Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

Protecting and Restoring Great Lakes Biodiversity


Sampling fish in the Nipigon Bay Area of Concern

Sampling fish in the Nipigon Bay Area of Concern-Photo: Barry Wojciechowski

Making sure the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem stays healthy and biologically diverse is a priority for the Ministry of Natural Resources.


The Great Lakes Basin is one of the most biologically rich regions in Canada, with an incredible variety of ecosystems ranging from coastal wetlands to alvars (sparsely vegetated limestone plains).


Together, these ecosystems are home to thousands of species of fish, wildlife and plants, including rare species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.


The Ministry works with many people and organizations to help protect, restore and sustain the rich biological diversity – or biodiversity – of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. One of the ways the Ministry does this is by participating in the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem (COA).


COA helps Canada meet its commitments to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), which has been in place with the United States since 1972.


Canada and Ontario have signed the COA several times over the past 40 years. The seventh and most current COA was signed in 2007. The Ministry of Natural Resources is one of three provincial ministries that have signed the COA.

We’re doing well – with help from our partners


American eels
American eels
Photo : Jason Mortlock


Under the current COA, the Ministry is working with more than 240 partners on 200 projects across the Great Lakes Basin.


People like you and me. Organizations and governments. Communities and conservation groups. Private citizens and generous corporate sponsors – are all pitching in to help. Success depends on everyone working together.


Read our Project Profiles to find out more about Ministry and partner efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem through COA. And, how you can be part of it.





The Ministry has produced a series of fact sheets about its activities, partnerships and achievements under COA. You can learn more by clicking on the fact sheet titles listed below.


Working with Partners to:

Read about projects that Ontario and Canada are working on to protect the Great Lakes

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