Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller’s private members bill aimed at cleaning up our waterways passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature Tuesday.

Miller explains Bill 228 Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers Act is designed to require encapsulated polystyrene foam be used for docks and other floating structures to prevent it from breaking off and polluting waterways. “I’m hopeful that this bill will keep going through the process,” he says.

“Keeping dock foam out of our waterways is not the primary thing people are thinking about, but actually I don’t get a choice when I debate a private members bill,” Miller says, adding it’s decided by lottery. 

“You just need to walk along the shoreline of the Georgian Bay and you will see styrofoam is everywhere,” Miller says. He goes on to say that part of the province’s environmental strategy is to reduce plastic in water. “The Great Lakes is the drinking water for, I think, 35 million people,” he adds on the importance of keeping our waterways clean. 

“When encapsulated dock foam is exposed to the elements it can break apart into the visible waste most lake lovers are unfortunately all too familiar with, as well as the microscopic particles that are harmful to fish and other wildlife,” Miller explains. “While docks are not the only source of polystyrene contamination to our waterways, requiring encapsulation will greatly impact their contribution to the problem.”

Now that the bill has passed second reading, Miller explains it will be referred to the standing committee for hearings and possible amendments. After that a third hearing will be held and if the bill is passed, it gets royal assent and will become law.