October 3, 2005

IJC to hold meetings on Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Beginning this month and running through November, the International Joint Commission (IJC) will be holding a series of public meetings in 14 cities throughout the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River basin in Canada and the U.S. The meetings are in preparation for a review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement by the two countries, to be launched early next year. The two governments have asked the IJC to consult residents about how it has worked so far and whether it should be changed.

First signed in 1972 and last amended nearly 20 years ago, the Water Quality Agreement outlines the commitment of each country to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem, including the international portion of the St Lawrence River. It has resulted in co-operation between the United States and Canada to limit the discharge of nutrients and toxic substances into the waters, restore degraded areas and undertake other joint activities designed to improve water quality.

"This is the public's opportunity to tell the governments what they should consider in their review of the Agreement," said Herb Gray, chair of the IJC's Canadian Section. "This review will likely set the agenda for cooperation between our two countries on the health of the Great Lakes for the next generation."

Meetings on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes basin are scheduled as follows: October 17 in Montreal; October 25 in Thunder Bay; October 27 in Sault Ste Marie; November 2 in Windsor; November 8 in Midland and in Quebec City; and November 9 in Toronto. The IJC will report to the two governments on the views received.

For those who cannot attend, the IJC will also conduct a Web dialogue and will accept written and oral submissions until November 30, 2005. Written submissions may be sent to the IJC Great Lakes Regional Office, 100 Ouellette Ave, 8th Floor, Windsor, Ont N9A 6T3, FAX 613/993-5583. Comments may also be made by telephone, toll-free 1-866-813-0642. More information, including details on meeting times and locations, is available on the IJC Web site, www.ijc.org/glconsultations.

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