The Role of Local Governments in Great Lakes Environmental Governance: A Canadian Perspective

Restoration of environmental integrity in the Great Lakes Basin has been only a qualified success after thirty-five years of efforts pursuant to policies developed by federal, state, and provincial governments. Many unresolved problems stem from activities under local government control, yet in the past local governments were excluded from Great Lakes policy-making. By looking at recent changes in the powers, interests, experience, and influence of local governments in Ontario, this Essay concludes that local governments now have the ability to participate meaningfully in Great Lakes policy formation and implementation. To include local governments would improve the chances of successful restoration of ecosystem integrity. However, a number of challenges must first be tackled so that an expanded role for local governments can be most effective.