October 30, 2006

Ontario Clean Water Act receives third reading

TORONTO, ONT-Six years after the tragedy at Walkerton and four years after the report of the Walkerton Inquiry, Ontario's long-anticipated Clean Water Act received Third Reading on October 18. Intended to protect existing and future sources of drinking water from contamination or depletion, the Act lays out a formal process for detecting threats to drinking water sources and establishes local committees to address those threats. Effective implementation of the legislation, however, will depend largely on the detailed regulations that have yet to be publicly released. A statement of support for the Act, issued this summer by16 environmental and citizens' groups, recommended: adoption of the precautionary principle; extensive, continuing public participation and education; strong commitments to the Great Lakes and integration with Great Lakes agreements; and sustainable funding for the program's implementation. "There is concern that the government hasn't addressed many recommendations made by these environmental and citizens' groups," said Jessica Ginsburg, counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

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