Toronto, ON – Environmental Defence is pleased that the Governments of Canada and Ontario have negotiated a draft Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA), 2014.
The completion of this agreement will be an important step to protect and restore the Great Lakes basin where 98 per cent of Ontarians live. The Great lakes are a source of drinking water for 80 per cent of the province. The basin is home to 25 per cent of Canada’s agricultural production, and more than 75 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing activity.
The COA importantly outlines the interests and responsibilities of each government concerning the health of the Great Lakes. The agreement will ultimately determine how Canada will meet its international obligations to the United States under the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012, and how the province will meet its goals in Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy.
In order to be effective, the agreement needs to address threats to the Great Lakes, encourage more coordination between federal and provincial ministries, and establish clear action plans.
Specifically, it must address existing and emerging threats to the Great Lakes such as harmful algal blooms, and toxic pollutants. To do so, the COA needs to clearly outline a plan to cleanup some of the lakes’ most polluted areas (known as Areas of Concern), and prevent new invasive species, such as Asian carp. The agreement also needs to adequately recognize the important role that communities, First Nations and Métis have in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes.
Environmental Defence will be reviewing the agreement in detail and providing comments through the Environmental Bill of Rights registry.
Protecting the Great Lakes is essential for our health, economy and our environment.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): 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.
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For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca