Four scientists stand in two boats floating on a lake on a sunny day

Statement from IISD on Canada’s Commitment to Fresh Water in Federal Budget 2022 

April 7, 2022

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which proudly operates IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), is thrilled to learn that the Government of Canada has allocated CAD 25 million to IISD-ELA in its 2022 Federal Budget. 

"IISD is incredibly thankful to the federal government for committing to this meaningful investment that will support and grow the operations of IISD-ELA—truly the world’s freshwater laboratory," said Richard Florizone, president and CEO of IISD.  

"This multi-year funding is critical for the research needed to tackle increasingly serious threats to our fresh water like climate change and microplastics."

IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory. A series of 58 lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada, IISD-ELA is the only place in the world where scientists can research and manipulate real lakes to build a more accurate and complete picture of what human activity is doing to our fresh water.

The findings from more than 50 years of groundbreaking research have rewritten environmental policy around the world—from mitigating algal blooms to reducing how much mercury gets into our waterways—and aim to keep freshwater systems everywhere clean for generations to come.

This new funding will allow IISD-ELA to pursue its ambitious research agenda that includes, among many initiatives:

  • New groundbreaking research exploring emerging threats to fresh water, from microplastics to oil spills 
  • Working with Indigenous communities to empower them and share knowledge and approaches to science 
  • Ensuring its research helps to improve the health of the African Great Lakes and the tens of millions of people who depend on them through collaboration with the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education. 

"The commitment announced today provides invaluable financial stability for our ongoing and future work," said Matthew McCandless, executive director of IISD-ELA. 

"Our experiments matter because they directly inform public policy on a wide range of issues, including freshwater protection, nature-based responses to climate change, reducing plastic pollution, and improving international sustainability cooperation. These are policies that change the lives of millions at home in Canada and across the globe."

Jane McDonald, executive vice-president of IISD and chair of the IISD-ELA board of directors, is available to media for comment. 

For media inquiries

Vanessa Farquharson 
Director of Communications, IISD  


About IISD 

The International Institute for Sustainable Development 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. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries. 


IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory—the only place in the world where scientists can manipulate real lakes to understand what human activity does to fresh water. 

Statement details

IISD Experimental Lakes Area
Focus area