Ontario and Quebec Cooperation Announcement
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Quebec Premier Jean Charest have announced that their provinces will cooperate on several key economic and social issues to improve public services for the people of both provinces.
The initiative will encompass many sectors. It will begin by focusing on health care, transportation, the environment, natural resources, tourism and public security. It will include initiatives in francophone affairs. Work will also continue in the area of construction labour mobility.
The premiers have directed their ministers to continue negotiations and prepare agreements for each of the key sectors they have identified. Premiers McGuinty and Charest will meet in the fall to review progress and finalize a framework agreement committing their two provinces to ongoing cooperation.
Both Ontarians and Quebecers value high-quality and sustainable health care systems. Enhanced cooperation between Ontario and Quebec, particularly through sharing information and best practices, will work to strengthen health care planning and service delivery in both provinces.
The economies of both Ontario and Quebec depend on efficient and well-maintained transportation systems. Under terms of a framework, Ontario and Quebec will exchange information and best practices on an ongoing basis on issues of mutual interest and pursue a variety of joint transportation initiatives that will enhance public safety and security. Examples of areas of cooperation include the ongoing harmonization of common standards related to heavy vehicle weights and dimensions to protect infrastructure from wear and tear, and common initiatives to improve the deployment of Intelligent Transportation System on highways, roads and urban transit.
Many of today's environmental issues can better be solved through cooperation across borders. A new environmental cooperation agreement between Ontario and Quebec will foster closer working relationships on key air and water issues by sharing information and expertise on transboundary environmental concerns. Through the agreement, Ontario and Quebec will work together on complex environmental challenges facing both provinces.
Enhanced cooperation in natural resource management will help promote sustainability. Ontario and Quebec will work together to improve access to and management of their respective land information (geomatics) systems, develop an agreement to share data and recovery plans around wildlife species at risk and provide for mutual assistance for forest fire control.
Joint promotion of tourism products and destinations can increase the number of visitors to Ontario and Quebec and bolster this important sector of the economy. Ontario and Quebec will undertake to identify means to jointly support projects of common interest including regional tourism initiatives such as Northern Destinations.
Public Safety and Security
Ontario and Quebec have a shared interest in public safety and security and already have a number of cooperation initiatives. To further enhance collaboration, Ontario and Quebec have agreed to explore additional opportunities in the public security sector and identify options for efficient joint projects. In the short term, this could include expanding the existing collaboration on the exchange of police equipment, assets and resources so that officials have access to additional resources in emergency situations.
Both premiers recognize the special relationship between the two provinces, given that Ontario is home to the largest francophone population outside of Quebec, and that Quebec is committed to the development of the French language and culture within francophone communities. They agreed to build upon current cooperation between the two provinces, focusing on education, health, social services and culture.