The Government of Canada invests $25.7 million in the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program

News Release

Investment to improve the ecological health of Lake Winnipeg and its basin

July 24, 2017 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Canada is committed to providing strong support for the restoration and improvement of valuable freshwater resources in Lake Winnipeg and its basin. This investment will tackle issues that matter to the lives of everyday Canadians—healthier lakes mean economic growth for industries that rely on them, more recreational opportunities, and a healthy sustainable ecosystem.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $25.7 million in the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, which is part of the $70.5-million funding allocated for freshwater protection in Budget 2017. This program is part of broader efforts by this Government to advance work on freshwater management in Canada.

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will refocus efforts on issues of great importance to Canadians and renew its commitment to protect freshwater in the Lake Winnipeg basin. New programming will focus on three priorities:

  • Reducing nutrient pollution
  • Enhancing collaboration to protect freshwater quality throughout the Lake Winnipeg basin
  • Strengthening collaborative-governance opportunities and supporting enhanced engagement of Indigenous peoples in addressing freshwater issues

Environment and Climate Change Canada will continue to conduct science-based initiatives to reduce the effects of excess nutrients in the lake and its basin. It will also increase engagement and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, the Government of Manitoba, and all other levels of government in Canada and the United States regarding shared water resources in the basin.

The evaluation of phase II of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative has been finalized, and it is now available on the website. New programming will build on Canada’s previous commitment to Lake Winnipeg, and recommendations from this evaluation will be used to make improvements to this next phase of funding.

Minister McKenna has engaged in a dialogue on Lake Winnipeg basin priorities with stakeholders representing Indigenous groups, the Province of Manitoba, municipalities, academia, industry, and environmental non-governmental organizations.


“Canada believes that sustained action on Lake Winnipeg restoration is key to the future health of citizens and economic prosperity in this region. Working alongside provincial and Canadian partners, the Government of Canada will continue to promote a renewed freshwater protection approach for the Lake Winnipeg basin.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • Lake Winnipeg is Canada’s sixth largest lake and the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world. Almost a million square kilometres of land drains into Lake Winnipeg from four provinces and four states (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota).

  • The 20 Indigenous communities along the shores of Lake Winnipeg rely heavily on the lake and its surrounding lands for their livelihood, sustenance, and traditional use.

  • Lake Winnipeg’s surface area is approximately 24 500 square kilometres, almost 4.5 times the size of Prince Edward Island. In September 2006, an algal bloom covered almost the entire surface of Lake Winnipeg.

  • The ratio of land-drainage-to-lake surface area is the largest in the world, which means that excess nutrient loading in the basin further compromises Lake Winnipeg’s natural ability to process nutrient pollution.

  • The economic viability of municipalities on the shores of Lake Winnipeg depends on the sustainability of the lake’s ecosystem. In addition, Lake Winnipeg is important to the Canadian economy, generating millions of dollars of revenue in the hydroelectricity, recreation, and commercial freshwater fishing industries.

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Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)

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