Press Release: IZWTAG President’s Speech October 2019

Back to news

Text of Speech by Calvin Jameson, President

On the occasion of IZWTAG’s Launch as a Registered Non-Profit Society at the Coast Waste Management Association annual conference, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019

Westin Bear Mountain, Victoria BC

Honoured guests,

We welcome each and everyone of you here today.

Thank you for taking the time to join us here today. We are honored by your presence.

I would like to acknowledge again that we are gathered on the un-ceded traditional territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

Our sincere thanks to respected Elder, Mr. Frank George of the Songhees Nation, for the welcome prayer and blessing.

Today is a benchmark for IZWTAG, the first Indigenous led group organized for the benefit of all First Nations. Our purpose is a simple one, and that is to make it possible for every First Nation to practice zero waste every day.

Although the purpose is simple, it is profound for First Nations. Clean lands are the foundation for clean water and healthy communities, that is something our ancestors had, and that our next generations deserve from all of us.

In our humble opinion, this is a deeply meaningful purpose, and a basic necessity for First Nation communities. We recognize that the goal of zero waste is a worthy one. Mother Earth needs our help. It is a critical time for the land, air and water.

We are here today, largely due to the support of Indigenous Services Canada and the goodwill and efforts of our many partners and volunteers.

After ten years, and with federal funding for the BC First Nations Zero Waste Program, one-third of the communities have had the opportunity to move from straight landfilling or burning to best practice zero waste systems.

We recognize it is a work in progress. There is a lot more hard work ahead of us to make sure all First Nations have the same opportunity, and to make sure communities are supported on-the-ground to maintain efficient, effective services.

For this, we continue to need our federal, provincial and local government partners, along with all the organizations involved in waste management systems and services – from product stewards, to industry, to educational societies and many others.

To advance this work, IZWTAG can make a timely contribution, and can help by:

 providing a point of contact for communities and service providers,

 providing training and technical services for our members,

 recognizing excellence in operations by communities, and

 promoting environmental awareness and behaviour change.

We invite all to join us in this work, and take advantage of the partnership potential to provide fair and equal services to all communities, including those who are in rural and remote locations.

The challenges facing our communities are many, but together we can close the gap for all rural and remote communities, small and large, First Nations and non-First Nations alike.

We have just launched as a registered non-profit society and are rapidly adding members – I note that organizations are eligible to join as Associate Members. We are honored that the BC Used Oil Management

Association has chosen to join as the first Associate Member.

Today, we take the opportunity to make a presentation to our senior government partners as a token of appreciation and thanks. We assure you that the success of our foundation work will be built upon.

Just before we begin the presentations, I would like to acknowledge the IZWTAG Board members, who, like me, have volunteered to do our part. It is our privilege and honor to contribute to this cause to the best of our ability.

Many thanks to everyone again. IZWTAG will be speaking in more detail tomorrow at 11AM at the main conference agenda – please join us there.


Patrick Haggerty,

Acting Director General,

Lands and Environmental Management

Indigenous Services Canada

Paula Santos,


Community Infrastructure

Indigenous Services Canada, B.C. Region

Aaron O`Keefe,

Manager, Environment and Natural Resources

Indigenous Services Canada, B.C. Region

Sonya Sundberg,

Director, Clean Communities

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Province of British Columbia