Skip to main content
Start of content

ENVI Committee Report

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Dr. Harold Albrecht, M.P.
Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Colleague,

On behalf of the Government of Canada, we would like to thank the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (the Committee) for its study and subsequent report, Study on Great Lakes Water Quality, released June 2, 2014.

We are pleased to receive the Committee’s recommendations concerning the restoration and protection of the water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Lakes.

Our Government agrees with the nine recommendations put forth in the Committee’s report, and notes that the recommendations are consistent with the scope and intent of the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012 (GLWQA, 2012), which amended the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada United States, the draft Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, expected to be finalized in 2014, the recently announced National Conservation Plan, and other federal programs and activities supporting the restoration and protection of the water quality and aquatic ecosystem health of the Great Lakes.

Our Government is dedicated to working with partners towards a healthy and sustainable Great Lakes ecosystem. Efforts underway to improve Great Lakes water quality will also support the priorities of the National Conservation Plan, which encourages community and individual action to safeguard water and land around them. We would like to take this opportunity to inform the Committee of the many initiatives and programs being undertaken by the Government of Canada that address each of the recommendations through the attached, “Government of Canada Response to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s Study on Great Lakes Water Quality.”

Once again, we would like to thank the Committee for its Study on Great Lakes Water Quality, and all those who participated as witnesses and provided input to the study.


The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.


Government of Canada’s Responses to the Committee Report Recommendations

Recommendation 1 – “The Committee recommends that all levels of government continue to work together to share information on best practices to ensure that we all have the best resources and research to address water quality in our Great Lakes.”

Under the GLWQA, 2012, the governments of Canada and the United States established the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) to facilitate all levels of government working together to share information and best practices in order to support the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. The GLEC brings together representatives of Federal Governments, including 14 Canadian federal departments and agencies, State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, and other local public agencies, as well as observers from non-governmental organizations, members of the interested public, and binational and international governmental organizations, which play key roles in the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. These binational and international governmental organizations include: the International Joint Commission (established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to prevent and settle disputes over the boundary waters located along the Canada-United States border, and with respect to the GLWQA, 2012 provides advice to governments, assesses progress and provides public outreach and education on Great Lakes water quality); the Great Lakes Commission (established by the Great Lakes Basin Compact in 1955 to promote the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use, and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin); and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (established by the 1955 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries to: formulate a coordinated fishery research program between the United States and Canada; make recommendations to governments; formulate and implement a program to control the invasive, noxious sea lamprey in the Great Lakes; and establish “working arrangements” among the fishery management agencies, including provincial, state, tribal, and federal authorities).

The GLEC meets twice per year and provides a forum for the coordination of efforts under each of the specific issues addressed to achieve the objectives of the GLWQA, 2012 including Areas of Concern, Lakewide Management, Chemicals of Mutual Concern, Nutrients, Discharges from Vessels, Aquatic Invasive Species, Habitat and Species, Groundwater, Climate Change Impacts, and Science.

Recognizing the need to share information and best practices and to engage governments at all levels, non-government organizations, and the public in the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes, Canada and the United States have committed to new opportunities for enhanced engagement throughout the Agreement.

Recommendation 2 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government continue to support remediation with the goal of delisting the Great Lakes Areas of Concern.”

The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners to achieve the remediation and delisting of the Canadian Areas of Concern designated under the 1987 amendment to the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States and integrated into the GLWQA, 2012.

Areas of Concern are specific locations, such as rivers, harbours and embayments where water quality and ecosystem health have been severely degraded by human activity at the local level resulting in problems that include beach closures, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, negative effects on fish and wildlife populations, restrictions on fish consumption and effects on drinking water.

Of the 43 Areas of Concern designated by Canada and the United States, 12 are in Canada, 26 in the United States and five shared between the two countries. Areas of Concern vary widely in size and the nature of the problem.

The remediation process has involved significant scientific investment by the Government of Canada and our partners to define and characterize the nature, extent and causes of the environmental degradation in each Area of Concern, to identify required actions for environmental remediation, and to confirm that the remedial measures are effective in restoring environmental quality.

In each Canadian Area of Concern, the local community has been engaged in the development of a comprehensive Remedial Action Plan, which documents the remedial measures to be undertaken and identifies the parties responsible for implementation. These parties may include federal, provincial or municipal governments, industry, non-governmental organizations and, in some cases, individual Canadians.

The Government of Canada’s commitment to restoring Areas of Concern is supported by funding of $8 million per year through the Great Lakes Action Plan, which was made permanent in 2010, and a further $48.9 million through the Clean Water Action Plan to address the remediation of contaminated sediments from past industrial operations and other activities.

Government of Canada funding over the years has supported the completion of all required remedial actions in five of 17 Canadian Areas of Concern (Collingwood Harbour, Severn Sound, Wheatley Harbour, Spanish Harbour, and Jackfish Bay) and supported ongoing work to remediate the remaining 12 Canadian Areas of Concern. To date, over 900 restoration projects have been completed by Environment Canada and community partners to address the necessary remedial measures identified for the Areas of Concern. These projects have enhanced water quality, restored fish and wildlife populations and habitats, improved management of municipal waste waters, investigated and developed options to manage contaminated sediments, and served to remediate environmental quality at the local scale, leading us ever closer to completing all required remedial measures in the Areas of Concern.

The draft COA projects that Canada and Ontario working together will complete all required remedial actions in a further five Areas of Concern (Nipigon Bay, Peninsula Harbour, Niagara River, Bay of Quinte, and St. Lawrence River (Cornwall)) by 2019.

All necessary contaminated sediment management projects have been completed in the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall), Niagara River, Detroit River, Bay of Quinte, and Peninsula Harbour Areas of Concern. Under the draft COA, Canada and Ontario are committed to continuing to make progress in developing and implementing sediment management strategies to address contaminated sediments in Thunder Bay, St. Marys River, St. Clair River, Hamilton Harbour, and Port Hope Areas of Concern.

The cleanup of Randle Reef in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern, which is the largest Canadian contaminated sediment site in the Great Lakes, is a Government of Canada priority. This project will improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat; contribute to de-listing the Harbour as an Area of Concern; provide economic benefits to the local community; and generate economic returns through the creation of valuable port lands. Project partners are committed to starting construction as quickly as possible.

Efforts to restore ecosystems in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern may benefit from initiatives recently announced under the National Conservation Plan (NCP). Many NCP initiatives, including support for voluntary conservation and restoration actions, are geared toward expanding opportunities for Canadians to take practical actions to safeguard the land and water around them.

Recommendation 3 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government continue to take action to prevent Asian carp from entering our Great Lakes.”

The Government of Canada agrees with the Committee’s recommendation and is taking coordinated, science-based actions to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes and plans to continue these actions. In 2012, the Government provided new federal funding of $15 million over five years for an Asian Carp Program to protect Canadian waters from Asian carps by preventing their introduction and delivering early warning and response planning to ensure that prevention is successful. Along with Asian carp, the Government of Canada continues its efforts to protect the lakes from all aquatic invasive species, such as the continued investment in the successful binational sea lamprey control program, which is critical to protection of the valuable commercial, recreational, and aboriginal fisheries in the Great Lakes.

Coordination and collaboration with international and provincial partners are crucial to meeting the challenge of Asian carp. During 2012, Fisheries and Oceans Canada officially signed on as members of the United States Whitehouse-led Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee. The GLWQA, 2012 includes a new focus on Aquatic Invasive Species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of Ontario are working under the GLWQA, 2012 as an additional avenue to coordinate binational response efforts in workshops and planning exercises, including targeting Asian carps. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has collaborated with the Province of Ontario to develop joint early detection programs and response protocols that ensure coordinated efforts to prevent Asian carps in the Great Lakes. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed important partnerships with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and with the Invasive Species Centre to advance outreach and education efforts to assist in public engagement in early detection of Asian carps.

In another example of collaboration, Fisheries and Oceans Canada facilitated an information session with the United States Army Corps of Engineers for Canadian stakeholders and agencies in Toronto during 2014. The session allowed for the presentation of the Army Corps reports to the United States Congress outlining alternatives to prevent Asian carps and other invasive species from transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. The report noted that any impacts to Canada, even relatively minor ones, might require coordination with Canada. To date, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been providing input and feedback on the alternatives through their membership in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada led a state-of-the-science evaluation of the risks posed by Asian carps to provide scientifically defensible, peer-reviewed advice for determining best courses of action by both countries to reduce the probability of introduction and establishment of these species into the Great Lakes. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is continuing this work with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the United States and is currently assessing the ecological risk of Grass and Black carps to the Great Lakes. Assessments of the socio-economic impacts of these Asian carps are also underway.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is delivering science-based early detection surveys of high-risk locations for Asian carps. In close coordination with the Province of Ontario and the United States, 22 sites were established for lakes Huron and Erie; site development is underway in summer of 2014 for lakes Superior and Ontario. During 2013, the program had two separate captures of live Grass Carp, both near Dunnville, Ontario in the Grand River, a tributary to Lake Erie. The findings initiated coordinated responses by both Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Both Canadian specimens were confirmed to be sterile, leading to the conclusion that they were likely strays from the United States, where sterile Grass Carp are released but where there is evidence of possible reproduction.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is carrying out new scientific research into ways to prevent invasion of Asian carps, including testing new methods of controlling the movements of live fish using sound and water pressure techniques. The Asian Carp Program scientists are also researching how potential fish invaders move through canals, to inform early warning and control techniques for canal systems. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has expanded its science capacity with a new Asian Carp laboratory to support the monitoring and research programs, including the capacity to test for sterility, in Burlington, Ontario at the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters. A second Fisheries and Oceans Canada laboratory in Winnipeg was enhanced to conduct eDNA analyses to support early warning.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is drafting new national Aquatic Invasive Species regulations under the Fisheries Act, in consultation with provincial/territorial governments and stakeholders. These proposed new regulations will allow for high risk species, such as Asian carps, to be prohibited from import, transport, and possession and will also include authorities related to control and eradication. As a next step, the regulatory proposal will be published in the Canada Gazette for broader stakeholder consultation.

Recommendation 4 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government continue to support scientific research to improve our understanding of Great Lakes water quality issues.”

The Government of Canada undertakes science, research and monitoring activities to support effective decision making for the restoration and protection of Great Lakes water quality.

Under the GLWQA, 2012, Canada and the United States have agreed to develop and implement research and monitoring programs to support the commitments made within the Agreement and agreed to identifying and updating science priorities. Environment Canada maintains water, air and wildlife research and monitoring activities in the Great Lakes to identify emerging issues, evaluate the effectiveness of current remediation, conservation and protection strategies, assess and report to the public on the state of the Great Lakes ecosystem and progress in relation to the achievement of the GLWQA, 2012 objectives. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also delivers science that contributes to the understanding of the state of the ecosystem and progress toward a range of the GLWQA, 2012 objectives, with specific focus on aquatic invasive species and habitat and species in the Great Lakes.

Science to help understand and address the growing threat of toxic and nuisance algae in the Great Lakes is a key priority for the Government of Canada. The GLWQA, 2012 commits Canada and the United States to develop new targets for the reduction of phosphorus discharges to the Great Lakes as a means of controlling algae development. A priority has been placed on Lake Erie where the toxic and nuisance algae problem is most severe. To support this work the Government of Canada launched the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative ($16 million announced in Budget 2011). Under the initiative monitoring is being conducted to determine the contribution of phosphorus to Lake Erie from Canadian sources, research is being conducted to understand the factors which contribute to excessive algae development in the lake, and modeling is being conducted to predict the levels of phosphorus reductions which will be required to reduce or eliminate the excessive algae development problem. This new science will support the negotiation of binational phosphorus reduction targets and the development of phosphorus reduction strategies and action plans. In addition to the work in Lake Erie, the Government of Canada announced in 2013 $29 million for the Lake Simcoe / South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund, which supports science to improve information for decision making. This Fund is supporting projects that will aid in understanding the changing conditions in Georgian Bay, help identify sources of phosphorus, and determine the factors contributing to excessive algae growth. This new science will help guide the development and implementation of measures to reduce phosphorus inputs from urban and rural sources.

Recommendation 5 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government consider ways to conserve and remediate rural and urban wetlands in the Great Lakes watershed which will improve water quality, mitigate flooding, and conserve biodiversity.”

Canada is working with partners towards the conservation and remediation of wetlands in the Great Lakes watershed, which provide key ecosystem functions in the basin. Under the GLWQA, 2012, Canada and the United States are working with Ontario and Great Lakes states, non-governmental organizations and others to complete Biodiversity Conservation Strategies for each of the Great Lakes. These Strategies will assess the status and threats to biodiversity; recommend approaches for habitat and species conservation and restoration; promote coordination and cooperative implementation of actions; and provide a framework for measuring, managing and reporting on biodiversity conservation efforts. In addition, an objective of the Lake Simcoe / South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund is to support aquatic habitat and species conservation. This Fund will support projects assessing the health of aquatic habitat and wetlands, as well as creating or restoring aquatic habitat to improve aquatic health and reduce nutrient loadings to Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. The conservation and restoration of wetlands in the Great Lakes Basin provides valuable fish and wildlife habitat and improves water quality.

The National Conservation Plan, launched on May 15, 2014, provides a national vision to advance conservation and restoration efforts across the country. Under the Plan, $50 million over five years (2014-2019) has been allocated for a new fund, administered by Environment Canada, to support concrete on-the-ground actions to restore drained, degraded or lost wetlands. Program design and planning is underway with a range of traditional wetland partners and new stakeholders including provinces, territories, non-government organizations, Aboriginal organizations, key industry representatives, and community watershed advisory groups. Project selection will consider regional priorities, and given the size and significance of the Great Lakes watershed, it is anticipated that some projects contributing to the conservation of wetlands in this watershed will be submitted for funding consideration in support of this recommendation.

Recommendation 6 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government continue to actively participate in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the International Joint Commission and continue to support them in working toward their objectives.”

The Government of Canada has a long history of working with the Government of the United States on transboundary water issues. The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 was signed to provide the principles and mechanisms to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of transboundary waters shared by Canada and the United States. Pursuant to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed by Canada and the United States in 1972, replaced in 1978, and further amended in 1983 and 1987, to address a wide range of water quality issues facing the Great Lakes.

On September 7, 2012, Canada and the United States signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012 (GLWQA, 2012), which amended the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to ensure that it would continue to be an effective mechanism for guiding binational restoration efforts. The GLWQA, 2012 entered into force on February 12, 2013.

Responsibility for implementation of the GLWQA, 2012 rests with the Governments of Canada and the United States. Responsibility for coordinating efforts to implement the GLWQA, 2012 is assigned to Environment Canada, on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, on behalf of the Government of the United States. Environment Canada delivers those efforts in close collaboration with its federal partners including Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, as well as other federal departments and agencies. Further, a series of Canada-Ontario Agreements beginning in 1971 have coordinated federal and provincial actions to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The most recent draft COA, expected to be finalized in 2014, will advance federal program objectives, including those referenced in this report, by leveraging complementary efforts by Ontario and will support Canada’s commitments under the GLWQA, 2012.

Established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the International Joint Commission (the Commission) is mandated to prevent and resolve disputes, primarily those concerning water quantity and quality along the boundary between Canada and the United States. In addition to its duties under the Boundary Waters Treaty, the Commission has also been accorded significant duties to support the Canadian and United States Governments with the implementation of the GLWQA, 2012, including the assessment of progress and the identification of new and emerging issues. As stipulated in the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has overall responsibility for the Commission, including supporting its operations and providing references, which are government requests for the Commission to study and recommend solutions to transboundary issues.

Under the GLWQA, 2012, the governments of Canada and the United States have explicitly recognized the importance of working closely with the International Joint Commission and with other binational and international governmental organizations with mandates related to addressing Great Lakes water quality issues. One of the innovations of the GLWQA, 2012 is to bring together representatives of the governments of Canada and the United States and the three binational Commissions that have specific responsibilities to undertake or support activities to restore and protect the Great Lakes, which includes the International Joint Commission, the Great Lakes Commission, and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. These meetings with the Commissions facilitate information sharing, discussion of common priorities and emerging issues, and coordination of actions between the Commissions and the two governments. This close collaboration maximizes efficiencies and effectiveness in support of Great Lakes protection and restoration.

Recommendation 7 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government continue to encourage mitigation and adaptation measures to address Great Lakes water quality challenges by working with municipalities, provinces, territories, First Nations and other groups, to monitor and improve water quality in the Great Lakes.”

Through the GLWQA, 2012, Canada has committed to working with Ontario, municipalities, First Nations and Métis and other groups in Canada, as well as the United States, to identify and quantify climate change impacts on Great Lakes water quality. Under the draft COA, Canada has committed to work cooperatively with Ontario to assess existing and future climate vulnerabilities to inform adaptive management actions and provide climate change information to the Great Lakes community, including decision-makers and resource managers, as a means of promoting mitigation and adaptation actions across jurisdictions.

More broadly, the Government of Canada is committed to tackling climate change domestically through a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and investments to facilitate transition to a clean energy economy. Internationally, the Government is working toward a comprehensive post 2020 global climate change agreement. The Government of Canada is also taking important steps to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate.

Since 2006, the Government has announced approximately $235 million in domestic adaptation initiatives to improve our understanding of climate change and help Canadians plan for climate impacts. These funds have encouraged and supported provinces, territories, municipalities, and professional organizations to take action to adapt to climate change; and have provided a strong foundation through increased knowledge, regional capacity building, and risk management tools for planners and engineers. In addition, these funds have supported the continuation and expansion of federal programs to improve our understanding of climate change and to help Canadians prepare for climate-related impacts. For example:

  • Environment Canada continues to provide updated information about observed and projected changes in climate, as well as climate change scenarios;
  • Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has established a national Adaptation Platform, through which participants have collaborated to advance adaptation in several areas such as coastal management and economics; NRCan also led the development of a Government of Canada national-scale science assessment of impacts and adaptation, which was published in June 2014;
  • The Standards Council of Canada is working to ensure that building codes and standards are effective in addressing climate-related risks to northern infrastructure design, planning, and management;
  • Transport Canada is working to develop and evaluate tools, technologies, and best practices to enhance the resilience of existing and future northern transportation infrastructure and operations to climate change;
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada is conducting scientific assessments of the climate change risks and vulnerabilities in four large basins, including the Great Lakes Basin, to support the development of adaptation tools and strategies that will enable the integration of climate change considerations into the delivery of the Department’s programs and policies;
  • Parks Canada Agency is working with partners to reduce the potential impacts of climate-driven changes on ecological integrity and traditional lifestyles in Canada’s Arctic national parks by mapping and developing ecological inventories, and monitoring select northern national parks;
  • Health Canada is expanding its Heat Alert and Response Systems program, disseminating heat and health related guidelines and information, and supporting the development of health adaptation plans and information tools in northern First Nations and Inuit communities;
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is providing the public health system with information and tools to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of disease;
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is extending its funding program to support Aboriginal and northern communities in assessing the risks associated with climate change and developing adaptation plans to address them.

Recommendation 8 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government consider ways to address non-point source pollution in the Great Lakes watershed in collaboration with all levels of government, industry, and stakeholders, especially the agricultural community.”

The Government of Canada is taking action related to reducing excessive phosphorus loadings from urban, industrial and agricultural non-point sources, which are causing toxic and nuisance algal problems in the Great Lakes.

As one of the key elements of the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative, Environment Canada is leading an evaluation of policy options and best practices for reducing phosphorus discharges from both non-point and point sources to support decision making by all levels of government and the private sector for the control of toxic and nuisance algae levels in the Great Lakes. Environment Canada is engaging other federal departments, Ontario ministries, municipalities, the private sector, non-government organizations, and the public to identify and assess existing policies and practices that contribute to excess phosphorus entering Lake Erie, and the effectiveness of current controls. This will be supplemented by identification of best practices internationally for phosphorus management, including an assessment of relative costs and benefits, an analysis of information requirements to inform policy decision making, and policy options for reducing phosphorus loadings to Lake Erie. These policy options will be applicable to the other Great Lakes, as well as other parts of Canada.

Through the Lake Simcoe / South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-up Fund, and building on the success of the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund, the Government of Canada is supporting community-based projects that demonstrate on-the-ground actions to reduce phosphorus discharges from urban and rural sources, protect and create aquatic habitat, and enhance research and monitoring for decision making. Together these Funds have leveraged $51.2 million and supported 186 projects by provincial and municipal governments, Conservation Authorities, academia, First Nations, and non-governmental organizations and citizens. A complete list of these projects is available at

In April 2003, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) launched a national Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) initiative, inspired by a pilot project created by Ontario farmers in 1993 to improve the environmental sustainability of agricultural production. Under Growing Forward 2 (GF2), AAFC continues to collaborate with the Province of Ontario on a cost-shared basis to work with producers to assess the environmental risks and benefits on their farm, provide them with tools to identify practices, and develop an action plan that can reduce environmental risks on their farm. These practices include soil nutrient testing, minimizing nutrient applications, and planting buffer strips along waterways. All of these practices reduce the loss of nutrients into the Great Lakes and its tributaries.

Cost-shared incentives under GF2 are available to support the implementation of these practices, further accelerating their adoption. Implemented across southern Ontario, these initiatives have reduced the losses of phosphorus and nitrogen. Since 2003, thousands of Ontario farmers have participated in the EFP program in order to take an active role in environmental stewardship on their farms. The success of the program is evidenced by the high level of satisfaction reported by farmers who have attended EFP workshops. In addition, Statistics Canada reports that almost all Ontario farmers with a formal EFP have fully or partially implemented their action plan.

AAFC also undertakes scientific research to investigate strategies to manage nitrogen, phosphorus, and manure in pursuit of improved agricultural practices to reduce nutrient losses. This research and associated technology transfer is an important part of AAFC’s contribution to the federal government’s initiatives related to the GLWQA, 2012 and draft COA.

Recommendation 9 – “The Committee recommends that the federal government manage the Great Lakes as an ecosystem in a more holistic way.”

The Government of Canada continues to address Great Lakes water quality issues in an integrated and holistic manner. The ecosystem approach – defined as “taking management actions that integrate the interacting components of air, land, water and living organisms, including humans” – is a guiding principle of the GLWQA, 2012.

As many nearshore areas of the Great Lakes are experiencing water quality and ecological impairments due to the cumulative effects of multiple stresses on the environment, Environment Canada is currently working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, representatives of Ontario, the eight Great Lakes States, First Nations, Métis, Tribes, municipal governments, industry, non-government organizations and others to develop an integrated nearshore framework that takes a holistic approach to assessing and managing the nearshore areas of the Great Lakes. Canada and the United States have committed under the GLWQA, 2012 to complete the development of this integrated nearshore framework by 2016. Once implemented, the integrated nearshore framework could be a valuable tool to assess and prioritize critical Great Lakes habitat for consideration under the NCP.