Government of Canada Invests in TRCA Projects to Restore and Protect Lake Ontario

Today at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced $187,000 in funding for two Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) projects.

TRCA will use this funding, awarded as part of the Government of Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative, to improve water quality and ecosystem health in Lake Ontario.

Great Lakes Protection Initiative announcement
TRCA CEO John MacKenzie (centre) speaks at today’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative announcement. He is joined by (left to right) Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North- Burlington; the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions; and Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek.

Funding received for the Enhancing and Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Sheltered Embayments in Tommy Thompson Park project will be used to improve ecosystem health across 16.8 hectares by increasing fish habitat and reducing invasive plants that threaten wetland health. The City of Toronto and volunteers at Tommy Thompson Park have also made important contributions to this project.

TRCA also received Great Lake Protection Initiative funding for the Waterfront Revive project. With additional contributions from the City of Toronto, Ports Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation, the this project will address pollution and floating debris along the Toronto region’s Lake Ontario waterfront through community, corporate and skilled labour cleanups.

Waterfront Revive will also include a Toronto Harbour Floatables Removal Strategy, to ensure a long-term plan for continued action to preserve the Toronto harbour.

Through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, the Government of Canada is taking action to address the most significant environmental challenges affecting Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health. The initiative focuses on priority areas for action such as restoring Great Lakes Areas of Concern and enhancing the resilience of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.

Great Lakes Protection Initiative announcement
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, speaks at today’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative announcement.

From the Government of Canada News Release:

Clean water is one of the essentials for life, and the Great Lakes are a vitally important environmental, economic and cultural resource for millions of Canadians. More than 40 million people live in the Great Lakes Basin. The Great Lakes Region represents the third-largest economy in the world, if measured as a country. It supports 51 million jobs or nearly 30% of the combined American and Canadian workforce.

One in four Canadians draw their drinking water directly from the Great Lakes. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and restoring the water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Lakes, so Canadians can benefit from clean water, a healthy environment, and the jobs and economic opportunities they support.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced $1.06 million in funding over three years for 10 projects. The funding is part of the additional investment of $44.84 million for the Great Lakes Protection Initiative announced in Budget 2017.

Projects funded this year include addressing the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, blooms that are spreading faster and further as a result of climate change. Another project will create and restore aquatic habitat in the bays and coastal wetlands of Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park by installing underwater reefs and managing invasive grasses. John MacKenzie, the CEO of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which is managing the latter project, accompanied Minister McKenna at today’s announcement.

The Government of Canada recognizes the important role that our partners, including Indigenous peoples, play in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has contributed over $18 million to support 123 conservation and restoration projects led by organizations and communities in the Great Lakes Basin.

Minster McKenna also participated in a roundtable discussion today with Great Lakes advocates representing a diverse range of perspectives. The discussion centred on Great Lakes priorities, challenges and opportunities.