Thank you to everyone whose contributions have helped make progress on Great Lakes protection and restoration over the last few years. We have heard from many of you about the vital importance of the Great Lakes and about how proposed Great Lakes legislation can best make a difference.
It is my great pleasure to let you know that the Ontario Legislature has taken action to keep the Great Lakes drinkable, fishable and swimmable by passing a strengthened Great Lakes Protection Act.
This new legislation will:
· Help fight climate change, reduce harmful algal blooms, protect wetlands and watersheds, and reduce harmful pollutants.
· Establish a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council to provide a forum for discussion and collaboration on Great Lakes issues and priorities.
· 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.
· Help ensure monitoring programs and reporting processes are in place to improve understanding and management of the ecological health of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin.
· Support setting targets and create new tools to take action with local partners in priority areas on pressing issues.
· Require consideration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge if offered by First Nations or Métis communities.
This latest action – combined with our ongoing investments in Great Lakes protection – will help ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the benefits of a healthy Great Lakes system.
We look forward to continuing to work with communities across Ontario on our shared interest in Great Lakes protection and restoration.