Funding for Lake Winnipeg Basin projects

The application submission period for funding under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program is now closed. Please contact us by email at for more information.

Lake Winnipeg Basin Program

The Government of Canada is taking action to improve the ecological health of Lake Winnipeg and its basin. Lake Winnipeg is experiencing large and frequent algal blooms due to high nutrient levels from multiple transboundary sources, including agriculture, industry, municipal wastewater and surface runoff.

In order to address freshwater issues in the basin, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Lake Winnipeg Basin Program (LWBP) will take action to reduce excessive nutrients – such as phosphorus – from entering the lake, will enhance collaboration throughout the basin and support the engagement of Indigenous Peoples on freshwater issues.


The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program has committed $9 million in application-based funding to continue its support for targeted, outcome-focused actions, in the following three key freshwater priority areas:

  • Nutrient reduction: support targeted stakeholder delivered projects in the Lake Winnipeg Basin, in key geographic areas, that demonstrate an effective means to reduce phosphorus loading and increase public knowledge and engagement
  • Collaborative governance: encourage and strengthen collaborative efforts to reduce nutrients throughout the Lake Winnipeg Basin
  • Indigenous engagement: enhance opportunities, capacity and the engagement of Indigenous governments, organizations and communities on Lake Winnipeg Basin nutrient issues

Funding details

  • funding is available between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2022
  • projects can be single or multi-year in nature
  • the LWBP will not fund 100% of project expenses (please note matching requirements below)
  • projects that are not accepted in one funding round can be re-submitted in a future round
  • Lake Winnipeg Basin Program funding can only be applied to activities completed by March 31, 2022

Matching requirements

The LWBP aims to provide one-third of the total project costs, however, in some cases up to two-thirds of total project costs may be funded through the LWBP. Emphasis will be placed on leveraging other funding sources and collaborative partnerships. In cases where other federal programs are providing financial support for the project, the total federal contribution must not exceed two thirds of the total cost of the project.

Potential sources of matching funds (cash and in-kind) and how collaborations are to be undertaken (e.g. contributions by the applicant, landowners or others involved in the project, use of equipment, expertise etc.) must be clearly outlined and described in the Proposal Budget.


Eligible projects

An application-based process will be applied to fund targeted outcome-focused projects, implemented by domestic entities within the Canadian portion of the Lake Winnipeg Basin, addressing at least one of the following three freshwater priority issues:

  • nutrient reduction
  • collaborative governance
  • Indigenous engagement

Nutrient reduction

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will provide financial support for targeted, stakeholder delivered projects in the Lake Winnipeg Basin that demonstrate an effective means in reducing phosphorus loading and increasing public knowledge and engagement.

ECCC may provide funding to support the following types of projects:

  • scientific research to identify improved nutrient management practices and/or the effectiveness of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) in sub-watersheds
  • implementation of BMPs, best known to reduce phosphorus loading in targeted geographic areas, as well as monitoring and collecting data to evaluate their effectiveness
  • implementation and evaluation of phosphorus recovery technologies in urban and/or rural settings
  • development or use of existing models/technologies to predict the changes in nutrient loads based on land use changes, landscape characteristics and different scenarios of BMP adoption
  • development of innovative technologies, techniques and demonstration projects to reduce phosphorus
  • community-based monitoring programs to supplement existing water quality monitoring data
  • identifying and applying Traditional Knowledge to address water quality issues within the Lake Winnipeg Basin
  • training, outreach and/or education to support the implementation of nutrient reducing actions

While project submissions will be considered for funding for activities located anywhere within the Canadian portion of the Lake Winnipeg Basin, priority will be given to projects:

  • located within a priority watershed or a Lake Winnipeg sub-basin known to be a significant source of nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg (such as Red River Basin, Winnipeg River Basin)
  • targeted at nutrient hot spots that have been identified through watershed plans or other planning tools (such as decision support tools or scientific modelling)
  • implemented in areas directly contributing runoff to surface water bodies; and/or
  • that implement the following nutrient and surface water reduction BMPs such as:
    • water retention structures (such as ponds, edge of field)
    • wetland restoration
    • management of vegetated buffers
    • intercepting and treating runoff from livestock confinement areas
    • relocating livestock confinement areas away from surface water bodies

Collaborative governance

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will provide financial support for projects that enhance collaborative efforts and increase capacity building to protect freshwater quality throughout the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

ECCC may provide funding for projects that:

  • develop tools, approaches and activities that strengthen collaboration
  • facilitate knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices among watershed organizations, non-government organizations (NGO)
  • increase capacity to engage effectively in water quality management activities, assess results and progress, as well as undertake activities related to networking, sharing of information and outreach
  • support or enable multi-stakeholder processes that develop or implement consultative decision making, adaptive management frameworks, or similar, related to sustainable development of priority ecosystems

Indigenous engagement

The Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will provide financial support for projects that increase Indigenous participation in decision making processes and actions regarding nutrient reduction activities to restore and protect Lake Winnipeg.

ECCC may provide funding for projects that:

  • enhance engagement and provide capacity building opportunities for Indigenous governments, organizations and communities affected by Lake Winnipeg water quality
  • increase Indigenous representation on boards, committees and organizations to foster relationship building and identify opportunities for collaboration on Lake Winnipeg Basin nutrient management issues
  • facilitate opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders and organizations to build relationships, carry out initial and necessary groundwork, as well as work collaboratively on identifying common priorities and partnerships related to water quality in the Lake Winnipeg Basin

Projects not eligible for funding

  • projects that are focused solely on water quantity issues
  • projects designed only to beautify an area
  • the purchase or construction of municipal infrastructure (such as buildings, roads, and bridges)
  • the purchase of land
  • activities required by law and/or mandated by a level of government
  • capital or operating costs of municipal infrastructure projects (such as sewers, sewage treatment plants, storm water ponds)
  • projects implemented and completed before a contribution agreement was signed
  • projects implemented outside of Canada

Please note this is not a complete list. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your project, please contact us for clarification.

Eligible applicants

  • domestic not-for-profit organizations such as professional associations, non-governmental organizations and groups, charitable and volunteer organizations
  • domestic Indigenous governments, organizations, boards, commissions, communities, associations and authorities
  • domestic research, academic, and educational institutions
  • Canadian individuals
  • domestic for-profit organizations such as small businesses with less than 500 employees, companies, corporations, industry associations, and agricultural organizations
  • local organizations such as community associations and groups, seniors’ and youth groups, and service clubs
  • municipal governments, local governments and Provincial and Territorial Crown Corporations
  • regional conservation districts and/or watershed authorities

Eligible costs

  • human resource costs, including salaries and benefits
  • management and professional service costs such as accounting, monitoring, communications, official language translation, audit and legal fees
  • hospitality, travel and venues/conference expenses that are attributed directly to carrying out the project (in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Directives on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures)
  • material and supplies costs
  • printing, production and distribution costs
  • equipment and capital assets purchase (less than $10,000) or rental
  • vehicle rental and operation costs
  • contractors required to perform activities related to the project
  • costs associated with land securement (e.g. leases, easements, covenants or servitudes)
  • a reasonable share (15% or less) of overhead and/or administrative costs directly attributed to project delivery
  • any GST/HST that is not reimbursable by Canada Revenue Agency and any PST not reimbursable by the Provincial Government

The following costs are ineligible:

  • expenditures related to lobbyist fees
  • equipment and capital assets purchase or rental for for-profit recipients
  • costs associated with land securement for for-profit recipients

Please note these are not complete lists. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above, please contact us for clarification.

Application process

Applicants are asked, using the provided template, to submit a letter of intent (maximum 2 pages). Letters of intent will be reviewed by ECCC staff against the following eligibility criteria:

  • letter of intent (LOI)
  • project proposal submission

Application deadline

The application submission period for funding under the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program is now closed. Please contact us by email at for more information.

Letter of intent

Applicants are asked, using the template provided, to submit a letter of intent (maximum 2 pages). Letters of intent will be reviewed by ECCC staff against the following eligibility criteria:

  • the project contributes to at least one of the 3 freshwater priority issues (outlined under Eligible projects)
  • the requested level of funding is between 1/3 and 2/3 of the total project value
  • when other federal programs are providing financial support for the project, the total federal contribution des not exceed 2/3 of the total project value.
  • the start date and end date are clearly stated (must end before March 31, 2022)
  • the project takes place in the Lake Winnipeg Basin in Canada
  • the submission is from an eligible applicant

This stage allows staff to identify projects that may be better suited for other ECCC funding programs. Please note that proponents with similar LOI submissions may be asked to collaborate on a single project proposal submission.

Please contact us by email at for a copy of the letter of intent.

Project proposal submission

Once a Letter of Intent is deemed eligible, applicants will be invited to submit their project proposal using the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS), ECCC’s new online application system.

Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS)

GCEMS Applicant User Guide: The GCEMS Applicant User Guide will be provided and contains step-by-step instructions on how to apply for funding, including information on how to create, edit and submit project proposals.

Multiple proposals: Applicants are able to submit more than one proposal. Please note, applicants are required to create a GCKey in order to submit an application and a new GCKey must be created for each submission. A different email address must be used for each GCKey created. Please refer to the GCEMS Applicant User Guide for information regarding the creation of a GCKey.

The following information will be required for Lake Winnipeg Basin Program proposals:

Activation code: Once a Letter of Intent is deemed eligible, an activation code will be sent to applicants as part of the invitation to submit a full proposal. This activation code is needed to gain access to GCEMS for a proposal submission.

Project Work Plan: Applicants will be asked to provide information related to project work plan activities, descriptions, results, timeframe and budget. Please enter “Other” under “Activity Category” when completing the Work Plan Template. Please see the example below.

Project Work Plan
Activity Category Description Expected Results Start Date End Date Total Estimated Cost / % of Budget
Other Site Assessment Sites will be assessed to determine best location(s); site(s) will be selected July 2019 July 2019 10%
Other Construction – retention pond 1 acre of water will be retained July 2019 August 2020 35%
Other Construction - exclusion fencing Exclusion fencing installed for 100 livestock July 2019 August 2020 35%
Other Evaluation - water quality sampling Pre and post project water quality samples will be taken, in consultation with technical advisors from the province; 5 samples taken 4 times throughout the year July 2019 Nov 2020 10%
Other Consultation Consultation with landowners July 2019 March 2021 5%
Other Communication - dissemination of results Distribution of final report to stakeholders; information presented at conference / event March 2021 March 2021 5%
Total 100%

Key Performance Indicators: Applicants will be asked to provide information outlining the project’s evaluation plan. When completing the evaluation section of the online application, please choose the performance indicators listed below that apply to your project and provide the expected goal for each.  

Key Performance Indicators
Planned Performance Indicators Units
Amount of phosphorus reduced / diverted kg / year
Wetlands / aquatic habitat created, conserved or restored # of hectares
Stream/lake bank protected or stabilized # of metres
Erosion control structures installed # of structures
Surface water run-off from land retained (e.g. retention ponds, small dams, edge-of-field retention)        # of cubic metres of water retained/stored
Wastewater treatment pilot technology / processes implemented / improved # of treatment facilities
Livestock restricted from surface waters # of livestock
Nutrient Management Plans developed / implemented # of plans
Community/Landscape-based monitoring and Citizen Science Activities

# of participants

# of evaluation or monitoring sites

# of hectares monitored/studied

Knowledge Transfer and Sharing  # of presentations, meetings, or knowledge sharing opportunities
Outreach / Communications / Training

# of activities

# of people engaged

# of materials produced

Collaborative Opportunities (e.g. partnerships established)

Partnerships/Collaboration with

# of partnerships




Reports / papers compiled and published # of reports / papers

Please contact for technical assistance when using GCEMS.

Selection process

Each project proposal will go through a three stage review process:

  • administrative review by program staff to confirm eligibility
  • technical review by subject-matter experts to confirm scientific and technical feasibility
  • regional review to ensure that environmental and departmental priorities are considered in the project approval process, with a final approval made by ECCC

Eligible project proposals will be assessed against, but not limited to, the following criteria:


  • project addresses at least one of the three key freshwater priority issues for the LWBP
  • there is good value for dollars invested

Uptake and engagement

  • strong collaboration between project partners
  • enhanced Indigenous participation and collaboration
  • opportunities for technology and/or knowledge transfer to other parts of the Lake Winnipeg Basin and across watersheds
  • potential for co-benefits of project implementation

Achievability / likelihood of success

  • clarity and scope of objectives
  • technical feasibility
  • ability to demonstrate direct and measurable environmental benefits (such as expected phosphorus reduction)
  • evaluation and performance measures (clearly stated, measurable and attainable)
  • quality and completeness of funding proposal
  • likelihood of activities/benefits continuing after funding ends

Contributions from other sources

  • other key funding contributors have been confirmed
  • amount of leveraged funding

Successful recipients

Notification and reporting requirements

Once departmental approval has been confirmed, applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will be notified in writing.  If your project proposal submission is approved, you will be contacted to negotiate a Contribution Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of funding.

Please note that funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of a Contribution Agreement between the applicant and ECCC.

It is important to note that project activities for which you wish to receive LWBP funding cannot begin until the Contribution Agreement is signed.

We work towards completing this process within 40 working days.  Please note that this 40 working day standard for the development of a contribution agreement is a shared responsibility and largely depends on the submission of all required documentation to ECCC in a diligent and timely fashion.

Each Contribution Agreement must include written confirmation of all funding sources, a summary of project design, delivery, progress evaluations and anticipated results, as well a budget forecast. All of these components must be accurately completed before the agreement can be signed.

All approved recipients are required to submit reports to ECCC throughout the duration of the project as outlined in the Contribution Agreement. Payments are based on reporting, meaning that payments cannot be made until a report has been submitted, reviewed and deemed satisfactory. Reports are submitted to and reviewed by an ECCC project officer.

Once a recipient’s project has finished a final report is required. The final report should include a project evaluation, financial and in-kind contribution records and, if applicable, a financial audit. The final payment will not be provided (minimum 10% holdback) until a final report has been submitted, reviewed and approved by ECCC.

Related Lake Winnipeg Basin Program links

Funded projects

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