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Environment Canada Success Stories

Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, is visiting Ontario communities to discuss Environment Canada initiatives that are vital to the well-being of all Canadians.   

In September 2012, an enhanced Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed. It renewed and reinforced ongoing efforts to deal with harmful algae, toxic chemicals and discharges from vessels using the lakes. It also included new provisions to address issues such as aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change.

The new Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative provides $16 million over four years to address the re-emergence of toxic and nuisance algae caused by excessive phosphorous discharges to the lakes. This initiative will largely focus on Lake Erie where the impact of algae is greatest, but it will also support a knowledge-based strategy that can be used in other lakes.

The Government of Canada is contributing $46.3 million towards cleaning up Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour, the largest and most severely contaminated site within the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. In addition, over the next four years, $29 million will be invested in projects to help restore the ecological health of Lake Simcoe and South-Eastern Georgian Bay and improve water quality for the residents and wildlife of the region.

The Government of Canada’s internationally recognized Chemicals Management Plan continues to play a crucial role in protecting water quality. Under this plan, controls limit toxic chemicals such as Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are flame retardants. The Chemicals Management Plan prohibits their use and prevents them from getting into fresh water.

In April 2012, the Government of Canada proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles and in November the same was done for 2017 and later model year light-duty vehicles.

In September 2012, the Government of Canada released final regulations to reduce emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector making Canada the first country in the world to ban new coal plants that use traditional technology.

We should also note that Canada is now halfway to achieving its Copenhagen target of 17 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020. 

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