Read our complete submission here.
On June 6, 2012, Government of Ontario introduced two documents intended to protect the Great Lakes: the Great Lakes Strategy and the Great Lakes Protection Act.
The Great Lakes Strategy is a report that "discusses the various ways the Province plans to take action on protecting and restoring the Great Lakes." It will be reviewed every 9 years, coinciding with the Great Lakes binational program timeframes.
The Great Lakes Protection Act is legislation that "would help restore and protect the great lakes so they stay drinkable, swimmable, fishable, for us, and for future generations."
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper supports the aims of the Great Lakes Strategy and the Great Lakes Protection Act. We agree that Great Lakes protection requires support from a range of government ministries including those concerned with environment, tourism, and industry. We support a strategy that underpins and guides provincial decision-making resulting in meaningful restoration and protection of the Great Lakes.
Waterkeeper made seven recommendations on the Strategy and Act:
- The Strategy and Act should embrace the view that the Great Lakes are drinking water sources and limit pollution discharges accordingly.
- The Strategy and Act should include a plan for upgrading Ontario's sewage and stormwater facilities to ensure all discharges meet the highest water quality standards.
- Require closed-cycle cooling water technologies for industrial facilities operating on the Great Lakes.
- Ensure that targets do not create incentives to hide data, avoid collecting information that would portray the Great Lakes in a negative light, or minimize real environmental problems.
- Develop a province-wide beach monitoring program.
- Preserve existing environmental laws.
- Ensure that the Great Lakes Protection Act is subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights.