The Government of Ontario is providing more than $2 million in funding to the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), which will help protect Ontario’s freshwater ecosystems.

The funding was announced May 21, 2019 by Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of energy, northern development and mines.

Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the IISD-ELA is receiving $30,000 to hire an architectural firm. The firm will complete a detailed design and cost estimate for the construction of a water science education and training centre.

The replacement of the IISD-ELA’s outdated facility with a new education and training centre will allow the institute to continue providing and developing initiatives such as the Experimental Lakes Area Student Experience high school program and a field biology program run in partnership with Lakehead University. The new centre will also help expand outreach and collaboration with northwestern Ontario communities and First Nations, as well as increase ecotourism opportunities.

“Our government is proud to be making investments in quality science and research that will help us to protect and enjoy our waterways and freshwater ecosystems,” said Rickford. “We have been keen on showing the world that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs – and with today’s exciting announcements, we are proud to say that Ontario is open for research as well.”

On behalf of John Yakabuski, minister of natural resources and forestry, Rickford also announced up to $2 million will be provided to the IISD-ELA in 2019-20 to ensure ongoing, multi-year research projects and important long-term monitoring of the Experimental Lakes Area will continue.

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“Ontario is fortunate to be home to many lakes, rivers and streams that provide recreational and tourism opportunities, and significant contributions to our economy,” said Yakabuski. “That’s why making investments in quality science and research that help us to protect these water systems is so important, and it’s a pleasure to work with my colleague Greg Rickford on this initiative.”

“The IISD Experimental Lakes Area is extremely grateful for this continued support from the Government of Ontario,” said Jane McDonald, interim president and chief executive officer of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. “As we extend beyond our 50th anniversary, we continue to track emerging threats to freshwater head on, with new and exciting research on oil spills, acid rain, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, algal blooms, environmental DNA, and much more.”

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