FOCUS Newsletter - Winter 2001, Vol.26, Issue 3

International Joint Commission
Spring 2002
Volume 27, Issue 1

The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray appointed Chair of the Canadian Section

On January 15, 2002, the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray was appointed by the Governor General in Council as a Commissioner of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and selected by Canadian commissioners Jack Blaney and Robert Gourd to serve as Chair of the Canadian Section. On the same date, the Governor General bestowed on Mr. Gray the title "Right Honourable" making him one of only 17 Canadians to currently hold this title.

Prior to joining the IJC, Mr. Gray represented the riding of Windsor West in the House of Commons. He was first elected to Parliament on June 18, 1962 and was re-elected in all 12 subsequent elections. This constituted a record of 13 consecutive election victories as well as a record for continuous days of service in the House of Commons - 39 years, six months and 26 days.

He brings a wealth of experience to the IJC, having served as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada; Minister without Portfolio working with the Minister of Finance; Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs; Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce; Minister of Regional Economic Expansion; and President of the Treasury Board. He also served as Opposition House Leader and Leader of the Official Loyal Opposition.

Mr. Gray worked extensively as a Minister and as a Member of Parliament in the fields of parliamentary affairs; economic and industrial development; foreign investment; finance; consumer protection; competition; international trade; federal law enforcement; the environment and climate change; and Canada-U.S. border issues.

Review of Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy

In 1997, Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy. The purpose was "to set forth a collaborative process [to work] toward the goal of virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances ... from the Great Lakes basin, so as to protect and ensure the health and integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem." The strategy laid out a framework to achieve, by 2006, a series of specific actions or challenges for 26 substances or families of substances.

Late in 1999, the IJC asked its Great Lakes Water Quality Board to review the strategy. The review addressed four questions.

  • Has the Strategy achieved its purpose?

  • Has the Strategy fulfilled its four steps?

  • Have the Strategy's specific challenges been met?

  • Has the Strategy contributed to the achievement of virtual elimination?

The Water Quality Board's report to the IJC presents the conclusion that "the strategy has achieved its purpose ... to set forth a collaborative process, engaging stakeholders and partners ... [and] in so doing, the Strategy has helped maintain an essential focus on 12 Level I substances." In addition to answering the questions above, the report provides advice and recommendations regarding:

  • measures to increase the effectiveness of the Strategy;

  • the need to remain focused on pollution prevention;

  • publicity;

  • partnerships;

  • sector-based initiatives;

  • stockpiled and stored contaminants;

  • relationships with other programs, including RAPs and LaMPs and sediment cleanup initiatives; and

  • groundwater.

Underpinning the report's findings are comprehensive quantitative and qualitative assessments undertaken by a consultant. The findings and advice contained in the report should be beneficial to all who are working to virtually eliminate persistent toxic substances. To view the full report, visit the IJC website at: .

IJC announces priorities for 2001-2003 biennial cycle

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement calls on the IJC to report every two years on the governments' progress toward achieving the objectives of the Agreement. Based on this reporting cycle, the IJC plans its priority work in two-year cycles culminating with the priorities and progress report from its advisory boards, its biennial forum, and finally the publication of its Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality.

The IJC recently announced the new set of priorities for the beginning of the latest biennial cycle.

Five major projects were identified for this priority cycle, which began in late 2001 and will run through 2003. The priorities focus on:

  • investigation of source-receptor relationship for atmospheric deposition of mercury to the Great Lakes;

  • Annex 2 - RAPs and LaMPs;

  • community health in Areas of Concern;

  • impact of urbanization on the Great Lakes; and

  • climate change.

Some of the identified priorities will be dealt with by multiple advisory boards, while others will fall to the responsibility of just one. Several projects will bring a greater depth of understanding to the sources, fate, transport and effects of mercury. The implications of climate change on Great Lakes ecosystem processes and adaptive management will also consist of several initiatives across various advisory boards.

IJC also closely monitors emerging issues and considers new contaminants, new effects, new sources and new program and policy approaches.

The full text of the priorities can be viewed at . Additional information about these priority work areas can be found on the IJC website ( ). Opportunities for ongoing public participation on these subjects throughout the next two years will be announced as scheduled.

IJC reviews cleanup plans for nine Areas of Concern

The IJC has recently released Remedial Action Plan (RAP) reviews for nine Areas of Concern.

  • Bay of Quinte - Stage 2

  • Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Ship Canal - Stage 2

  • Eighteen Mile Creek - Stages 1 and 2

  • Rochester Embayment - Stage 2

  • Wheatley Harbour - Stages 1 and 2

  • Waukegan Harbor - Stage 2

  • Waukegan Harbor - Stage 3

  • Metro Toronto and Region - Stage 2

  • St. Clair River - Stage 2

  • Spanish Harbour - Stage 2

Under the 1987 protocol to the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States, in cooperation with the Great Lakes states and provincial governments, are responsible for developing and implementing RAPs to restore water quality in identified Areas of Concern. Forty-two locations in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin are designated as Areas of Concern because pollution problems have impaired water uses, such as recreation or drinking water supply, or the ability to support aquatic life.

Under the 1978 Agreement, the International Joint Commission reviews each RAP at three stages:

  1. when the area's problems have been defined;

  2. when measures to restore water quality have been selected; and

  3. when beneficial uses of the water have been restored to the area.

The IJC's review is provided to the appropriate federal government, RAP personnel and the public to assist them in carrying out the cleanup efforts. IJC assesses progress by the two countries to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.

The full text of these reviews are available on the Internet at .

Three of the reviewed areas:

Bay of Quinte. Credit: Bay of Quinte RAP

Grand Calumet. Credit: U.S. ACE

Waukegan Harbor. Credit: U.S. ACE


IJC welcomes the recent appointments to its boards.

Dr. David Blakey
CGLRM Acting Programme Director
Health Canada
Council of Great Lakes Research Managers
Rick Bowering
Surface Water Manager
Manitoba Conservation
International Souris River Board
John Braden
Resource Economist
University of Illinois at Champagne Urbana
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board

Dr. Scott Brown
Aquatic Scientist
Environment Canada
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Dr. J. Milton Clark
Senior Health and Science Advisor
Superfund Division, U.S. EPA
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Maxine Cole
Akwesasne Task Force for the Environment
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Dr. Morris Duhaime
Chief of Staff
Shriners Hospital - Canada
Health Professionals Task Force
Mary Foley
American Nurses Association
Health Professionals Task Force
Michel Gagné
Director of Drinking Water Production
City of Montréal
International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Study Board / Public Interest Advisory Group
Dr. Judith Kaur
Associate Professor of Oncology
Mayo Clinic
Health Professionals Task Force
Dr. Anthony W. Myers
Senior Advisor
Health Canada
Health Professionals Task Force
David Stonehouse
Common Grounds Manager
Stewardship and Restoration
Evergreen Foundation
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
Brian Symonds
Water Resources Engineer
BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Int'l Osoyoos Lakes Board of Control
Marcia Willhite
Bureau of Water
Illinois EPA
Great Lakes Water Quality Board
And we thank those who have finished their service.
Michel Lamontagne
Montréal Scientific Foundation
International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Study Board / Public Interest Advisory Group
Robin McNeil
BC River Forecast Centre
Int'l Osoyoos Lakes Board of Control
Larry Whitney
Water Planning and Development
Manitoba Conservation
International Souris River Board


Hot Off the Press

For the full text of IJC reports, click on the Publications button at or go to the specific web site below. Limited numbers of hard copies are also available from the IJC at (519)257-6734 in Canada or (313)226-2170 ext. 6734 in the United States, and by email. When requesting a document, please specify the title of the document and provide your full mailing address.

Report to the International Joint Commission on Peaking and Ponding Operations on the St. Marys River, International Lake Superior Board of Control, February 28, 2002. Currently available online at .

Review of Progress Under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy , a report to the Great Lakes Water Quality Board by the Progress Review Work Group, November 13, 2001. Currently available online at .

Frameworks for Modeling Ecological Change in the Detroit River-Lake Erie Corridor , proceedings of a March 29, 2001 workshop sponsored by the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers. Currently available online at .

Recently released Remedial Action Plan Reviews are currently available online at .

What's Happening

Public Meetings of the IJC and its boards:

May 1-2, 2002
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board public meeting on the scientific issues relevant to RAP implementation
Toledo, OH

June 25, 2002
International Lake Superior Board of Control Annual Public Meeting
Paradise, MI

Contact Us

The IJC is interested in your views on any of our activities. You may contact us in the following ways:

  United States
  Great Lakes
Regional Office

Contacts   Murray Clamen
Fabien Lengellé
Public Affairs
  Gerald Galloway
Frank Bevacqua
Public Affairs
  Dr. Gail Krantzberg
Jennifer Day
Public Affairs


Mail   234 Laurier Avenue West
22nd Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1P 6K6
  1250 23rd Street NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440
  100 Ouellette Avenue, 8th Floor
Windsor, ON
N9A 6T3
P.O. Box 32869
Detroit, MI 48232-2869

Fax   613.993.5583   202.467.7046   519.257-6740

Telephone   613.995.2984   202.736.9000   519.257.6700

Home Page

  Contacting the IJC Washington Office
  Delivery of U.S. mail to the IJC Washington office is currently taking one month or longer. Please send any time-sensitive materials by a different means. Thank you!

  Fax: (202) 467-0746

Courier delivery:
International Joint Commission
1250 23rd Street, NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20037


  Dennis L. Schornack
U.S. Section Chair
Rt. Hon. Herb Gray
Canadian Section Chair

Robert Gourd

Jack Blaney


The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.