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

ERO number
019-0198
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
July 5, 2019 - September 4, 2019 (61 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
July 5, 2019
to September 4, 2019

Decision summary

Ontario and Canada have finalized a new agreement to restore, protect and conserve Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.

Decision details

The Great Lakes are the foundation of Ontario’s economic prosperity and well-being – supplying water to our communities, providing healthy ecosystems for plant and animal life, sustaining traditional activities of Indigenous communities and supporting our recreation and tourism industries.

The Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA) represents a significant partnership between the federal and provincial governments, setting out joint actions and specific actions that each government will take as we work together to protect and restore the water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Lakes.

The Government of Ontario, represented by the Ministries of Environment, Conservation and Parks; Natural Resources and Forestry; and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; signed and entered into the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement with the Government of Canada. The term of the Agreement is from June 1, 2021 until May 31, 2026. This Agreement marks 50 years of collaborative Great Lakes work between both governments since the first agreement was signed in 1971.

The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement continues to build on Great Lakes restoration progress. Commitments in the Agreement will advance new and ongoing actions to address a number of key areas, such as:

  • improving wastewater and stormwater management
  • reducing plastic pollution and excess road salt entering waterways
  • reducing excess nutrients and continuing partnerships for Lake Erie restoration
  • completing the clean-up of six Areas of Concern
  • investing in the prevention and management of priority invasive species
  • rehabilitating native species and their habitats
  • maintaining inventories of key habitats including coastal areas
  • increasing climate resilience
  • undertaking meaningful local action

Ensuring the ongoing protection of our Great Lakes and water resources is a key commitment in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that will help keep these vital waterways safeguarded for future generations.

The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement

The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement is made up of a framework agreement and 13 Annexes.

The framework agreement describes the purpose, principles and administration of the Canada-Ontario Agreement. The Agreement is overseen by the Canada-Ontario Agreement Executive Committee, consisting of senior representatives from the ministries, departments and agencies of the Parties who are responsible for commitments in the Agreement. The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement has a strengthened framework agreement to improve accountability and governance mechanisms that achieves a streamlined governance approach and reduces bureaucracy.

The 13 Annexes in the Agreement are:

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

Each Annex 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 result

Read the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement and the public summary included in the Related links section below.

Importance of the Agreement

The Great Lakes are the foundation of Ontario’s economic prosperity and well-being. These vital waterways:

  • contain nearly 20 per cent of the world’s fresh surface water
  • 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

Through our collaborative efforts to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes, we have made significant improvements over the last 50 years.

Although the Great Lakes have responded well to past protection efforts, our Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health continues to be threatened by pollution, climate change, legacy environmental conditions and loss of natural heritage.

The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement continues to build on our Great Lakes restoration progress and will advance action to address key challenges facing the Great Lakes, including:

Comments received

Through the registry

25

By email

1,384

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement incorporates feedback received from engagement with:

  • the public
  • First Nations
  • Métis
  • the broader Great Lakes community

Specific engagement sessions included:

  • information webinar with Great Lakes stakeholders on May 31, 2019
  • information webinar with First Nations communities on July 3, 2019
  • meeting with Métis Nation of Ontario and Métis partners on February 8, 2020
  • virtual meeting with Chiefs of Ontario and First Nations partners on October 27, 2020

The ministry posted a draft ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement on Ontario’s Environmental Registry on July 5, 2019 for a 61-day public comment period.

In addition to the public consultation comments received directly by the ministry, the Government of Canada directly received six additional comments through their concurrent Canada Gazette posting.

Both Ontario and Canada’s consultation periods closed on September 4, 2019.

A total of 1,415 comments were collectively analyzed and carefully considered by Ontario and Canada in finalizing the text of the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement.

Summary of feedback received

Overall, comment submissions supported the protection of the Great Lakes through the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement. Comments showed:

  • consensus for a new agreement that is ambitious, transparent, well-funded and included time-bounded and measurable goals
  • interest in establishing a joint progress reporting mechanism under the new agreement, in addition to existing federal and provincial reporting

Comments also showed strong support for commitments in the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement, with a focus on:

  • continued implementation of the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan
  • commitments that address plastic pollution and road salt
  • improved municipal wastewater and stormwater management
  • continued efforts to protect habitats and species, address threats of aquatic invasive species and enhance shoreline protection

Changes made in response to feedback received

Following careful consideration of the comments, Ontario and Canada made minor changes to:

  • enhance transparency, clarity and consistency throughout the new agreement
  • add new text committing to the delivery of a joint, public report on progress under the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement

Other updates were made to:

  • bring additional clarity and consistency to key Areas of Concern commitments
  • strengthen First Nations and Métis engagement in decision making processes under the Agreement

On April 1, 2021, as stipulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), Canada posted a response to public comments to the CEPA Registry.

Ontario looks forward to engaging the Great Lakes community in the implementation of the ninth Canada-Ontario Agreement.

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
Address

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

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Carolyn O’Neill

Phone number
Email address
Office
Great Lakes Office
Address

40 St Clair Avenue West
Floor 10
Toronto, ON
M4V1M2
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-0198
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

July 5, 2019 - September 4, 2019 (61 days)

Proposal details

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

They:

  • 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
Address

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

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from July 5, 2019
to September 4, 2019

Connect with us

Contact

Carolyn O’Neill

Phone number
Email address
Office
Great Lakes Office
Address

40 St Clair Avenue West
Floor 10
Toronto, ON
M4V1M2
Canada

Office phone number