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The Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA) has been extended to March 2011

March 22, 2010

The Honourable Jim Prentice
Minister of the Environment
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

Dear Minister Prentice:

Re: Extension of Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

I am writing to confirm our mutual agreement to extend the term of the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA) for one additional year.

The current COA is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2010. Article XI permits Canada and Ontario to amend the COA by an exchange of letters setting out the amendment and the effective date. On behalf of our respective governments, we have agreed to amend the COA by extending its term to March 31, 2011. We have agreed that the effective date of the amendment will be March 31, 2010. Further, we have agreed that our respective letters confirming the one-year extension shall be considered part of the COA.

Since 1971, Canada and Ontario have worked together under a series of Great Lakes agreements that have guided our efforts to improve the environmental quality of the Great Lakes Basin and contributed to meeting Canada's obligations under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). As you know, Canada and the United States announced this past June their intention to negotiate amendments to the GLWQA to strengthen and modernize the agreement to address new risks. The amendment process is likely to take at least one year to conclude. We have agreed it is vital that Canada and Ontario continue to work together under the COA framework so that our efforts to protect and improve the Great Lakes can continue during the GLWQA amendment process.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to protect and improve the Great Lakes. We pledge to work together cooperatively under the existing COA and to negotiate a new COA once the amendments to the GLWQA are in place.

I appreciate Canada's commitment to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are vital to our Province and to our country.

Sincerely,

John Gerretsen Minister

c: The Honourable Linda Jeffrey
Ontario Minister of Natural Resources

The Honourable Carol Mitchell
Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

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