Canada Water Agency hiring employees for new Winnipeg HQ

Canada Water Agency hiring employees for new Winnipeg HQ
Canada Water Agency hiring employees for new Winnipeg HQ

The Canada Water Agency has started hiring staff for its Winnipeg headquarters, prior to its formal launch as a new federal entity, Winnipeg South MP Terry Duguid said Friday.

Duguid, the water adviser for the federal Liberal government, said roughly half of the 215 employees slated to work at the new agency will be based at its headquarters at downtown Winnipeg’s Cityplace office tower.

The Liberal government announced the creation of the new agency on federal budget day in 2023. The House of Commons has yet to pass legislation allowing it to act as a new stand-alone departmental agency, with a president at the helm, Duguid said.

In the meantime, the water agency is up and running as a branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada, he said.

Duguid said the new agency is needed to co-ordinate federal efforts to improve water quality, conduct freshwater science and manage water resources.

“Because of climate change, we’re getting whipsawed between floods, droughts, wildfires and everything in between,” Duguid said in an interview. “So we need a focal point for water co-ordination.”

Duguid said one of the agency’s initial tasks will be modernizing the 53-year-old Canada Water Act.

The Winnipeg South MP, who has been trying to shepherd the agency into existence for five years, said he hoped it would formally launch this spring.

That has not happened due to opposition to Bill C-59, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, an omnibus bill that would enact the digital services tax and make changes to income-tax regulations and competition rules, among other changes.

CBC News has asked the Opposition Conservative Party for comment on the creation of the new water agency.

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