August 19, 2022
Natural Infrastructure Fund supports green projects
Announced in June 2021, the $200 million Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) supports projects that use natural or hybrid approaches to protect the natural environment, support healthy and resilient communities, and contribute to economic growth and jobs. The small project stream is accepting applications until September 27, 2022 at 3 p.m.
NIF is a Canadian Federal Govenment Program. Its website says: "Natural infrastructure is a way for communities to use their ecosystems to improve quality of life, reduce pollution, enhance biodiversity and habitats, and build resilience to climate change. Examples of natural infrastructure include urban forests, street trees, wetlands, living dykes, bioswales, and naturalized coastal restoration.Hybrid infrastructure incorporates elements of engineered grey infrastructure to enhance or support natural infrastructure and/or the use of ecosystem processes. Examples of hybrid infrastructure include green roofs and walls, and naturalized stormwater ponds."
Goals of the fund include:
- Increasing climate change resilience
- Mitigating carbon emissions
- Improving the environment, such as contributing to cleaner air and water
- Protecting and preserving biodiversity and wildlife habitats
- Promoting people's access to nature
Funding streamsThe Natural Infrastructure Fund has two streams.
Large Projects StreamMajor cities with innovative natural infrastructure strategies were invited to apply for up to $120 million for large natural or hybrid infrastructure projects. This approach will help implement projects and accelerate the community environmental and economic co-benefits that they bring. Projects selected for funding will be announced publicly through Infrastructure Canada's website and social media channels.
Small Projects StreamThe remaining program envelope will be allocated to communities across Canada for smaller natural and hybrid infrastructure projects.
Who can apply to the Small Projects Stream?The following groups are eligible:
- Municipalities, local and regional governments established by or under provincial or territorial statute;
- Provinces and territories;
- Public sector bodies that are established by or under provincial or territorial statute or by regulation or are wholly-owned by a province, territory, municipal or regional government;
- Indigenous recipients (Indigenous governing bodies, not-for-profits whose primary mandate is to serve Indigenous Peoples, and not-for-profit Indigenous development corporations);
- Federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organizations; and
- Private for-profit bodies if working in collaboration with another eligible public recipient.
What types of projects are eligible under the Small Projects Stream?Eligible natural infrastructure projects involve the creation, expansion, restoration, improvement, or enhancement of natural or hybrid infrastructure that is primarily for public benefit.
Projects must reflect one of the four categories listed below:
- Planting or restoring green space (e.g., urban forests, green roofs, parks, and community gardens);
- Construction or restoration of naturalized water retention or detention systems (naturalized stormwater ponds, wetlands, and coastal restoration);
- Naturalized water diversion or infiltration (e.g., establishment of living dykes, rain gardens, bioswales, and permeable land cover); and/or,
- Natural infrastructure or hybrid infrastructure projects supporting biodiversity and connectivity.
How are the projects for the Small Projects Stream assessed?The Natural Infrastructure Fund is a national, competitive, direct-delivery program delivered through grants and contributions.
All projects are assessed on their ability to deliver multiple community services. The delivery of multiple co-benefits with the natural and hybrid infrastructure project is a core component of the Natural Infrastructure Fund. Applicants must ensure they meet the eligibility requirements and provide as much information as possible, including evidence, data, or other analysis, as failure to provide enough information or detail may affect eligibility to qualify.
GrantsProjects may be funded through Grant Agreements if the total eligible costs are between $30,000 and up to and including $250,000. Projects funded through grants will receive a maximum contribution of $250,000.
Eligible projects for grants are evaluated against the following merit criteria:
- At least one community service:
- Climate change resilience services (e.g., erosion prevention, flood protection).
- Environmental quality services (e.g., wastewater treatment, stormwater diversion).
- Access to nature services (e.g., public green space).
- Biodiversity and habitat services (e.g., improved ecological integrity or connectivity).
- Climate change mitigation services (e.g., energy efficiency, carbon sequestration).
- Project readiness*
- Economic co-benefits
ContributionsProjects may be funded through Contribution Agreements if total eligible costs are over $250,000 and up to and including $3 million. Projects funded through contributions will receive a maximum contribution of $1 million.
All eligible projects contributions are evaluated against the same criteria as grants, in addition to:
- At least two community services;
- Identified need and priority;
- Social inclusion*; and
- Climate change impact.