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Evaluation of Freshwater Programs under the Action Plan for Clean Water

Management Response

1) Explore possible options going forward to ensure that the funding allocations and the funding terms and conditions of the Freshwater Programs are aligned with program objectives and needs, notably:

a. The RDG, Ontario should explore possible options to provide a funding formula for GLSRP to support achievement of program objectives.

  • To ensure the efficient implementation of GLSRP, more suitable terms and conditions than those currently stipulated are needed.
  • All Freshwater Programs have reprofiled funds. However, for the GLSRP in particular, the estimated costs and funding timelines have been difficult to predict and current estimates far exceed those established during the design phase of the identified projects.
  • The larger-scale infrastructure investments for sediment remediation require a flexible funding mechanism that ensures the availability of funds for priority projects as they are negotiated. The maximum one-third funding threshold for some projects has proven to be unrealistic in AOCs that do not have the municipal funding base or industry-based parties to deliver a contribution of the required magnitude. To achieve progress toward program objectives, a more flexible approach to the funding formula is required.

Great Lakes Sediment Remediation Projects

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, Ontario agrees that a more flexible funding mechanism and option of increasing the federal contribution to greater than one third of total costs would facilitate increased program results.

Management Action

Terms and conditions will be reviewed and revised to maximize program results.

Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
June 2013EC decision on revised terms and conditions.Director, Great Lakes Division, RDG–O

b. The RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T should explore possible options to adjust future funding allocations to enhance the proportion of overall funding that is available to restoration projects under the LWBI.

  • In the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the potential future Freshwater Programs funding allocation should be reviewed as the priorities to be addressed in terms of ecological issues in this lake evolve.
  • Science and governance, the two initial priorities of the LWBI, have advanced. Work to restore the lake--given the size of the watershed, scope of the challenges, and the significant associated costs--will require an adjustment to the proportional allocation of funds compared to that which was provided under the current program design.

Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, PNR agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Environment Canada is preparing for the renewal of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative (LWBI) as the funding under the Action Plan for Clean Water expires March 2012. A review of funding allocations for the three LWBI components (science, governance and stewardship) is underway. Consideration of options is being given to the funding envelope for the stewardship pillar, while considering alignment and linkages with federal program priorities and mandates.

Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
June 2012Analysis and recommendations related to funding allocations between the components of the LWBI and within the LWBSF.RDG, PNR

2) If contribution funding for stewardship programs is renewed, the RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T, and the RDG, Ontario should review opportunities to leverage scientific evidence to ensure funding priorities and selection criteria are strategically focused to maximize the impact of stewardship projects.

  • In both the LWBSF and LSCUF, program priorities and criteria are broadly cast (e.g., geographic location, project type). The funding of stewardship efforts have, typically, been reactive--dependent on the types of proposals that are received. A more proactive funding approach, supported by the existing science foundation, should be explored. Aligning EC efforts with those of other key jurisdictional bodies where priorities and governance are shared within the aquatic ecosystem would strengthen this effort.

Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, Ontario agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Terms and conditions of the funding program will be reviewed and revised should the program be renewed.

  • Terms and conditions will be aligned with best available science; and
  • OGDs, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority will be consulted on the revised terms and conditions to maximize alignment of efforts.
Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
December 2012
  • Pending renewal, a review of science results from LSCUF 2007–2012.
  • Terms and conditions adjusted to reflect best available science, as well as coordination with other provincial and regional entities.
Director, Strategic Integration and Partnerships Division, RDG–O

Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, PNR agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Should the LWBI be renewed, gains in scientific understanding delivered by the initial LWBI will be leveraged into more targeted solicitation, assessment and selection processes for stewardship funding. The efforts of the renewed LWBSF will be aligned with those of other key jurisdictional bodies, where possible

Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
June 2012Analysis and recommendations on targeting of the LWBSF.RDG, PNR

3) The RDG, PNR, in consultation with the ADM, S&T, and the RDG, Ontario should continue to work with other federal departments and agencies to promote a cohesive federal approach to addressing issues related to the restoration and maintenance of the Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe basins.

  • Addressing challenges such as nutrient loading is a complex effort that requires the contribution of many federal partners to achieve objectives. While OGDs were involved to a limited extent in the Freshwater Programs (e.g., participation on technical committees to review applications for stewardship project funding), efforts moving forward would benefit from a more robust involvement of other federal departments (e.g., DFO, AAFC, AANDC) to work together to define priorities and ensure the full array of policy, regulatory and community-based interventions address freshwater ecological challenges in a coherent fashion.

Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, Ontario agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

For Lake Simcoe, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority continued engagement in project reviews and recommendations and consultation on terms and conditions to ensure they are harmonized with other federal departments’ and agencies’ programs and initiatives.

Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
December 2012Analysis and recommendations on mechanisms to ensure close collaboration with federal departments and Manitoba.Director, Great Lakes Division, RDG–O and Director, Strategic Integration and Partnerships Division, RDG–O

Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative

Statement of Agreement / Disagreement with the Recommendation

The RDG, PNR agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Results achieved through the current LWBI indicate that work is still required to restore this priority aquatic ecosystem. Over the last year, development of the LWBI renewal proposal has included increased coordination with and engagement of key federal departments and agencies. Environment Canada commits to work closely with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in the development and delivery of the renewed LWBI and recognizes these government departments are involved in watershed, land stewardship and freshwater science activities related to their mandate.

Environment Canada also commits to continued collaboration with other federal departments through biannual meetings of the Canada–Manitoba MOU Implementation Steering Committee. Federal members of this committee include AAFC, DFO, Health Canada, and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The Canada–Manitoba MOU Respecting Lake Winnipeg and the Lake Winnipeg Basin Implementation Steering Committee provides the forum for collaboration, information sharing, and priority setting between the provincial and federal governments.

As well, the involvement of other government departments in the technical review process for Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund projects will continue.

Management action
TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
June 2012Analysis and recommendations on mechanisms to ensure close collaboration with federal departments and Manitoba.RDG, PNR
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