Mark your calendars for Oct. 4-6 as the first of several dates to learn how the Great Lakes are faring and provide your own thoughts. That’s when the governments of Canada and the United States will hold the Great Lakes Public Forum at the Allstream Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Officials will present the latest findings on primary issues the two countries committed to acting on in the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, including climate change, habitats and species, and chemicals of mutual concern. A total of 16 presentations are slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 4-5. The progress report – also known as the Parties’ Report on Progress or PROP – will be released in September and provide the basis for the conference presentations. On Thursday, Oct. 6, various presenters will celebrate the diversity of the Great Lakes.
The IJC will contribute to the forum by holding two public meetings on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Those present at the Allstream Centre can tell us what they think about PROP and the governments’ actions from 4:30-6 p.m. Then we’ll move to downtown Toronto for a meeting from 7-9 p.m. to obtain more public comments from the broader community.
Sharing your views on government progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes is vital to the IJC as we develop our own assessment of progress and recommend actions that Canada and the US should take to restore and protect the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.
The forum is open to the public and free to attend, and will be streamed live with multiple opportunities to provide online comments throughout the three days. Registration is available via binational.net.
Shortly after the Toronto public forum, the IJC will hold a public meeting on Oct. 18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to allow residents on the western side of the basin to share their views. Final details for all meetings will be included in the September issue of the Great Lakes Connection newsletter.
Lauren Stokes is an intern at the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office in Windsor, Ontario, and a student in the political science master’s program at University of Windsor.