Cleaning up Lake Ontario: the final stage begins for the Randle Reef Remediation Project in Hamilton Harbour
September 6, 2023 – Hamilton, Ontario
Randle Reef partners announce the award of a construction contract to start Stage 3 of the Randle Reef Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project
Sustained action to restore and protect the Great Lakes is key to the economic prosperity of the region and the well-being of millions of Canadians who rely on them for clean drinking water. Randle Reef, in Hamilton Harbour on Lake Ontario, was once the largest contaminated sediment site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. By working together, federal, provincial, regional, and municipal governments, along with local stakeholders, are making real progress to restore ecosystem health in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern and enhance economic development for the community.
Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, on behalf of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, joined by local Members of Parliament and Ian Hamilton, President and CEO of HOPA Ports, announced the start of Stage 3 of the Randle Reef Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project.
The Randle Reef site has a legacy of industrial contamination dating back more than 150 years. During the first two stages of remediation, over 615,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment was managed. Following a successful competitive bidding process, a contract of $29.2 million was awarded to Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. (Milestone) to complete the first phase of Stage 3 construction, which involves the installation of a multi-layered environmental cap, as a final step to isolate contaminants.
The contracting process for this work included an Indigenous Participation Plan, a measure to foster the inclusion of Indigenous communities in federal contracts through subcontracting, employment, and training and skills development. Milestone is partnering with Mississaugas of the Credit Business Corporation, strengthening economic opportunities for Indigenous-owned businesses, and supporting the integration of reconciliation as part of Government of Canada contracts. Milestone is responsible for this initial phase of Stage 3 construction, with a commitment to sub-contract more than 10 percent of project work toward an Indigenous business.
The Randle Reef Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project is a joint initiative of the Government of Canada, the province of Ontario, the city of Hamilton, Halton Region, the city of Burlington, the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, and Stelco. The over $150 million clean-up is funded through a public-private approach, with the federal government and the province of Ontario each contributing a third of the funding, and the remaining third collectively funded by local partners. The final stage of the project is scheduled to be completed in 2025. Once Stage 3 is completed, responsibility for the engineered containment facility will be transferred to the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority and will provide valuable port lands for the community.
In the spring of 2023, the Government of Canada announced a historic investment of $420 million over 10 years to accelerate the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes, as part of the strengthened Freshwater Action Plan. With the enhanced funding, Canada is aiming to complete the clean-up of 12 out of 14 remaining Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes by 2030, and all 14 of them within 15 years. The progress achieved in restoring the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern illustrates the strength of collaboration to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.
“Millions of Canadians source their drinking water from the Great Lakes, and restoring the water quality and ecosystem health of these magnificent lakes contributes to restoring our communities. The Randle Reef Project is a successful example of governments, local partners, and stakeholders working together to protect our fresh water, which is critical to the health and well-being of our environment, communities, and economy. This final stage to remediate one of Canada’s most contaminated sediment sites marks a great environmental success story. We are making significant strides in protecting the Great Lakes, as well as in advancing Canada’s commitments to protect 25 percent of our fresh water by 2025.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Our government is committed to protecting the environment and improving the quality of life of Canadians, while investing in communities and helping Indigenous businesses grow and prosper. This project is another great example of what we’re doing to increase the participation of Indigenous businesses in federal contracts, create attractive opportunities for their success, and generate economic benefits in communities across the country.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
“Our government has continuously worked toward the remediation of the Randle Reef site in Hamilton, Ontario. Addressing the contamination will be a significant milestone for Hamilton and allow rejuvenation of our natural environment. This next step of the project brings us closer to a new chapter for Hamilton Harbour so that we can continue to grow our Ambitious City and protect our environment.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“I’m thrilled to see the continued progress on Randall Reef. This project is absolutely vital to the cleaning up of Burlington Bay and ensuring we have a cleaner, healthier, and safer environment in our Great Lakes. Burlingtonians are proud of our lakefront community—this project is contributing to continuing our proud maritime tradition and will play a key role in advancing economic development and a healthier environment for our communities.”
– The Honourable Karina Gould, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
“Ontario is committed to keeping our lakes and waterways clean and protected. Our support toward the Randle Reef project is integral to create a prosperous and healthy future for generations to come, with the Great Lakes being a vital source to the well-being of communities that rely on them.”
– The Honourable David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Province of Ontario
“Our government’s investments in the rehabilitation of Randle Reef has helped Hamilton with one of the most important remediation projects in the city’s history. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts this project will have on the local environment and our economy.”
– Chad Collins, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek
“Thanks to collaboration between all three levels of government, we’ve made fantastic progress on improving the water quality and ecosystem health here in Hamilton Harbour. I am incredibly proud to be part of a government that is investing in our communities, the environment, and our Great Lakes through the Freshwater Action Plan.”
– Lisa Hepfner, Member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain
“The collaboration between all orders of government and local stakeholders shows our collective commitment to ensuring that Randle Reef’s restoration is enjoyed for generations to come. I applaud the partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit Business Corporation that will see the involvement of Indigenous-owned businesses as part of this project, and thank each of the partners involved for this important work.”
– Mayor Andrea Horwath, City of Hamilton
“I am happy that the Randle Reef project is progressing well. Each stage that is completed is another step toward protecting and improving our water, the environment, and our health. I am eagerly looking forward to the completion of this project and the remediation of one of Canada’s most contaminated sediment sites.”
– Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
“Halton Region remains committed to working with its government and community partners to protect and preserve our natural environment. Stage 3 of the Randle Reef Remediation Project is an important step toward restoring the water quality and ecosystem health in Lake Ontario, while creating social and economic opportunities for our community. This final stage of the project signals a cleaner, safer, and healthier future for Hamilton Harbour and the many people who continue to enjoy it.”
– Gary Carr, Halton Regional Chair
“We are encouraged with the progress taking place at Randle Reef. The transformation we have seen so far is a testament to the power of environmental stewardship and a shared commitment to the health of our Great Lakes. When Stage 3 is complete, we look forward to creating a productive port facility for a more sustainable and prosperous future.”
– Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA Ports)
“Stelco is exceptionally proud of our contribution to ensure the success of the Randle Reef remediation project. On behalf of our employees and the entire community, I would like to thank all the partners participating in this project for their dedication and commitment to the long-term health and sustainability of Hamilton Harbour.”
– Sujit Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Stelco
“Our Nation is pleased that Canada has prioritized the remediation of the Randle Reef site and has set this important precedent for the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and our business corporation, to benefit from economic activity on our Traditional Territory. We thank Ministers Duclos, Guilbeault, Piccini, and Mayor Horwath for their leadership to ensure our Nation has been included in this important project.”
– Gimaa (Chief) Stacey LaForme, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
“We are very proud to be leading economic opportunities as part of the reconciliation process within the Traditional and Treaty Territory of our First Nation through the remediation of Randle Reef. We are extremely pleased that our partnership with Milestone Environmental prevailed in the competitive process in being awarded this project.”
– Warren Sault, Chair of Mississaugas of the Credit Business LP
Randle Reef is located in the southwest corner of Hamilton Harbour and covers approximately 60 hectares.
In 1987, Hamilton Harbour was identified as an Area of Concern, as described under the Canada–US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Areas of Concern are locations within the Great Lakes identified as having experienced high levels of environmental harm.
Under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States, 43 Areas of Concern were identified: 17 were Canadian, including five shared bi-nationally.
To date, Canada has fully restored three Areas of Concern: Severn Sound, Collingwood Harbour and Wheatley Harbour.
The Government of Canada and the province of Ontario collaborate and coordinate efforts to restore, protect, and conserve the Great Lakes through the Canada–Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA).
- The remediation of Randle Reef is one of many actions taken to restore, protect, and conserve the Great Lakes, while building a sustainable economy.
The resulting port lands on the Randle Reef remediated site could generate an estimated $168 million in economic benefits for the local community by creating good jobs, growing business development, and generating tourism.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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