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Federal Government asked $2.2 billion to Address Flooding and Contamination in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence

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Investment to foster a new green regional economy

Ottawa, CANADA, June 10, 2020 – The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Collaborative released today Action Plan to Protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, 2020-2030.

The Action Plan calls on the federal government to fund a forward-looking $2.2 billion 10-year roadmap to tackle some of the greatest environmental challenges facing this region. It also offers an effective means to kick-start the region’s economy today that is severely weakened by COVID-19 and to create long-lasting jobs in a new green economy. 

“For the first time ever, advocates, experts and indigenous groups from across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region have spoken with one voice, calling on the Government of Canada for a $2.2 billion investment to protect this massive and remarkable ecosystem where almost 20 million Canadians live and that binds us together by supporting our health and prosperity,” said Jean Cinq-Mars co-chair of the Great Lakes St Lawrence Collaborative and former Commissioner of Sustainable Development of Quebec.  

Action Plan 2020-2030 was developed with input from hundreds of experts and stakeholders in Quebec and Ontario, who forged a consensus on the investments needed to address some of the greatest challenges facing this exceptional but fragile ecological region. These include shoreline flooding and other climate change impacts, outdated wastewater infrastructure, exposure to toxic pollutants in the water, agricultural and urban runoff that feeds harmful algal blooms, and chronically contaminated beaches. Investments would benefit indigenous and non-indigenous coastal communities, such as Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation, Chatham-Kent, Toronto, Clarington, Montreal, Kahnawake, Adanak Wolinak, Quebec City, Pessamit, Gespeg, and Sainte Flavie, Carleton-sur-mer, the Magdalen Islands among many others.  

Moreover, the Action Plan recommends innovative institutional arrangements to ensure alignment and collaboration amongst federal, provincial and local authorities and organizations, including: 

  • A cross-departmental federal task force to ensure financing and alignment efforts 
  • A Great Lakes Saint Lawrence Commission to coordinate federal, provincial, and local implementation of all recommendations 
  • An indigenous Great Lakes Saint Lawrence organization; 
  • Implementation teams 
  • Research and innovation centers and technical assistance teams to build knowledge and capacity throughout the region 
  • Regular oversight by the Federal Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development. 

“The US has already committed $2B over the past 10 years to Great Lakes protection,” said Gord Miller, co-chair of the Great Lakes St., Lawrence Collaborative and former Environment Commissioner of Ontario, “Canada needs to catch up, by putting money on the table to protect this globally significant remarkable ecosystem.” 

To learn more or to arrange an interview please contact:

Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region, mark@councilgreatlakesregion.org / 613-668-2044