Proposed new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
July 5, 2019 - September 4, 2019 (61 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

This proposal notice has been updated to inform the public on July 29, 2020, that this proposal is still under review. The ministry is reviewing the comments received to date. The original date of the proposal and the comment period have not been changed.

July 29, 2020

This consultation was open from:

July 5, 2019
to September 4, 2019

Proposal summary

We want to establish a new agreement between Canada and Ontario to restore, protect and conserve Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.

Restoring, conserving and protecting our Great Lakes is a key part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

Proposal details

The Great Lakes are the foundation of Ontario’s economic prosperity and wellbeing.


  • support Ontario’s economy
  • supply water to our communities
  • provide healthy ecosystems for recreation and tourism
  • support outstanding biological diversity and significant fisheries
  • sustain traditional activities of First Nation and Métis peoples
  • contain nearly 20 per cent of the world’s fresh surface water

Since 1971, a series of Canada-Ontario Agreements on the Great Lakes (Canada-Ontario Agreement) have enabled both governments, together with local partners, to address the most significant challenges facing the Great Lakes. Although these efforts have led to dramatic improvements, pollution, climate change and loss of natural heritage continue to threaten the health of these waterways.

The current Canada-Ontario Agreement expires in December 2019. To support the continued partnership on Great Lakes restoration, Canada and Ontario have negotiated a draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement.

This would be the ninth agreement between the two levels of government and it is designed to advance action on key challenges facing the Great Lakes such as improving wastewater and stormwater management and reducing pollution, including a new focus on road salt and plastic pollution.

Once finalized, the new Canada-Ontario Agreement would be signed by:

  • the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  • the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • six federal ministers

Commitments in the draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement would:

This posting seeks feedback on a draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement, jointly proposed by Ontario and Canada. Both governments are committed to engaging the Great Lakes community, including First Nations and Métis, in the development of the new Canada-Ontario Agreement.

Canada and Ontario recognize that a new Canada-Ontario Agreement may not be completed and in effect until 2020. If a new Canada-Ontario Agreement is not yet in place when the current agreement expires, our collaborative Great Lakes work can continue while we work to finalize the new Canada-Ontario Agreement.

The draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement

The draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement is comprised of a Framework Agreement and 13 annexes.

The Framework Agreement has 13 Articles which describe the purpose, principles and administration of the Canada-Ontario Agreement. An Executive Committee will oversee the Canada-Ontario Agreement and consist of senior representatives from the ministries, departments and agencies of the Parties who are responsible for commitments in the Canada-Ontario Agreement.

Each annex of the Canada-Ontario Agreement includes:

  • a preamble describing what Canada and Ontario will strive to achieve
  • intended results for the Great Lakes specific to each annex
  • commitments Canada and Ontario will deliver jointly or separately to achieve the intended results

The 13 annexes of the draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement are as follows:

Protecting Waters

Annex 1: Nutrients
Annex 2: Harmful Pollutants
Annex 3: Wastewater and Stormwater
Annex 4: Discharges from Vessels

Improving Coastal Areas

Annex 5: Areas of Concern
Annex 6: Lakewide Management

Protecting Habitat and Species

Annex 7: Aquatic Invasive Species
Annex 8: Habitat and Species

Enhancing Understanding and Adaptation

Annex 9: Groundwater Quality
Annex 10: Climate Change Impacts and Resilience

Engaging Communities – From Awareness to Action

Annex 11: From Awareness to Action
Annex 12: Métis and the Great Lakes
Annex 13: First Nations and the Great Lakes

Science and Innovation

The current Canada-Ontario Agreement contains stand-alone annexes on Science and on Innovation. Canada and Ontario recognize the important role of both science and innovation in supporting Great Lakes protection and restoration. In the draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement, Canada and Ontario have proposed to remove Science and Innovation as stand-alone annexes, and instead embed commitments to science and innovation wherever applicable throughout the draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement.

Read the draft new Canada-Ontario Agreement provided in the supporting materials section below.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Great Lakes and Inland Waters Branch

40 St. Clair Avenue West
10th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2

Office phone number


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from July 5, 2019
to September 4, 2019

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Carolyn O’Neill

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Great Lakes Office

40 St Clair Avenue West
Floor 10
Toronto, ON

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