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Community Action Programs for the Environment

Brochure - PDF (685 KB)

"We want to help protect endangered fish on our reserve from the effects of water pollution."

"Our school wants to share our cool ideas about sustainability with other kids."

"My company is ready to donate its time and expertise to help restore a local forest."

Aboriginal artist, Simon Tookoome. Emie Bies.
Hands in, teenagers in a circle. 2009
Business woman smiling. 2009

What do these Canadians have in common? They can make a positive impact on our environment. And so can you.

Environment Canada's Community Action Programs for the Environment (CAPE) fund local action projects that address:

  • clean water,
  • clean air,
  • climate change,
  • biodiversity,
  • species at risk,
  • invasive alien species, and
  • protection of wildlife and
  • their habitat.

Every year, more than 600 projects receive funding from CAPE.

How Projects Reach Their Environmental Goals

CAPE projects ultimately help Canadians to make better environmental choices and to adopt environmentally friendly behaviours. Successfully funded projects use a variety of approaches to reach their environmental goals, including campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, local watershed projects, programs involving youth and educators, conservation projects to protect species at risk, campaigns to protect against invasive alien species, and projects on Aboriginal lands.

Who Is Eligible for Funding?

Eligible recipients may include environmental groups, community groups, service clubs, professional associations, educational institutions, youth and seniors organizations, Aboriginal organizations, charitable and volunteer organizations, municipalities, and conservation authorities. For specific information on eligibility criteria, deadlines and available funding, visit the Funding Programs Web page.

Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk

Aboriginal organizations and communities have always had a special relationship with the environment. They have a key role to play in the conservation and protection of Canada’s biodiversity. The Aboriginal Capacity Building Fund and the Aboriginal Critical Habitat Protection Fund can help support their work. The funds exist to foster more meaningful collaboration between governments and Aboriginal populations and to encourage the use of traditional Aboriginal knowledge in species recovery and protection.

Community Interaction Program - St. Lawrence Action Plan

The St. Lawrence River is a crucial body of water in Canada. Aquatic species, biodiversity, wetlands, trade: the river has major impacts on countless aspects of Canadian life. From Cornwall to Blanc Sablon, a healthy St. Lawrence is key to healthy communities. The Community Interaction Program funds projects to protect the river, from education and awareness initiatives to hands-on shoreline clean-up, stabilization and re-vegetation projects. The program also supports specific environmental studies to help identify further concrete actions that can be taken to improve and protect the river. 

EcoAction Community Funding Program

The EcoAction Community Funding Program provides financial support to community groups across Canada for projects that have measurable, positive impacts on the environment. Funded projects promote the participation of local communities to address clean air, climate change and clean water issues, and to protect, rehabilitate or restore the natural environment. Projects may have an action focus, a community capacity building focus, or both. 

Environmental Damages Fund

Following the “polluter pays principle,” the Environmental Damages Fund helps ensure that those who cause damage to the environment take responsibility for their actions. The fund gives courts a way to ensure that money from fines and settlements is directly invested in the repair of harm caused to our environment and wildlife. The Environmental Damages Fund program provides funding to organizations to undertake projects that will restore the environment in the areas where damage occurred, improve environmental quality, and conduct research and development on environmental damage assessment and restoration, as well as for education and awareness projects related to environmental restoration and compliance. 

Great Lakes Sustainability Fund

Our Great Lakes are a precious and finite resource: they contain approximately 18 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, are vital to Canada’s economy, and the surrounding basin is home to about one in three Canadians. The Great Lakes Sustainability Fund provides technical and financial support to action projects aimed at cleaning up, restoring and protecting the environmental quality and beneficial uses of Canada’s Great Lakes in areas of concern. The fund targets three key priority areas: fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation and stewardship, assessing and cleaning up contaminated sites, and innovative approaches to improve the ways cities deal with sewage and wastewater.

Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

The goal of the Habitat Stewardship Program is to contribute to the recovery of endangered, threatened and other species of concern, and to prevent new species from joining the list, by engaging Canadians in conservation actions to benefit wildlife. Funded projects focus on stewardship activities that support species at risk recovery, including the protection or conservation of important habitat and the reduction or mitigation of threats to species survival. These activities must take place on non-federal lands or in aquatic and marine areas across Canada.

Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund

In Ontario, Lake Simcoe is the largest lake outside the Great Lakes system. It provides drinking water to eight municipalities and is a major recreational area. As many local residents know, the health of Lake Simcoe has been steadily declining for many years. Its annual phosphorus inputs are two to three times the natural level due to land-based pollution. These elevated levels are responsible for excessive algae growth, robbing the lake of oxygen, affecting the cold water fish community and overall water quality. The Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund is used to fund projects designed to improve water quality, substantially reduce phosphorus loads, and advance the restoration of a sustainable cold water fishery and the ecological integrity of Lake Simcoe. 

Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund

The growing blue-green algae problems facing Manitoba’s largest lake are the result of excessive nutrients from urban and rural sources ending up in the lake. These extra nutrients, primarily phosphorus and nitrogen, are contributing to the growth of huge tracts of blue-green algae, which rob the lake of oxygen, clog fishing nets, foul beaches and produce harmful toxins. The fund supports projects or activities in the Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta portions of the Lake Winnipeg Basin that will have concrete, demonstrable results to reduce pollutants, and nutrient loads in particular, in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

Funded Project Highlights

The Hospitals Healing the Environment Challenge

Hospitals are among the most energy-intensive buildings in Canadian communities. The Hospitals Healing the Environment Challenge began with 15 participating hospitals, working together to find concrete ways to reduce their environmental impacts. The idea was that hospitals dedicated to patient care could also play an important role in healing the local environment. Initiatives include recapturing operating room anaesthetic gases, updating heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, implementing waste reduction programs, and lighting retrofits.

Funded through the EcoAction Community Funding Program 

The Manitoba Piping Plover Guardian Program

The Manitoba Piping Plover Guardian Program protects breeding Piping Plovers that use beaches for nesting and chick rearing. Nesting birds are highly sensitive to human disturbance. Volunteer guardians and conservation staff work to discourage nearby recreational traffic, and monitor the broods regularly to ensure fledgling success. Beach patrols assist with other protective measures, including the placement of predator enclosures over nests and beach litter control.

Funded through the Habitat Stewardship Program 

Make a positive impact on our environment!

To learn more about Community Action Programs for the Environment, visit the Funding Programs Web page.
Telephone: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800
TTY: 819-994-0736


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