Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

The People’s Great Lakes Summit

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.

The Summit participants were asked to write down issues and threats surrounding the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence Basin, as well as ideas of what they’d like to see in terms of public policy solutions. Some of the issues discussed include stormwater runoff, province-wide public alerts to notify of wastewater bypasses, plastic pollution, road salt, endocrine disrupters, watershed planning, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaty rights, and community outreach. Steered by the Healthy Great Lakes Advisory Committee, CELA will select the most feasible priorities to move forward within the next 12 months.  There will be a second Great Lakes Summit in fall 2017 to review progress and update strategies as needed.

Some other groups represented at the Summit include Freshwater Future Canada, WWF-Canada, Environmental Defence, Georgian Bay Association, Ontario Métis Nation, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Green Communities Canada, CFUW Ontario Council, Environment Hamilton, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and Blue Fish Canada.

It was a great opportunity to network, build relationships, and share ideas with others who are working to Protect, Conserve, and Restore Healthy River Ecosystems.

You can find more information on CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes initiative here.