likely getting approved, the current ban on new bottled water permits set to expire October 1st, and the Provincial government will likely finalize its new water permit rules after receiving our public input. Read about the proposed new rules here.

By Paul Baines
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