Thunder Bay Celebrates Becoming Canada’s 17th Blue Community



Thunder Bay is Canada's 17th Blue Community

Thunder Bay is Canada’s 17th Blue Community

On June 17th, Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow presented Mayor Hobbs and Councillor Foulds with Thunder Bay’s Blue Community certificate at our Chapter’s AGM. It was a proud moment for our Chapter and our community.

Over the past two years, our CoC Chapter’s Blue Planet Committee has been very busy seeking political and public support for Thunder Bay to become a Blue Community by adopting a water commons framework that recognizes that water belongs to no one and is the responsibility of all. Hundreds of citizens and groups representing health care professionals, educators and social and environmental activists sent letters to City Council encouraging them to make TBay a Blue Community. On March 23, City Council voted unanimously to become Canada’s 17th Blue Community.

In addition to recognizing the human right to water, City Council is urging the federal and provincial governments to enshrine the right to water in legislation. It is also asking the federal government to  develop an action plan and provide a national infrastructure fund to ensure that everyone, in particular the people living in more than 120 First Nation Communities under boil water advisories, have access to safe, clean water and sanitation.

The City of Thunder Bay is a recognized leader in providing superior tap water and has confirmed its commitment to public water and waste water services. The sale of single use bottled water in our City’s facilities and at its events will be phased out where tap water is available by March, 2016. Way to go Thunder Bay!

Maude Barlow will be at the 2015 AGM

Join us, Maude Barlow, and Mayor Keith Hobbs for the 2015 Council of Canadians Thunder Bay Chapter AGM on Wedenday June 17 in the Superior Collegiate Cafetorium, 333 High St. N. There will be a business meeting at 6 PM and a public event at 7 PM featuring guest speakers Maude Barlow and Mayor Keith Hobbs. Everyone is welcome to attend this inspiring evening! Refreshments will be served, donations gratefully accecpted at the door.

2015 Council of Canadians AGM POSTER

Wondering where the nearest place to fill up your water bottle is? Quench is the app for you!


Quench is free for everyone. For people young and old, everywhere. It is the new mobile app is more than a useful resource. It tells you the closest source of potable water: a bottle filling station or drinking fountain.



Try it out and tell us how well it works… (Hint: have a 12 year old set this up for you).  Check it out, tell us whether it was what you expected – and let us know.


Concerns Over Continued Cuts to Public Broadcasting

What's Up With Jolene Rally

CUSP​ – Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet is organizing an important rally.

CBC Thunder Bay is losing two more people. They will be down to 9 from 13 just a year ago. We must not accept this. It’s part of a broader political agenda that will see Canadians knowing less about Canada and will leave those with power able to exercise it with less oversight. Whether you’re working against things like poverty and racism, or for things like the environment or democracy, arms-length public broadcasting is essential.

Please join us to show support for our local CBC and to voice concern over the continued cuts to public broadcasting.

When?  Friday May 1st, 2015 8 am – 8:30 am – rain or shine

Where? 213 Miles Street, outside the CBC building

We’re calling this peaceful gathering “What’s Up With Jolene?” as Jolene Banning, who is the local face of CBC, works on public service announcements and events, does administrative work, and is at the heart of the CBC Thunder Bay family, is losing her job – along with a senior position that will not be replaced following an upcoming retirement.

Dress? Black, for mourning, if you have it. We’ll have duct tape and bandages for people who wish to put it on their mouths to symbolize being silenced and on their faces to symbolize the cuts – many now, and ongoing.

Signs? Bring one if you like!

Songs? If we’re lucky, Scott will write one for us and bring song sheets. If you’re creative, please do so too! Or write a rant or a poem.

Get the word out! Please distribute widely. Thousands in Thunder Bay love and depend on the CBC. Please bring some of them with you!

Mark Your Calendars!

What is the state of democracy in Canada today? Join us for a special event featuring guest speaker Trish Hennessy, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Office, Wednesday April 22, 2015 at 7 PM at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites. All are welcome at this free event so bring your friends and family. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Donations gratefully accepted. Presented by the Council of Canadians Thunder Bay Chapter and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The Sate of Democracy in Canada with Special Guest Speaker Trish Hennessy, Wednesday April 22 at 7 PM at the Prince Arthur Hotel.


Forty Five Years of Earth Day

poster (4)

Thunder Bay Canada’s 17th Blue Community!

The Thunder Bay Council of Canadians is proud to announce that Thunder Bay is Canada’s 17th Blue Community.

On Monday, March 23, Thunder Bay City Council unanimously adopted three resolutions that recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and commit to banning bottled water at municipal events by March, 2016. The ban would only apply where there is easy access to tap water providing a healthy, free alternative.  Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow offers her congratulations and looks forward to coming to Thunder Bay to present Mayor Hobbs with our Blue Community Certificate as soon as her busy schedule allows.

The Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council Canadians would like to thank  and acknowledge the leadership of Mayor Hobbs and City Council for confirming Thunder Bay as a leader in the preservation and protection of our shared water resources.  We would also like to thank all the citizens and organizations who supported Thunder Bay becoming a Blue Community.

Mayor Hobbs, a former Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) said he will be putting the Blue Community Project on the next GLSCI meeting agenda and encourage members to become Blue Communities. Our Chapter will continue to work with our national office and supporters to promote the Blue Community Project in our region and around the Great Lakes.

Wby Thunder Bay is a Blue Community

  • Blue Communities recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and ban (phase out) bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events where tap water is easily available.
  • Blue Communities in Canada include Ajax, Amqui, Burnaby, Comox, Cumberland, Mississippi Mills, Nanaimo, Niagara Falls, North Vancouver, St. Catharines, Thorold, Tay Township, Tiny Township, Victoria, Welland. Tsal’alhmec in BC is the first Indigenous Blue Community.
  • 750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, most of them children; 126 First Nation communities in Canada lack access to clean drinking water .
  • Looming water crisis; demand for water is rising while the supply diminishes.
  • In 2010, the United Nations adopted a resolution recognizing the human right to water.
  • The $178 billion bottled water industry views water as a commodity to be sold to those who can afford it; this is in direct conflict with the human right to water.
  • Canada recognized the human right to water in 2012.
  • Blue Communities are calling on the federal and provincial governments to enshrine the human right to water into law and a national action plan to ensure everyone in Canada enjoys this right.
  • The federal government is aggressively pushing privatization as a prerequisite for funding for major water and waste water infrastructure (P3’s) rather than providing public funding for a national water infrastructure fund.
  • This, despite the evidence that P3’s are more expensive, risky, less effective and not accountable to the public.
  • Fortunately for us, Thunder Bay has already invested in high quality public water and state-of- the- art public water and waste water services.
  • Thunder is a recognized leader in providing safe, clean, affordable tap water.
  • Our tap water is highly regulated, constantly monitored and tested thousands of times a year; the results are made public.
  • The bottled water industry is largely self-regulated and test results are not made public.
  • Bottled water factories are supposed to be inspected every 1-3 years;  only 6% were inspected between April 2008 and March 2009.
  • There is no green way to bottle water; bottling water devastates watersheds when water is removed from its source.
  • Bottling water consumes massive amounts of groundwater at a time when 20% of Canadian communities have experienced water shortages.
  • It takes 3-5 bottles of water to make a bottle of water; 25% of bottled water is tap water.
  • It costs $2.00 for 591 ml bottle of water from a vending machine compared to less than a cent for the same amount of tap water.
  • The private water industry pays less than $4.00 for a million litres of water in Ontario and sells it for up 2 million dollars.
  • Bottled water is 2000 times more energy intensive than tap water; more than 100 million barrels of oil is consumed annually to produce, transport and dispose of bottled water.
  • Less than 50% of plastic water bottles are recycled; 10%  end up in our waterways.
  • There are health concerns about chemical additives in plastics, especially for children.
  • In 2009, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities urged its members to phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities.
  • 84 Canadian Municipalities, 2 Territories, 7 School Boards and 66 Post Secondary Educational Institutions have banned/restricted bottled water.
  • In 2010, the City of Thunder Bay banned the distribution of bottled water in its facilities where tap water is easily accessible. The sale of water was to be discouraged.
  • Over the past 5 years, the City has made tap water  more easily accessible in existing municipal facilities; new buildings have water fountains and some have refillable water bottled stations.
  • The City has an ongoing tap water awareness program and provides water bars at public events.
  • Becoming a Blue Community supports water justice by resisting the corporate takeover of our shared water resources and helps to create a more healthy, clean and green community and planet.
  • “Say NO to Bottled Water – YES to Superior!

Council to Vote on Thunder Becoming a Blue Community March 23

Last March, the Thunder Bay Council of Canadians asked City Council to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community. Council directed Administration to provide a report on the implications of becoming a Blue Community. The report will be presented on Monday, March 23rd at 6:30 pm at City Hall. (Council chambers, 3rd Floor) Our chapter will ask City Council to adopt the Blue Community Resolutions to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community.

There are 16 Blue Communities in Canada. Blue Communities adopt a water commons framework that treats water as belonging to no one and the responsibility of all. They adopt three resolutions that recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and ban (phase out) the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities where tap water is easily accessible.

The United Nations has recognized water as a human right. Water is a shared public resource, not a commodity to be bought and sold for huge profits. We need to resist the corporate takeover of water and celebrate our Superior water!

Help to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community.

Contact Mayor Hobbs and City Councillors and ask them to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community. (sample wording below) Pass the word to family and friends and plan to attend the Council meeting.

Thank you.

Administration`s Blue Community Report is available at


Councillors e-mail addresses

Sample Wording 

Mayor Hobbs and Council Members:

Our lakes and waterways are threatened by climate change, pollution, over-extraction and privatization. Water is essential to life and needs our urgent protection. Blue Communities confirm their leadership in the reasonable use, responsible treatment and fair distribution of water. Please confirm Thunder Bay as a leader in preserving and protecting the Great Lakes Watershed by making us a Blue Community.



Blue Community info available at (see Blue Planet)