Governments Improving Water Quality and Farming Around Lake Erie

Governments Improving Water Quality and Farming Around Lake Erie

Investments Will Support Ontario Farmers in Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair Watersheds

October 18, 2021

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

KINCARDINE —The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.58 million to protect the province’s lakes and water sources by helping farmers implement sustainable farming practices that build more resilient farm operations.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the final Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative intake, will support on-farm projects that improve soil health and reduce the risk of nutrient losses on their farms while improving water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas.

“Canadian farmers are leading stewards of our environment, always looking for new tools and innovations to ensure their sustainability,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “I encourage farmers in Southwestern Ontario to make a project application with this exciting new cost-shared program, which can help improve their farms and the Lake Erie watershed.”

“The Great Lakes are vitally important to everyone in Ontario – from farmers to businesses and the millions of people who live in communities near these vast bodies of water,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The LEADS initiative demonstrates the government’s commitment to environmental stewardship and specifically to protecting Ontario’s water supply.”

The intake will open on November 2, 2021 and close on November 8, 2021. During this time, farmers can apply for cost-share funding for projects that benefit Lake Erie as well as support productivity and soil health for more acres of Ontario farmland. Examples of funded projects include:

  • planting cover crops to reduce soil erosion;
  • modifying equipment to reduce soil tillage and compaction;
  • improving nutrient placement; and
  • planting of permanent trees or vegetation strips to serve as windbreaks.

“The investments made by federal and provincial governments in the on-farm projects supported through LEADS are greatly appreciated in the agricultural community,” said Chad Anderson, President of Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. “This funding will result in significant environmental gains that improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie basin.”

The LEADS initiative supports Ontario’s commitment to a 40 per cent reduction of phosphorus run off into Lake Erie and its watershed by 2025.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed over $100 million in cost-share support to more than 5,000 projects through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Quick Facts

  • The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs cost-shared on a 60/40 basis by the federal and provincial/territorial governments that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
  • LEADS is a five-year, $15.6 million commitment by the federal and provincial governments, available until March 2023, to help farmers take action to improve soil health and water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas. Since 2018, more than 930 projects have been approved under the LEADS initiative, with $9.2 million committed through the Partnership. LEADS cost-share projects must be completed by September 30, 2022.
  • The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 720,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $46.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.

Related Topics

Rural and North

Information about the province’s Far North and rural communities. Get connected to business improvement organizations and learn more about funding and programs that support rural, northern and Indigenous communities. Learn more


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Media Contacts

Jack Sullivan
Minister’s Office

Christa Roettele
Communications Branch

Oliver Anderson 
Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada