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July 24, 2014

The Water Haller – July 2014 - The "L" Word

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No not that "L" word...  I meant "Lobbying."   I work with a lot of associations in Canada and I find it interesting how much of a negative connotation that word ‘lobbying’ has for most people. Many groups go out of their way to avoid the use of the word or make direct statements that they are not lobbyists. Instead we say we are representatives or advocates or, as we say at CWWA, the national "voice" of the industry.

As your voice at the national level, we represent your interests in several different ways. While we don’t shy away from the word "lobby," very rarely are we performing a function that falls under the formal definition of "lobbying." We are a registered lobbyist organization and we are required to report our lobbying activities whenever we, without invitation, try to influence government policy. But most of our work would more correctly be described as advocacy or consultation – responding to requests for input at the federal level. 

Elsewhere in this e-Bulletin is a short piece on our visit with staff at Infrastructure Canada. As they develop their policies on water and wastewater infrastructure, they turned to us for consultation and insight into our sector. This was in follow-up to our role representing the water/wastewater sector at their National Round Tables. Similarly, Statistics Canada values our input and support as they develop their national surveys. 

With other departments, we play a more formal advisory role. For many years we have worked closely with Health Canada and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water, providing input as they develop the National Drinking Water Guidelines.  We are asked to provide industry comments to Health Canada on a continuous list of proposed legislation and regulation.  More recently, we have been collaborating with Health Canada around climate change issues, including a joint survey of our members to help guide the work of the department a national resource databank.

CWWA represents the water/wastewater sector on the National Cross-Sector Forum for Public Safety Canada. This high-level group is looking at strategies to protect all critical infrastructure sectors across Canada and ensure the security of our communities. Again, we are working with them to conduct national survey’s to guide our work. 

Of course our relationship with Environment Canada and the Wastewater System Effluent Regulations has been very important. Along with our partners at FCM, we have been providing comments to the Ministry for a number of years, through a number of drafts, until the final legislation was approved and we continue to work on the regulations. Also in this e-Bulletin is a piece regarding enforcement issues and the Ministry. 

Of course I personally do very little of this critical work. Rather, it is the work of our volunteer committees, and in particular their Committee Chairs, that represent you so well – supported of course by a dedicated technical staff of Kara Parisien and Eric Ogouma and led by our Manager of Government Relations, Adrian Toth. We welcome your input and participation any time!

Just a look at how CWWA works for you! 


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