Deb Schulte
Hon. Deb Schulte
Member of Parliament for King—Vaughan
Remarks on the government’s commitment to the protection of the watersheds
January 27, 2021

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority AGM

Thank you Chair Emmerson. Merci. As a local Member of Parliament and federal minister, I’m pleased to bring greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada.

The Government of Canada is proud to be a partner in helping protect the Lake Simcoe watershed.

Over 435,000 people live in the Lake Simcoe watershed. Countless more come to this beautiful area for recreation.

A clean lake is vital for our community and for the environment.

Last November, I announced with Minister McKenna a 40 million dollar new storm water treatment facility to help protect Lake Simcoe from phosphorous runoff from the Holland Marsh basin.

This investment will create jobs and help protect the Lake for a more sustainable future.

This project builds on our work with Ontario under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support farm environmental stewardship that enhances water quality and soil health, including by reducing phosphorus runoff. And work under the 2017 Great Lakes Protection Initiative to improve water quality in the entire watershed.

And there’s more to come.

With a fifth of the world's freshwater, including two million lakes and rivers, Canada has a great responsibility to manage its water sustainably to ensure that it will be available for generations to come.

Our government will create the Canada Water Agency to better identify, coordinate, and address various freshwater issues in Canada. It will play a key role in keeping our water safe, clean and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Last month, we launched consultations to help define the mandate of the Canada Water Agency, and to identify freshwater priorities that build on the federal government’s freshwater enhancement activities, while avoiding duplication and respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction.

I encourage you to add your voice to the consultation. It is critical that the Canada Water Agency is developed in close collaboration with stakeholder organizations, the public, provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples.

Our government is also taking bold steps on the big challenges that impact our lakes and our health.

Last fall, we announced a climate change plan that will exceed our 2030 Paris Agreement emissions reduction target and establish the building blocks to get to net zero by 2050. Sixty-four new steps have been identified, including an initial 15 billion dollar investment, to cut pollution and build a stronger, cleaner, more resilient, and inclusive economy.

Last fall, we also announced a comprehensive approach to tackling plastic pollution.

We know that plastic threatens our natural environments. It fills our rivers, lakes, and oceans and harms the wildlife that live there.

So we’re working with the provinces and territories, as well as industry leaders, to set higher standards for plastic products and packaging, and to ensure producers and sellers of plastics are responsible for collecting and recycling them properly.

We also announced a ban six single-use plastic items, including plastic checkout bags and straws.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share a few of the Government of Canada’s initiatives with you. I am pleased to help advance our shared priorities at the federal level. Merci mes amis.

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