Tourist, health, faith-based, and environmental organizations calling on Ontario to strengthen protection of the Great Lakes
Forty groups want the province to pass the Great Lakes Protection Act
Toronto, ON — Forty tourist, health, faith-based and environmental organizations are collectively showing their support for the Great Lakes Protection Act. The groups have sent a submission to the Ontario government calling for the quick passage of the proposed act.
“The protection and restoration of the Great Lakes needs to be a top priority for the province. The lakes are increasingly under threat from algal blooms, pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change, putting a $4.4 trillion economy and the drinking water for millions of people in jeopardy. It’s time for Ontario to act,” the groups jointly said.
If passed, the new law would allow government to set science-based targets to address the most severe threats to the Great Lakes, and would empower local groups to develop solutions to protect their community’s water. It would also establish a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council, a collaborative forum of provincial ministers and stakeholders to discuss priorities, financial measures, and share information.
In the submission, the groups not only called on the province to pass the act, but to include amendments to further strengthen it. The amendments would:

Eliminate the ability of government to excuse anyone from requirements in the act;
Include more specifics about how the province will respond to climate change and address biodiversity;
Ensure greater cooperation across provincial ministries by requiring that decisions align with Ontario’s vision for a drinkable, swimmable, and fishable Great Lakes;
Require government to set targets and create action plans to achieve the act’s goals, such as protecting wetlands and other habitats and reducing algal blooms; and
When making decisions, require that government considers the commitments made in agreements with other countries, such as the Ramsar Convention to conserve all wetlands.

The submission was coordinated by an alliance of environmental groups, including Environmental Defence, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ecojustice, Sierra Club Canada, and Nature Canada.
About the Alliance :
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization.  We challenge and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier, and prosperous life for all. environmentaldefence.ca
CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION works to protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place. cela.ca
DUCKS UNLIMITED CANADA (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, we partner with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. ducks.ca
ECOJUSTICE is the country’s leading charitable organization dedicated to using the law to defend Canadians’ right to a healthy environment. ecojustice.ca
SIERRA CLUB ONTARIO CHAPTER is part of the Canada-wide Sierra Club of Canada Foundation, a grassroots based organisation led by volunteers with the objective of protecting natural habitats and environmental quality. sierraclub.ca/
NATURE CANADA is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada. naturecanada.ca
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence; 416-323-9521 ext. 228, 905-330-0172 (cell) jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca
Lino Grima, Sierra Club Ontario Chapter; 416-461-5390