The Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) serves as a forum for advising and assisting the parties in coordinating, implementing, reviewing and reporting on programs, practices and measures that support the implementation of the GLWQA. The GLEC, co-led by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes high-level representatives from federal, provincial and regional governments, tribal, First Nations, Métis, local governments, water basin management agencies and other local public authorities. In addition, a formal committee structure has been established to involve GLEC member organizations in binational work to develop and implement measures to meet commitments in each of the ten areas identified by the GLWQA. The United States and Canada first signed the agreement in 1972. It was amended in 1983 and 1987. In 2012, it was updated to improve water quality programs that ensure the ”chemical, physical and biological integrity” of the Great Lakes. The agreement was modernized in 2012 to reflect new knowledge and address all issues related to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health. The 2012 agreement will help the United States and Canada jeopardize the water quality of the Great Lakes and strengthen measures to anticipate and prevent environmental damage. The new provisions address invasive aquatic species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change and support further work on existing threats to the health and environment of Great Lakes Basin populations, such as harmful algae, toxic chemicals and ship releases. In addition, Canada and the United States have committed to submit their own progress reports every three years at a public forum. The IJC will review this report and its own research and solicit public contributions on lake health before publishing its assessment report, also on a three-year basis.
The first government progress report was published in October 2016 and, at the same time, a public forum for the Great Lakes was held.