The Government of Canada invests in projects to help improve the health of the Lake Winnipeg Basin

News release

August 2, 2018 – Gimli, Manitoba

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s natural heritage, and part of that commitment is to protect and restore the ecosystem health and water quality of our freshwater resources, such as Lake Winnipeg.

Lake Winnipeg is very important to Manitoba’s economy. It generates millions of dollars of revenue through hydroelectricity, recreation, and commercial freshwater fishing. And, it’s a significant cultural, social, and economic resource to Indigenous Peoples and communities in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced $3.8 million in funding, over four years, for 23 new projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will take action to reduce excessive nutrients—such as phosphorus—from entering the lake, and it will also enhance collaboration throughout the Basin and support the engagement of Indigenous Peoples on freshwater issues. 

Importantly, this funding will help mitigate the excess phosphorus in Lake Winnipeg, the main cause of toxic and nuisance algae that negatively impacts water quality, which is a problem that could be worsened by warming waters due to climate change.

Minister McKenna was joined by many of the 23 funding recipients—including the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation will receive $260,000, over four years, for a project that engages citizen scientists to collect, analyze, and share multi-year phosphorous data to support targeted action. The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will receive $400,000, over two years, for wetland conservation and restoration in the Lake Winnipeg Basin. This project will include restoring 60 hectares of drained wetlands and protecting 660 hectares of intact wetlands. 

The Government of Canada has invested $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. The Program builds on the results of previous federal initiatives, and it uses a more targeted approach to reduce nutrients entering Lake Winnipeg. These efforts are part of a broader Government of Canada effort to advance work on freshwater management in Canada.

Investing in the protection and conservation of our natural environment through initiatives such as the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program helps us to better adapt to climate change, strengthen our clean-growth economy, and protect freshwater resources for generations to come.


“The Government of Canada is making historic investments in protecting nature, including freshwater resources such as Lake Winnipeg. Clean water is an essential resource for Canadians: It’s critical for our health, the environment, and the economy. And the Government of Canada is pleased to work with environmental groups, Indigenous Peoples, and government partners to collaborate with communities within the Lake Winnipeg Basin and achieve tangible results to improve the overall health of the lake.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Lake Winnipeg, Canada’s other great lake, is an important resource for Manitoba’s freshwater fishery, tourism, and energy sectors. It is by harnessing the knowledge and expertise of all those connected to the basin that we will be able to restore the health of Lake Winnipeg, and advance water management efforts throughout Western Canada.”
– Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South

Quick facts

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

  • Approximately 6.2 million people, of whom 5.5 million are Canadians, live within the Lake Winnipeg watershed.

  • A total of $8 million over four years of funding is available for application-based projects, under the grants and contributions portion of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program

Associated links


Caroline Thériault
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)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page

Page details

Date modified: