The 2007 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA) has been extended to March 31, 2011. The agreement, signed in June 2007, was set to expire on March 31, 2010.The COA establishes an action plan and roles and responsibilities between federal and provincial ministries, and helps Canada to meet its commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). This one-year extension allows Canada and Ontario to continue their work to protect and restore the Great Lakes while the governments of Canada and the United States negotiate amendments to the GLWQA.
Efforts in the next year will continue to focus on all aspects of COA including protecting and restoring habitat, preventing pollution, cleaning up environmental hotspots, and working with partners to advance goals and objectives for lakewide sustainability. Four important lake specific projects for the year ahead are:
- Preventing invasive species from entering Lake Superior
- Dealing with algal blooms that foul Lake Huron beaches
- Controlling nutrients from urban and rural sources around Lake Erie
- Protecting the biodiversity of significant Lake Ontario shorelines and watersheds.
Once amendments are negotiated to the Canada-U.S. GLWQA, Canada and Ontario will have the foundation for future discussions on priorities for a new Canada-Ontario Agreement.