Andrea Martin, Director, Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch (OMAFRA) on May 5, 2020
1. Do you support Lake Simcoe Watch’s recommendation that the Government of Ontario should develop a plan to reduce Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus pollution to 44 tonnes per year by 2026? If no, do you support the achievement of the 44 tonne per year target by a later date? If yes, please specify the date.
2. Do you support Lake Simcoe Watch’s proposed actions to reduce Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus pollution? If no, please explain why not and outline alternative actions that you believe should be taken to reduce Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus pollution?
3. Do you agree that the Development Charges Act should be amended to permit the Government of Ontario and Lake Simcoe municipalities to levy development charges to recover 100% of their costs of reducing Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus pollution? If no, please explain why not and outline how you believe the pollution reduction measures should be paid for.
4. Please provide any other comments about Lake Simcoe Watch’s report: Cleaning Up Lake Simcoe: A Discussion Paper.
Thank you for your letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the opportunity to review “Cleaning-Up Lake Simcoe: A Discussion Paper”.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is committed to supporting farmers as stewards of the land. Stewardship, education and outreach are essential tools that assist in achieving the objectives of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. They provide mechanisms for connecting directly with rural and agricultural communities in the watershed. Stewardship programs help to address specific threats facing the Lake Simcoe watershed and encourage everyone to engage in responsible and sustainable actions. Education and outreach programs connect the environmental, economic, social and scientific aspects of stewardship and help to improve community acceptance and encourage positive changes.
OMAFRA created the “Best Management Practices Series”, a collection of publications to support individual farm planning and decision-making by presenting affordable options for protecting soil and water resources on the farm. These publications cover a wide range of agricultural best management practices, many of which support the reduction of phosphorus loss on-farm. You can access these documents here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/bmp/series.htm. The Canada Agricultural Partnership provides cost-share funding for a range of actions to reduce phosphorus losses from agriculture and food processors, including in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
The Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008 requires the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to review the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan at least every 10 years to determine whether it should be amended. The Act also requires that the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to consult with local stakeholders and ensure there are opportunities for public participation during the review. OMAFRA will be an active participant in this process.
When the 10-year review of the Plan begins, we will consider the recommendations in your discussion document. Public engagement and consultation is a key component of the review process and we also welcome your feedback during the official public comment period. Please be sure to check the Environmental Registry (www.ero.ontario.ca) for the launch document to provide your comments.
Thank you for your dedication to cleaning-up Lake Simcoe.