Minister Prentice's letter to Minister Gerretsen concerning the extension of the 2007-2010 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

The Honourable John Gerretsen
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto, ON
M7A 2T5

Dear Minister Gerretsen:

Re: Extension of Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Agreement

I am writing to confirm our mutual agreement to extend the term of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Agreement ("COA") for one additional year.

The current COA is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2010. Article XI permits Canada and Ontario to amend COA by an exchange of letters setting out the amendment and the effective date. On behalf of our respective governments, we have agreed to amend COA by extending its term to March 31, 2011. We have agreed that the effective date of the amendment will be March 31, 2010. Further, we have agreed that our respective letters confirming the one-year extension shall be considered part of COA.

Since 1971, Canada and Ontario have worked together under a series of Great Lakes agreements that have guided our efforts to improve the environmental quality of the Great Lakes Basin and contributed to meeting Canada's obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement ("GLWQA"). As you know, Canada and the United States announced this past June their intention to negotiate amendments to the GLWQA to strengthen and modernize the agreement to address new challenges. The amendment process will require approximately one year to conclude. We have agreed it is vital that Canada and Ontario continue to work together under the COA framework so that our efforts to protect and improve the Great Lakes can continue during the GLWQA amendment process.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to protect and improve the Great Lakes. We pledge to work together under the existing COA and to negotiate a new COA once the amendments to the GLWQA are in place.

The Great Lakes play a vital role in the physical, social and economic life of Canada, and Ontario's continuing commitment to the Great Lakes is appreciated.


Jim Prentice
The Honourable Minister of Environment (and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada Agency)

And on Behalf of:

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources

The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

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