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Federal policy and Lake Winnipeg’s health: a look ahead

In December, shortly after shuffling his cabinet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued mandate letters to all federal ministers. Continuing a practice started by Trudeau in 2015, these letters have been released publicly and are available on the Office of the Prime Minister’s website.

Mandate letters outline the Prime Minister's expectations for each minister, including specific policy objectives which each minister is expected to accomplish.

The health of Lake Winnipeg is both a national priority and a cross-cutting file. Achieving meaningful positive change will require attention and investment from multiple federal ministries, including: Environment and Climate Change; Agriculture and Agri-Food; Crown-Indigenous Relations; Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard; Infrastructure and Communities; and others.

It is encouraging to see the health of fresh water and Lake Winnipeg noted as a priority in several mandate letters. Specifically, the mandate letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change includes directions to “develop further protections and take active steps” to clean up Lake Winnipeg, and oversee the creation of a new Canada Water Agency “to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.”

What’s next

LWF has sent letters to all federal ministers with mandates related to Lake Winnipeg. In them, we encourage action to combat freshwater eutrophication and re-iterate the need for a collaborative approach to solutions.

Throughout the coming year, we will continue to advocate for federal commitments to the three opportunities for action we outlined in advance of the 2019 federal election.

We will also seek out new opportunities to work constructively with all relevant federal departments to advance freshwater priorities, and ensure future actions are evidence-based, effective, and informed by regional priorities and on-the-ground efforts.

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