Canada invests in projects to restore Lake Winnipeg Basin water quality

News release

July 5, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada is home to a fifth of the world’s fresh water, and the federal government is taking action to protect this precious resource. The Lake Winnipeg Basin is an important freshwater resource. The basin is the heart giving life to all the lakes and rivers from Manitoba to Alberta, Ontario, and the United States, and the federal government is committed to restoring its health.

With its partners, the Government of Canada is addressing water-quality issues impacting Canadians—such as nutrient loading that causes toxic and nuisance algal blooms. Healthier lakes mean economic growth; more recreational opportunities; and a healthy, sustainable ecosystem.

Today, the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Terry Duguid, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced $2.2 million in funding, over three years, for 19 new projects under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program. Through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, the Government of Canada is taking action to reduce excessive nutrients that contribute to algae growth in the lake. The Program also enhances collaboration throughout the basin, including with Indigenous partners.

For example, $33 000 will go to the Prairie Spirit School Division for engaging students in RiverWatch – a water quality monitoring program. The project will provide students in Southern Manitoba, including youth in Treaty 1 and 2 territories, with a hands-on science experience that is helping reduce phosphorus in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

The Government of Canada has invested $25.7 million in the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, which is part of the $70.5 million in funding allocated for freshwater protection, in Budget 2017.

Lake Winnipeg is Canada’s sixth-largest lake and the eleventh-largest freshwater lake in the world, and the Government is committed to ensuring it remains healthy for generations to come. By working together to protect the environment, we can pass on a healthier environment and a stronger, more prosperous Canada to our children and grandchildren.


“A clean and healthy environment is Canada’s most precious resource. By taking action to protect Lake Winnipeg’s freshwater resources, we’re supporting Manitoba’s economy. Lake Winnipeg generates millions of dollars of revenue through hydroelectricity, recreation, and commercial freshwater fishing. Lake Winnipeg is also a significant cultural, social, and economic resource for Indigenous Peoples and communities around Lake Winnipeg. Investing to protect and conserve our natural environment helps us to better adapt to climate change, strengthen our clean-growth economy, and protect Canada’s nature for generations to come.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program, the Government of Canada is working with municipal governments, environmental organizations, First Nations and the Métis to make a real difference in protecting our freshwater resources. The federal funding we have announced today will support 19 projects across the Lake Winnipeg Basin. These projects will improve water quality in the basin and help restore the health of Canada’s sixth largest lake for present and future generations.”
– Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South.

Quick facts

  • Lake Winnipeg Basin Program efforts are expected to annually prevent 15 tonnes of phosphorus from entering the lake by 2022. This action would help improve water quality and reduce the size and frequency of algal blooms in Lake Winnipeg.

  • The Program is advancing research to better understand the lake’s response to nutrient-reduction action in the basin, the impact of climate variability on nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg, and the impact of zebra mussels on nutrient cycling.

  • The outflow of the lake has been regulated for hydroelectric power generation, making Lake Winnipeg the third-largest hydroelectric reservoir in the world.

  • The Lake Winnipeg Basin is nearly 1,000,000 km2 in size and is home to nearly 7 million people.

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

Associated links


Sabrina Kim
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 Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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