The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, has announced on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, $663,500 in funding under the Freshwater Action Plan for six projects that will support region-specific actions to restore water quality and ecosystem health:

  • $230,000 for Lakehead University to restore riparian and coastal habitat for fish and wildlife in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern, as well as build features to filter stormwater before it reaches Lake Superior.
  • $108,500 for Lakehead University to implement the Thunder Bay Area of Concern Wildlife Habitat Strategy and facilitate community engagement.
  • $146,000 for the Bare Point Restoration Co. to complete engineering design specifications and start site preparation for constructing a new wetland complex and restoring a cold-water creek system near the former Superior Fine Papers property.
  • $40,000 for the Fort William First Nation to naturalize and stabilize shoreline habitat by planting trees and shrubs in the Grand Point and the Kaministiquia River areas.
  • $54,000 for the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority to conduct riparian habitat rehabilitation, invasive species management, and create meadow habitat at the “Redwood site” of the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway Corridor.
  • $85,000 for the North Shore Steelhead Association to complete modifications to the Current River fishway/fish ladder to optimize its performance and improve fish movement between Thunder Bay and upstream fish habitat.

These are six of 24 projects recently funded under the Great Lakes Freshwater Ecosystem Initiative, part of the Government of Canada’s Freshwater Action Plan to protect and restore freshwater bodies of national significance. Canada aims to complete all actions to clean up 12 of 14 remaining Canadian Areas of Concern by 2030, complete all 14 by 2038, and meet Canada’s phosphorus load reduction targets for Lake Erie by 2039.

These local projects will help to advance Canada’s commitments under the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Canada–Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health.

“People in northwestern Ontario have a deep appreciation for the waterways that nourish our region, including Lake Superior. Our ways of life are intertwined with water, as are the animals and land. Increasingly, water is under attack through pollution and other changes that cause great damage to the water and wildlife we hold dear. With these federal investments, organizations will have support to continue their hard work on behalf of all of us to restore, rehabilitate, and protect the water systems in our region. Thank you for your vision and leadership as we work together to protect the water we all love.” – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • Canada has over two million lakes and rivers and more inland water than any other country.
  • These six projects are among the 24 new projects announced on September 28, 2023, to:
    • Restore water quality and ecosystem health in Areas of Concern
    • Prevent toxic and nuisance algae
    • Engage Indigenous peoples in Great Lakes restoration and protection
  • Budget 2023 announced a major investment in freshwater in Canada, including:
    • $650 million over 10 years, starting in 2023–24, to support monitoring, assessment, and restoration work in the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, Lake of the Woods, St. Lawrence River, Fraser River, Saint John River, Mackenzie River, and Lake Simcoe.
      • This includes an investment of $420 million over 10 years for the Great Lakes, announced by the Prime Minister, with a focus on accelerating Canada’s implementation of the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
    • $22.6 million over three years, starting in 2023–24, to support better coordination of efforts to protect freshwater across Canada.
    • $85.1 million over five years, starting in 2023–24, and $21 million ongoing to support the creation of a Canada Water Agency, headquartered in Winnipeg.
  • The new Canada Water Agency is the federal focal point for fresh water, working in partnership with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and stakeholders to strengthen collaboration on fresh water. It delivers key elements of the strengthened Freshwater Action Plan


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