Working with others to protect the Great Lakes
Canada works with the United States, Ontario and other partners to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
Working with the United States
Canada and the United States have a long history of collaboration on Great Lakes protection through the International Joint Commission, established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, and directly through the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA).
Through the GLWQA, Canada and the United States work with many partners including:
- state, provincial and municipal governments
- First Nations, Métis, and Tribal governments
- watershed management agencies and other local public agencies.
The GLWQA provides a long-term vision to respond to the most critical threats to the health of the Great Lakes and progress reports are released every three years
Since 1971, there have been a series of agreements between Canada and Ontario to help meet Canada’s GLWQA commitments and improve conditions in the Great Lakes.
The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA) is a 5-year plan to make progress on a range of issues such as:
- protecting the lakes from excess nutrients and harmful pollutants
- cleaning up areas of concern
- preventing the entry of aquatic invasive species
- conserving fish and wildlife habitats
- enhancing engagement with Indigenous Peoples
- addressing emerging issues related to the impacts of plastic pollution and excess road salt application.
The Government of Canada meets its GLWQA and COA commitments through regional and national programs. The main regional program is the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, which addresses the most significant challenges affecting Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.
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