On April 23, the Government of Ontario will convene the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council, in memory of Josephine Mandamin, to discuss emerging issues around the Great Lakes.

The council meeting will address excess road salt and sewer overflows into our waterways. It will also inform the government’s review of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy and the negotiation of a new Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement.

“Our government is committed to protecting Ontario’s precious lakes, waterways, and groundwater sources,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Forums like the council provide an important role in identifying priorities for action such as plastic pollution, stormwater, and harmful algae. I look forward to working with the council and hearing from partners around the table on how we can tackle the pressures our water resources are facing and ensure we protect the pristine beauty of our Great Lakes.”

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Convening the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council is part of the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which aims to protect our air, land, and water. It also aims to prevent and reduce litter and waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families increase their resilience to climate change.

The meeting will honour Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabe grandmother, Elder, water protector, and activist. In 2003, she co-founded Mother Earth Water Walk, circumnavigating the shores of all five Great Lakes, a total distance of more than 17,000 km. Currently, Josephine’s total kilometres walked for the water has been tallied at over 25,000 kilometers. In the role of Chief Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation Women’s Water Commission, Josephine was a predominant contributor at the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council.

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