Government of Canada announces the country’s first-ever federal strategy and fund dedicated to building active transportation trails and pathways

News release

Toronto, Ontario, July 28, 2021 – Public transit investments strengthen communities, help Canadians get around in faster, cleaner and more affordable ways, and ensure good jobs today while charting a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Investing in pathways and trails for cycling, walking, hybrid e-bikes and scooters, and wheelchairs gives everyone the opportunity to get out, get active, and access public transportation.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, joined Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington, James Maloney, Member of Parliament, Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Ontario, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Deputy Mayor for the City of Toronto and City Councillor for Ward 16, Don Valley East and Anders Swanson, Chair, Vélo Canada Bikes, Liz Scanlon, Director, Health Policy and Systems at Heart & Stroke and Nancy Lea Smith, Director for The Centre for Active Transportation, to release Canada's first National Active Transportation Strategy and to launch the Active Transportation Fund, which will invest $400 million over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges and undertake planning studies. This new Fund is part of an eight-year, $14.9-billion public transit investment to support communities as they build vibrant neighbourhoods where people can safely live, work, and play.

As part of the Strengthened Climate Plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, the Government of Canada sought input from the public and key stakeholders to develop Canada's first National Active Transportation Strategy and explore options to deliver more transportation and recreation options such as trails, cycling paths and other forms of active mobility in rural, urban and Indigenous communities.

Eligible recipients for the Active Transportation Fund are municipal, local, and regional governments, provincial and territorial  governments, public sector bodies, not-for-profit organizations and various Indigenous Governing Bodies. More information about the Active Transportation Fund, details on eligibility, and how to apply may be found on the Infrastructure Canada website.

Investing in active transportation will build strong communities across the country and deliver a better quality of life for all Canadians. Together, we are building a cleaner, more inclusive, and resilient country for generations to come.


 “Canadians love using safe cycling paths and  trails to get around their towns and cities. It’s a great way to stay healthy, enjoy nature, connect to public transit, and it is good for the environment. Through this first-ever National Active Transportation Strategy, we are promoting more active transportation options and working to ensure that our communities are healthier, less congested and more vibrant for Canadians.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Today is a great day in Canada for climate action, human health, and livable communities. With the launch of the fund for active transportation with support for an Active Transportation Strategy, the path is set for more Canadians than ever to choose cycling, rolling or walking as safe and enjoyable alternatives to motorized transport. Today is the day we put active transportation networks within reach of every community.”

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“These new funds are crucial for improving Active Transportation in the City of Toronto, at a time when there is increased demand to make all modes of travel easier, safer and more efficient. The City appreciates this significant investment by the federal government, which will benefit all Torontonians as they travel through the city, be it to their place of work, for exercise, or for recreational purposes.”

Denzil Minnan-Wong, Deputy Mayor for the City of Toronto and City Councillor for Ward 16, Don Valley East

“This is one of Canada’s proudest public works moments and one of the best strategic moves we can make as a country. We are especially excited for the kids, the ones who’ll get to grow up in communities knowing the space between the buildings is open to them too. And for all the jobs that will go to engineers and builders who now get to leave behind a legacy of happiness and resilience. Mostly, we’re excited to hear more sounds of laughter, of bike bells, of footsteps, of conversation filling communities big and small. We need that so badly. People will never forget that being able to get outside and connect to each other and to nature is what matters most. This is about honouring the land we walk and ride on, and about building a future where we are truly free.”

Anders Swanson, Chair, Vélo Canada Bikes

“This federal strategy and accompanying historic investment in a dedicated active transportation fund will help provide the infrastructure people need to incorporate physical activity in their daily lives such as walking, wheeling or biking to work, doing errands or getting to public transportation. This is about helping make the healthy choice the easy choice which will improve physical and mental health and reduce healthcare costs." 

Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke

"Over the past 16 months, in response to the global pandemic, cities around the world have moved quickly to temporarily provide more safe space for the record numbers of people walking and cycling. To move beyond rapid response, Canadian municipalities critically need to build permanent safe active transportation infrastructure. The stable long-term support for active transportation announced by the Government of Canada today is an important first step to ensure that Canadians of all ages and abilities have the infrastructure they need to reach their destinations safely, actively and sustainably."

Nancy Smith Lea, Director, The Centre for Active Transportation, Clean Air Partnership

Quick facts

  • Infrastructure Canada is in ongoing discussions with the government of Québec with respect to the program's implementation in the province given the Loi sur le ministère du Conseil exécutif (M-30).

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $18,5 billion in 1,350 public transit projects for communities across Canada - the largest public transit investment in Canadian history.

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $236 million in 312 active transportation projects through the Investing in Canada plan. In addition, hundreds more infrastructure projects funded by the Government of Canada have included components that promote active transportation.

  • Canada’s strengthened climate plan committed to provide public transit funding. The plan encourages cleaner modes of transportation, such as low and zero-emission vehicles, transit, and active transportation, to make communities healthier, less congested, and more vibrant.

Associated links


Emelyana Titarenko
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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