Canadian and United States Coast Guards recommit to partnership on the Great Lakes in environmental response
March 14, 2022
Montréal, Quebec - The Canadian and United States coast guards share a long history of collaboration on the Great Lakes. These inland waters are vital to both countries’ economies, with approximately 34 million people living in and around the Great Lakes basin on both sides of the border. Keeping these waters clean and safe from threats of pollution is a top priority for both coast guards.
Canadian Coast Guard Central Region Assistant Commissioner Marc-André Meunier was joined by Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, Ninth District Commander of the United States Coast Guard for an updated signing of the CANUSLAK agreement between the two coast guards.
The CANUSLAK agreement is an operational annex between Canada and the United States, established to ensure coordinated planning, preparedness, and response to any pollution incidents in shared waters on the Great Lakes and connecting waterways between. It allows both coast guards to work together efficiently to mitigate any potential pollution impacts on the environment.
The area of responsibility under CANUSLAK extends along the Canada-United States border, from the St. Lawrence River to the western point of Lake Superior – a distance of approximately 2,400 kilometers.
The CANUSLAK agreement is reviewed and updated (if required) every five years. The renewed signing of the CANUSLAK agreement reaffirms the two coast guards’ commitment to keeping shared waters safe and healthy for citizens on both sides of the border.
The Canadian and United States coast guards work closely together on a wide range of coast guard services across the Great Lakes, including environmental response, search and rescue, icebreaking, marine traffic management, and aids to navigation.
“Our close partnership with the United States Coast Guard Ninth District is essential to ensuring safety on the Great Lakes. Our interoperability during day-to-day operations, incidents, and planning demonstrate our commitment to working together for our organizations’ mutual success. Today’s CANUSLAK signing reaffirms this commitment, and our continued collaboration on shared waterways.”
Marc-André Meunier, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard Central Region
“The Great Lakes are a bi-national freshwater treasure of immeasurable importance to both countries, and our Canadian Coast Guard partners are exceptional teammates for protecting this amazing resource. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, this updated agreement formalizes and renews the robust cooperation that happens on a regular basis between our respective staffs. I’m truly proud of the work that both our organizations do to ensure a bright future for the environmental health of the Great Lakes, connecting waterways and tributaries.”
Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, District Commander, United States Coast Guard Ninth District
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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