The draft Strategy should include stricter fish consumption advisory that will protect the health of people in the Great Lakes basin to reflect stringent levels of PFOS concentration in fish adopted by the Great Lakes Consortium for Fish Consumption Advisories Best Practice for PFOS Guidelines.
The Government of Ontario is proposing Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. It is unacceptable that key environmental protection and legislation that protects the public is under attack.
Schedule 5 of Bill 66 would repeal the Toxics Reduction Act and two regulations. The purpose of the TRA is to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances and informing Ontarians about toxic substances.
Schedule 10 of this Bill would enable municipalities to simply pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” under the Planning Act, to exempt local development from the application of key components of several important provincial laws, plans and policies, including the:
• Clean Water Act, 2006, Section 39
• Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, Section 20
• Greenbelt Act, 2005, Section 7
• Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, Section 6, and
• Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2003, Section 7
The undersigned members of the Alliance are commenting on the proposed Partnering in Phosphorus Control: Achieving Phosphorus Reductions in Lake Erie from Canadian Sources (“Draft Action Plan”) to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Erie, in order to achieve the 40 per cent phosphorus reduction target. The Draft Action Plan, once finalized, will deliver on a number of nutrient commitments made by the federal and/or provincial governments including:
On Wednesday May 17, Linda Heron (Chair & Chief Executive Officer) and Samantha Restoule (Board of Directors) had the pleasure of representing the Ontario Rivers Alliance at the People’s Great Lakes Summit (the Summit), hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in Toronto, ON.
The Summit is part of CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes program. The objective of the Summit was to bring together a broad range of individuals and organizations working to protect and restore our waters and wetlands across the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence River Basin, and to connect, share ideas, strategize about Ontario public policy priorities, and set plans for collective action. Continue reading
The 2015 western Lake Erie algal bloom was the ‘most severe recorded this century’ according to a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. Reducing harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie will require a combination of improved data and monitoring, the implementation of innovative practices on the ground, and stronger community engagement– all requiring additional financial resources. Continue reading
A joint submission to the Great Lakes Executive Committee:
“The Alliance is extremely disappointed to see that, unlike the prior version of the proposed legislation, Bill 66 contains an exemptions provision. The sudden appearance of a broad discretionary power to prescribe exemptions from the legislation is very disconcerting.” Continue reading
The Great Lakes Protection Act Alliance is supportive of Bill 66, the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act. The Alliance has been engaged in all consultations that have been conducted regarding prior versions of the proposed legislation (specifically, Bill 100 introduced June 2012 and Bill 6 introduced February 2013) that died on the order paper. The Alliance believes that the proposed legislation introduces important new legal and policy tools to help safeguard, restore and protect Ontario’s portion of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin.
The Great Lakes are more than an alluring landscape – they are also a source of food and economic growth. Climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and pollution now threaten to degrade that resource. We cannot afford to let that happen for both the sake of our economy and health.
The Great Lakes economy, which supports 56 million jobs and a GDP of $5.1 trillion, could be negatively impacted by a decline in water quality. In Ontario, the Great Lakes commercial and recreational fishing industries contribute about $234 million and $600 million annually to Ontario’s economy respectively. Over 73 million tourists visited Ontario in 2010, spending over $12.3 billion.
The health of 40 million people who live in the Great Lakes basin is also tied to the health of the Lakes. Over 70 per cent of Ontario residents, or three out of four residents3, get their drinking water from the Lakes, and yet toxic chemicals and other pollutants are building up in the water. Some of these harmful chemicals are toxic and could have long-term, chronic human health effects.
Excerpt: “ORA supports the clarity in Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy that the goal that appeared in draft form as “protecting water” has been refined to “protecting water for human and ecological health” (p.30). Our concern is that the cumulative impact of various decisions that impact the waters in our rivers and streams (as evidenced by the example of Wabagishik Lake above) must be addressed urgently. The focus on improving wetlands, beaches and coastal areas, without also ensuring the rivers and streams feeding these features are being protected and improved as well, will not enable the vision of the proposed Act to be realized.
ORA recommends that, should Bill 6 be enacted, the Province immediately place a moratorium on all hydroelectric approvals within the Basin, until such time as their well-documented and substantial impacts on the health of the Great Lakes can be effectively assessed and addressed. The 40 year FIT contracts awarded to hydroelectric projects would ensure a long and lasting impact that could be very costly to stop or reverse once approved.” Continue reading