Healthy Great Lakes
Seeking robust, holistic, well-implemented public policy and engaged Great Lakes – St Lawrence River citizenry
Canadians tend to take water for granted. But threats to water quantity and quality are all around us, whether from poorly planned development, water diversions and uncontrolled consumption, or from direct pollution. As a result, and as stated in the preamble to Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, “three of Ontario’s four Great Lakes are in decline”. We all need to work together to reverse this trend.
With funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes program engages a broad network of individuals and organizations in shaping, implementing, and making use of laws and policies that protect and restore the waters of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin. In addition to falling under our Water Sustainability priority, our work to protect and restore the waters of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River Ecosystem also engages our Access to Environmental Justice (right to know), Pollution and Health, and Planning and Sustainability priorities.
CELA promotes the need for action across all the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River watersheds as the threats and issues differ across the region. The Ontario government has delineated the Canadian portion of the Great Lakes Basin into five watersheds: Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. CELA will seek government action on water issues that are relevant for each of these watersheds. As with all our work, we will continue to support vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.
CELA’s goals for the Healthy Great Lakes program are:
• Robust, holistic, well-implemented public policy aimed at CELA’s key priorities:
- elimination or reduction of toxic pollutants;
- encouraging green infrastructure adoption;
- improving water conservation and efficiency;
- protecting and restoring water quantity by responding to water diversion proposals;
- ensuring government action is distributed equitably across Ontario's Great Lakes Basin watersheds, both geographically and in addressing needs of disadvantaged communities;
- engaging with First Nation and Métis communities in discussions of opportunities for action; and
• Engaged Great Lakes citizenry that makes use of available legal tools and holds government to account for the public trust.