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Ontario Supporting Freshwater Research and Education

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Province Investing in Northern Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area

KENORA, May 21, 2019—Ontario's government is working for the people by investing in a unique, world-renowned northern research facility to help protect the province's freshwater ecosystems.

Today, Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, was in Kenora to announce Ontario is providing more than $2 million in funding to the International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA).

Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the IISD-ELA is receiving $30,000 to hire an architectural firm to complete a detailed design and cost estimate for the construction of a water science education and training centre.

The replacement of its outdated facility with a new education and training centre will allow the institute to continue providing and developing initiatives such as the Experimental Lakes Area Student Experience high school program and a field biology program run in partnership with Lakehead University. The new centre will also help expand outreach and collaboration with northwestern Ontario communities and First Nations, as well as increase ecotourism opportunities.

"Our government is proud to be making investments in quality science and research that will help us to protect and enjoy our waterways and freshwater ecosystems," said Rickford. "We have been keen on showing the world that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs - and with today's exciting announcements, we are proud to say that Ontario is open for research as well."

On behalf of John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Rickford also announced up to $2 million will be provided to the IISD-ELA in 2019-20 to ensure ongoing, multi-year research projects and important long-term monitoring of the Experimental Lakes Area will continue.

"Ontario is fortunate to be home to many lakes, rivers and streams that provide recreational and tourism opportunities, and significant contributions to our economy," said Yakabuski. "That's why making investments in quality science and research that help us to protect these water systems is so important, and it's a pleasure to work with my colleague Greg Rickford on this initiative."

"IISD Experimental Lakes Area is extremely grateful for this continued support from the Government of Ontario," said Jane McDonald, Interim President and CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development. "As we extend beyond our 50th anniversary, we continue to track emerging threats to freshwater head on, with new and exciting research on oil spills, acid rain, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, algal blooms, environmental DNA and much more."

Quick Facts

  • IISD Experimental Lakes Area, located east of Kenora, is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It is a natural laboratory comprised of 58 small lakes and their watersheds set aside for scientific research.
  • The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation promotes and stimulates economic development initiatives in Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects that foster economic growth and diversification. Since June 2018, the corporation has invested more than $63 million in 501 projects, creating or retaining over 770 jobs.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, Toronto and Beijing, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

For more information, please contact: media@iisd.org or +1 (613) 238-2296 ext. 902