To mark World Water Day, Ontario’s government is working for the people to protect the water quality and ecosystems of the Great Lakes as part of its commitment in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. On April 23, Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, will convene the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council, in memory of Josephine Mandamin, to discuss emerging issues around the Great Lakes. The council meeting will address excess road salt and sewer overflows into our waterways and inform the government’s review of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy and the negotiation of a new Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement.
“Our government is committed to protecting Ontario’s precious lakes, waterways and groundwater sources. Forums like the council provide an important role in identifying priorities for action such as plastic pollution, stormwater and harmful algae,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “I look forward to working with the council and hearing from partners around the table on how we can tackle the pressures our water resources are facing and ensure we protect the pristine beauty of our Great Lakes.”
Convening the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council is part of the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to protect our air, land and water, prevent and reduce litter and waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families increase their resilience to climate change. The plan will help protect the Ontario we know and love, ensuring that its pristine beauties and strong communities can be enjoyed now and in the future.
The meeting will honour Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabe grandmother, Elder, water protector, and activist. In 2003, she co-founded Mother Earth Water Walk, circumnavigating the shores of all five Great Lakes, a total distance of more than 17,000 km. Currently, Josephine’s total kilometres walked for the water has been tallied at over 25,000 kilometers. In the role of Chief Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation Women’s Water Commission, Josephine was a predominant contributor at the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council.
- The Great Lakes provide drinking water to more than 70 per cent of Ontarians and their watersheds are home to more than 4,000 species of fish, birds and other living things.
- Ontario’s more than 250,000 lakes, including the Great Lakes, contain about one fifth of the world’s fresh water.
- This year’s World Water Day theme is “Leaving no one behind” as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The aim is to ensure that water is sustainably managed and available for all, including marginalized groups.
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