The Governments of Canada and Ontario announced that they have signed the new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health.
“The Great Lakes are an invaluable resource to millions of Canadians, holding more than a fifth of the world’s surface freshwater,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of environment and climate change. “Today’s new agreement, which marks 50 years of Canada-Ontario Agreements on the Great Lakes, is an important step toward creating a cleaner, healthier future. I am pleased to see this critical commitment between our two governments to continue protecting and restoring the Great Lakes for future generations.”
The agreement sets out specific actions each government will take to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The governments will work to prevent toxic and nuisance algae, improve wastewater and stormwater management, reduce plastic pollution and excess road salt, restore native species and habitats, and increase resilience to climate change.
“Canada and Ontario have a long history of working together to protect and restore the Great Lakes and we’ve seen tremendous improvements in these vital waterways,” said Jeff Yurek, Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation, and parks. “The health of the Great Lakes is important not only to our natural environment, but also to the local economies and communities that depend on them every day. We look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners to safeguard the world’s largest freshwater lake system now, and for generations to come.”
This is the ninth agreement between the two governments and marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the first Canada-Ontario Agreement in 1971. The agreement includes a renewed commitment to completing environmental clean-up actions with an emphasis on six historically degraded areas, conserving key habitats around the Great Lakes, and continuing to restore Lake Erie. It also includes a new focus on protecting Lake Ontario, supporting nature-based recreation opportunities, and strengthening First Nation and Métis engagement in the implementation of the agreement.
Ontario and Canada’s commitments in the agreement recognize the importance of collective action and continuing to strengthen our work to protect and restore the Great Lakes.