Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin
Sustainable Water Resources Agreement

For background information
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)

GREAT LAKES

February 23, 2016
Ontario Council along with the Canadian Environmental Law Association and other signatories submitted a letter to Premier Wynne outlining concerns regarding the process that Ontario has established to review the Waukesha water diversion.

January 15, 2016
Ontario Council joined with Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and other signatories to request a public consultation in Ontario on the City of Waukesha's Application to divert water from Lake Michigan.

August 28, 2015
Ontario Council joined with Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and other signatories to send comment concerning the Waukesha Water Diversion application

March 6, 2015
Ontario Council Responds to the re-introduction of the Great Lakes Protection Act.

July 4, 2014
Ontario Council sent comments concerning EBR Registry Number 011-9290: 8th Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health to the Great Lakes Office of the Ministry of the Environment. At the same time, the Council signed on to a letter prepared by Environmental Defence about the same Agreement.

From the comments sent to the Ministry:
“This is a detailed and ambitious document which has real potential for effecting needed change in the ecological health of the Great Lakes basin.

CFUW OC has participated in several briefings over the years regarding the COA. As a member of the Great Lakes Advisory Panel we have also participated in consultations around the development of the Great Lakes Protection Act, Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy and the 2009 Great Lakes discussion paper, “Healthy Great Lakes, Strong Ontario”, as well as the current discussions regarding Regulations to govern Intra Basin Transfers.

CFUW OC supports the signing of a new COA framework. We are very pleased to note that many of the proposals made in past negotiations by the Government of Ontario have finally been accepted into the 8th Agreement as part of its Fourteen Annexes. The additions to the body of Annexes will recognize and begin to deal with new and emerging threats to the ecological health of the Great Lakes. We are especially pleased to see a recognition of the importance of near-shore waters as the critical ecological link between watersheds and the open waters of the Great Lakes; the commitment for the protection of wetlands against the pressures of development; and a recognition that water quality and ecosystem health cannot be achieved by addressing individual threats in isolation, but rather depend upon the application of an ecosystem approach that addresses individually and cumulatively all sources of stress to the Great Lakes.

CFUW OC is also very pleased to note the commitment by both parties to report regularly to the public on environmental conditions of the Lakes, and to issue a formal report at least every three years on the progress being made towards achieving the goals and the targeted results of the Agreement.”

There are some concerns – Principles, Accountability Pollutants – which are explained in the brief.

May 16, 2014
Ontario Council sends comments to the Ministry of Environment concerning the regulatory proposal to support implementation of the Great Lakes-St.Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

CFUW OC is anxious to see this Regulation – the final piece of legislative policy needed to complete Ontario’s commitments made under the Agreement and the SSOW ("Sustaining and Safeguarding Ontario's Water") Act – completed now and enacted at last.

However, we would strongly urge the government to reconsider its proposal to accept a redefinition of the watersheds of each Great Lake to include the downstream connecting channel for the purpose of identifying and regulating Intra-Basin Transfers.

January 31, 2014
Comments were posted on The Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study website concerning the Interbasin Study

November 20, 2013
Comments are sent to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills concerning Bill 6, Great Lakes Protection Act

February 8, 2013
Ontario Council joined with its colleagues to give comments as requested by the International Joint Commission (IJC) concerning the composition of the Water Quality Board that will advise the IJC on the government programs to implement the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012.

November 9, 2012
Ontario announces that it is adopting the Great Lakes Basin-wide water conservation goals and objectives based on the goals of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

November 6, 2012
Ontario Council sends letter of support concerning the Sierra Club's letter also of support to Ms Adrian Coombs, Senior Project Manager, The Regional Municipality of York, Environmental Services for their work concerning the state-of-the-art York Region Sewage Treatment Plant.

As members since 2004 of the Great Lakes Advisory Panel, CFUW Ontario Council has been very concerned with the implementation of our obligations under the Great Lakes Annex Agreement, and this respects both that and the Lake Simcoe Protection Act.

July 30, 2012
CFUW Ontario Council sent comments to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment concerning the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2012

February 22, 2012
Continuing the work done by the Great Lakes United concerning the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, letters have been sent pushing for this agreement. CFUW Ontario Council is a signator.

October 24, 2011
A letter was sent to the Hon. Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment, welcoming him on his return to the Ministry of the Environment, and expressing some concerns about the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement

September 20, 2011
Environmental and citizens’ groups, including CFUW Ontario Council, comments and recommendations in response to Canadian & U.S. negotiators final consultation on the renegotiation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

September 19,2011
Ontario Council, along with National CFUW, have sent comments to the governments concerning the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

July 9, 2010
From the website of Great Lakes United (www.glu.org), one of Ontario Council’s partners:
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is an agreement between Canada and the United States that provides for bi-national efforts to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Agreement was created under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, which mentions pollution as a problem the two countries will work to prevent. The cooperative system created by the two countries under the agreement is considered a global model for peaceful management of natural resources across an international boundary. The agreement contained a provision for periodic review as problems were solved or new problems recognized. The agreement is now undergoing such a review. The governments are now beginning to write issue-specific annexes to a revised Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The document that Great Lakes United and its ENGO partners submitted to the governments containing written comments can be viewed here: http://www.glu.org/sites/default/files/ENGO_GLWQAcomments_july9_FINAL.pdf

February 24, 2010
A letter of welcome, also explaining the Ontario Council position on intra-basin transfers involving the Great Lakes, was sent to the Hon. Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources

May 16, 2009
Comments are presented by Ontario Council to the Ministry of the Environment concerning the Great Lakes and the discussion paper, Healthy Great Lakes, Strong Ontario.

For a link to the Ministry of the Environment’s discussion paper, see http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/er/documents/2009/010-6105.pdf

February 10, 2009
Along with CFUW National and 52 other organizations, CFUW Ontario Council sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama concerning the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Unfortunately the two men did not talk about the agreement, but the organizers from Great Lakes United are pleased to have brought media attention to the issue, as well as bringing together more than 50 organizations to support the issue.

Oct. 3, 2008
President George Bush has signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact after its ratification in the U.S. Congress. This was the necessary final
steps after being passed by the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes.

July 10, 2008
From: Carolyn Day, Ontario Council, Water Issues
To: Myra Willis, President, CFUW Ontario Council
Subject: U.S. ratification of the Great Lakes Compact

I have just received formal notification from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of the 8th and final ratification of the Compact Agreement and knew you would want to join in the celebration!

This means that all eight Great Lakes states have now ratified the Compact Agreement (the American parallel binding agreement to the Great Lakes Annex Agreement) - truly a milestone to be celebrated!! The Compact Agreement can now go to the US Congress to be ratified.

Since the ratification was announced, there has been:

  1. A press release available on Senator Obama’s Senate website endorsing the Compact and announcing that he intends to be an original co-sponsor of the consent legislation.
  2. An AP news article confirming that Senator McCain has endorsed the Compact.
  3. A letter from Governor Doyle to U.S. House and Senate leadership announcing completion of ratification of the Compact and supporting Congressional consent.
  4. A press release from the Canadian Embassy expressing the support of Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Wilson, for the Compact.
Ontario Council has been an active member of the Great Lakes Annex Advisory Panel (GLAAP) for the past 4 years during the time that the international Great Lakes Annex Agreements were being negotiated, and the Ontario "Sustaining and Safeguarding Ontario's Water" (SSOW) Act was being developed. The Panel is continuing to work with the Ministry in the development of the Regulations which will implement the SSOW Act. Thanks to Edeltraud Neal and Linda MacGregor who both took an active interest and supported our role in the Panel during their Presidencies. And to Teri Shaw who helped us all edit our many Ontario council submissions over the four years. I have sent a letter of congratulations to team from the Ministry for all their work.

Below is a copy the Ministry of Natural Resource announcement and attached is the letter from Governor Doyle of Wisconsin, the Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors sending the Agreement onto the American Congress, the final step.

Carolyn

----- Original Message -----
From: Great Lakes Annex (MNR)
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:07 PM
Subject: U.S. ratification of the Great Lakes Compact

Good afternoon,
I am very pleased to inform you that Governor Granholm of Michigan yesterday signed legislation to enact the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, the companion U.S. agreement to the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. With Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania’s signature on July 4th, each of the states has now signed the Compact into law; it will now go to Congress for ratification.
The Council of Great Lakes Governors has informed us that bills consenting to the Compact are expected to be introduced in both chambers of Congress in the coming weeks. Support for the Compact has been expressed by 25 members of Congress, including both Senator McCain and Senator Obama, and the Council is very optimistic about the smooth passage of the Compact.
We are in discussion with our federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Cabinet Office (former MIA office) to consider opportunities for Ontario and Canada to encourage speedy passage in the U.S. (e.g. communications through Ambassador Wilson, communications via the U.S. State Department, etc.)
The ratification of the Compact by each of the States represents a very significant milestone in protection of the Great Lakes. I would like to thank each of you for your support and advice through the negotiation of the Agreement and its implementation, and the provincial team looks forward to continuing to work with you as we move forward on implementing Ontario’s commitments.
Sincerely,
Rob Messervey
Manager, Water Resources Section
Ministry of Natural Resources

July 8, 2007
As part of our ongoing commitment to water issues and the Great Lakes, CFUW Ontario Council presented comments to the Great Lakes Binational Executive Committee and Environment Canada on the Draft 2007 Agreement Review Report on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

May 16, 2007
CFUW Ontario Council presents comments to the Ministry of the Environment on the Draft 2007 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA) [EBR Registry Number 010-0063]

Feb. 17, 2007
CFUW Ontario Council presents comments on the renewal of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA) to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. For the Comments

July 21, 2006

THE LAKE HURON CENTRE FOR COASTAL CONSERVATION
4TH CONFERENCE ON LAKE HURON’S COASTAL ENVIRONMENT

Members from CFUW/Southport attended the 4th Conference on Lake Huron’s Coastal Environment sponsored by The Lake Huron Centre For Coastal Conservation. 

The keynote speaker was Steve Hounsell, President of Ontario Nature with workshop speakers being:

  1. Dr. Jim Young, an environmental consultant from Kincardine spoke on Metereology and Air Quality in the Lake Huron Environment
  2. Chuck Southam of Environment Canada spoke about the Water Level Changes in Lake Huron
  3. Jodi Frye, Environmental Defence, made a presentation on the Blue Flag Canada program that offers international recognition for clean beaches, monitors improvements in water quality, develops public awareness of human impact on coastal environments, encourages sustainable practices and supports eco-tourism.  The Report

From the April 2006, Dates and Data:
WHAT IS THE GREAT LAKES CHARTER ANNEX AGREEMENT?

For more than a year CFUW/Ontario Council has been a member of the Great Lakes Charter Annex Advisory Panel assisting the negotiating team from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Here is a brief explanation of the issues and the results of the successful negotiations between Ontario, Quebec and the U.S. Great Lake States.

Ontario shares the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin with Quebec and eight U.S. States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). For the past 20 years, the premiers and governors of these provinces and States have followed a set of principles set down in an agreement called the Great Lakes Charter. This Charter was intended to protect and conserve the waters of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Basin (referred to in this report as the Basin). Renewed concerns over the years about proposals to export water in bulk led the provinces and states to sign a supplementary agreement to the GL Charter called the Great Lakes Charter Annex in 2001. It committed the 10 provinces and states to develop agreements that would provide better protections for the Basin.

There are two Great Lakes Charter Agreements: the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement which is a good-faith agreement between the two provinces, and the eight States, and the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact which is a binding compact between the eight States.

All levels of government in Canada and the Unites States share a responsibility to protect and conserve the waters in the Basin. However, the Ontario government was concerned that the U.S. states outside of the Basin may have an interest in gaining access to Great Lakes waters and erode the protective provisions already in place between the two countries.  Ontario’s laws already met most of the requirements of the Charter Annex agreements and their underlying objective throughout the negotiations was to seek similar legislative protection for the Basin from all Great Lakes jurisdictions.
           
The first draft of the Agreement was released in July 2004. Unfavorable public response to the agreement, as well as the advice of the Annex Advisory Panel saw Ontario go back to the table seeking a no diversions agreements and better conservation. A second draft was introduced to the public in June 2005. Continued meetings with the public, input from the First Nations and other stakeholders resulted eventually in the final Agreement being signed on December 13th, 2005 by the 8 Great Lake States, Ontario and Quebec (individually referred to as a Party). It provides strong new protections for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin waters.
           
NOTE: Twenty per cent of the world’s fresh water supply is contained in the Great Lakes Basin!
           
Each of the two Provinces and eight Great Lakes States must now pass legislation to put into place the new protections for the Basin. The legislation in all jurisdictions:

  1. is founded on the principles of ecosystem protection, a precautionary approach, climate change concerns and uncertainties, and the recognition of the impact of cumulative uses.
  2. bans diversions with rare but strictly regulated exceptions, such as for
    1. straddling communities;
    2. straddling counties; and
    3. intra-basin transfers.
  3. requires each Party to make publicly available all applications for withdrawals, diversions and consumptive use that are subject to management and regulation under this Agreement and to make publicly available the record of these decisions.
  4. strengthens water conservation and efficiency.  Within 2 years, each Party will develop its own water conservation and efficiency programs through regional collaboration. These programs will be assessed annually by each Party and every 5 years by the Regional Body. These assessments will be made available to the public.
  5. provides for the development of a collaborative strategy with other Parties to strengthen the scientific basis for sound water management and decision-making.
  6. undertakes to resolve any disputes between Parties under this Agreement in a conciliatory, co-operative and harmonious manner.
  7. provides a stronger voice for Ontario, its citizens and First Nations in the regional review of water-use proposals by other jurisdictions for exceptions to the prohibition against diversions.
  8. formally recognizes the authority of the federal governments and the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty, which remain unchanged.
January 26, 2006
Members of the Great Lakes Charter Annex Advisory Panel, of which Ontario Council is a member, met.  The Report

December 13, 2005
The Great Lakes Annex Implementing Agreement was signed by the Great Lakes Premiers and Governors.

 August 29, 2005
CFUW/Ontario Council submits comments on the second round of discussions on the Great Lakes Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact (Agreements to implement the Great Lakes Charter Annex).

December 6, 2004
CFUW Ontario Council invited to become a member of the Great Lakes Charter Annex Advisory Panel of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

October 15, 2004
CFUW Ontario Council submits comments on the July 19th, 2004 Draft Great Lakes Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

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