Government of Canada invests $4.4 million in climate action and awareness for young Canadians

News release

May 19, 2021 – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Canadians want clean air and clean water for their children and grandchildren. When companies pollute our natural environment, they pay the price and the Government of Canada ensures that environmental good follows environmental harm by investing those fines in projects that benefit Canadians and their communities.

Today, Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $4,499,737 in Clean Foundation’s Youth Climate Action Now (YouCAN) project.

With this funding, Clean Foundation and partners in the Atlantic provinces will engage with 70,000 youth to empower them to take climate action in their own lives and communities. Through regional, grade-appropriate climate action education, the YouCAN project will improve youth’s climate awareness and understanding of climate science and solutions. A key pillar of this project will be to provide professional learning to 2,000 educators and give them tools to support youth in their climate action initiatives.

The Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund is the source of funding for this project under its Climate Action and Awareness Fund. The Climate Action and Awareness Fund was created from the $196.5-million fine paid by Volkswagen for circumventing Canada’s environmental protection rules, the largest environmental fine in Canadian history.

The Climate Action and Awareness Fund is investing $37.8 million in climate change projects for youth across Canada. These projects will engage and empower youth to take real climate action in their communities and help Canada meet our target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


“Young Canadians are at the heart of our approach to creating a healthier future and building a cleaner economy. With the tools acquired through this important project, youth will continue to be leaders in the fight against climate change and the preservation of healthy ecosystems in their communities across the country.”
– Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

“Climate education is imperative for the next generation of Canadians to understand the science and solutions behind the global climate change challenge that will greatly affect them in their lifetime. YouCAN’s collaborative regional approach to climate education allows local issues with local solutions to be highlighted, creating momentum across the Atlantic provinces on climate education programming, while connecting youth with opportunities to get involved in their communities.”
– Shannon Harding, Director, Education and Engagement, Clean Foundation

Quick facts

  • This project will bring together partners from across the four Atlantic provinces to develop and deliver high-quality, regionally relevant Climate Action and Awareness programs for K 12 youth, students and educators in Atlantic Canada.

  • The Climate Action and Awareness Fund, which was created with an investment from the Environmental Damages Fund and the Climate Action Fund, will invest a total of $206 million in projects that will build youth awareness, engagement and action; support community-based climate action; advance climate science and technology; and support academia and think tank organizations.

  • The newly funded youth awareness and engagement projects will address knowledge and/or program gaps in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (Kindergarten to CEGEP in Quebec) demographic in Canada. These projects will inform and engage youth in science-based activities and learning opportunities to foster a connection with their natural environment and encourage real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.

  • The Environmental Damages Fund ensures that environmental good follows harm by investing in projects that focus on environmental restoration, environmental quality improvement, research and development, and education and awareness.

Associated links


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

Megan Blumenthal
Principal Assistant & Adviser
Office of Darren Fisher, MP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour

Alana Milner
Director, External Relations
Clean Foundation

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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