Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Government of Canada is working with its American and Ontario partners to address this issue. In September 2012, the governments of Canada and the United States renewed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In December 2014, the governments of Canada and Ontario renewed the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement committed both governments to take actions that would result in a reduction of algal blooms. The Canada-Ontario agreement outlines how the Government of Canada will work with the Government of Ontario to address the issue of excess nutrients and reduce harmful and nuisance algal blooms.
Environment Canada allocated $16 million to implement the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative to meet our commitment to reduce algal blooms. Through the initiative, focused on Lake Erie, we are working in concert with our partners to advance the science to understand and address the complex problem of recurrent toxic and nuisance algae in the Great Lakes; review the effectiveness of current nutrient management programs, policies and legislation; assess the economic impact of algal blooms; propose new loading targets for phosphorus; and provide recommendations to improve nutrient management in the Canadian portion of the Lake Erie watershed.
In addition to the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative, the Government Canada has allocated $8 million per year to support the restoration of water quality and impaired uses at 17 locations, or areas of concern, that have experienced high levels of environmental harm. Some of these locations experience excess growth of algae.
In budget 2012 the Government of Canada announced $29 million to support a new Lake Simcoe and southeastern Georgian Bay cleanup fund. The fund supports community-based projects to reduce phosphorous inputs from urban and rural sources that contribute to the algae issue.
With regard to (b), Environment Canada will be working closely with other federal and provincial partners to fulfill our commitments to address harmful algal blooms in both the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health.
The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement sets out key activities. They include the following: develop, within three years, by 2016, binational substance objectives for phosphorus concentrations, loading targets and loading allocations for Lake Erie; and develop, within five years, by 2018, binational phosphorus reduction strategies and domestic action plans to meet the objectives for phosphorus concentrations and loading targets in Lake Erie. They also include the following: assess, develop and implement programs to reduce phosphorus loadings from urban, rural, industrial and agricultural sources. This will include proven best management practices, along with new approaches and technologies. They also include the following: identify priority watersheds that contribute significantly to lake-wide or local algae development, and develop and implement management plans to achieve phosphorus load reduction targets and controls; and undertake and share research, monitoring and modelling necessary to establish, report on and assess the management of phosphorus and other nutrients, and improve the understanding of relevant issues associated with nutrients and excessive algal blooms.
Commitments in the 2014-19 Canada-Ontario agreement will support achievement of the following results: improved understanding of sources, transport and fate of nutrients in the Great Lakes, with an emphasis on Lake Erie; improved understanding of nutrient levels and environmental conditions that trigger nuisance and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes, with an emphasis on Lake Erie; establishment of phosphorus concentration and loading targets for priority tributaries, nearshore and offshore waters of Lake Erie by 2016; action plans to work towards meeting phosphorus concentration and loading targets for the Great Lakes, with an emphasis on Lake Erie; reduction in excess nutrient loadings from stormwater and wastewater collection and treatment facilities in urban and rural communities; improved understanding and development of practices and technologies for nutrient use efficiency; and increased adoption of cost-effective practices and technologies to improve nutrient use efficiency and reduce the risk of loss of excess nutrients from agricultural production