178 Mill Street Unit D
Creemore, ON L0M 1G0
Executive Director: John Millar
Director: Ami Gopal

Charitable Reg. #:83852 5269 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 91 cents are available for programs.

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About Water First :

Founded in 2009, Water First Education and Training Inc. works to help address water challenges in Indigenous communities in Canada through education, training and meaningful collaboration. In 13.5% of Indigenous communities across Canada, the tap water is not safe to drink. Many Indigenous communities in Canada have identified the need for more young, qualified, and local personnel to support solving water issues. Water First addresses this need through its drinking and environmental water internship programs, and through its Indigenous schools program. 

Water First’s drinking water internship supports young Indigenous adults to become certified water treatment plant operators. In the 15-month paid internship, interns receive over 2,000 hours of training and hands-on experience. In F2021, the Kenora internship program had 10 participating communities and 11 graduates. Water First’s environmental water internship provides environmental technical training through different projects. So far, the program has worked with 24 communities to complete eight fish habitat restoration training projects and 17 water quality related training projects. 

Water First’s Indigenous schools program engages with K-12 students to run STEM workshops that explore water science concepts. Students will visit local water bodies and tour wastewater treatment plants to learn about the role they can play in protecting water resources. 55 programs have been delivered to date, engaging 4,656 students in over 30 communities.

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Results and Impact

In F2021, 11 interns from 10 Indigenous communities were certified as operators in training. In F2021, nine high school credits were earned through an Indigenous schools pilot program.

While Charity Intelligence highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Water First’s results.

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Water First Education and Training Inc. received $2.5m in donations in F2021, almost four times the $244k received in F2020. The charity also received $580k in fee for service revenue in F2021. Administrative costs are 4% of revenues and fundraising costs are 5% of donations. Water First spends 9% on overhead. This means that for every dollar donated, 91% goes towards the charity’s program. This is inside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Water First has $2.5m in funding reserves and the reserves can cover around 1.8 years of program costs.

This charity report is an update that was sent for review to Water First Education Training Inc. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 26, 2022 by Emma Saganowich.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.9%3.8%3.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 5.0%16.1%10.7%
Total overhead spending 8.9%19.9%14.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 177.3%57.3%40.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,537,329643,832607,630
Government funding 372,725315,245436,274
Fees for service 580,318367,38550,202
Total revenues 3,490,3721,326,4621,094,106
Program costs 1,406,525984,320867,849
Administrative costs 137,39250,44941,458
Fundraising costs 126,575103,57664,851
Total spending 1,670,4921,138,345974,158
Cash flow from operations 1,819,880188,117119,948
Capital spending 86,48143,07917,746
Funding reserves 2,493,944563,875348,685

Note: Ci analysis includes deferred donations, deferred government funding, and deferred fee for service revenue, increasing revenues by $681k in F2021, $67k in F2020, and ($61k) in F2019. Ci reports amortization on capital assets in non-cash expenses, increasing total expenses by $38k in F2021, $28k in F2020, and $24k in F2019.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 17

Avg. compensation: $39,762

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2021

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The water crisis facing Indigenous communities is profound. Founded in 2009, Water First Education & Training Inc. partners with Indigenous communities to help resolve local water challenges through education, training and meaningful collaboration. Water First offers training and education in three key programs: drinking water training and certification internships, project-based environmental water technical training and STEM-based water science workshops in schools.

Our approach to program design and delivery sets Water First apart. We listen and work alongside Indigenous partners to learn about long-term environmental water goals and local training needs. Each program is then adapted based on these local, community-identified needs.

At Water First, training and hiring locally is fundamental to our programs, and is how we create meaningful impact with the communities and people we serve. Programming takes place in the community, so participants don’t have to leave to access training opportunities. Participants can build technical skills while maintaining their connections to the community, the land and the water.

We know our work alone won’t solve the water crisis. It’s a complex problem that needs collaborative, integrated solutions. And that work will take time. That’s why Water First strives to build enduring relationships for lasting results, with skills and benefits remaining within Indigenous communities so they can access clean drinking water–now and into the future.

Charity Contact

Website: www.waterfirst.ngo
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 1 (800) 970-8467


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001