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ARCHIVED - Proposed Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

Framework

Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

THIS AGREEMENT IS EFFECTIVE THE X DAY OF XXXXXX, 2007

BETWEEN

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA (CANADA)

AND

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF ONTARIO (ONTARIO)

THE 2007 AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND ONTARIO RESPECTING THE GREAT LAKES BASIN ECOSYSTEM

WHEREAS Canada and Ontario (the Parties) affirm that this Agreement is guided by the shared vision of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem for present and future generations;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize human dependence on the Great Lakes Basin as it is the home to approximately one-third of Canada's population, contains eight of Canada's twenty largest cities, and the Great Lakes directly provide drinking water to over eight million residents of Ontario;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Great Lakes Basin plays a vital role in the physical, social and economic life of Canada, supporting almost 40 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product, 25 per cent of Canada's agricultural production, and more than 50 per cent of Canada's manufacturing activity;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Great Lakes contain approximately 20 per cent of the surface freshwater in the world, and that less than 1 per cent of the water is renewed annually by precipitation;

AND WHEREAS the Parties acknowledge that the Basin is ecologically important, supporting outstanding biological diversity and significant fisheries;

AND WHEREAS since 1971 the Parties have worked together through a series of Canada-Ontario Agreements Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem that have guided their efforts to improve the environmental quality of the Basin and contributed to meeting Canada's obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement;

AND WHEREAS the efforts of Basin residents, Aboriginal communities, municipalities, conservation authorities, agriculture, industrial and other business sectors, non-government organizations, academia and other members of the Great Lakes community have contributed to the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that progress has been made in the Basin in reducing the release of harmful pollutants, improving and protecting fish and wildlife habitat, and fostering a sense of stewardship throughout the region;

AND WHEREAS the Parties recognize that, despite the progress made, the Great Lakes are currently exhibiting symptoms of stress due to human activities undertaken within the Basin and elsewhere in the world;

AND WHEREAS the Parties reaffirm their commitment to work together in respect of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and in a manner consistent with the vision and purpose of this Agreement;

AND WHEREAS the Parties are committed to continuing to work together to restore, protect and conserve the environmental quality of the Basin for present and future generations;

NOW THEREFORE the Parties have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE I

DEFINITIONS

In this Agreement:

  1. "Agreement" means the Canada-Ontario 2007 Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, including the Annexes.

  2. "Basin" means the five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, to the Ontario and Quebec border, and includes the lands and surrounding waters which drain into them.

  3. "Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement" means the revised Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 as amended by Protocol in 1987.

  4. "Ecosystem" means the air, land, water and living organisms (including humans) and their interactions.

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE

  1. The purpose of this Agreement is to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem in order to assist in achieving the vision of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Basin Ecosystem for present and future generations.

  2. The Parties commit to continuing to work together in a cooperative, coordinated and integrated fashion, with each other and with others in the Basin, to achieve the vision.

  3. To achieve the vision, the Agreement:

    1. establishes principles which will guide the actions of the Parties;

    2. describes the development of Annexes to respond to existing or emerging environmental issues;

    3. sets in place administrative arrangements for the effective and efficient management of the Agreement;

    4. establishes common priorities, goals, and results for the restoration, protection and conservation of the Basin Ecosystem; and

    5. establishes a commitment to report on the progress being made in achieving the goals and results of the Agreement.

  4. By defining a vision for the Basin, specific goals and results, and the commitment to action by the Parties, this Agreement is intended to give momentum to wider efforts and to facilitate collaborative arrangements and collective action among all people and organizations with an interest in the Basin.

  5. Implementation of this Agreement will contribute to meeting Canada's obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

ARTICLE III

PRINCIPLES

  1. The following principles will direct and guide the actions of the Parties under the Agreement:

    1. Accountability - remain accountable to citizens by establishing clear goals, results and commitments for this Agreement and reporting regularly on progress in relation to environmental conditions.

    2. Adaptive Management - conduct activities with openness, continuous learning, innovation, and improvement ensures effective and efficient management of the Agreement.

    3. Collaboration and Cooperation - ensure that the decision-making process incorporates consideration of public and Great Lakes community opinions and advice, and provide the Great Lakes community with meaningful opportunities to consult, to advise and to participate directly in activities that support the Agreement.

    4. Communication - ensure effective methods are used to inform the public of the importance of the Great Lakes, the increasingly complex environmental challenges faced by the Great Lakes and ongoing efforts to overcome the challenges, and to encourage collaborative and individual action and stewardship to protect the Great Lakes.

    5. Conservation - promote the conservation of energy, water and other resources to sustain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the Basin Ecosystem.

    6. Ecosystem Approach - make decisions that recognize the interdependence of land, air, water and living organisms, including humans, and seek to maximize benefits to the entire Basin Ecosystem.

    7. Free Exchange of Information - data will be collected once, closest to the source, in the most efficient manner possible and will be shared.

    8. Net Gain - design human development and management actions to maximize environmental benefits rather than acting only to minimize environmental costs.

    9. Pollution Prevention - use processes, practices, materials, products, substances or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste and reduce the overall risk to the environment or human health.

    10. Pollution Reduction - continue to work towards the virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances and reductions in other types of pollution.

    11. Precautionary Principle - where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

    12. Rehabilitation - restore environmental quality where it has been degraded by human activity.

    13. Science-Based Management - provide advice to establish management priorities, policies and programs based on best available science, research and knowledge including traditional ecological knowledge.

    14. Sustainability - consider social, economic and environmental demands to balance the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

ARTICLE IV

ANNEXES

  1. The Parties agree to implement Annexes that focus on environmental issues that are a priority for the Parties and will benefit from co-operative and coordinated action.

  2. Each Annex will specify:

    1. goals for the Basin Ecosystem specific to the subject of the Annex, and that, in the opinion of the Parties, are reasonable and desirable to achieve over the duration of the Annex;

    2. results that the Parties will pursue in order to contribute towards the achievement of the stated goals; and

    3. commitments each of the Parties will deliver jointly or separately over the duration of the Annex in order to contribute to the achievement of the stated goals and results.

  3. Annexes may be developed at any time, and will come into force upon signing by the Parties. Annexes will remain in force until the expiry of this Agreement, unless an earlier expiry date is specified in the Annex. Annexes may be terminated by either Party giving the other at least three months written notice. If the Parties terminate the Agreement, Annexes are terminated as well. The Parties commit to conducting public consultations when developing or terminating Annexes.

  4. Annexes may be amended by the Parties. The Parties commit to conducting public consultations when amending Annexes. An amendment will be confirmed by an exchange of letters by the Parties setting out the amendment and its effective date.

  5. If either Party is unable to fulfill its obligations, as specified within an Annex, a minimum of six months prior, written notice must be provided to the other Party.

ARTICLE V

RESOURCES

The Parties commit to providing the resources needed to implement the Agreement and the Annexes pursuant to it, subject to there being an appropriation for such purposes in Parliament or the Legislature, as the case may be, in the relevant fiscal year. The Parties agree to create opportunities for others to contribute to achieving the vision of the Agreement.

ARTICLE VI

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

  1. The management of the Agreement will be entrusted to a Management Committee. The Committee will consist of Regional Director General and Assistant Deputy Minister level representatives from all departments, ministries and agencies of the Parties who are participants in any one or more of the Annexes. The Committee will be co-chaired by Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
  2. The Management Committee will be responsible for:

    1. setting priorities and establishing strategies as necessary to ensure the delivery of the goals, results and commitments of the Agreement;

    2. evaluating annual assessments of the Agreement against goals, results and commitments outlined in the Annexes, and recommending amendments or other action as appropriate;

    3. conducting ongoing evaluations of the administration and implementation of the Agreement as well as promoting any actions needed for continuous improvement;

    4. facilitating the free exchange of information pertaining to the Agreement between departments, ministries and agencies of the Parties to ensure the effective coordination of actions;

    5. addressing the implications of changes or adjustments to government policy, programs or resourcing that may affect the ability of the Parties to meet the commitments set out in the Agreement;

    6. overseeing the development and amendment of Annexes, as necessary;

    7. reporting to the public on progress in a manner that is meaningful, timely, reliable and in plain language;

    8. overseeing the delivery of other communications activities in a consistent, effective and cooperative fashion.

    9. pursuing opportunities for engagement and cooperation with the Great Lakes community; and

    10. developing common positions and joint action plans for representing Canadian interests and engaging in cooperative initiatives with United States agencies and the International Joint Commission.

ARTICLE VII

ANNEX IMPLEMENTATION

  1. The implementation of the goals, results and commitments will be entrusted to an Annex Implementation Committee. The Committee will include a co-chair from Environment Canada and co-chair from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the leads of each Annex, as well as Director-Managerial level representatives from all departments, ministries, and agencies of the Parties who are responsible for leading or supporting the delivery of one or more commitments in the Annexes and/or the communications strategy.

  2. The Annex Implementation Committee will be responsible for:

    1. coordinating and managing the implementation actions of the Parties to ensure effective, efficient and timely implementation and delivery of Agreement goals, results and commitments;

    2. seeking out opportunities for enhanced cooperation, collaboration and integration of activity between the Parties, the Great Lakes community and the public to deliver the goals, results and commitments of the Agreement;

    3. recommending a course of action to the Management Committee when more authority or policy direction is required, to effectively deliver on the goals, results and commitments of the Agreement;

    4. coordinating the internal annual assessment of the Agreement against the goals, results, and commitments and presenting it to the Management Committee for review along with any required recommendations relating to implementation; and

    5. developing, reviewing and ensuring the accuracy and value to the Parties, the Great Lakes community and the public of communications products.

  3. To manage the implementation of each Annex, the Parties will establish federal/provincial Annex Leads and Annex Teams to:

    1. oversee Annex-specific coordination, cooperation and integration of activities, including the establishment of issues teams as needed;

    2. coordinate implementation of multi-year work plans and undertake an annual assessment of work plan progress for review and approval by the Annex Implementation Committee. The work plans will describe the activities and deliverables of each contributing agency in relation to the specific results and commitments articulated within each Annex. In preparing work plans, every effort will be made to ensure a coordinated and cooperative approach by maximizing the integration of activities of contributing departments, ministries and agencies as well as those of members of the Great Lakes community such as conservation authorities, municipalities and non-government organizations;

    3. recommend a course of action to the Annex Implementation Committee when more authority or policy direction are required to effectively deliver the objectives of the Agreement; and

    4. liaise with other departments, ministries and agencies to ensure that they are aware of the goals, priorities and strategies of the Agreement, and to the maximum extent, incorporate them into agency planning.

ARTICLE VIII

COMMUNICATIONS

The Parties agree to prepare a joint communications strategy in respect of the implementation of this Agreement. The strategy will provide for effective, relevant and timely communication with the public on the goals, results, commitments and the work undertaken pursuant to the Agreement.

ARTICLE IX

COMMITMENT TO NOTIFY

Canada will consult with Ontario regarding any changes to the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement or on any other international activities that may affect this Agreement. Similarly, Ontario will consult with Canada over the initiation of programs and agreements with other provinces or states that may affect this Agreement.

ARTICLE X

REVIEWING THE AGREEMENT

  1. The Parties will conduct a comprehensive review of this Agreement to be completed by November 27, 2009. The Parties will consult with the public during the review. The Parties will make public the findings and outcomes of the review prior to the expiry of the Agreement.

  2. In conducting the review referred to in clause 1 above, the Parties agree to consider the recommendations and results of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement review.

ARTICLE XI

AMENDING THE AGREEMENT

  1. The Agreement may be amended by the Parties at any time. The Parties commit to conducting public consultations when amending the Agreement. An amendment will be confirmed by an exchange of letters by the Parties setting out the amendment and its effective date.

  2. An amendment to the Agreement may extend the term of the Agreement provided that the extended term is consistent with the requirements of section 9 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

ARTICLE XII

DISPUTE AVOIDANCE

  1. The Parties are committed to working collaboratively to avoid and resolve any dispute concerning the management of the Agreement and the performance of obligations set out in the Annexes.

  2. In the event of a dispute under this Agreement, either Party may provide notice in writing of the matter in dispute together with related information and documentation. Within 60 days of a notice, the Parties will meet to discuss the dispute in a cooperative, collaborative manner. If the dispute is not resolved within 120 days of the meeting, or such longer period as the Parties may agree, the Parties may jointly retain a third party to provide fact finding advice for mediation in connection with the resolution of the dispute.

ARTICLE XIII

ENTRY INTO FORCE

This Agreement will enter into force on XXXXX X, 2007, and will remain in force until March 31, 2010. The Agreement may be terminated earlier by either Party giving the other at least six months written notice.

ARTICLE XIV

COMPLIANCE WITH LAW

  1. Nothing in this Agreement alters the legislative or other authority of the Parties with respect to the exercise of their legislative or other authorities under the Constitution of Canada.

  2. The Parties acknowledge that the obligations in this Agreement are subject to the applicable laws of Canada and Ontario.

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