Kathleen Wynne’s government has re-introduced the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act, 2013 as Bill 6. First introduced in June 2012, this proposal died when the legislature was prorogued.
The Act is the result of many years of work. It would encourage members of the Great Lakes community to collaborate to improve water quality and protect the lakes and their shores and wetlands. It is also intended to advance science in areas like climate change and other stressors. An over-arching goal of the Act is to ensure that the Great Lakes – which contain almost 20% of our planet’s fresh surface water – are “drinkable, swimmable and fishable”. It would establish a Guardians’ Council as a forum to identify priorities and projects and share information. The Council would include politicians, First Nations and ENGO representatives, and members of the scientific, agriculture and business sectors.
We are encouraged that this important piece of legislation is back on the Order Paper, and hope to see it swiftly passed. The Great Lakes urgently need more attention and protection, and this will be a small step in the right direction. The Act as well as background documents and helpful links are posted on the Environmental Registry (#11-6461) for public consultation. Comments are due by April 26 2013. The MOE also includes comprehensive information on protecting the Great Lakes.
By Jackie Campbell