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 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 broken into two streams:

Champions stream

The $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.

Some decisions are still pending and we expect to notify all applicants of funding decisions in the coming months.

Partnerships stream

The $50 million Partnerships stream is limited to:

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

The deadline for submitting applications was March 8, 2019.

We will notify applicants of funding decisions later in 2019.

How to apply for funding

The deadlines to submit projects under the Low Carbon Economy Challenge streams have passed. Thank you to all applicants.

Frequently asked questions

The frequently asked questions section are updated on a regular basis.

How will projects be selected to receive funding through the Low Carbon Economy Challenge?

Potential applicants were invited to submit an expression of interest to Environment and Climate Change Canada. These expressions of interest were reviewed, and applicants with the most promising project ideas were invited to submit a formal proposal. 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:

  • cumulative greenhouse gas emissions reduced per dollar of federal funding
  • greenhouse gas emissions reduced in 2030 per dollar of federal funding
  • 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
  • in-line with 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.

If an applicant who is eligible to seek funding through the Partnerships stream applies to the Champions stream, will the application also be automatically considered as part of the Partnerships stream?

No. Eligible applicants were welcome to apply for funding through both the Champions and Partnerships streams, but it was the responsibility of the applicant to apply through both streams if they wished to have their application considered as part of both streams.

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?

The minimum federal contribution to any project funded through the Low Carbon Economy Challenge is $1 million through the Champions stream and $500,000 through the Partnership stream. The maximum contribution to any project funded through the Champions stream will be $50 million, while the maximum contribution to a project funded through the Partnerships stream will be $10 million.

For the Partnership stream, federal grants of no less than $100,000 and no more than $500,000 per project and per recipient are available for First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments, communities and organizations. This does not include Indigenous-owned or operated businesses or not-for-profit non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Additionally, the maximum percentage of total project costs the federal government can contribute toward a project varies depending on the recipient of the funding. The maximum federal share for specific recipients is as follows:

  • 25% for businesses
  • 40% for municipalities
  • 40% for not-for-profit organizations
  • 50% for provincial governments
  • 75% for territorial governments
  • 75% for Indigenous communities and organizations

It is important to note that this program will fund the best projects and most cost-effective projects that reduce as many greenhouse gas emissions as possible. In other words, the smaller the federal contribution, the greater the chance a project has of being selected.

How can Indigenous Peoples benefit from the Low Carbon Economy Challenge?

Indigenous communities and organizations were able 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.

Formal proposals for the Challenge Champions Stream were due September 28, 2018 and applications for the Challenge Partnerships Stream were due March 8, 2019. Will there be additional opportunities to apply (e.g.will this be an annual process)? Are you expecting to approve all the funds for this program based on this initial set of proposals?

There are currently no plans for further intakes under the Low Carbon Economy Challenge streams. We anticipate that all of the available funding will be allocated via these two streams.

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

No. Program cost per tonne (both annual tonnes in 2030 and cumulative tonnes over the lifetime of the project) will be key criteria in assessing final proposals, and the best projects will be chosen. 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)?

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 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 emissions 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.
Why does funding for the Partnerships stream extend to March 31, 2024 when funding for the Champions stream ends March 31, 2022?

Given the later deadline for Partnership applications, the timeline is meant to ensure recipients have sufficient time to implement their approved project(s) and mitigate risks associated with construction delays and weather impacts.

I am looking to meet with an Environment and Climate Change Canada official concerning the Challenge. Can you advise?

The Low Carbon Economy Fund Secretariat 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: Champions stream open for expressions of interest
  • May 14, 2018: Deadline for Champions expressions of interest
  • Early summer 2018: Champions stream invitation to submit formal proposal
  • Late summer 2018: Deadline for formal proposal
  • Fall 2018 through spring 2019: Funding decisions for the Champions stream

Partnerships stream

  • December 20, 2018: Launch of Partnerships stream
  • March 8, 2019: Deadline for Partnerships Applications
  • Later in 2019: Final funding decisions for the Partnerships stream

Challenge roadshow 2018

Representatives from the following departments travelled across Canada in March and April 2018 to hold information sessions on the application and selection processes, and answer questions related to the Challenge and other funding programs.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Infrastructure Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development
  • other federal organizations


If you have any questions, please contact the Low Carbon Economy Fund Secretariat via email at ec.lcef-fefec.ec@canada.ca. Please include your name, contact information, and the organization you are representing.

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