Lake of the Woods Control Board Board Description
What is the LWCB? How was it established and what is its mandate? What treaties and legislation does it operate under? What are its mission, guidelines and goals, its administrative bylaws and policies? Who are the members and staff? How does the board interact with First Nations, interest groups and resource agencies in the basin, and who are the spokespersons that the Board interacts with? Find out in the following sections:



The Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB) is a Canadian board consisting of four members, each with an alternate, who represent Canada (one member), Ontario (two members) and Manitoba (one member). Appointments are made by Orders-in-Council of the appropriate government and each appointee is required to be a Professional Engineer. Each Member reports to the government department that recommended his (her) appointment to the Board; for Canada appointees it is Environment Canada, for Ontario it is the Ministry of Natural Resources and for Manitoba it is Manitoba Water Stewardship. The Board, established in 1919, is responsible for the regulation of levels in Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul and flows in the Winnipeg and English Rivers downstream of these lakes to their junction. In addition, when the level of Lac Seul exceeds certain specified levels, the Board controls the diversion of water from Lake St. Joseph (Albany system) into Lac Seul. The Board's authority is defined by concurrent Canada/Ontario/Manitoba legislation (The Lake of the Woods Control Board Act; 1921, 1922, 1958) and is further mandated by a Canada-United States of America Treaty (Convention and Protocol for Regulating the Level of the Lake of the Woods, 1925), necessary since Lake of the Woods is an international boundary water. This treaty also created a second board, the International Lake of the Woods Control Board (ILWCB). While Lake of the Woods is normally regulated solely by the LWCB, the outflow from the lake is subject to the approval of the ILWCB whenever the level of the lake rises above or falls below certain elevations specified in the treaty.

The responsibilities of the LWCB are fulfilled by directing what the outflows of Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul (and at times the Lake St. Joseph diversion) shall be. To assist it in determining these flows, the Board maintains a full-time Secretariat that monitors conditions in the basin, provides information and analysis, and recommends regulating strategy and/or specific outflows. It also implements strategy when so directed, conducts studies and maintains communications with basin users.



The construction of dams at the Lake of the Woods outlets in the late 1800s and the subsequent regulation of outflows led to concerns over high and low water levels on the lake. This issue was referred to the International Joint Commission (IJC) by the federal governments of Canada and the United States in 1912. In 1917 the IJC issued the results of its studies, which included recommendations for the creation of control boards and for the level range and mode of operation of the lake. Based on these recommendations, the LWCB was first established by Canadian federal Order-in-Council in 1919. Discussions between the federal government of Canada and the provincial governments of Ontario and Manitoba subsequently resulted in the Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, Canada, 1921, the Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, Ontario, 1922, and the Canada-Ontario-Manitoba Tripartite Agreement, 1922. The two acts provided statutory establishment of the LWCB, defined its jurisdiction and powers, and provided for board members to be appointed by Canada and Ontario. These acts gave the LWCB jurisdiction over Lac Seul and the English and Winnipeg Rivers as well as over Lake of the Woods. Initially only Canada and Ontario appointed members to the board as, at that time, natural resources in Manitoba were administered by Canada. The tripartite agreement defined cost-sharing arrangements among the parties for capital works and Board operations.

Although it took a little longer, discussions subsequent to the IJC recommendations of 1917 between the federal governments of Canada and the United States ultimately resulted in the 1925 Canada/USA Convention and Protocol regarding Lake of the Woods. This treaty established the water level operating range on Lake of the Woods, defined the purpose and general mode of operation, and provided for two boards to control regulation. The Canadian LWCB was to regulate the lake on an on-going basis, but its decisions were to be subject to approval by an International Lake of the Woods Control Board (ILWCB) whenever lake levels rose above or fell below certain limits.

With the passing of the Manitoba Natural Resources Act in 1930, Manitoba gained control over its natural resources. This led to the Lake of the Woods Control Board Act, Manitoba, 1958, and the amendment of the Canada and Ontario versions of the act in the same year, so that one of the Board members appointed by Canada was replaced by a member to be appointed by Manitoba.

As previously noted, the regulation of Lac Seul had been planned for and placed under LWCB jurisdiction in the initial LWCB acts. The Lac Seul Conservation Act of 1928 (both Canada and Ontario), provided for the construction of the dam on Lac Seul (to create a hydropower reservoir) and for the sharing of capital and on-going costs among the parties. The dam was built in 1930. Subsequently, in 1958, the waters of Lake St. Joseph (part of the Albany River system) were diverted into Lac Seul, as authorized by the Manitoba-Ontario Lake St. Joseph Diversion Agreement Authorization Act, 1958 (both Ontario and Manitoba). The LWCB Act, as amended/created in 1958, gave the LWCB certain powers over this diversion. Finally, in the 1986-91 period, Orders-in-Council were executed by Ontario, Canada and Manitoba to define the operating range on Lac Seul. The same range had been in use for many years based on the initial design but had never been formally adopted.

Copies of one or more versions of the above documents, in printable "pdf" format, can be accessed and viewed via the following links.

The authoritative versions of any consolidated federal Acts can be found here  

Mission, Guidelines and Goals

Click here for a printable "pdf" version of the
"Mission, Guidelines and Goals" document.


To regulate the water levels of Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, and the flows in the Winnipeg and English Rivers downstream of these lakes to their junction, for the benefit of all users and interests.


  • All decisions are made in accordance with international treaty, Canadian federal and provincial legislation, and sound water management principles.
  • All decisions are based on the most recent and extensive hydrometeorological data and information available to the Board at the time.
  • All decisions consider, and attempt to balance, all interests in the basin.
  • People with many diverse interests use the basin. While some hold differing or even conflicting views of what constitutes an ideal water level or flow regime, others may share concerns and viewpoints. Some distinct interests are:
  • cottaging and permanent residency
  • recreational uses (including boating and fishing)
  • nature (fish and wildlife protection)
  • tourist outfitting
  • wild rice
  • electric power production/consumption (both within and outside the basin)
  • local industry (power and water quality concerns)
  • domestic water supply
  • lakefront and riverfront properties
  • commercial fishing
      The Board relies on spokespersons for these interests to provide information on the benefits and disbenefits, to each interest, of a range of water levels and flows. To facilitate this process, the Board seeks input from First Nations, from a number of specific interest groups that the Board has formally recognized, and from government resource agencies.
  • When two or more interests have differing requirements, the Board may select a compromise strategy that, while it does not completely satisfy any interest, causes the minimum loss or damage to the interests overall.
  • When critical conditions exist for an interest, the Board may select the regulation strategy that best satisfies that interest.


    1. To regulate and control the water levels of Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, and the flows in the Winnipeg and English Rivers downstream of these lakes to their junction. Hydrometeorological data will be collected and assessed on a continuing basis, and regulation strategy will be set by the Board as necessary (both at and between regularly scheduled meetings). Approved regulation strategy will be implemented by the Board's Secretariat (by varying outflows as required). Approval of the International Lake of the Woods Control Board will be sought for regulation actions whenever the water level of Lake of the Woods is above elevation 323.39 m (1061.0 ft) or below elevation 321.87 m (1056.0 ft).
    2. To ensure that all interests and users are taken into account in the decision making process. The Board and/or its Secretariat will consult with First Nations advisors, specific interest group representatives and resource agency advisors at regulation meetings (to be held within the basin at least three times per year) and also at other times whenever regulation strategy is being set. Information from First Nations, interest groups, resource advisors and the general public regarding desirable levels and flows in the various seasons, and relative impacts of undesirable conditions, will be collected, documented and periodically updated.
    3. To maintain and strengthen public relations and communications so as to ensure that relevant information about regulation is available to the public and to improve the public's understanding of the competing demands on the resource and the regulation process. At least one public open house or public meeting will be held each year, with more added when basin conditions warrant. In addition, the Board and/or its Secretariat will endeavour to participate in events or meetings sponsored by others. Suitable means of providing information to the public on a regular basis will be maintained and revised as appropriate. Continuing effort will be made to inform the public about the range of water levels to be expected, shoreline risks, variability of conditions and limitations to achieving desirable water level conditions.
    4. To maintain and, as possible, strengthen the technological tools of the Board, in order to facilitate the assessment of watershed conditions, the evaluation of alternative regulation strategies and the rationale for decisions. Errors, omissions and inconsistencies in the hydrometeorological database for the basin will be identified and corrected, wherever possible and practicable. New and alternate means of collecting hydrometeorological data will be adopted, and the range and extent of this data expanded, where feasible. Existing computer models and tools will be maintained and enhanced where possible, and new or alternate tools and models will be periodically reviewed and adopted as appropriate, subject to resource limitations, to address the Board's operational needs, especially in the areas of lake and river simulation modelling and modelling related to inflow forecasting.
    5. To anticipate and respond to issues or activities that impact on the mandate or responsibilities of the LWCB. To the best of its ability, the Board will monitor, and react to as appropriate, activities and initiatives of others in the basin related or potentially related to water levels and flows. The Board will liaise with, and exchange information with, agencies and governments active in the basin. In particular, shoreline development plans will be evaluated, as well as activities or studies in the upper basin (Rainy and Namakan lakes) which could potentially affect the downstream area, and comments or recommendations provided as appropriate

    Bylaws, Rules and Procedures, and Policies

    In addition to its Mission, Guidelines and Goals statement, the Board has developed several other documents to guide and direct its operations.

    First, the Board has a set of Bylaws which, after identifying a number of key documents and terms, proceed to formally define the Board's regulating objectives, its makeup, its meeting requirements, its administrative and financial procedures, and its Secretariat. The Bylaws also define the process for consultation with First Nations, the rights and responsibilities of recognized Specific Interest Groups and Resource Agencies, and the roles of the Board Chair and Executive Engineer.

    Second, the Board has a set of Rules and Procedures pertaining to its Secretariat, which address the operations and housing of the Secretariat within Environment Canada, and the financial and personnel administration of the Secretariat.

    Finally, the Board has a set of Policies, which address the operation of hydraulic generating stations and dams under the Board's jurisdiction, the issuing of public information and advisories, and the requirements for water flow and level data at flow control facilities.

    Copies of these documents, in printable "pdf" format, can be accessed and viewed or downloaded via the following links:


    Members - Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB)

    Representing    Member    Alternate
    Canada Megan Garner, P. Eng. Sandrina Rodrigues, P. Eng.
    Ontario Michael O'Flaherty, P. Eng. Vacant
    Manitoba Fisaha Unduche, P. Eng.* Wesley Penner, P. Eng.
    Ontario Dave Burritt, P. Eng. Amber Langmuir, P. Eng.
       * Board Chair for 2024

    Members - International Lake of the Woods Control Board (ILWCB)

    Representing    Member
    Canada Megan Garner, P. Eng.
    United States of America Colonel Eric Swenson

    First Nations and their First Nation Advisors

    Grand Council Treaty #3, the political territorial organization for 28 First Nations in the Treaty #3 area, was recognized by the Board as a "Specific Interest Group" in 1980. Since then, based on the affirmation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in the Canadian Constitution (1982, s 35), the governments of Canada, Ontario and Manitoba have moved towards greater recognition of, and new relationships with, First Nations. Accordingly, and after discussions between staff of the Board and Grand Council Treaty #3 in 2005, the Board decided to no longer consider Grand Council Treaty #3 as a Specific Interest Group but instead to seek interaction with First Nations in their own right.

    The Board encourages the participation of First Nation Advisors, appointed by Grand Council Treaty #3 and individual First Nations, at its Regulation Meetings. The Board has also committed to seek a separate meeting annually with Chiefs or staff representing Grand Council Treaty #3.

    To date, no First Nation Advisors have been appointed by Grand Council or individual First Nations. The Board's Secretariat provides information to, and maintains periodic contact with, the Grand Council Treaty #3 office.

    Grand Council Treaty #3
     Statement: n/a
     Web Site:
     Contact:  Water Resources
    TR3, Box 1720, Kenora  ON   P9N 3X7

    Specific Interest Groups and their Representatives

    The following groups have been recognized by the LWCB as specific interests and authorized to send representatives to LWCB Regulation Meetings in order to present their views. The Board's Secretariat consults the interest group representatives as appropriate between meetings. The "Statements" given below were provided by the interest group representatives.
    City of Winnipeg
     Statement: Shoal Lake supplies water to the City of Winnipeg's population of more than 630,000 people. Because Shoal Lake is hydraulically connected to Lake of the Woods by Ash Rapids, water levels in Shoal Lake are directly influenced by Lake of the Woods water levels. Lake of the Woods regulation decisions therefore directly impact water supply conditions in Shoal Lake.
     Web Site: n/a
     Representative: Linda McCusker
    Drinking Water Treatment Plant, c/o 552 Plinguet St., Winnipeg, MB, R2J
    Ear Falls - Perrault Falls Outfitters Association
     Statement: The EFPFOA is a non-profit association representing the interests of the tourist industry in the Ear Falls - Perrault Falls area. With respect to the LWCB, our main concern is maintaining adequate water levels to sustain a healthy fishery.
     Web Site: n/a
     Representative: Andrea Langford
    BOX 68W, HWY 105, Ear Falls  ON   P0V 1TO
    H2O Power Limited Partnership
     Statement: H2O Power LP is an electricity generation company whose primary business is the generation and sale of electricity in Ontario. H2O Power LP is the owner of the Kenora and Norman Generating Stations.
     Web Site:
     Representative: Marc Mantha
    H2O Power LP Operations Centre, 560 King St W, Oshawa  ON   L1J 7J1
    905-438-8539 x3203
     Alternate Rep: Ron Medina
    H2O Power LP Operations Centre, 560 King St W, Oshawa  ON   L1J 7J1
    905-438-8539 x3230
     Alternate Rep: Erik Richards
    H2O Power LP Operations Centre, 560 King St W, Oshawa  ON   L1J 7J1
    905-438-8539 x3307
    Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association (LOWDSA)
     Statement: The LOWDSA is a non-profit association, founded in the mid 1950's. It represents the interests of property owners, from the south end of Lake of the Woods (Rainy River/Nestor Falls), north, and north down the Winnipeg River from Kenora, past Minaki. The membership is made up primarily of seasonal residents (cottagers). The Association has a paid membership of in excess of 4,000 property owners, making it the largest single cottage association in Canada. It is operated by a Board of elected volunteers, who are assisted in their work by a paid Executive Director.
     Web Site:
     Representative: Jeff Polakoff
    P.O Box 1160, Kenora ON   P9N 3X7
    Manitoba Hydro
     Statement: Manitoba Hydro is a provincial Crown Corporation that provides electric energy and natural gas services to the citizens of Manitoba. Nearly all the electricity generated by Manitoba Hydro is from self renewable water power. Approximately 75% of the electricity generated is from five hydro stations on the Nelson River and the remainder is from nine hydro stations on the Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Laurie Rivers and three thermal stations. Manitoba Hydro has six generation stations on the Winnipeg River which provide approximately 15% of the electricity generated.
     Web Site:
     Representative: Jason Westmacott
    MH, Box 815, Winnipeg  MB   R3C 2P4
    Ontario Power Generation
     Statement: OPG is an Ontario-based electricity generation company whose principal business is the generation and sale of electricity in Ontario and to interconnected markets. Our focus is on the risk-managed production and sale of electricity from our competitive generation assets, while operating in a safe, open and environmentally responsible manner.
     Web Site:
     Representative: Eric Hansen
    OPG, Box 10159, Thunder Bay  ON   P7B 6T7
    Pakwash Camp Owners Association
     Statement: We are a non-profit association representing the interests of the tourist industry on Pakwash Lake. Our main concerns are maintaining adequate water levels to sustain a healthy fishery and safe navigation of the rapids at Snake Falls. Pakwash can be drastically impacted by high outflows from Lac Seul because of the natural restriction of the English River south of Pakwash Lake.
     Web Site: n/a
     Representative: Kim Budweg
    PCOA, Box 128, Ear Falls  ON   P0V 1T0
    Sioux Lookout Hudson Tourism Association
     Statement: n/a
     Web Site: n/a
     Representative: Jody Morin
    Box 1058, Sioux Lookout  ON   P8T 1B7
     Alternate Rep: Fran Donnelly
    Whiteshell Cottagers Association Inc.
     Statement: The WCA, founded in 1951, is a non-profit organization. It operates as a board with elected volunteers, representing cottage owners in the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Its main purpose is to ensure that all relevevent information is communicated to its membership.
     Web Site:
     Representative: Doug Petrick
    Whiteshell Cottagers Association Inc.

    Lac Seul Archaeology Group
     Statement: The Lac Seul Archaeological Group aims to raise awareness as to the extent and importance of the non-renewable cultural heritage resources contained within the Lac Seul basin.
     Web Site: n/a
       Brad Hyslop
    Lac Seul Archaeology Group, Box 107, Hudson  ON   P0V 1X0
    Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District
     Statement: The Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District is a local government organization that promotes and implements programs to protect our natural resources. Its offices are in Baudette, Minnesota, and it provides the Lake of the Woods Control Board with information and feedback on the effect of water levels on shorelines along Lake of the Woods and Rainy River in Minnesota.
     Web Site:
       Nancy Dunnell
    Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District, Williams  MN   56686
       Mike Hirst
    Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District, 119 1st Ave Nw, Baudette  MN   56623
    218-634-1842 x4

    Resource Agencies and their Resource Advisors

    The Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks have been asked to make available to the LWCB appropriate staff to provide expert advice on affected resources. The main contacts are listed here. Other personnel from these agencies and, on occasion, from other agencies as well, are contacted as necessary. The "Statements" given below were provided by the Ministries.
    Fish and Wildlife (MNRF)
     Statement: n/a
     Web Site:
     Area: Lake of the Woods:
      Resource Advisor Josh Peacock
    MNRF, Box 5080, Kenora  ON   P9N 3X9
     Winnipeg River:
      Resource Advisor Josh Peacock
    MNRF, Box 5080, Kenora  ON   P9N 3X9
     Lake St. Joseph and Lac Seul:
      Resource Advisor Matt Smith
    MNRF, Red Lake  ON   P0V2M0
     Lower English River:
      Resource Advisor Matt Smith
    MNRF, Red Lake  ON   P0V2M0
    Water Quality (OMECP)
     Statement: The OMECP is responsible for restoring, protecting and enhancing the environment to ensure public health, environmental quality and economic vitality.
     Web Site:
     Area: Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River:
      Resource Advisor Jason Tittlemier
    808 Robertson Street, Kenora, ON P9N 1X9