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Extension of the 2007-2010 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

The 2007-2010 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA), will expire on March 31, 2010. It is the Government of Canada's intention to extend the Agreement by one year, to end on March 31, 2011. The purpose of the extension is to allow for continued collaboration and coordinated work on Great Lakes programs, while negotiations proceed with amending the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). Negotiations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States to amend the international agreement are currently underway.

The Government of Canada has engaged Ontario in delivering on GLWQA commitments through the COA since 1971, and has worked cooperatively with the province to successfully implement six consecutive federal-provincial agreements. Significant progress has been made to date toward restoring the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem through the COA. Some of these successes include:

  • In 2009, a total of $168.45 million in federal funding was announced in support of eight wastewater projects that will result in water quality improvements in Ontario and primarily in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence watershed.
  • $30M has been committed to the remediation of Randle Reef contaminated sediments in Hamilton Harbour.
  • Between August and November 2008, sediment remediation efforts resulted in the excavation and safe disposal of approximately 1,000 cubic meters of contaminated sediment and soil from the City of Windsor's Turkey Creek in the Detroit River Area of Concern.
  • Priority remedial actions to improve water quality in Jackfish Bay, Lake Superior, have been completed, changing its designation from an Area of Concern to an Area in Recovery.

Under an extended agreement, Environment Canada will continue to work collaboratively towards restoring and sustaining the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem, and will focus on a number of priority areas for Great Lakes activities during the extension year. These priorities will include the continued development and implementation of the Lake Ontario Biodiversity Strategy, Lake Erie Nutrient Management Plan, Lake Huron Southeast Shores Initiative, and the Lake Superior Alien Invasive Species Strategy.

Discussions on implications for a renewed COA will proceed concurrently with the negotiation of the GLWQA over the next several months, and a renewed COA will be drafted as soon as possible following the signing of an amended GLWQA.

Should you have any comments on the amendment of COA for a one-year extension, please submit them to the Great Lakes Environment Office, Environment Canada at by March 8, 2010.

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