Ontario passed the Great Lakes— St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement into law well over a year ago, in the form of Bill 198—Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario’s Water Act. Similar to what is being crafted in Quebec, the bill included an additional program to charge a fee for water taking permits to cover the cost of that program.
Regulations to implement the law are now being developed. “This will be a crucial time for people to further influence how strong these protections will be for our Great Lakes and the waters of Ontario,” commented Sarah Miller with the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
In January and February 2009 Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment are cooperatively holding consultations with Great Lakes sector stakeholders on Agreement implementation and are continuing to work closely with members of their Advisory Panel made up of environmental, agricultural, municipal, and business communities. Once these consultations are completed a proposal will be posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry for a 60 day public comment period this spring. Taking this input into account, regulations to a number of Ontario laws will then be developed.