Evaluation of the Green Infrastructure Fund
- Program Profile

Program Profile

2.1 Background

Budget 2009 introduced Canada's EAP, the GoC's response to the global economic downturn. The EAP aimed to counter the effects of the global recession while working toward a return to long-term economic growth and prosperity. In addition to establishing the $1 billion GIF, the EAP established the two-year $4 billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF); provided a $500 million top-up to the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component (BCF-CC); provided $500 million for recreational infrastructure delivered by regional development agencies; and accelerated $1 billion in payments over two years under the Provincial-Territorial Base Funding Initiative.

Although the GIF is the first program at INFC dedicated entirely to green infrastructure, the department has been funding green infrastructure projects since its inception. From 2002 to 2008 inclusively, $1.2 billion in funding was allocated to green infrastructure projects through 11 INFC programs.Footnote2

2.2 Description of the Program

The objectives of the GIF are to improve the quality of the environment and lead to a more sustainable economy over the long term. Although part of the EAP, the GIF was designed to provide longer-term funding rather than immediate stimulus. The GIF is a contribution program that funds large-scale green infrastructure projects of national or regional significance.Footnote3 The program was designed to support projects involving the construction of new infrastructure or the material rehabilitation of existing infrastructure assets in the areas of:

  • wastewater;
  • green energy generation and transmissionFootnote4;
  • carbon transmission and storage; and
  • solid waste management.

The program was designed to provide funding to cost-shared projects initiated by provinces and territories, local and regional governments, public sector bodies, non-profit organizations, and/or private sector companies.

Unlike most other INFC programs, the GIF does not have pre-defined provincial or territorial funding allocations. Funding decisions are based on merit criteria such as eligibility, leveraging financial investments and project benefits and included an assessment against a set of defined benefits and outcomes for each of the GIF's eligible categories, as appropriate.

2.3 Program Delivery Model

The GIF delivery model includes four (4) main components:

  • Submission of proposals and project selection;
  • Approval in principle;
  • Signed contribution agreement; and
  • Project monitoring.

Those four components are described below:

Submission of Proposals and Project Selection

Program applicants were given the opportunity to submit a proposal for the GIF to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities (the Minister).Footnote5 Applicants could also submit proposals to other Members of Parliament or to the department.  INFC's Environmental Initiatives (EI) group in the Policy and Communications (P&C) Branch acknowledged receipt of proposals and reviewed them for basic eligibility and, in cases where projects met basic eligibility requirements, submitted them to the Minister for his consideration. The Minister could then identify projects as a priority; direct the EI group to undertake a formal project review; prepare a conditional acceptance letter, make a priority announcement; and, with the Communications Directorate prepare the material for an announcement, when required.

Approval in Principle

The EI group conducted a detailed review of projects based on the Business Case submitted by the recipient. INFC's Program Operations Branch (POB) was responsible for determining whether an Environmental Assessment and/or Duty to Consult were required. At this stage, INFC's Project Review Panel (PRP), which provides an independent review function within the department for major projects, undertook its first review of projects, known as Stage 1. Projects that passed this review were recommended to the Minister for Approval in Principle, at which point a ministerial Approval in Principle letter is sent to recipients informing them that eligible project costs could begin to accrue and be reimbursed by INFC.

Signed Contribution Agreement

Following the Minister's Approval in Principle, files were transferred from the P&C Branch to POB and the negotiation of the Contribution Agreement began. In cases where the negotiation of the Contribution Agreement was completed, it was reviewed by the PRP in a process known as Stage 2, before recommending that the Minister sign the agreement.

Of note, approval from Treasury Board was required in cases where INFC's contribution exceeded $100 million, or where the following exceptions apply to the Minister's delegation of authority: the recipient is in the private-for-profit sector; the project involves using federal funding to cover salary and benefits of the proponent's staff; the project involves sole source contracts; the project requires an exemption to some aspects of the Transfer Payment Policy; the project requires an exception to some aspects of the program's terms and conditions; the Minister decides to seek Treasury Board approval.

Project Monitoring

Once a Contribution Agreement was signed, an Agreement Management Committee (AMC) was formed by INFC to monitor progress of the project(s), review and approve claims and reports, and ensure the terms of the agreement are respected until the end of the agreement. Membership in this committee includes a recipient Co-chair, a federal Co-chair, a recipient member, and a federal member. INFC's Communications Directorate and Financial Planning and Analysis Unit also have a role in the delivery of the GIF: the Communications Directorate ensures that a communications protocol is respected, while the Financial Planning and Analysis Unit contributes to the management of program funding.

2.4 Logic Model and Performance Measurement Strategy

A draft Logic Model (see Annex A) and a performance measurement strategy were developed in 2009. The Logic Model was updated in 2010 to better reflect the outcomes of the GIF. The 2010 version was used for the purpose of the evaluation. The Performance Measurement Strategy (PM Strategy), though not approved by senior management, was used for the analysis of program performance.

2.5 Program Resources

Of the program's initial envelope of $1 billion, $725 million was committed to GIF projects. Table 1 shows the number of projects announced, funding allocated, Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) utilization and expenditures for the GIF by year.

Table 1: Project Announcement and Funding Allocations and Annual Expenditures (in millions of dollars)
  Fiscal Year Number of projects
Funding allocated
(in $ Millions)
INFC FTEs allocated to
administer the GIF
Annual expenditures
(in $ Millions)

Initial program
planned duration


























Extended program
(Note 2)
















Source: Infrastructure Canada. SIMSI and PIMS databases.
Note 1: Some GIF projects have eligible costs until 2022-23 and Contribution Agreement end dates in 2025.
Note 2: The period covered by this evaluation ends in December 2015. This is the only table in which full 2015-16 data is included.

Annex B provides the list of funded projects and funding committed for a total of $725 million. The remaining $275 million was reallocated to other Government of Canada priorities and activities. See Annex C for more details.


Footnote 2

Analysis based on data in PIMS in January 2016. Includes three GIF categories (wastewater, solid waste, green energy).

Return to Footnote 2

Footnote 3

INFC defines large scale by the size of the project’s eligible costs. Another INFC program defined national and regional significance by (1) the size of the community served by the project; (2) the fact that the Province or Territory is a funding project partner; or (3) demonstration that another nearby facility does not meet regional needs.

Return to Footnote 3

Footnote 4

While green energy generation and green energy transmission were originally intended as separate categories, many documents and databases treat them as one. For consistency, they were combined in this report.

Return to Footnote 4

Footnote 5

As of July 2013, separate Ministers were appointed for Transport Canada and for Infrastructure and Communities.

Return to Footnote 5

Date modified: