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The vision of an association for plant operators was primarily envisaged in 1983-1984 in the London, Ontario area by four First Nations plant operators. Their vision was to develop a resource centre for technical information as operators assume greater control of their training requirements.

Since 1995, the Association has been funded by Health Canada funding. Commencing in the fiscal year 1997-1998 the Association’s support funding has been supported by Health Canada Ontario Region. This has been done with the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation which has assisted AWWAO to promote the high standards of operator certification and professionalism through newsletters, annual conferences and general sharing of information and ideas. In 2010, AWWAO retained the Ogemawahj Tribal Council to provide administrations services for the organization. In 1990, the formation of the Ogemawahj Tribal Council (OTC) started to provide superior professional and technical services to its member First Nations. Since 2013, Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) has been providing administration services for AWWAO. KO or the Northern Chiefs Council is situated in Balmertown, Ontario.

AWWAO became a non profit incorporated legal entity on April 2011. This action allowed AWWAO to enter into contribution agreements with federal and provincial governments as well as solicit private sponsorships. The Board decision to start as a non-profit incorporated entity much as its sister alliances of the Ontario Water Works Association and American Water Works Association has as its goal to become a separate entity dedicated to promoting and encouraging the aboriginal operators of Ontario.


Our Objectives

  • To promote the importance of safe potable water supply;

  • To act as a voice and forum for First Nation plant operators in Ontario, to publish a newsletter and to promote communications and networking among plant operators and other persons interested in AWWAO’s objectives;

  • To promote the development and delivery of continuing education and training programs for plant operators and others involved in water and wastewater treatment;

  • To promote the importance of involving qualified plant operators in the design, construction or upgrading of water and wastewater treatment plants;

  • To promote the importance of certification and licensing of plant operators;

  • To promote the importance of enhanced lab testing of potable water and monitoring of water effluents;

  • To promote the importance of establishing an effective operations and maintenance management plan to ensure proper care is performed for the assets in connection with the water and wastewater treatment plants that serve First Nations in Ontario.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is made up of eight members: four from northern Ontario and four from southern Ontario.







































Phil Tangie - Chairperson

Phil, a Michipicoten FN band member is an Applied Science Technologist, holds a WT Class 4 Certificate, a WQA Certificate and has a Class 2 WWT License. Phil is the Hub Manager/ORO employed with the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangag Resource Council out of Kenora, Ontario. Phil has been working in the Water/Wastewater industry since 1995. He is passionately dedicated to providing water to the world.

Sara Campbell – Coordinator
Sara is an experienced administrative coordinator with 10+ years of experience with AWWAO.
Tel: (807) 216-8085, Fax: (807) 223-1222

Wes Morriseau - Vice Chairperson
Wes is a Class 3 WT operator working at Couchiching First nation.

Jonathan Riberdy - Director

Jonathan is from Zhiibaahaasing First Nation.  He has worked there for 6 years and holds a WT 2, Distribution 1 and OIT Wastewater​.

Jason Fox – Secretary

Jason is a Level 2 Water Distribution and Supply Operator working for Henvey Inlet First Nation.  Jason has been working for Henvey Inlet Water Treatment for over 15 years. : 

Steve Laronde – Treasurer
Steve is from Temagami First Nation (Bear Island). He holds a Class II Water treatment, Class I Water Distribution, Class I Wastewater. He has been an Operator for 10 years.

Stacey Kicknosway – Director
Stacey lives on Walpole island First Nation “Bkejwanong Territory”. He has been a WTP Operator since 1989 in his community. Stacey holds a Class 4 Water Treatment Subsystem Licence, Class 2 Water Distribution & Supply Subsystem Licence, OIT Wastewater Treatment Facility License and OIT Wastewater Collection Facility Licence.

Allan Dupuis - Director

Allan is from Chapleau Cree

Kayla Abitong - Director

Kayla is from Sagamok First Nation Anishnawbek who is an Environmental Protections and Compliance Technician. Kayla holds a Level 1 WT, WD OIT, WWT and WWC.  She has been working as an operator for 7 years


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