Canada and Ontario Seek Public Input on Great Lakes Protections

“Now more than ever, we know how important it is to protect the health of our nature and ecosystems. … I encourage everyone to participate in this consultation to continue building resilient communities and protecting the environment.”                                  – Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna

News from Environment and Climate Change Canada

Posted July 5th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – Canada is addressing threats to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health and is working with partners and the public to protect this vital shared resource.

Today (this July 5th), the governments of Canada and Ontario released a draft of a new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health to coordinate actions to protect water quality in our Great Lakes.

To help develop this new Agreement, Canada and Ontario are seeking input from the public. The draft Agreement will be available for public comment between July 5 and September 4. A final agreement is expected in 2020.

The new draft Agreement is designed to advance action on key challenges facing the Great Lakes, like tackling harmful and nuisance algae in Lake Erie and cleaning up the Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

It also includes actions for improving wastewater and stormwater management and reducing pollution, including a new focus on road salt and plastic pollution, and ongoing issues like invasive species and climate resilience. The new draft Agreement will also take the next steps to enhance engagement with First Nations and Métis communities and will include a new focus on fish consumption.

Quotes

“Now more than ever, we know how important it is to protect the health of our nature and ecosystems. The Great Lakes provide billions of dollars to the Canadian economy and are home to millions of people. Taking care of our Great Lakes will also help protect  more than 3,500 different species that live in the basin. I encourage everyone to participate in this consultation to continue building resilient communities and protecting the environment.” – Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Since 1971, this Canada-Ontario Agreement has been instrumental in guiding actions by the two governments to address the most significant challenges facing the Great Lakes, and in improving overall conditions across all Canadian Great Lakes.
  • The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA) is an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to coordinate actions to protect Great Lakes water quality, and implement the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
  • As a result of previous agreements, water quality and ecosystem health have been restored in the Collingwood Harbour, Severn Sound and Wheatley Harbour Areas of Concern, and cleanup activities have been completed in the Jackfish Bay and Spanish Harbour Areas of Concern.
  • Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan was also developed to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie and address the growth of toxic and nuisance algae.
  • The Great Lakes play a vital role in the physical, social and economic life of both Canada and Ontario and support almost 40 per cent of Canada’s economic activity.
  • The Great Lakes directly provide drinking water to 1 in 4 Canadians.
  • The Great Lakes and their watersheds are home to more than 10 million Canadians.

Associated links

Comment on: Draft 2020 Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health

Current (2014) Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement

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