Press release

Government of Canada provides new investment in freshwater research at IISD Experimental Lakes Area

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be providing $1.7 million over the next two years to IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

August 9, 2016

Kenora, Ontario—IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is a unique research facility and the only place in the world where scientists can conduct research on real lakes and ecosystems for the most accurate and comprehensive results.

Research conducted at IISD-ELA supports Canada’s long-term understanding of our freshwater ecosystems and leads to better decision making on the use and protection of our freshwater resources for the benefit of future generations.

That is why, as committed in Budget 2016, Member of Parliament, the Honourable Bob Nault (Kenora), on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, today confirmed the Government of Canada’s investment in freshwater research at IISD-ELA, situated in Northwestern Ontario.

Joined by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, MP Nault announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be providing $1.7 million over the next two years to the facility’s operator, IISD-ELA. This investment builds on the provinces’ support to ensure the continuation of the facility’s almost 50 years of ongoing research on how contaminants, climate change and other factors are affecting our freshwater ecosystems.


“The Government of Canada and the International Institute for Sustainable Development share a common commitment to understanding and protecting our freshwater fisheries and the ecosystems that support them. We are pleased to provide federal funding to IISD Experimental Lakes Area and to support its legacy of informing important policy decisions in Canada and around the world.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The unique environmental research being done at the Experimental Lakes Area is a crucial source of insights into some of the most important issues of our time. It is why, when the previous federal government cut its support for IISD-ELA two years ago, the Ontario government stepped forward to keep IISD-ELA going and support this essential research. Today I am delighted that the federal government is renewing its partnership in IISD-ELA and once again investing in this vital scientific work.”

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

"Manitoba is proud to provide IISD its largest stable grant. IISD Experimental Lakes Area has the potential to achieve breakthroughs in the science around sustainable solutions to many of our province's water issues. Our lakes and waterways are more than a source of drinking water: they are a significant component of our province's economic, recreational and tourism potential. Working in partnership with organizations like IISD, we will ensure that future generations are able to rely upon and enjoy our waterways.”

The Honourable Brian Pallister, Manitoba Premier

“IISD Experimental Lakes Area, situated in beautiful Northwestern Ontario, is internationally known for its unique, whole-ecosystem research and its influence on policy decisions, such as the removal of phosphorous from household cleaners. This government recognizes the value of this important research facility and is committed to protecting our environment. It’s also very encouraging to see Premiers and Ministers from Ontario and Manitoba attend this important event, which demonstrates their commitment to science and the ELA.”

The Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Kenora)

“We welcome this funding from the Government of Canada. With other partners, notably the Government of Ontario, IISD Experimental Lakes Area will continue to protect fresh water for future generations. Since the International Institute for Sustainable Development assumed operation of the Experimental Lakes Area two years ago, we have expanded its research and reach, from tracking the effects of pollutants in our lakes to assessing the impacts of climate change. For the first time, we have opened the facility to local communities and students, and are proud to have established a dialogue and partnership with local First Nations.”

Scott Vaughan, President and CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development

“This support along with our existing partnerships with the governments of Ontario and Manitoba is vital to maintaining IISD Experimental Lakes Area’s unique repository of nearly 50 years of ecological experimentation and research. We are grateful to the federal government for recognizing the value of expanding our research capacity to provide evidence-based insight into the effects of pollutants, climate change and other threats to our lakes of rivers. “

Matthew McCandless, Executive Director, IISD Experimental Lakes Area

Quick facts

  • This funding comes from the $197.1 million investment in ocean and freshwater sciences that was announced in May 2016.
  • The federal funding to IISD-ELA will cover the salaries of researchers and technicians and contribute to the facility’s maintenance, data management, and equipment costs.
  • The research will cover the long-term study of freshwater ecosystems; fisheries productivity; and aquatic invasive species and other stressors influencing freshwater fisheries.
  • For almost 50 years, IISD-ELA has pioneered research into threats to our freshwater supplies such as phosphorus, nanosilver, acid rain, climate change and more, influencing water-management policies in Canada and around the world.
  • The Government of Ontario provides up to $2 million each year to IISD-ELA, and the Province of Manitoba has committed more than $6 million over six years to support and advance IISD’s operating costs, including the advancement of freshwater science and policy research.

For media

(This press release was originally released by the Government of Canada)

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

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