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Montreal and McGill University Become Blue Communities

Published: 22 March 2019

The Ville de Montréal and McGill University today received Blue Community certification on the occasion of World Water Day. To obtain this certification, they have undertaken to recognize water and sanitation as human rights, to promote publicly managed water services and to ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in their buildings and at their events. Hence Montreal has joined some forty Blue Communities worldwide, including major cities like Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Victoria. For its part, McGill has become the fourth university in the world to obtain this certification.

The certification was presented by Maude Barlow, a leading authority on water and Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. The presentation was made at McGill in the presence of Sylvain Ouellet, Executive Committee Vice-Chair responsible for water and water infrastructure management of the Ville de Montréal, Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) of McGill, and Alice-Anne Simard, Executive Director of Eau Secours.

“By becoming a Blue Community, Montreal is taking concrete measures to face the global plastics crisis and to ensure that its water services are, and will always remain, in public hands. Montreal is now the biggest city in Canada to become a Blue Community and has become a leader in the battle for the defense of the human right to water. There are now more than 15 million people living in Blue Community cities, and that number is growing daily,” explained Maude Barlow.

"The city acknowledges and affirms that the right to water and purification services is a human right. For this reason, our administration deems it necessary for city council to adopt a declaration acknowledging this right. The governments of Canada and Québec, cities and communities, as well as the various stakeholders must take action in order to ensure that all communities are properly equipped for water management," said Sylvain Ouellet.

“On behalf of McGill University, I want to first congratulate Eau Secours and the founding organizations of the Blue Communities campaign for encouraging communities in Quebec and around the world to champion the protection of water,” said Yves Beauchamp. “We are pleased to have had our own efforts recognized and we thank Eau Secours for granting us the Blue Community certification.”

Since the campaign was launched in Quebec four months ago, the cities of Amqui, Danville, Nicolet and Rivière-du-Loup have received Blue Community certification. Quebec alone now counts 10% of the Blue Communities in the world. “In all regions of the province, the project has enjoyed real success with the population and with municipal administrations that want to take concrete steps to conserve the environment. I also wish to congratulate the citizens of Montreal who, for years, have asked the City to become a Blue Community. This victory is yours,” proclaimed Alice-Anne Simard, Executive Director of Eau Secours.

The Blue Communities project was made possible through the financial contribution of the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins, the financial cooperative of collective enterprises in Quebec. “The Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins supports the initiative of Eau Secours and congratulates this year’s recipients,” commented Marc Picard, Executive Director.

About the Blue Community project

The Blue Communities project is a joint initiative launched in 2009 by the Blue Planet Project, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Council of Canadians. A Blue Community is a group that adopts a community framework to treat water as a common good. The project is coordinated in Quebec by the organization Eau Secours.

About Eau Secours

Eau Secours, a non-profit organization founded in 1997, has the mission to promote the protection and responsible management of water from the perspective of environmental health, equity, accessibility and collective defense of the rights of the population.

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