International Joint Commission (IJC)
More than a century of cooperation protecting shared waters

Water Quality

"...boundary waters and the waters flowing across the boundary shall not be

polluted on either side to the injury of health or property on the other."

-Article IV Boundary Waters Treaty 1909


Child on Beach - Water Quality In the Boundary Waters Treaty, Canada and the United States agreed that neither country will pollute boundary waters, or waters that flow across the boundary, to an extent that would cause injury to health or property in the other country.

The treaty also states that the Governments may refer any questions or matters of difference arising along the common border to the International Joint Commission for examination and report. To support the governments in meeting their treaty commitments, the IJC has two potential roles:

  • The governments may ask the IJC to investigate or monitor water quality in lakes and rivers along the common border.

  • The IJC may alert the governments to concerns with water quality of the boundary and transboundary waters.

Boards with Ongoing Water Quality Responsibilities:

 Souris River Board
 Red River Board
 Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board
 Great Lakes Water Quality Board
 Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
 St. Croix River Watershed Board

Great Lakes Water Quality activities:

Other IJC Water Quality activities:

 Lake of the Woods Water Quality Plan of Study, November 2014

Past IJC Water Quality References:

 Phosphorus Loading in Missisquoi Bay, September 2012
 Report on the Pollution of Boundary Waters Reference, 1918