Canada is committed to providing strong support to working collaboratively with the Government of Ontario and Indigenous Peoples for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $44.84 million for the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, which is part of the $70.5 million of new funding allocated for freshwater protection, in Budget 2017.
This investment will tackle issues that matter to the lives of Canadians—from cleaner drinking water, to beaches we can enjoy, to waters in which we can fish and swim.
The Great Lakes region represents the third-largest economy in the world, if measured as a country. It supplies 51 million jobs or nearly 30 percent of the combined American and Canadian workforce. Building on a solid foundation of existing Great Lakes programming, this investment will further focus efforts on issues of greatest importance to Canadians, including the continued implementation of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement as well as the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. Healthier Great Lakes mean more opportunities for economic growth.
New programming will focus on reducing toxic and nuisance algae and strengthening the resilience of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. It will prioritize identifying at risk nearshore waters, which are those most used by Canadians for drinking and recreation. It will target reducing the release of harmful chemicals. And, it will seek to strengthen engagement with Indigenous Peoples and the public in addressing Great Lakes issues.
Reaffirming the strong Canada-Ontario partnership in the protection of the Great Lakes, Minister McKenna was joined at today's announcement by the Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Arthur Potts.
The Minister also convened a round table, moderated by the Council of the Great Lakes Region, to continue ongoing dialogue on the future of the protection of the Great Lakes. Participants included representatives of Indigenous groups, the province of Ontario, municipalities, industry, and environmental non-government organizations.