Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on April 10, 2013 (updated: February 17, 2015)

3 Ways to Make Great Lakes Protection Act Stronger

Dr. Anastasia Lintner

A proposed law that could relieve some of the stresses plaguing the Great Lakes is being debated at Queen’s Park. If passed, it could help to keep the Great Lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable.

How? By using legal tools to address new and major threats, including coastal development, urban sprawl, toxic chemicals, invasive species and massive algal blooms. If left alone, these threats may harm our drinking water and lower the quality of life for Ontarians and Ontario families.

3 Ways To Improve Proposed Great Lakes Protection Act
The proposed Great Lakes Protection Act — AKA Bill 6 — is currently being debated by politicians and Ecojustice believes that three things could make it better.

  • Prioritizing actions and issues, particularly with respect to protecting wetlands, preventing toxics from entering our waters, and making immediate use of the new tools (more on the tools below);
  • Ensuring the government is to held to account for target setting and progress reporting on improving the health of our Great Lakes; and
  • Requiring that the public be able to have a say in decisions that impact the health of our waters.

New tools to protect the Great Lakes
Bill 6 would require that the government have a publicly available plan for addressing threats to the Great Lakes. It would require public reporting on progress towards identified goals. And, it would allow for new targets and community-based plans to address the issues that are being faced in our communities, from Thunder Bay to Kingston, from Sault Ste. Marie to Parry Sound, from Windsor to Port Dover — and everywhere in between.

Why The Great Lakes Matter:

    • They’re a source of drinking water for more than 80 per cent of Ontarians;
    • They’re home to 4,000 types of plants, animals and fish;
    • They’re a place to play, with over 10,000 kilometres of shoreline.

Do Something
Tell Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley and MPPs Jonah Schein and Michael Harris why the Great Lakes are important to you.

or

Exercise your rights under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights and comment on the proposed law.

Together we can ensure that the threats to our drinking water, beaches and favourite fishing spots are curtailed.

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