Statement by Michelle Woodhouse, Program Manager, Water

Federal government is committing $420 million over the next 10 years to protect and preserve the Great Lakes

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – Today’s announcement by the government of Canada to devote $420 million over ten years to protect and preserve the Great Lakes is a moment for celebration. This is a historic step towards the protection and restoration of the world’s largest surface freshwater system. Working together with the United States and Indigenous Nations of the Great Lakes is critical if we are to preserve these freshwater lakes for generations to come.

This investment must address the most critical threats facing the Great Lakes, including nuisance and toxic algae blooms, toxic chemical and plastic pollution, deforestation, and wetland loss. The funds also need to support climate resilience and adaptation, and address environmental racism impacts in the basin by prioritizing just and equitable outcomes for Great Lakes communities.

The importance of these precious water bodies to this region and the world cannot be overstated. We look forward to working with the Canadian government to ensure this historic investment addresses the most imminent threats to drinkable, swimmable, and fishable waters.

Background information:

  • The money for the Great Lakes — which will be spread out over 10 years — will add to Ottawa’s action plan to protect large bodies of freshwater in Ontario and Manitoba.
  • The Great Lakes hold 84 per cent of North America’s surface freshwater, 20 per cent of the global surface freshwater systems, and are a drinking water source for over 40 million Great Lakes residents. They are also home to more than 4000 species of animals and plants.
  • The United States has been successful in securing bipartisan funding under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since 2010. The increased Canadian funding is a welcome addition to this.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Paula Gray, Environmental Defence,