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A People's Campaign for Water Justice -- Part 3: Privatization

Updated: Aug 18

On July 14, the Wellington Water Watchers hosted a webinar about water privatization in Europe and Canada as part of the People's Water Campaign. Read our other CSJ Blue Community blog posts about the PWC webinars on plastics pollution and Nestlé's recent decision to sell it's Canadian bottled water operations.


Privatization is the practice of selling off assets and operations that were once owned and managed by governments -- also known as public goods or public services. These are shared investments paid for by taxes and have some standards of public accountability. Over the past 40 years, most governments have sold off our shared wealth and investments to for-profit corporations (such as private schools, toll roads, elder care, etc) and for hundreds of years, our commons have been converted into commodities (such as land, housing, food, knowledge, etc).


But selling water for profit is now the breaking point for many who want a more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful world.


This webinar was recorded and you can watch it below. It included the expertise of:

  • Andrea Muehlebach, University of Toronto

  • Robert Ramsay, Canadian Union of Public Employees

  • Vi Bui, Council of Canadians

  • Mike Balkwill, Wellington Water Watchers

Some highlights:

  • The average Public-Private Partnership for water utilities in Europe is about 30 years.

  • Some of the impacts of these P3s include: an escalation in water prices, a lack of transparency about what is in the contract, a loss of democratic control, job loses, uneven access to water, decreased investment in water infrastructure, and an acceleration of public debt.

  • The critical study of P3 cases in Canada include: White Rock (BC), Hamilton (ON), Port Hardy (BC), Taber (AB), Okotoks (AB), Banff (AB), Sooke (BC), and Owen Sound (ON).

  • The Canadian Infrastructure Bank promotes P3s and targets smaller communities such as Mapleton (ON) with a $20 million investment for a water and wastewater facility being planned. August 6 UPDATE: Mapleton rejects private sector takeover of local water resources.

Skip to the 33 min mark to hear the Q & A with the audience


These talks are part of the People's Water Campaign for water justice in Ontario. The Watershed 2020 convention will announce:

  • Priority demands to protect water in Ontario

  • Phase two of the campaign to win these demands

  • Review a draft Declaration for Water Justice in Ontario

Sign up for the Watershed 2020 online gathering on September 26th.

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