Concerns about the St. Lawrence are not a recent phenomenon. In fact, the water quality of the St. Lawrence became a topic of lively discussion beginning in the early 1970s, as findings increasingly began to point to the impacts brought about by bacteriological and toxic pollution on the restoration and ongoing use of the river for economic, social and environmental purposes.
In 1972, the Canada-Quebec St. Lawrence Working Group was mandated to draw up a portrait of the situation. The working group found water pollution to be a threat to uses both for recreational and commercial purposes and by animals. Even at that time, a concerted effort was deemed necessary to address the issues identified. In 1978, a second federal-provincial review committee on the St. Lawrence was formed. It recommended the implementation of intervention plans to maintain the quality of drinking water while supporting municipal sewage treatment and the regulation of industrial waste.
1988: Inception of the St. Lawrence Action Plan
In 1988, the governments of Canada and Quebec began working together with various stakeholders to conserve, restore, protect and develop the St. Lawrence.
This Canada-Quebec collaboration has had significant positive outcomes from an environmental perspective. Throughout the various phases of the St. Lawrence Action Plan, the governments of Canada and Quebec have adapted their approach to dealing with the issues inherent to the St. Lawrence. The achievements, outcomes and details of the partners' respective investments in the various phases of the St. Lawrence Plan are available in the following five-year reports: