TORONTO — Ontario is protecting what matters most by addressing threats to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health to safeguard this vital resource and habitat, as committed to in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

“Our Great Lakes are the foundation of Ontario’s economic prosperity and wellbeing, but they are increasingly facing pressures, such as climate change, pollution and urban development,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “This is why we committed to a number of important actions in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to restore and protect our Great Lakes, including working with Canada on a new Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement. We look forward to our continued work with our federal and other partners and to public input, because it is only by working together that we can take effective action to protect these vital ecosystems.”

Today, Ontario and Canada released a draft of a new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health to coordinate actions to protect Great Lakes water quality.

The new draft agreement is designed to advance action on key challenges facing the Great Lakes such as improving wastewater and stormwater management and reducing pollution, including a new focus on road salt and plastic pollution. It also focuses on ongoing and emerging issues such as algal blooms, invasive species, and climate resilience. The agreement addresses geographic priorities within the Great Lakes, including continuing partnerships for Lake Erie restoration, a new focus on Lake Ontario and finishing the clean-up of many historically-polluted communities.

Protecting and restoring the Great Lakes is part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to ensure we have a healthy environment and a healthy economy and that the province’s pristine beauty and strong communities can be enjoyed now and in the future.


* The current Canada-Ontario Agreement will expire in December 2019.

* Public consultations on the new draft agreement will take place between July 5 and September 4. A final agreement is expected in 2020.

* Since 1971, the Canada-Ontario Agreement has been instrumental in guiding actions by the two governments to address the most significant challenges facing the Great Lakes and improving overall conditions across all Canadian Great Lakes.

* The Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan was also developed to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie, and address the growth of toxic and nuisance algae.

* The Great Lakes play a vital role in the physical, social, and economic life of both Canada and Ontario, and support almost 40% of Canada’s economic activity.

* The Great Lakes directly provide drinking water to the majority of Ontarians.

* The Great Lakes and their watersheds are home to most Ontarians, and to more than 30,000 species of fish, birds and other living things.