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Environmental and Workplace Health

Drinking Water and Your Health

In Canada, we are fortunate to have access to drinking water that is generally of very high quality. That said, no naturally-occurring water is 100% pure. Water picks up minerals and contaminants found in the soil or deposited from the air. It is disinfected to kill harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. And, because water is a very effective solvent, it can leach metals and other substances out of the materials it comes into contact with in the municipal distribution system and in your home.

Municipal drinking water supplies

If you are like most Canadians, you receive treated drinking water from your municipal supplier. The quality of this drinking water is monitored according to the requirements of your provincial or territorial drinking water authority. If you have specific questions about the quality of the drinking water in your community, the best place to start is with your municipality. For information on how drinking water is regulated in your province or territory, check with the agency responsible for drinking water issues.

Private drinking water supplies

If you get your drinking water from a well located on your own private property, it is likely that you are responsible for making sure it is safe to drink. Well water should be tested periodically to confirm it is safe. More information on testing private wells is available from your provincial/territorial department of health or of environment.

What information is available

In this section you'll find fact sheets from our Water Talk series that answer common questions you may have about the quality of your drinking water.

It's Your Health

Fluoride

Most Canadians are exposed to fluorides on a daily basis, through the trace amounts that are found in almost all foods and through those that are added to some drinking water supplies to prevent tooth decay.

Water Talks Fact Sheet

The Water Talk fact sheet series provides several levels of information on various water quality issues. While some of the information is technical in nature, each sheet provides a general overview of the issue that may go beyond drinking water, and is written in straightforward language that is easy to understand. The Water Talk series is growing, so stay tuned for new topics.

Reports

Studies