The Great Lakes Protection Act was reintroduced at Queen’s Park this week. If passed, this new law would help to ensure the healthy future of our Great Lakes waters.
Freshwater Future Canada joins other conservation groups across Ontario in applauding the province for moving forward with this important legislation. The Act brings necessary attention to critical threats to the Great Lakes, including nutrient pollution and algal blooms, wetland habitat loss, and water pollution. If passed, it promises to bring the people of Ontario together to take action on these issues.
The Act, which seeks to protect and restore the ecological health of this important freshwater resource, sets out to fight climate change, reduce harmful algal blooms, and protect wetlands and other coastal areas. It aims to monitor and report on the health of the Great Lakes, and also to capitalize on local knowledge. Freshwater Future Canda places great value on local citizen knowledge and grassroots decision-making, and is pleased that this legislation includes a focus on community engagement.
As a source of drinking water for 80% of Canadians, the future of the Great Lakes is in all of our best interests. Freshwater Future Canada believes that a strong economy depends on healthy ecosystems and that as joint stewards and beneficiaries of the Great Lakes, we need to protect them in order to protect the jobs and economy they sustain. The Great Lakes are home to tourism, fisheries, industry, and local food production, all of which require a healthy ecosystem to thrive. The state of the Great Lakes is vital to the future of our province.
Freshwater Future Canada is hopeful that a stronger Great Lakes Protection Act can soon be passed, and urge the province to continue and increase its support of local environmental action by ENGO’s.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne recently released her mandate letters to her Ministers, including one to Environment Minister Glen Murray. The letter instructs the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on their priorities for the next four years. Key amongst these is the development of a new long-term climate change strategy for Ontario. Freshwater Future Canada applauds this direction, and looks forward to seeing how the Ministry will follow through on engaging the public and stakeholders in this discussion. We value local citizen knowledge and grassroots decision-making, and urge the province to capitalize on this valuable resource.
The mandate letter also details action on Great Lakes, a key priority for the Wynne government. Heading this list is re-introducing a strengthened Great Lakes Protection Act, and continuing to fund local community efforts though the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund. We are hopeful that a stronger Great Lakes Protection Act can soon be passed, and urge the province to continue and increase its support of local environmental action by community groups.
We share Premier Wynne’s vision for healthy waters in the Great Lakes, and particularly Lake Erie, which is now critically threatened by algae blooms. The priorities on Great Lakes action include “developing a nutrient target by 2016 to address algal blooms in the Great Lakes and bringing forward recommendations to meet that target”. We would hope that with a four-year mandate and a majority government, the Ministry can move beyond recommendations, to design and implement programs that reduce nutrient pollution. A key priority should be more comprehensive monitoring and public reporting of phosphorus reaching lakes, starting with Lake Erie, and the extent to which we are making progress on targets.
Premier Wynne opens her mandate letters to her Ministers by stating, “growing the economy and helping to create jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. Freshwater Future Canada believes that a strong economy depends on healthy ecosystems and that as joint stewards and beneficiaries of the Great Lakes, we need to protect them in order to protect the jobs and economy they sustain. The Great Lakes are home to tourism, fisheries, industry, and local food production, all of which require a healthy ecosystem to thrive. The state of the Great Lakes is vital to the future of our province.
Come and meet Freshwater Future Canada staff on Saturday, November 8 at Planet in Focus, Canada’s largest and longest running environmental film festival. Freshwater Future Canada is co-presenting the film Living on the Edge, and it can be seen at 11:00 am at the Nat Taylor Theatre, York University in Toronto.
Living on the Edge puts a human face on climate change in eastern Quebec. In the aftermath of an extreme weather event in 2010 that became a wake-up call for eastern Quebeckers, we follow an extraordinary woman, Joan Sullivan, as she explores how people along the majestic St. Lawrence are already being affected by climate change – and adapting to it. And while this is a story about climate change as seen through the eyes of a photographer, it is also very much Joan’s personal story – revealing the fears, frustrations and hopes of this international aid worker turned farmer. We learn how combating climate change has become the central focus of her photography, and why she has dedicated the rest of her life to promoting renewable energy. A truly inspiring encounter with one woman and her struggle to come to grips with living on the edge.
Freshwater Future Canada and Environmental Defence propose four-point plan to tackle algal blooms in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. Read More
The Ontario Great Lakes Need Assessment was an effort to explore how well the water community is working together, building on the recent national assessment documented in the report: “The Canadian Waterscape: Assessing the needs of Canada’s water leaders”. The current assessment was an opportunity to test the findings of the national assessment within the context of the Great Lakes, a unique freshwater region within the Canadian freshwater landscape.
The assessment was conducted by Freshwater Future and the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, with support from The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Tides Canada, and WindsorEssex Community Foundation.
To download the report click Here