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Ontario passes Great Lakes Protection Act


October 13, 2015
By Ground Water Canada

Toronto – Ontario has passed the Great Lakes Protection Act, which aims to strengthen the province’s ability to keep the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River clean, as well as to protect and restore the waterways that flow into them, the Ontario government said in a news release.

The legislation, which was passed on Oct. 7, enables the province to address significant environmental challenges to the Great Lakes, including climate change, harmful pollutants and algal blooms, the release said.

The Act will also:

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  • Establish a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council to provide a collaborative forum for discussing and gaining input on issues and priorities relating to the Great Lakes.
  • Allow the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to set environmental targets and enable communities to address local problems.
  • Require the establishment of monitoring programs on a number of water quality indices where needed, as well as regular public reporting.
  • Require consideration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in decisions made about the health of the Great Lakes if offered by First Nations or Métis communities.
  • Enshrine Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, the province’s action plan on the Great Lakes, as a living document to be reviewed every six years and reported in the legislature every three years.

“Healthy Great Lakes are vital to the success of our province. This act enables us to better protect and restore the Great Lakes, ensure they can withstand the impacts of the changing climate and keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable for generations to come,” said Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen R. Murray.