A guest blog by Anastasia M Lintner, Principal, Lintner Law

There’s a reason to celebrate this Nov. 3: One year ago, Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA) was given Royal Assent making it the province’s newest law aimed at freshwater protection.

Boy jumping at beach I’m excited about this anniversary and I think you should be too. And here are three reasons why:

1. The government has already demonstrated that it will use the new law

The GLPA has created new tools, including the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council, Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, and targets. Here’s what the government has accomplished in the first year:

  • Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray has already hosted three meetings of the Guardians’ Council and has started to create working groups. (The law requires the minister to call such meetings at least once per year).
  • The law requires that regular progress reports be issued about Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy. The government has released its first progress report on Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy. (The law requires regular progress reports, every three years starting in 2015.)
  • The government is currently consulting on a proposed target for Lake Erie. (The law requires that at least one target be established within the first two years that will “assist with the reduction of algae blooms”.)

2. All waters of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River Basin come under the new law

If you live anywhere within the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River Basin, your local waters come under this law. That means Lake Nipigon, Lake Nipissing, Grand River, Ottawa River, headwaters of the Oak Ridges Moraine, and all the many, many other lakes, rivers and creeks of the Great Lakes Basin are under the GLPA. Not sure whether you live in the basin? Check out the government’s locator.

3. We all have a role to play

The law encourages all of us to get involved with protecting and restoring the ecological health of our local waters within the basin. It’s not just about waiting for government to do the work. Not sure how to get involved? Start by connecting with the Great Lakes Protection Act Alliance.

Those are just three of the many reasons to feel proud and excited. I hope you will join me in raising a glass of water to celebrate. Happy anniversary GLPA! Here’s to many more years of action to protect and restore the ecological health of our waters.