Since 1971 Canada and Ontario have had an agreement outlining their respective roles and responsibilities with regard to implementation of the GLWQA. Under this agreement the parties are committed to continuing to work together to restore, protect and conserve the environmental quality of the Basin for present and future generations.
The Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA)
is renewed regularly, so that new actions or changes in the GLWQA can be reflected in the agreement. The COA sets out specific results and detailed commitments that directly support the RAP
process leading to remediation and protection of the environmental quality and beneficial uses
in the 15 remaining AOCs. It also commits both governments to addressing harmful pollutants, nutrients, implementing Lake Wide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) co-ordination of monitoring, research and information sharing.
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) has helped sustain restoration of the Great Lakes in Canada and the United States for over forty years. This cooperative agreement provides a framework to identify and implement binational priorities and action towards improved water quality. First signed in 1972, the agreement
was amended in 2012 in order to account for current environmental issues.
2012 GLWQA Objectives
The Waters of the Great Lakes should:
1. Be a source of safe, high-quality drinking water;
2. Allow for swimming and other recreational use, unrestricted by environmental quality concerns;
3. Allow for human consumption of fish and wildlife unrestricted by concerns due to harmful pollutants;
4. Be free from pollutants in quantities or concentrations that could be harmful to human health, wildlife or organisms, through direct exposure or indirect exposure through the food chain;
5. Support healthy and productive wetlands and other habitats to sustain resilient populations of native species;
6. Be free from nutrients that directly or indirectly enter the water as a result of human activity, in amounts that promote growth of algae and cyanobacteria that interfere with aquatic ecosystem health, or human use of the ecosystem;
7. Be free from the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species and free from the introduction and spread of terrestrial invasive species that adversely impact the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes;
8. Be free from the harmful impacts of contaminated groundwater; and,
9. Be free from other substances, materials or conditions that may negatively impact the chemical, physical or biological integrity of the Waters of the Great Lakes.