Canada Water Agency

Photo of a person paddling a canoe.

What we’re doing

On June 28, 2021, Sault Ste. Marie City Council approved the formation of a Task Force to explore this potential opportunity. The Task Force is developing a pitch to bring the Canada Water Agency to our community, which incorporates community feedback published in a local ‘What we heard’ report. More information is available at and the City's proposal can be viewed online.

The Task Force consists of internal City staff and external Stakeholders, including:

City Staff
Tom Vair, Deputy CAO
Rick Van Staveren, Director of Economic Development
Travis Anderson, Director of Tourism and Community Development
Joe Turpin, Manager of Business Attraction
Emily Cormier, Sustainability Coordinator

External Partners
Mayor Matthew Shoemaker
Corey Gardi, City Councillor
Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone, NORDIK Institute Director of Operations
Dr. Paula Antunes, Freshwater Researcher and Consultant
Ryan Namespetra, Natural Environment Coordinator with Sault College

Your input will helped guide the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s proposal to the Federal Government.

If you didn’t have a chance to join a community discussion, you can submit your feedback or questions to

Why Sault Ste. Marie

We are the Heart of Canada’s Freshwater
  • Nestled in the Hub of the Great Lakes Region, Sault Ste. Marie is located mid-way across Canada and next to own of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Superior.
Indigenous partnerships
  • Named after it’s freshwater, Baawaating, meaning “Place of the Rapids” is centrally located in the traditional Ojibwe territory. The City has engaged with our indigenous communities and partners to build support and bring indigenous voice to our proposal development.
City Leadership  
  • The City is committed to supporting freshwater research and conservation.
  • SSM has completed a GHG Emissions Reduction Plan and is continuing its commitment to climate action through the implementation of the plan! 
An ecosystem of freshwater research
Sault Ste. Marie is home to a cluster of innovative and leading freshwater and natural resource research, including:
  • Sault College’s School of Natural Environment 
  • The Turkey Lakes Watershed Study
  • Algoma University’s School of Life Science and the Environment
  • The Sea Lamprey Control Centre
  • The Great Lakes Forestry Centre, part of Natural Resources Canada
  • The Ontario Forest Research Institute, part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • The Invasive Species Centre
  • The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority
  • NORDIK Institute
  • Lake Superior State University Center for Freshwater Resources and Education
International and Regional Collaboration
Being a border City, Sault Ste. Marie freshwater researchers collaborate internationally with ease. Algoma University faculty have partnered and collaborate regularly with Lake Superior State University’s faculty at the Center for Freshwater Resources and Education.

Algoma University and other community stakeholders are a part of the Lake Superior Living Labs Network (LSLLN), a regional network. The LSLLN works collaboratively to co-create innovate solutions to sustainability challenges in the Lake Superior Watershed.
Plus, Sault Ste. Marie has collaboratively monitored and managed the St. Mary’s River. For example, through the Bi-national Public Advisory Committee (BPAC)
A centre for innovative clean economic growth
  • Sault Ste. Marie’s business community has been a leader in clean economic growth. The region features over 272 MW of wind generation, 68 MW of solar generation and 203 MW hydroelectric generation. Our local utility will switch on the first community-wide smart grid in Canada in 2023.
  • Heliene, a solar panel manufacturing company headquartered in Sault Ste. Marie, can produce 950MW per year at its facilities in SSM and the U.S. Earlier this year Algoma Steel announced its new electric arc project that will enable the company to create the greenest steel in Canada.
Truth and Reconciliation 
  • The City has been active and engaged in responding to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The Mayor leads the Bawaating Advisory circle. The Bawaating Advisory Circle was established as a way for engagement and dialogue to take place between Sault Ste. Marie leadership and our Indigenous communities. The advisory circle is another positive step forward on the path to local reconciliation.
  • Algoma University is developing Canada’s first Truth and Reconciliation hub. Mukqua Waakaa’igan, the Anishinaabemowin name endowed to the new cultural facility. The facility will promote the Calls To Action and provide a space to showcase indigenous cultures in Canada.
Community Support and Engagement
  • Water is a way of life in SSM. Our beautiful region offers endless beauty and activities centered around our freshwater.
  • The City of Sault Ste. Marie partnered with Lake Huron North to bring community voices representing industry, non-profit organizations, youth, and Indigenous persons to the table to explore our vision for a water-secure future. Our What We Heard report summarizes those community voices.
What is the Canada Water Agency?
The Government of Canada is establishing a Canada Water Agency to improve freshwater management across the country. The location of the office has not been determined.

How will the host City be determined?
The Government of Canada has not outlined a formal process for selecting a Canada Water Agency location yet.
We are working to position SSM as a competitive and ideal candidate for the Canada Water Agency location and have submitted a Proposal for the Agency.

How is SSM preparing a proposal?
On June 28, 2021, Sault Ste. Marie City Council approved the formation of a Task Force to explore this potential opportunity. The Task Force is developing a pitch to bring the Canada Water Agency to our community, which incorporates community feedback that has been published in our local ‘What we heard’ report.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie partnered with the Lake Huron Collaborative’s Dr. Elaine Ho-Tassone to lead a series of community discussions. We completed ten events in both online and in-person formats to gather input from local organizations, Indigenous persons, youth (ages 15-24), and the general public.

Why SSM?
Centrally located within the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s plentiful natural assets, cultural diversity, and local expertise that reaches beyond borders, make it an ideal location for such an Agency.

How can I get involved? 
Our community discussions are now complete. You can submit feedback or questions to

Thank you to all of our community members for contributing your perspectives regarding having the Canada Water Agency (or an office of it) in Sault Ste. Marie, as well as your priorities and values for ensuring a water secure District of Algoma. Your input helped guide the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s proposal to the Federal Government.

Contact Us





99 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
P6A 5X6