University of Guelph announces $1 million commitment
from RBC Blue Water Project to improve water and biodiversity
in First Nations communities
GUELPH, Ontario, June 21, 2013 - The University of
Guelph announced today a $1 million commitment from the RBC
Blue Water Project to support teaching and research initiatives
in water and ecosystem monitoring, as well as treatment and
conservation on First Nations reserves.
"Water contamination is one of the most important health-related
environmental problems facing First Nations communities,"
said president of the University of Guelph, Alastair Summerlee.
"These communities also face serious and increasingly
complex threats to ecosystem biodiversity. We have the research
and teaching expertise and commitment -- and now, thanks to
RBC, additional resources to make a difference."
The new education and research initiative includes student
field projects to help them learn more about water and biodiversity.
The gift was made through the BetterPlanet Project, the University's
$200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research
in food, environment, health and communities.
"We're proud to support the University of Guelph in
its efforts to assist First Nations communities and help protect
one of the world's most precious natural resources - fresh
water," said Dave McKay, group head, personal and commercial
banking, RBC. "Canada is considered a water-rich country,
but many areas, including our Aboriginal communities, are
under serious water stress, and shortages are becoming alarmingly
common in communities across the country. Working together
with the University of Guelph and other organizations, we
can help ensure we have safe, clean water, now and in the
Currently, the University of Guelph has more than 100 faculty
members and hundreds of students and researchers involved
in water-related projects. The RBC Blue Water Project commitment
will strengthen projects and support new initiatives, with
self-sufficiency and sustainability being major program goals.
Efforts will include:
- Training and helping with water and wastewater treatment
- Helping First Nations determine priorities and strategic
solutions to protect biological and cultural diversity;
- Fostering responsibility and control of community water
systems and health;
- Developing tools to improve drinking water inspection
- Removing toxins and pathogens from water;
- Sponsoring workshops, projects and communication initiatives;
- Helping develop emergency response and water protection
- Determining human impacts on aquatic ecosystems; and
- Working globally with aboriginal populations to create
"First Nations communities urgently need training in
water engineering and stewardship," said Kevin Hall,
vice president of research, the University of Guelph. A civil
engineer and water expert, he studies environmental monitoring
and pathogen detection systems, as well as water and health
in marginalized communities.
More than 100 First Nations communities across Canada are
under "boil water" advisories -- some more than
a decade old. Many First Nations communities have been deemed
"high risk" due to deficiencies in drinking and/or
The incidence of water-borne diseases is several times higher
in First Nations communities than in the general population,
partly because of inadequate or non-existent water treatment
systems. Causes include water source quality, inadequate treatment
and testing, poor recordkeeping, and complex governance and
"First Nations communities face numerous obstacles to
tackling these problems, including lack of resources and expertise
and divergent views," said Hall. "Our programs can
make a measurable difference. With faculty from across campus,
we'll provide focused expertise, improvements and training
for First Nations communities and for students that will help
improve source water protection and species biodiversity."
About the University of Guelph
The University of Guelph is ranked as one of Canada's top
comprehensive universities because of our commitment to student
learning and innovative research. We are dedicated to cultivating
the essentials for our quality of life - water, food, environment,
animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and
learning. The University community also shares a profound
sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global
issues and a concern for international development.
About RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is an historic, wide-ranging, 10-year
global commitment to help protect the world's most precious
natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged
over $38 million to more than 650 charitable organizations
worldwide that protect water, with an additional $7.8 million
pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014,
the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives
that help protect water in towns, cities, and urbanized areas.
For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.
About RBC's Commitment to Community and Sustainability
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries
operate under the master brand name RBC. We employ approximately
80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15
million personal, business, public sector and institutional
clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 44 other countries.
RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and
environmental leaders and
is listed on the 2012-2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World
Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index
and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada's Greenest Employers,
one of Canada's 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations
and among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in
the World. Learn more at www.rbc.com/community-sustainability.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through
donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities.
In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide,
including donations and community investments of more than
$64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.
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Lori Bona Hunt, University of Guelph
519 824-4120 Ext. 53338, email@example.com
Greg Skinner, Royal Bank of Canada
905 339-5404, firstname.lastname@example.org
André Roberts, Royal Bank of Canada,
416 974-3678. email@example.com