About the review

The stakeholder and public engagement sessions enabled the province to share the latest science and knowledge about the Lake Simcoe watershed, such as the changes happening in the biology of the lake, as well as the relationship between phosphorus and dissolved oxygen in the lake.

Moving forward, the province is continuing to invest in projects to reduce phosphorus loads to the lake as well as science and monitoring to better understand these relationships.


Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario and is home to more than 450,000 people. Its watershed provides many vital resources to residents and ecosystems, such as:

  • provincially significant wetlands, woodlands, and prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas like the Holland Marsh  
  • a source of safe drinking water
  • traditional lands of many Indigenous people
  • recreational opportunities like fishing

The Lake Simcoe watershed has experienced broad change over the years. It is also facing growing pressures on its water quality and general ecological health.

Since 2009, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan has guided the province’s actions to protect and restore Lake Simcoe. The plan focuses on:

  • the lake’s water quality
  • reducing pollutants and nutrients such as phosphorus
  • caring for natural heritage
  • addressing the impacts of invasive species and other emerging threats

Over the past decade, we implemented the policies of the plan in collaboration with key partners, including:  

  • all levels of government
  • Indigenous communities
  • local conservation authorities
  • Ontario universities
  • local nongovernmental organizations
  • property owners
  • watershed visitors

The minister’s Five Year (2015) and Ten Year (2020) reports highlight how the work undertaken since the release of the plan has focused on delivering cost effective programs and services to improve the health of the lake and watershed.

While we see some improvements, protecting and restoring the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed is a long-term undertaking that continues to be a priority as part of the province’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

About the public survey

From December 18, 2020, to March 3, 2021, we engaged stakeholders and Indigenous communities, and invited the public to participate in our 10-year review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

This review helped us decide if we needed to make amendments to the plan. It also helped ensure we use the latest science and knowledge as we continue to protect and restore the ecological health of the lake.

We wanted to hear ideas and feedback from:

  • conservation authorities (members, staff)
  • municipalities (municipal elected officials, employees)
  • landowner associations
  • development stakeholders (property developers, associations representing developers)
  • agriculture stakeholders (farmers, agriculture associations)
  • environmental or conservation organizations or associations (board members, staff)
  • Indigenous communities
  • the general public

The Lake Simcoe Protection Act requires the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to review the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, at least every 10 years after the date the plan takes effect, to determine whether the plan should be amended. During the review, the minister must:

  • review the functions and operations of the Lake Simcoe Science Committee and the Lake Simcoe Coordinating Committee
  • consult with:
    • the council of each municipality that has jurisdiction in the Lake Simcoe watershed or the prescribed outside areas
    • the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
    • other public bodies that, in the opinion of the minister, could be affected by the review
    • the Lake Simcoe Science Committee and the Lake Simcoe Coordinating Committee
  • ensure that the public is given an opportunity to participate in the review

How to participate

There were several ways to participate in the review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

Online survey

Our online survey let us know what you thought about our plan and the health of Lake Simcoe.

The survey was open until March 3, 2021.

Virtual events

Virtual science event – January 28, 2021, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (invitation only)

The virtual science event:

  • shared scientific monitoring and research related to protecting the ecological health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed
  • provided essential background on the health of the lake for the review of the plan

Ontario ministries, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and academics presented on the key themes of the plan, including:

  • aquatic life
  • water quality
  • natural heritage
  • other threats such as invasive species and climate change

The invite-only event was part of our government’s legislated review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. It met the requirement under the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to host a biennial science forum for invited:

  • legislated stakeholders
  • science partners
  • Lake Simcoe committees
  • non-governmental organization (NGO) stakeholders

Virtual town hall – February 11, 2021, 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

We invited Ontario residents and all our partners to take part in the Lake Simcoe virtual town hall to:

  • learn about the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan
  • hear highlights of progress made to protect and restore the lake
  • learn about other opportunities for engagement

We encourage you to share your perspectives on the plan and suggest ideas for the plan that could help protect and restore the health of the lake and watershed.


Feedback was also received by email to LakeSimcoe@ontario.ca.

Direct outreach

We consulted directly with watershed municipalities, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Indigenous communities during the review to make sure they had opportunities to provide feedback on the plan policies they support or implement.

We also engaged the minister’s Lake Simcoe Coordinating and Science Committees as part of the review.

Your privacy matters

Your personal information was collected in order to help us in our review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. Your responses were reviewed by the Government of Ontario.

This feedback helped to inform our first review of the plan, as required under the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008.

Some of the non-identifying information shared may be used by the Government of Ontario and their service providers to measure website analytics, performance and to improve our services.

Your information will not be placed on mailing lists or released to any third party, except as may be authorized by law. For questions on how personal information collected on this page will be used, please see our Privacy Statement.