Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes: annex 12


ANNEX 12: ENGAGING COMMUNITIES

The purpose of this Annex is to provide opportunities for individuals and groups to enjoy and help take care of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are an essential part of everyday life for the people that live along their shores and in the watersheds. They provide our drinking water, food and electricity, and moderate our climate. They provide recreation and tourism opportunities and connect us with our heritage. Their natural beauty nourishes our spirit. They are the economic backbone of Ontario. Ensuring that the Great Lakes are healthy, and that resources are managed sustainably, is of vital importance to both the lakes and the people who live and work here.

Despite the many benefits of living in the Great Lakes basin, many inhabitants are unaware of the connections among their activities, their quality of life and the health of the lakes. Everyone has a role to play in protecting, restoring and conserving the lakes through local actions. Increased use and enjoyment of the lakes through recreation, festivals and tourism will contribute to personal wellbeing while motivating individuals to get involved. Better information and enhanced education will support citizen action to protect the lakes and prevent new problems from arising. This Annex includes commitments to foster and enhance the appreciation and awareness of the Great Lakes by the Great Lakes community and the broader public.

Canada and Ontario have a range of initiatives to increase awareness and provide support for local community initiatives and will engage the Great Lakes community on a good governance basis. The Great Lakes community has long contributed to the restoration, protection and conservation of the lakes. This Annex seeks to continue these efforts and to include a broad range of Canadians in both dialogue and action, through a variety of activities from planning and priority setting to problem solving and stewardship.

Goal 1: Create opportunities for people to connect with the Great Lakes and participate in their restoration, protection and conservation.

Result 1.1 - Opportunities to foster and enhance the appreciation and awareness of the Great Lakes by individuals within the Great Lakes community.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Explore opportunities to work with the Great Lakes community to enhance awareness, appreciation and engagement.

Canada will:

  • (b) Raise awareness and appreciation of the Great Lakes through communication of the State of the Lakes reports, Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) and other mechanisms; and

  • (c) Convene a binational Great Lakes Public Forum to discuss and receive comments on the state of the lakes and binational priorities for science and action.

Ontario will:

  • (d) Work with the Great Lakes community to develop and support events that celebrate and recognize the importance of the Great Lakes;

  • (e) Through available communication channels directed to the local community level, promote Great Lakes recreation opportunities, programs, issues, science and achievements;

  • (f) Explore and enhance collaboration within the Great Lakes community to develop and deliver Great Lakes education and outreach opportunities; and

  • (g) Help school boards, school administrators and teachers to become aware of opportunities to use the Great Lakes as a context for teaching and learning.

Result 1.2 - Support for local community activities that restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes.

Canada will:

  • (a) Encourage and support community projects and initiatives to help restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes through the delivery of the EcoAction Community Fund, Great Lakes Sustainability Fund for Areas of Concern, and the Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund.

Ontario will:

  • (b) Encourage and support community projects to help restore, protect and conserve the ecological health of the Great Lakes through programs such as the Ontario Community Environment Fund, Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardians Community Fund, and other programs as applicable.

Goal 2: Enhance engagement by the Great Lakes community in the restoration, protection and conservation of the Great Lakes.

Result 2.1 - Engagement of the Great Lakes community from across all sectors, in support of Great Lakes activities.

Canada and Ontario will:

  • (a) Engage the Great Lakes community in Great Lakes priority setting and the delivery of Agreement commitments.

Ontario will:

  • (b) Support a broad-based stewardship alliance in collaboration with the Great Lakes community to enhance collaboration and support implementation of the Agreement; and

  • (b) Continue to work with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative under the Memorandum of Cooperation on the Great Lakes.
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