U.S., Canada Agree to Cross-border Cooperation for Great Lakes

Municipal officials from around the Great Lakes announced they have begun a new era of working together to meet the challenges of restoring, protecting, and conserving the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, according to a recent press release.

A memorandum of cooperation signed on July 17 by provincial ministers and Ontario representatives of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) commits them to consulting and cooperating on issues of municipal interest and responsibility around the Great Lakes.

Ontario agrees to consider the advice and recommendations of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative on implementation of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin. The Cities Initiative agrees to involve its Ontario members and the broader municipal sector in providing input into decisions that affect the municipalities around the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of more than 50 mayors and other municipal officials from Canada and the United States interested in the health and well-being of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system.

The memorandum was signed by John Gerretsen, minister of the Environment, Donna Cansfield, minister of Natural Resources, and Leona Dombrowsky, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Signing on behalf of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities initiative was Mayor Lynn Peterson of Thunder Bay, chair of the Cities Initiative.

"This memorandum of cooperation represents the beginning of an important strategic partnership between the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Ontario Great Lakes municipalities and the Ontario Government", said Toronto Mayor David Miller, founding Canadian chair, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. "From Nipigon in the North to Toronto in the South, Ontario municipalities are investing over $2 billion to protect the Great Lakes every year."

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