MECP Funding for protection and conservation
Posted on: June 20, 2021

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is currently accepting applications for our enhanced Ontario Community Environment Fund (OCEF). We are specifically looking for projects that focus on the protection and preservation of our land, air and water.

As part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to protect our air, land and water, Ontario is holding polluters accountable by strengthening the enforcement tools we use to ensure compliance with environmental laws, while taking steps to help communities improve the environment in areas impacted by pollution.

Our enhanced Ontario Community Environment Fund invests money, collected from environmental penalties, back into community-based environmental projects in the region where a violation or environmental impact happened.

This year, close to $900,000 is available for projects in four of the five regions identified by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks regions. Please visit the OCEF webpage to see if your project proposal would fall within one of the following eligible regions:

  • Northern Region:  $475,009.52
  • Southwest Region: $306,151.65
  • Eastern Region: $62,864.40
  • West-Central Region: $43,298.00
  • Central Region : No funding available this round because the value of penalties collected did not meet the minimum funding threshold of $5,000.

The funding available this year (2021) was collected between 2016 and 2019, while the program was temporarily paused. During this period, the ministry considered how the fund could be enhanced in the future, outlined in our proposal to expand the use of administrative monetary penalties to a broader range of environmental violations.

Not-for-profit organizations, First Nations and Métis communities, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities and conservation authorities can apply to access these government grants. During the competitive evaluation process, applicants will be required to demonstrate that their projects have a direct benefit to the environment, and support one, or both of the following goals:

  1. Increased environmental restoration and remediation activities, that repair environmental harm. Project examples may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Planting trees, shrubs or plants to help mitigate and adapt to climate change
    2. Rebuilding fish habitat and creating fish spawning beds
    3. Stabilizing stream banks and creating buffer strips to reduce nutrient run-off
    4. Restoring streams to improve habitat and water quality
  2. Resilient communities and local solutions to environmental issues. Project examples may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Improving the resilience of natural ecosystems by restoring wetlands and preserving areas of significant environmental and ecological importance
    2. Installing rain gardens to reduce the risk of flooding and help communities adapt to climate change

The deadline to submit an application through the Transfer Payment Ontario portal is June 23rd, 2021 at 5:00 PM. Please review the program application guide for guidance on applying to the program. We will notify successful applicants of the result by summer 2021 and projects may begin in fall 2021.

Need more Information?We will be holding webinars to provide information and updates on the program, and application process. To attend a webinar, please respond to this email and provide your name, organization, contact information, and preferred webinar date. You may select one of the following dates to attend:

  • Wednesday, May 19th – 1:30PM – 3:00PM
  • Thursday, May 27th – 10:30AM – 12:00PM

*Meeting details will follow via email, in the days leading up to the event.

If you have any additional questions, please email

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