Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a Canadian charity working for a day when every person in our watershed can safely touch the water, when the water is pure enough to drink, and when the lake is clean and wild enough that you could toss in a line anywhere and pull out a fish.
In May 2000, seven people died after drinking tap water in the Southwestern Ontario town called Walkerton. Lawyer Mark Mattson and researcher Krystyn Tully emerged from the ensuing Inquiry determined that no person should ever become ill after swimming, drinking, or fishing from public waters.
With the support of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his global Waterkeeper network, Mattson and Tully created an independent charity dedicated to a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is founded on the belief that it is possible to achieve a swimmable, drinkable, fishable world - all we need is commitment to clean water and the right mix of sound environmental policy, transparent and informed decision-making, public education, and community-building programs.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a registered Canadian charity, helps to create a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future by connecting and empowering people in order to stop pollution, protect human health, and restore habitat.
Our programs bring together law, science, culture, and digital media. They include:
Waterkeeper Swim Guide, an app and website that helps people find beaches and check water quality status. This is the only service of its kind in the world. In its first year, Swim Guide has attracted nearly 180,000 users.
Waterkeeper Drink Guide, an smartphone app built in partnership with The Water Chronicles to share drinking water advisories right across Canada.
The Clean Water Workshop, one of our longest running and most successful initiatives. The workshop mentors university students with a passion for environmental law and watershed protection. The student volunteers provide much-needed legal research support to communities facing pollution problems while learning the skills that will help them become effective leaders in the future.
Since our launch in 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has helped secure $1.4-billion in commitments for contaminated site cleanups around Southern Ontario. We defended public participation rights in some of the most important legal cases of our time. We saved more than 1.6-million fish. Our community is 20,000 people strong and growing every day.