Funding for preventing toxic and nuisance algae

The application submission period for funding under the Great Lakes Protection Initiative is now closed. Please contact us by email at for more information.

Canada is funding partner-led projects that support actions to restore and protect Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health.

The Great Lakes Protection Initiative

The goal of the Great Lakes Protection Initiative (GLPI) is to target the most significant environmental challenges affecting Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health by delivering on Canada’s commitments under the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Initiative focuses on eight priority areas for action:

  • working with others to protect the Great Lakes
  • restoring Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs)
  • preventing toxic and nuisance algae
  • assessing and enhancing the resilience of Great Lakes coastal wetlands
  • evaluating and Identifying at risk nearshore waters
  • reducing releases of harmful chemicals
  • engaging Indigenous Peoples in addressing Great Lakes issues
  • increasing public engagement through citizen science

To assist in achieving this goal, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is making funding available to support action by others to:

  • restore AOCs: Supporting action at the local level to restore water quality and aquatic ecosystem health by implementing projects identified in AOC Remedial Action Plans
  • prevent toxic and nuisance algae: Increasing participation in the application of phosphorus load reduction measures by demonstrating innovative approaches and best practices and promoting broad uptake and application
  • reduce releases of harmful chemicals: Increasing participation in the application of beyond-compliance measures to reduce releases of chemicals of mutual concern by developing, implementing, assessing and promoting use of innovative approaches
  • engage Indigenous Peoples in addressing Great Lakes issues: Enhancing Indigenous capacity to address Great Lakes issues through projects that engage Indigenous peoples at the community level
  • increase public engagement through citizen science: Enhancing Canadians’ knowledge of and engagement in addressing Great Lakes issues through participation in citizen science

Context: preventing toxic and nuisance algae

Nutrient pollution remains a challenge in the Great Lakes, with excess nutrients resulting in toxic and nuisance algae, with the issue most severe in Lake Erie. In February 2016, Canada and the United States adopted binational phosphorus load reduction targets for Lake Erie to combat this issue. Together with the United States, Canada committed to reduce phosphorus loadings to the western and central basins by 40% compared to 2008 baseline levels, and to develop a domestic action plan to reduce phosphorus.


An objective of the GLPI is to decrease loadings of phosphorus to Lake Erie from Canadian sources. To assist in achieving this objective, ECCC is making funding available to support projects aimed at increasing participation in the application of phosphorus load reduction measures by implementing innovative approaches and best management practices, and promoting their broad uptake and application by others.

Geographic scope and priority areas   

Funding will support projects within the Lake Erie Canadian watershed (Figure 1). While project submissions situated anywhere within the Lake Erie watershed will be considered for funding, priority will be given to projects located within regions that have been identified as high contributing areas for phosphorus loads to Lake Erie, including the Thames River, Grand River and Sydenham River watersheds and Leamington tributaries. Priority will also be given to projects focused on reducing phosphorus loads from agricultural and non-point urban sources.

Figure 1. Priority areas for funding

Long description
Types of projects Examples

Implementing and evaluating innovative and new approaches or technologies to reduce phosphorus loads to Lake Erie

  • implement low impact development (LID) systems and evaluate their effectiveness in reducing non-point urban sources of phosphorus to Lake Erie
  • implement and evaluate phosphorus recovery technologies in urban and/or agricultural settings
  • develop or use existing models/technologies to predict the changes in algae blooms based on land use changes, landscape characteristics and different scenarios of best management practices (BMPs) adoption
  • implement innovative practices that build soil resilience and limit the loss of nutrients and monitor and collect data to evaluate their effectiveness

Implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of BMPs to reduce phosphorus loads to Lake Erie

  • implement suites of BMPs best known to mitigate phosphorus and soil losses and improve soil health for targeted locations

Increasing the extent of natural heritage features, such as wetlands and riparian habitats, and enhancing their effectiveness in reducing phosphorus loads to Lake Erie

  • increase the extent of natural cover on private lands to remove/reduce phosphorus before it discharges into the Lake using the most effective features determined for the targeted locations (such as wetland restoration, riparian buffers/filter strips, etc.)

Project exclusions

The following project types are not eligible for funding:

  • projects that are focused on water quantity issues
  • projects which are located outside of the defined geographical area
  • projects which are focused on increasing production or replacing worn out equipment
  • projects which are not in compliance with applicable legislation, including environmental legislation (for example: requirements under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, Fisheries Act) or projects which do not have the necessary permits to proceed
  • activities that are intended to directly influence and/or lobby any level of government
  • activities that are deemed to be part of normal operations of an organization/business or for commercial expansion purposes
  • wastewater infrastructure projects covered by other Government of Canada funds

Funding details

  • funding is available between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022
  • the maximum amount available for any one project is $300,000
  • projects may be multiyear in nature (up to two years)
  • project proponents are strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding and/or in-kind project support

Eligible costs

Only costs which can be directly attributed to carrying out the project will be eligible for funding, including:

  • human resource costs, including salaries and benefits
  • management and professional service costs, such as accounting, monitoring, communications, official languages translation, audit and legal charges
  • travel
  • material and supplies costs
  • printing, production and distribution costs
  • equipment and capital assets purchase or rental
  • vehicle rental and operation costs
  • contractors required to perform activities related to the project
  • cost associated with land acquisition or other means of land securement (such as leases, easements, covenants or servitudes)
  • a reasonable share of overhead and/or administrative costs
  • any GST/HST that is not reimbursable by Canada Revenue Agency and any PST not reimbursable by the provinces
  • other incremental expenditures directly related to the project (as pre-approved by ECCC)

Costs, other than those herein allowed, are ineligible unless specifically approved in writing by the Minister of the Environment or his/her representatives at the time of project approval. For all costs, only those deemed to be a reasonable share for completing the project shall be considered eligible.

Selection method

Project proposals will be reviewed and approval in principle decisions made by ECCC.

Project proposals will undergo a two-stage review process:

  • administrative review by ECCC to ensure applications are complete and meet program eligibility requirements
  • project evaluation by ECCC against evaluation criteria. ECCC may seek advice on proposal submissions from external advisors with knowledge and expertise relevant to the proposal

Administrative review

To be considered eligible for funding, project proposals must meet the following requirements:

  • all application sections are complete
  • proposal falls under eligible funding categories (refer to Types of projects eligible for funding)
  • actions described in the proposal result in the reduction of phosphorus loads to Lake Erie
  • proposal falls within the Lake Erie Canadian watershed

Project evaluation

Eligible project proposals will be assessed on the extent to which proposals meet the following evaluation criteria:


  • the actions described in the project proposal lead to increased rates of BMP adoption resulting in reductions of phosphorus to Lake Erie
  • an estimate of phosphorus reductions is included in the project proposal
  • the project proposal includes an outreach plan that promotes uptake to a wider community using established metrics and networks, including the following components:
    • identification of targeted audience(s) that are best positioned to achieve results
    • the most effective education and outreach tools for the project type and targeted audience
    • the method to be used to measure uptake

Project feasibility/likelihood of success:

  • the project is relevant to achieving the goal of reducing phosphorus loads to Lake Erie
  • the project proposal’s work plan clearly identifies when and how the project activities will be undertaken to ensure the project is completed effectively and on time, including the techniques involved, performance measures and the goals and timelines for each activity
  • the project work plan clearly demonstrates relevant, clear and appropriate methods of achieving project results
  • the method(s) used to calculate the phosphorus load reductions is/are clear, detailed and realistic
  • the proposed recipient has project experience in this field

Geographic scope/priority area:

  • the project is in a priority area for achievement of phosphorus reduction: the Grand River, Thames River, Sydenham River watersheds or Leamington area

Value for money:

  • the project represents good value for dollars invested
  • the project includes cash and/or in-kind contributions from other sources

Description of the online application process and application sections

Environment and Climate Change Canada requires that applications to the GLPI be submitted online via the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS). The GCEMS is accessed through the department’s Single Window system. For additional information on accessing the GCEMS through ECCC’s Single Window system, please see Appendix A.

The online Application Form for the GLPI: Preventing Toxic and Nuisance Algae funding stream includes 9 sections:

  • Section 1: Tombstone Data
  • Section 2: Project Summary
  • Section 3: GLPI – Toxic and nuisance algae (program-specific section)  
  • Section 4: Project Budget
  • Section 5: Project Work Plan
  • Section 6: Evaluation Plan and Performance Measures
  • Section 7: Other Supporting Information
  • Section 8: Official Languages
  • Section 9: Certification

In Section 1: Tombstone Data, provide basic information about your group as well as contact information for the individual leading the application.

In Section 2: Project Summary, provide basic information about the proposed project, including the name and location of the project, the project start and end date, the project goals/objectives, a brief general description of the proposed project, the experience of project team members and the financial and management capacity of the organization submitting the project proposal. If your project is approved for funding, the summary description you provide in your application may be made available to the public.

In Section 3: GLPI – Toxic and nuisance algae (program-specific section), provide information about various aspects of the proposed project, including confirmation that it meets the three eligibility requirements as well as details related to results, uptake and engagement, the project work plan, the method of calculating phosphorus load reductions, the geographic scope and the project budget.

When providing your Outreach Plan, please ensure it includes details on how the project will promote uptake to a wider community to foster the adoption of BMPs and partner organizations that will be involved. Plans must also outline communities and/or networks that will be targeted and how they will be reached. Descriptions of outreach activities, products and timelines must be included.

In Section 4: Project Budget, provide the total amount of ECCC funding that is being requested for the proposed project, outline the project’s budget and give an estimation of its forecasted expenses organized according to a set of pre-defined cost categories (e.g. salaries and wages; management and professional services; travel; and, material and supplies costs). The estimated cost of all project expenditures should reflect fair market values at the standard rate for that product or service in your area.

In this Section, you are also required to provide details regarding the project's fiscal year breakdown. Determine the number of years of support from ECCC that your project requires (up to a maximum of 2 years) and indicate how the total amount of support requested (up to $300,000) will be allocated on an annual basis.

Finally, in this section you are required to indicate other funding sources for the project if applicable. Provide letters of financial/in-kind support for the project in the Other Supporting Information section.

In Section 5: Project Work Plan, provide details on the activities that will be undertaken for the duration of the project.

The Project Work Plan must:

  • describe how the project is relevant to achieving the goal of reducing phosphorus loads to Lake Erie
  • clearly demonstrate relevant, clear and appropriate methods of achieving project results
  • explain how the project will be completed effectively and on time, including:
    • project goals and activities
    • project partners
    • techniques involved
    • performance measures
    • milestones and  timelines for each activity

In Section 6: Evaluation Plan and Performance Measures, provide details on how the expected results and successes of the project will be measured.

In Section 7: Other Supporting Information, provide further information relevant to the project that was not captured elsewhere in the application if needed. Please ensure any letters of financial/in-kind support are provided here.

In Section 8: Official Languages, provide information related to the need to accommodate official language minority communities with respect to the proposed project’s activities.

In Section 9: Certification, certify that information provided in the Application Form is accurate and that you, as the applicant, have authorization to sign on behalf of the group.

Other instructions

Applicants are encouraged to provide the details necessary to give a full response to each section of the Application Form but should be as concise as possible.

Please ensure that all sections of the Application Form are complete prior to submission. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applicants may include additional information or documents with their application (such as examples of possible products, photographs, maps, etc.). If submitting additional material, it must be clearly marked and referenced accordingly in the relevant section of the application. All such material must be submitted in accordance with the instructions found online in the Other Supporting Information section.

Applicants are encouraged to identify any additional partner funding and/or in-kind project support that has been obtained and/or that is being sought. Please note that while this is not a requirement, applications demonstrating other sources of financial and/or in-kind support will be scored favourably when evaluated on value for money.

Note: if you are unable to complete and submit your application via the online application portal and wish to discuss options, please contact

Deadline and submission instructions

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 3, 2020. Late submissions will not be considered.

Once departmental approvals in principle have been confirmed, all applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will be notified in writing. If your project is approved in principle, you will be contacted to negotiate a Contribution Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of funding. Please note that the letter of notification informing that your project has been approved in principle will also be shared with relevant federal MPs. We will work towards completing this process within 40 working days. Please note that meeting this standard for the development of a Contribution Agreement is a shared responsibility and largely depends on you submitting all required documentation to ECCC officials in a diligent and timely fashion.   

If a Contribution Agreement is signed, expenditures made by your organization towards the project after the date of official notification and before the Contribution Agreement is signed may be considered for reimbursement.

Project implementation can begin after notification of project approval, pending the execution of project agreements or contracts where applicable.

For clarification on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact

Appendix A – the online application process

Environment and Climate Change Canada requires that applications to the GLPI: Preventing toxic and nuisance algae funding stream be submitted online via the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS). The GCEMS is accessed through the department’s Single Window system.

To sign in to the department’s Single Window system select your language preference on the welcome page and when prompted to choose a sign-in method, select the GCKey sign-in option. If you already have a GCKey username and password enter them in the appropriate spaces.

If you do not have a GCKey username and password proceed through the sign-up process to obtain your username and password.

New users to the Single Window system will then be prompted to enter their email address and guided through a process to create a user profile.

In order to gain access to the link that will allow you to navigate to the GCEMS, you must add an organization to your profile. On the menu select “Organizations” and follow the instructions on the web page that opens. Note that when entering the organization’s business number you may use one of the following; business number; GST number; charitable number/non-profit organization registration number; or First Nations Band number. Once you have added your organization, select “Home” on the menu to navigate to the webpage that contains the link to the GCEMS.

Once you have accessed the GCEMS site, click on the link “View funding opportunities” on the left hand side of the GCEMS “My applications” webpage. On the “View funding opportunities” webpage, locate the GLPI: Preventing toxic and nuisance algae in the “List of opportunities” table and view the funding opportunity information by clicking on the associated link in the “Action(s)” column. On the “View funding opportunity information” webpage, click on “Apply” to open the online application process for the GLPI: Preventing toxic and nuisance algae funding stream.

Information on how to access and use ECCC’s Single Window system.

For technical assistance with ECCC’s Single Window system, please contact

Information on how to access the GCEMS.

For technical assistance with the GCEMS, please contact

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