Canada-Ontario agreement on Great Lakes

THIS AGREEMENT IS EFFECTIVE THE 18TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2014

BETWEEN

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA (CANADA)

Represented by

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment (and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada Agency)
The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health
The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Denis Lebel, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs

AND

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF ONTARIO (ONTARIO)

Represented by

The Honourable Glen R. Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

WHEREAS Canada and Ontario (the Parties) affirm that this Agreement is guided by the shared vision of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Great Lakes for present and future generations;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that the Great Lakes region is home to approximately 33 percent of Canada’s population, and contains seven of Canada’s twenty largest cities, and the Great Lakes directly provide drinking water to over 10 million residents of Ontario;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Great Lakes region plays a vital role in the physical, social and economic life of Canada, Ontario’s Great Lakes basin contains 40 percent of the country’s economic activity, including approximately 25 percent of Canada’s agricultural production, and more than 75 percent of Canada’s manufacturing activity;

AND WHEREAS environmentally sustainable and responsible economic activity, resource development, and innovation is important to the long-term prosperity of the Great Lakes region;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Great Lakes contain approximately 20 percent of the surface freshwater in the world, and that less than 1 percent of the water is renewed annually by precipitation;

AND WHEREAS the Parties have shared jurisdiction over the Great Lakes, which makes coordination and cooperation essential to their restoration, protection and conservation, and acknowledge that Ontario has the longest coastline of any jurisdiction on the Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Great Lakes are ecologically important, supporting outstanding biological diversity and significant fisheries;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge the close connection between Great Lakes water quality and human health and the positive effects on individuals and communities from the use and enjoyment of healthy Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS since 1971 the Parties have worked together through a series of Canada-Ontario Agreements that have guided their efforts to improve water quality and ecosystem health of the lakes, and contributed to meeting Canada’s obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement;

AND WHEREAS the efforts of the Great Lakes community contribute to the restoration, protection and conservation of the Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that First Nations and Métis within the Great Lakes basin value their spiritual and cultural relationship with the Great Lakes, and that their traditional knowledge may assist efforts to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that progress has been made in the Great Lakes in reducing the release of harmful pollutants, improving and protecting fish and wildlife habitat, restoring a number of Areas of Concern, and fostering a sense of stewardship;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that, despite the progress made, the Great Lakes are currently exhibiting symptoms of stress due to human activities undertaken within the basin and elsewhere in the world;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize the need to strengthen efforts to address new and continuing threats to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health, including aquatic invasive species, excessive nutrients, harmful pollutants, discharges from vessels, climate change, and the loss of habitats and species;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that in addition to offshore waters, nearshore areas must be restored, protected and conserved because they are the major source of drinking water for communities, are where most human commerce and recreation occur, and are the critical ecological link between watersheds and the open waters of the Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the vast majority of public stormwater and wastewater treatment infrastructure in Canada is owned, operated and maintained by provincial, territorial or municipal governments and that those governments are therefore also responsible for identifying priority actions and projects within their jurisdictions;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, 2012, establish national effluent quality standards for secondary wastewater treatment in Canada;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that restoration and enhancement of Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health cannot be achieved by addressing individual threats in isolation, but rather depend upon the application of an ecosystem approach that addresses individually and cumulatively all sources of stress to the Great Lakes;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that Canada is responsible for meeting its binational commitments in the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and Ontario agrees to support Canada in the manner set out in this Agreement;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the quality of the waters of the Great Lakes may affect the quality of the waters of the St. Lawrence River downstream of the international boundary;

AND WHEREAS the Parties affirm their commitment to work together to implement the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and advance the environmental goals of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy in a manner consistent with the vision and purpose of this Agreement;

AND WHEREAS the Parties are committed to continuing to work together, and to engaging the Great Lakes community on a good governance basis, to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes for present and future generations.

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