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Five things the federal government must do for Lake Winnipeg

Canada is a country defined by water – and improving the health of Lake Winnipeg is a well-established national priority, acknowledged through the policy priorities, mandate letters and throne speeches of successive federal governments.

But how do we move beyond good intentions and begin achieving meaningful results?

Together, the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective have released a position paper which identifies five things the federal government must do for Lake Winnipeg right now.

They are:

1. Recognize phosphorus as the cause of blue-green algal blooms on Lake Winnipeg;

2. Use evidence to guarantee impact from every federal government dollar spent to reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Winnipeg;

3. Support Indigenous peoples in reclaiming and restoring their relationship with water;

4. Increase enforcement of evidence-based policy and practices for freshwater health; and

5. Fulfil jurisdictional responsibilities through concrete action and strengthened accountability.

Progress towards each of the five overarching recommendations presented in the joint position paper may be immediately demonstrated through specific, concrete actions achievable in less than five years by existing federal departments under current mandates.

LWF and LWIC are urging the federal government to fulfill its jurisdictional responsibilities to Lake Winnipeg by committing to these five recommendations, which are aligned with whole-of-government priorities to advance reconciliation, increase effectiveness through evidence-based decision-making, and address the urgent challenge of climate change.

To meaningfully address Canada’s water challenges, we must focus our attention and resources on strengthening established programs, acting on robust evidence, enforcing existing laws and regulations, and following through on long-standing commitments. With the tools already in hand, we can achieve real impact for Lake Winnipeg – and for all lakes and rivers across our country.

The full position paper, Five Things the Federal Government Must Do for Lake Winnipeg, is available on LWF’s website.

Want to learn more? On March 22, 2021, in honour of World Water Day, Alexis Kanu (Lake Winnipeg Foundation) and Daniel Kanu (Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective) discussed their collaborative position paper, Five Things the Federal Government Must Do for Lake Winnipeg. Please click here to view the webinar. 

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