Great Lakes Sustainability Fund

Since 2000, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) has been working in partnership with other agencies and local community stakeholders to advance Remedial Action Plans (RAP) that have been developed for each of Canada’s remaining Areas of Concerns located within the Great Lakes Basin. GLSF provides technical and financial support to projects (up to one-third of the total cost) that implement remedial actions to complete the clean up and restoration in three key priority areas: fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation and stewardship; contaminated sediment assessment and remediation; and innovative approaches to improve municipal wastewater effluent quality. Emphasis is placed on meeting the goals under the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health.

Application to the Fund

In November of each year, a call letter for proposals for funding support from the GLSF is distributed to collaborating agencies such as other federal departments, provincial ministries, municipalities, conservation authorities, local RAP implementation committees, and project managers. Additional guidance is provided through an exercise whereby federal teams and local RAP implementation teams in Areas of Concern work together to ensure that proposals submitted are consistent with RAP recommendations.

Once the proposals are received by the GLSF, they are reviewed and assessed in relation to eligibility for funding; extent to which they reflect program priorities; technical merit and feasibility; cost-effectiveness; and financial and administrative management. During the course of the review, there are ongoing discussions and negotiations with proponents with respect to deliverables, budget, project schedule, permits, partnerships and other aspects. The project is also reviewed for requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Successful applicants are notified with approval letters and agreements that specify the financial funding support, deliverables, and conditions of approval.

If you have an idea for a restoration project in an Area of Concern and would like more information about funding opportunities, please contact the GLSF at

Allocation of Funding to Areas of Concern

Canada's remaining Areas of Concerns are very different with significant variation in geographical size, extent of urbanization and complexity of the rehabilitation efforts still required. They are also at different stages as far as completion of remedial actions; some are very close to reaching their environmental targets while others are not. As a result, the amount of funding allocated to individual Areas of Concerns will naturally vary. Funding factors include the number and quality of proposals submitted from each Areas of Concern; whether they meet the funding criteria; progress on reaching rehabilitation targets for each of the impaired beneficial uses within an Areas of Concern; strategic direction and relative priorities established for the federal Great Lakes program; and whether the proposed implementation actions are within the federal responsibility.

Funding Criteria

The following criteria are used in the assessment of project proposals:

  • demonstrated need for federal participation through mandate, existing federal policy or declared federal interest;
  • completion of federal actions to advance the recovery and delisting of Areas of Concerns;
  • measurable environmental benefits derived from the project;
  • innovative and cost-saving control technologies and rehabilitation methods;
  • technical merit and chances of success;
  • leveraged funding and collaboration potential - the GLSF contributes up to one third of the total project cost;
  • opportunities for technology transfer to other Areas of Concerns and the Great Lakes ecosystem.
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