Low Carbon Economy Challenge


The Low Carbon Economy Challenge is part of the Low Carbon Economy Fund. It leverages Canadian ingenuity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and generate clean growth in support of Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan (the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change). The Challenge is divided into two streams:

Champions stream

The approximately $450 million Champions stream provides funding to eligible applicants, specifically:

  • provinces and territories
  • municipalities
  • Indigenous communities and organizations
  • businesses
  • not-for-profit organizations

The deadline for submitting formal proposals was September 28, 2018, and this stream is now closed. Thank you to all applicants.

Partnerships stream

The Partnerships stream provides up to $50 million in funding through two separate opportunities:

  1. First intake: Approximately $40 million to the following eligible applicants:

    • Indigenous communities and organizations
    • small and medium-sized businesses
    • not-for-profit organizations
    • small municipalities

    The deadline for submitting applications was March 8, 2019.

  2. Second intake: Approximately $10 million for small and medium businesses in Canada with 1 to 499 employees.

    The deadline for submitting applications was November 15, 2019. This intake is now closed. Thank you to all applicants.

How to apply for funding

Applications are now closed for all streams. Thank you to all applicants.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will undertake a complete review and assessment of the Application, including project work plan, costing, and projected greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Applications will be assessed for project eligibility based on the program parameters described in this summarized version of the Applicant Guide.

Frequently asked questions

How will projects be selected to receive funding through the Partnerships second intake of the Low Carbon Economy Challenge?

Potential applicants were invited to submit a proposal to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The best project will be those that prioritize low-cost domestic greenhouse gas reductions while also encouraging other benefits that contribute to clean growth by reducing emissions, saving energy, and creating jobs. Criteria for assessing proposals include:

  • annual tonnes of greenhouse emission reductions achieved in the year 2030 per federal dollar invested
  • cumulative GHG emission reductions over the lifetime of the project per federal dollar invested
  • project feasibility and risk
  • other benefits that contribute to clean growth and a clean environment

Emission reductions must also be:

  • material (measurable and verifiable)
  • complementary to existing actions
  • contribute to Canada’s 2030 climate target
  • cost-effective
Can applicants apply to both the Champions and the Partnerships streams?

Yes. Applicants from the Champions stream, who were eligible for the Partnerships stream, were able to apply with the same project. However, a project can only be funded by one stream of the Low Carbon Economy Challenge.

Can an applicant receive funding from both the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund and the Low Carbon Economy Challenge?

No. Projects that were funded through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund cannot receive additional funding through the Low Carbon Economy Challenge.

How much is the Government of Canada going to contribute to individual projects?

Champions stream:

  • A minimum of $1 million to a maximum of $50 million.

Partnerships stream:

  • First intake: A minimum of $500,000 to a maximum of $10 million for Indigenous communities and organizations, small and medium businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small municipalities.
  • Second intake: A minimum of $20,000 to a maximum of $250,000 is available for small and medium businesses in Canada with 1 to 499 employees.
How can Indigenous Peoples benefit from the Low Carbon Economy Challenge?

Indigenous communities and organizations were eligible to apply directly for funding through both streams of the Low Carbon Economy Challenge, for example, to support projects that reduce reliance on diesel and deploy energy-efficient technologies in homes and businesses. Indigenous-owned small and medium businesses are eligible to apply to the $10 million Partnerships stream for small and medium business.

Is there a threshold for cost-effectiveness, such as a maximum program cost per tonne, or a minimum greenhouse gas emissions threshold?

No. The program cost per tonne (calculated for both the estimated emission reductions in annual tonnes in 2030 and cumulative tonnes over the lifetime of the project) will be a key criterion in assessing final proposals, however, no pre-determined thresholds have been set.

Can I combine Low Carbon Economy Fund funding with funding from other federal programs or provincial, territorial or other funding (e.g., academic, foundation)?

Low Carbon Economy Challenge funding can be combined with other federal funding aside from federal funding administered under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This exception refers to the Green Infrastructure funding stream under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program; the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund; and Clean Technology funding through the Innovation and Skills Plan. The maximum funding to an approved project under the Challenge from all federal sources cannot exceed the limits set out in section 4.4 of the Applicant Guide.

The Challenge does not have limitations on the use of non-federal funding. When considering other funding sources, applicants may wish to consult the terms and conditions of each program to determine whether stacking is permitted. Applicants should also note that some provincial or territorial climate change programs may have received funding from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. Challenge projects cannot also receive funding from these provincial/territorial programs.

Will the Government of Canada retain ownership of the greenhouse gas emission reductions from projects funded through the Challenge?

Projects registered and/or generating credits under an existing GHG offset system are ineligible to receive funding under the Challenge. Project proponents must choose either funding from the LCEF or offsets, but may not choose both. Similarly, proponents of projects funded by the Challenge will be required, in the program funding agreement, to convey ownership of all environmental attributes related to any GHG emission reductions or removals that arise as a result of activities that received funding from the Challenge (including potential emission offsets) to ECCC.

What other programs are available if my proposal is not accepted by the Challenge?

Applicants who have been unsuccessful in the Challenge are invited to consult the following links for further information on other funding programs that support investments in clean technology and energy efficiency.

Provincial and territorial programs funded by the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund: Provinces and territories that have announced programs funded, in-part, by the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, are listed in the “News releases” section of this website. Interested parties are encouraged to consult this page frequently as new announcements are added regularly. Provincial and territorial climate change websites will also have information about their programs.

The Clean Growth Hub: The Clean Growth Hub is a concierge service for proponents looking for federal assistance at all stages of the innovation spectrum. Their website includes a comprehensive list of federal funding programs.

Innovation Canada: Innovation Canada operates a helpful platform that assists proponents in finding solutions to a variety of funding and capacity-related needs.

How do I get a GCKey/SWIM account?

If you do not already have a GCKey and a Single Window Information Management (SWIM) account, the SWIM website includes a step-by-step walkthrough to complete a user profile. Below are key links and videos. firs-time users are strongly encouraged to review this guidance, including the videos, to help facilitate setting up an account and accessing the online application form.

Key steps include:

  1. Log in by choosing a secure Sign-In method by either using your GCKey or via a Sign-In Partner. For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions on cyber authentication page
  2. From the Single Window Information Manager (SWIM) home page, use the left-hand navigation pane and select "My profile"
  3. Ensure you have completed your profile, save (firs-time users, see video: Connecting to Single Window for the firs-time)
  4. On the left-hand navigation menu select "Organization"
  5. Connect your profile to an organization by searching for the organization’s name or business number (see video: Connecting to an organization). If the organization cannot be found, add the organization by filling out the necessary information
  6. Manage access for your organization (see video: Managing access to your organization)
  7. Return to the SWIM home page and select "Climate Change Funding Programs: [sub-header] The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) and the Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF)" to navigate to the Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund application.

Important note: While contractors or other partner organizations can help in completing the application form, the lead applicant must always be the small or medium-sized enterprise that owns and uses the assets benefitting from the project. Contractors or other partner organizations can be added as “Partner Users” in the application system to aid in completing the application form. Instructions on how to grant partners access to the Application are provided below.

If you need to add a partner user, such as a contractor or other partner organization to help with completing the application, follow the steps below:

  1. Once you have accessed the online application form for the Partnerships: Small and Medium Business Intake and have successfully created a new application: select “Application Permissions” in the left-hand menu
  2. Click the “Add Partner User” button
  3. Click the “Edit” button at the end of the row for the newly added Partner User in the table titled “Proposal Permissions for Partner Users”
  4. Using the drop-down menu, change the Privilege Level to “Partner (Editor)”
  5. Click “Update”
  6. Copy-paste the token for that user in the last column of this table
  7. Share the token with the partner organization that will assist you in completing your application
    Steps to be completed by the partner organization:
    1. Navigate to the welcome screen of the Partnerships: Small and Medium Business Intake online application system
    2. Rather than clicking to “Create New Application”, scroll down to “Partner’s Applications” and paste the token you have received from the lead applicant into the textbox and click “Redeem Partner’s Token”
    3. You now have access to the lead applicant’s application form and can help completing it. Note that the lead applicant is required to submit the application
I am looking to meet with an Environment and Climate Change Canada official concerning the Challenge. Can you advise?

The Program’s Directorate of the Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office (PCFIO), responsible for the Low Carbon Economy Fund, is not meeting directly with applicants at this time. Questions can be sent via email to ec.lcef-fefec.ec@canada.ca.

Key dates

Champions stream

  • March 14, 2018: Open for expressions of interest
  • May 14, 2018: Deadline for expressions of interest
  • Early summer 2018: Invitation to submit formal proposal
  • September 28, 2018: Deadline for formal proposal
  • Fall 2018 through 2019: Final funding decisions

Partnerships stream

Intake 1: $40 million available for Indigenous communities and organizations; small and medium-sized businesses; not-for-profit organizations; and small municipalities

  • December 20, 2018: Launch of application process
  • March 8, 2019: Deadline for Applications
  • Later in 2019: Final funding decisions

Intake 2: $10 million available for Canadian small and medium businesses

  • August 13, 2019: Launch of the application process
  • November 15, 2019: Deadline for applications
  • Early 2020: Final funding decisions


If you have any questions, please contact the Program’s Directorate of the Pan Canadian Framework Implementation Office (PCFIO) via email at lcef-fefec@ec.gc.ca. Please include your name, contact information, and the organization you are representing.

For the second intake of the Partnerships stream, note that to help ensure transparency and fairness and given our limited capacity to answer all requests for information, ECCC will refrain from individually assisting applicants with their applications – except for questions related to website functionality and access (e.g., GCKey and Single Window Information Manager), or for technical issues with the GHG and WBS and Budget workbooks.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: