Natural Infrastructure Fund - Small Projects Stream Applicant Guide

Status:

The program is now open and accepting applications until September 27, 2022 at 3:00 pm (EDT).

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Natural Infrastructure Fund
Small Projects Stream Applicant Guide
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Table of Contents


The Natural Infrastructure Fund

Natural infrastructure solutions are increasingly seen as win-win investments that enhance traditional grey infrastructure outcomes and deliver valuable co-benefits to communities. Solutions include conventional services, such as naturalized stormwater management, that reduce the impacts of flooding and extreme heat, whilst contributing to cleaner air, cleaner water, and more green space for people and local wildlife.

Natural infrastructure uses ecosystem features and materials, such as sand, stone, and vegetation, to deliver conventional infrastructure outcomes. For clarity, natural infrastructure can be naturally occurring or engineered using exclusively ecosystem features and materials.

Hybrid infrastructure incorporates grey infrastructure elements to enhance or support natural infrastructure and the use of ecosystem processes.

For more definitions, see Annex A.

Budget 2021 announced $200 million over three years to establish the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) to support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects across Canada. Objectives of the NIF are to:

  • Increase the use and uptake of natural and hybrid infrastructure; and
  • Build community awareness on the value of natural and hybrid infrastructure and the delivery of multiple outcomes.

The NIF is a direct-delivery program that supports communities to implement a range of diverse natural and hybrid infrastructure projects. The Small Projects Stream responds to known demand at the local level for smaller projects. All projects are assessed on the basis that they deliver one or multiple of the following community services:

  • Climate change resilience: Adapting to or transforming to anticipated or experienced climate hazards.

    E.g., erosion prevention, flood protection, regulating temperature extremes, and activities reducing costs and damages associated with climate hazards.

  • Increased access to nature: Enhancing the quality or quantity of healthy and safe natural systems to connect people to nature.

    E.g., increased public greenspace, active transportation, and design elements such as signage.

  • Improved environmental quality: Enhancing the efficiency, productivity, and functionality of ecological processes to provide people with healthy environments (e.g., water, air, and soil quality).

    E.g., stormwater diversion, infiltration or detention, ground water infiltration and replenishment, pre-filtration of water, and wastewater treatment.

  • Enhanced biodiversity and habitat: Reducing fragmentation, loss, or destruction of important habitats and species.

    E.g., ecological integrity or connectivity, or reduction of alien invasive species and an increase in native species.

  • Climate change mitigation: Increasing the capacity of natural systems and processes to sink and store greenhouse gasses.

    E.g., carbon sequestration or broader greenhouse gas reductions through energy efficiency benefits.

In addition to the delivery of community services, Applicants must fulfill the Small Projects Stream requirements. This Applicant Guide is for the Small Projects Stream (i.e., projects with eligible costs from $30K to $3M, see Section 4 - Financial Information) and is set up to guide you through the online Application Form, section by section.

Attention: Before you begin your application, please read through the general eligibility at the start of each section to ensure you meet the general criteria to proceed.

Remember to provide as much information and detail as possible. Failure to provide enough information or detail may affect your eligibility to qualify.

Eligibility Requirements and Section-by-Section Guide to Apply

You must register for an Infrastructure Canada Applicant Portal Account to access the NIF application form. The step-by-step process to register for the NIF Application is described in Annex B. As you complete your Application Setup, you must also review our Privacy Notice Statement, detailed in Annex C.1.

About the application form:

  • You do not need to complete your application in one attempt, you can save and return as many times as you would like.
  • There are no limits to the number of applications you submit, however, a separate application is required for each project.
  • Paragraph boxes usually have a limit of 4,000 characters and text boxes, a limit of 2,000 characters.
  • To change the language of the portal, click on the "Profile" button located beside the “Applications” button and click on "Edit Contact Details". Select the desired language from the drop-down menu in the language field and click "Save". To finish, refresh the browser.

Section 1. Applicant Information

Eligible Recipients

The NIF is open to the following recipients:

  • Municipalities, local, or regional governments;
  • Provinces and territories;
  • Indigenous recipients*;
  • Public sector bodies established by a provincial or territorial statute, a regulation, or wholly owned by a provincial, territorial, municipal, or regional government;
  • Not-for-profit organizations federally or provincially incorporated; and
  • Private for-profit organizations working in collaboration with another eligible public recipient.

*Indigenous recipients include:

  1. Indigenous governing bodies including but not limited to:
    • A band council within the meaning of Section 2 of the Indian Act;
    • A First Nation, Inuit or Métis government or authority established pursuant to a Self-Government Agreement or a Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and an Indigenous People of Canada, that has been approved, given effect and declared valid by federal legislation;
    • A First Nation, Inuit, or Métis government established by or under legislation whether federal, provincial or territorial, that incorporates a governance structure;
  2. Not-for-profit organizations whose central mandate is to improve Indigenous outcomes; and
  3. Indigenous development corporations.

Under the NIF, ineligible recipients include (list is not exhaustive):

  • Individuals and private citizens;
  • For-profit organizations not working in collaboration with another eligible public recipient; and
  • Federal entities, including Crown corporations.

1.1. Applicant Details

Provide information on your organization, contact information, and authorities.

1.2. Partnerships

In situations where multiple eligible recipients are working together, one lead recipient must be identified. The lead will enter the funding agreement with Infrastructure Canada (INFC), and they are responsible for the implementation of the project.

For projects involving a partnership with an Indigenous community or organization, the project is considered Indigenous-led if driven by the Indigenous recipient, targeting and benefitting Indigenous Peoples.

Section 2. Project Information

Eligible Projects

Projects eligible for funding are infrastructure projects that involve the creation, expansion, restoration, improvement, or enhancement of tangible natural or hybrid infrastructure. Projects must be primarily for public use and/or benefit. Projects must reflect at least one of the following categories:

  • Planting and restoring green space;
  • Construction or restoration of naturalized water retention or detention systems;
  • Naturalized water diversion and infiltration; or
  • Natural or hybrid infrastructure that supports biodiversity and connectivity.

E.g., urban forests, street trees, green roofs, parks, community gardens, wetlands, restored flood plans, coastal restoration, naturalized stormwater ponds, living dykes, rain gardens, and bioswales.

Projects may also include design elements that enhance human access to green space or natural water bodies (blue space). These are only eligible design elements if they are connected to the broader project.

E.g., trails, walkways, ramps, signage, lighting, garbage bins, benches, and multifunctional piers.

You can bundle smaller-dollar value projects that deliver the same community services in a particular geographic area (e.g., community, watershed) or contribute to an overall plan to enhance natural infrastructure (e.g., climate action plan, natural infrastructure plan). It is at your discretion in how you would like to bundle assets, but you should consider the merit criteria and how/if the different locations could meet the merit criteria differently.

Under the NIF, ineligible projects include:

  • Pure grey infrastructure projects;
  • Natural or hybrid infrastructure projects where the primary purpose is not for public use or benefits;
  • Natural or hybrid infrastructure projects where the primary purpose is for activity in the agricultural or natural resource sector;
  • Brownfield redevelopment or soil remediation not part of a broader eligible project;
  • Active transportation projects not part of a broader eligible project;
  • Private Land acquisition as the sole project component; and
  • Wildfire fuel mitigation, brush clearing, or removal.

2.1. Project Location

Provide a concise project title, project location details, community details, and populations.

2.2. Project Details

Project summary: Please provide a short description of the project and the activities that will be conducted

Provide a high-level summary and include details on:

  • Type of natural or hybrid infrastructure (e.g., green roof, restoration of wetland);
  • Expected outcome(s) of the project;
  • Project approach to achieve those outcomes;
  • Communities and populations that will benefit from the project; and
  • Design elements used to enhance access to nature (if applicable).
Project activities: Select all that apply

Select the eligible project activities that apply to your project, as highlighted in Eligible Projects. You may select more than one.

E.g., a wetland restoration project may result in the restoration of a water retention system to reduce urban flooding events, divert water from city streets, and support biodiversity and connectivity of migrating bird species.

Please outline the overall objectives and rationale for the project
  • Describe the main objective of your project and ensure there is a clear connection to the objectives of the NIF.
  • Provide the rationale for the project and detail the problem and/or opportunity that the project will address.
  • Support your rationale with quantitative or qualitative data where possible, as well as any previous research studies that support your rationale.
Have you previously implemented a natural infrastructure project?
  • Describe the previous project and detail the natural asset elements and infrastructure outcomes.
  • Appropriate projects include the creation, expansion, restoration, improvement, or enhancement of tangible natural or hybrid infrastructure.
Have you previously implemented a project which, at the time, was not considered natural infrastructure, but that you would today consider as a natural infrastructure project based on Infrastructure Canada’s definition?
  • Describe the previous project and detail the natural asset elements and infrastructure outcomes.
  • To consider previous projects, use the NIF definition for natural infrastructure and the delivery of multiple community services.

Eligible Land Acquisition

Eligible expenditures for contributions funding may include private land acquisition. Only if it is privately-owned land and is both:

  • Directly linked to the development of natural infrastructure; and
  • Not the sole project component.

To be eligible, Applicants must submit the following documents post-approval:

  • Demonstration of how the land will be used as natural infrastructure; 
  • Demonstration of how the land will remain protected in perpetuity (defined as 40 years); and
  • An attestation that the price is at, or below, fair market value.

Contributions only: If the private land acquisition is a component of your project, you will need to answer additional questions (See Eligible Project Costs for further detail on grants and contributions).

Is private land acquisition the sole project component?

If the land acquisition is the sole component, the project is ineligible.

  • Describe how the private land acquisition is linked to the development of the natural infrastructure project.
  • Justify why it is necessary to acquire that land for the delivery of the project.
What is the estimated amount ($) related to the private land acquisition eligible under NIF?
  • Provide the full amount of the estimated cost of the private land acquisition, not a percentage.
  • The price must be confirmed to be at, or below, fair market value.
Will non-competitive procurement be required for the project?

If you are seeking a non-competitive (sole source) procurement process, provide the following information:

  • Name of the supplier completing the contract;
  • Monetary amount of the contract;
  • Nature of the work; and
  • Explanation as to why sole-source contracting is required (e.g., public utilities, only one supplier, a unique level of expertise, particular technology needed).

INFC expects that competitive contracting is the norm and all contracts are completed via competitive processes. You should undertake all efforts to implement contracts using an open, fair, and competitive process. If those efforts have been exhausted and unsuccessful, or if you are planning on awarding a non-competitive contract, you would then need approval from INFC before entering into a non-competitive contract. The approval from INFC would be part of the grants and contributions agreement negotiation process.

You can award a non-competitive contract with an Indigenous organization or Indigenous governing body when there is a benefit to an Indigenous community. To do so, you must also provide a rationale to describe the need to proceed with a non-competitive contract.

Attention: INFC has limits to contracting authority, listed below. If sole source contracts exceed the limit for contracting authority, INFC will need to seek approval from the Treasury Board of Canada (TB), with potential for funding delays.

  • For construction or goods: Contracts above $40,000 require TB approval.
  • For services: Contracts above $100,000 require TB approval.

These limits do not apply for sole source contracts with Indigenous organizations.

Section 3. Asset Information

3.1. Asset Details

Asset system is defined as a collection of asset elements (e.g., wetland, bioswales, rain gardens) that work together to provide overall community services (e.g., flood mitigation).

Identify and describe the natural assets or natural asset systems that are part of the project. Under the NIF, you can include up to a maximum of 10.

E.g., if there are 10 potential locations in one park, this could be considered as one asset. If the 10 potential locations are in multiple parks around the city, this could be considered as an asset system. In either scenario, assets and asset systems must be connected (by physical location, outcomes, and/or approach).

All of the following questions need to be completed for each asset that you identify.

Asset or Asset System Details

Provide the details, including:

  • Name
  • Type (natural or hybrid)
  • Description
  • Condition (see details below)
  • Elements (see details below)
  • Design Elements (see details below)
  • Ownership
  • Eligible Cost (include the contingency amount)

For existing asset(s), select the condition from the options. Definitions include:

  • Very poor condition: Suffering from serious degradation and no longer providing any benefits or services.
  • Poor condition: Performing below the normal and healthy standard for most natural or hybrid assets of its kind.
  • Fair condition: Signs of degradation are starting to appear and it is not providing as many benefits and services as it used to.
  • Good condition: Providing the expected level of benefits and services but some risks or hazards should be taken into consideration.  
  • Very good condition: Thriving and able to provide many benefits and ecological services.

An asset element is an independent entity, which provides one or many ecological functions. Examples of natural or hybrid infrastructure asset elements are the following:  

  • Bioswale (hybrid)
  • Green roof (hybrid)
  • Living wall (hybrid)
  • Rain garden (hybrid) / community garden (hybrid)
  • Natural wildlife crossing (hybrid)
  • Restored flood plain (natural)
  • Riparian buffer (natural)
  • Living dyke (natural)
  • Saltmarsh (natural)
  • Park (natural) / green space (natural)
  • Urban forest (natural) / street trees (hybrid)
  • Wetland (natural)
  • Permeable land cover (hybrid)
  • If “Other” is selected, indicate the asset element and briefly describe its ecological functions.

For design elements, describe how they will enhance access to nature, either green space or blue space (e.g., water bodies – creeks, rivers, lakes, oceans). As a reminder, these are only eligible design elements if they are connected to the broader eligible project.

Are any of the asset or asset systems privately-owned (for-profit asset ownership)?

As a reminder, eligible projects under the NIF must be primarily for public use or benefit.

Provide the geo-coordinate values

To determine the coordinates of the site, please use Google Maps. Coordinates can be found by right-clicking on the project site. Latitude and longitude appear at the top of the lists, with latitude first and longitude second (for further instructions see Annex D.1).

Provide KML file for the above asset(s) or asset system(s)

KML is a file type that is designed specifically for the visualization of geographic data. It provides an accurate and detailed representation of the project location and allows for visualization within two-dimensional maps and three-dimensional Earth browsers.

See Annex D.2 for a step-by-step explanation to create a KML file.

Section 4. Financial Information

4.1. Project Financials

Eligible Project Costs

As noted, the NIF is a grants and contributions program.

  • Grants: 
    • Projects may be funded via grant agreements if the total eligible costs are between $30,000 and up to and including $250,000.
    • Projects funded via grants will receive a maximum contribution of $250,000.
  • Contributions:
    • Projects may be funded via contribution agreements if total eligible costs are over $250,000 and up to and including $3 million.
    • Projects funded via contributions will receive a maximum contribution of $1 million.
Estimated Total Project Cost

Round up to the nearest dollar value. Note that any cost increases or cost overruns are the responsibility of the Applicant and will not be covered by INFC.

Total Project Costs must include:

  • Both eligible and ineligible costs.
  • All contingency amounts according to the stage of your project (i.e., conceptual, preliminary design, detailed design, and ready to tender).
    • See Class Estimates Category for more information (Page 14).

Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures for both the grant and contribution include:

  • Costs incurred between May 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024:
    • Except for costs for the purpose of Indigenous consultation and engagement activities, which are retroactive one year back of the submission of the application;
    • Except for capital costs, including signed contracts related to these costs, which are only eligible as of project approval;
  • Capital costs for natural or hybrid infrastructure assets;
  • Fees paid to professionals, technical personnel, consultants, and contractors engaged for the purpose of the capital project (e.g., feasibility, planning and design, co-benefit valuation);
  • Costs of environmental assessments, monitoring, and follow-up activities as required by the Impact Assessment Act or equivalent legislation;
  • Costs associated with Community Employment Benefits reporting requirements;
  • Costs associated with signage, either temporary or permanent, including creation and posting;
  • Costs incurred for accommodation of adverse impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty rights;
  • Special cases for overhead costs, such as salaries, wages, and other incremental costs, only when there is:
    • Strong rationale that it is not economically feasible / no monetary value to tender a contract;
    • Confirmation that the costs incurred are work that would have been subject of the contract; and
    • Pre-approval from Infrastructure Canada.

For Indigenous recipients, there are additional eligible expenditures:

  • Legal fees (excluding those related to litigation or purchase or lease of property); and
  • Project costs incurred up to 12 months prior to project approval.
    • Must be eligible costs;
    • Except capital costs, including signed contracts related to these costs, which are only eligible as of project approval.
Please see Annex C.2 for a detailed list of Ineligible Expenditures.
Estimated Total Eligible Cost

Round up to the nearest dollar value. The total eligible cost may be lower than the total project costs because some of the costs may be considered ineligible and not reimbursed by INFC. Please note that any cost increases or cost overruns are the responsibility of the Applicant and will not be covered by INFC.

Projects with total eligible costs below $30,000 or above $3 million are ineligible.

Eligible Federal Cost-Share and Stacking Limits

The NIF will provide funding up to certain maximum limits based on the total eligible expenditures, as well as type of recipient.

  • 100% for territories and Indigenous recipients
  • 80% for municipal, local, or regional governments, public-sector bodies, and non-profit organizations
  • 50% for provinces
  • 25% for private for-profit organizations (e.g., tree planting program on public land; private for-profit-led development of publicly accessible community gardens).

For projects led by other levels of government that primarily support infrastructure investments in Indigenous Communities, a letter of support from the Indigenous Community and rationale must be provided for the other level of government to receive up to 100% federal cost-share.

Under the NIF, the funding stacking limits include:

  • All Canadian government sources (federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) will not exceed 100% of total eligible expenditures.
  • In the case of grant or contributions to for-profit recipients, the recipient must contribute a minimum of 10% towards the total eligible expenditures, resulting in a stacking limit of 90% federal cost-share.
Federal Share Cashflow

Specify the amount of eligible funding costs that will be claimed from INFC in any given fiscal year for project implementation. The federal fiscal year begins April 1 and ends March 31.

E.g., if you are planning on spending $1 million in the fiscal year 2022-2023 and the federal share is 80%, the federal share cashflow for 2022-2023 is $800,000.

The breakdown must be based on when expenditures will be submitted to INFC. Expenditures are required to be claimed to INFC in the same fiscal year that they occur.

Attention: While the NIF allows for 100% eligible expenditures to be sourced from the Government of Canada, other government programs may have different stacking limits. We suggest checking in on other sources of funding that the natural or hybrid infrastructure project may use to confirm stacking limits.

Secured Applicant’s Share

Provide the secured dollar amount for your share of the total project costs, including all ineligible costs.

Unsecured Funding

Provide the unsecured dollar amount for your share of the total project costs, including all ineligible costs.

Secured Funding from Other Contributors

Select the contributor type, provide the secured dollar amount for other contributors’ share of total project costs, including all ineligible costs.

Unsecured Funding from Other Contributors

Select the contributor type, provide the unsecured dollar amount for other contributors’ share of total project costs, including all ineligible costs, and select the date on which you expect to secure the funding.

Attention: When you submit an application, you do not need to have secured funding. However, by submitting an application, you commit to secure the balance of the funds should your project be approved for NIF funding.

Who Pays For What?

The maximum federal cost-share is determined by the type of Applicant and your total eligible costs, and not by your total project costs (total project costs include both eligible and ineligible costs).

All eligible costs that exceed the maximum federal contribution, cost overruns, as well as any ineligible costs, are the responsibility of the Applicant and must be covered by the Applicant (or other sources of funding).

Case study:

Your project includes the following eligible and ineligible costs:

  • $1.5 million for project design and planning costs (eligible under the NIF)
  • $1 million for land acquisition for natural infrastructure (eligible under the NIF)
  • $500,000 for salaries within your organization (ineligible under the NIF)

Total cost: $1.5 million + $1 million  + $500,000 = $3 million

Total eligible cost: $1.5 million + $1  million = $2.5 million

If you are a municipality, federal cost-share is 80% of eligible costs up to $1M, i.e.:

  • 80% x $2.5 million = $ 2 million;
  • Federal share is $1 million (as $2 million exceeds the limit of $1 million);
  • Applicant share (or other contributor) is $2 million

If you are a for-profit, federal cost-share is 25% of eligible costs, up to $1M, i.e.:

  • 25% x $2.5 million = $0.625 million;
  • Federal share is $0.625 million;
  • Applicant share (or other contributor) is $1.875 million
Class Estimates

Class estimates are used to identify the project readiness and associated contingency amounts (covering unanticipated expenses) required at different stages of the design process.

Choose one of the four options to indicate the class estimates made for your project:

Class Contingency Amount The period when estimates are calculated
A 5 – 10% Estimates made after bids for a project have been received, evaluated, verified, and a contract has been awarded.
B 10 – 15% Estimates made at the "Detailed Design" stage, when the project is ready for tendering.
C 15 – 20% Estimates at the "Preliminary Design" stage, and may be referred to as pre-tendering estimates.
D 20 – 30% Estimates at the "Conceptual Design" stage.

Section 5. Impact Assessment, Indigenous Engagement and Consultation

Attention: We do not expect you to have completed federal obligations related to impact assessment and Indigenous engagement and consultation at this point.

If your project is successful, you may be required to meet additional requirements to fulfil federal obligations for impact assessment, Indigenous engagement and consultation, and Modern Treaties. INFC may coordinate with provinces and territories, or may rely  on provincial and territorial environmental assessment and consultation processes, to assist the Government of Canada in meeting its Indigenous consultation obligations. The information you provide in this section will be used to help assess whether there are any additional requirements to be met.

Funding will be conditional upon compliance with these components. Any changes to the scope of the project while it is underway could reopen a review of federal obligations and cause delays.

Criteria for Impact Assessment

Depending on the project location, you may be required to complete an impact or environmental assessment. Applicants are responsible for providing this information to determine whether the project requires an impact or environmental assessment under the federal Impact Assessment Act, Modern Treaties, or Northern Regimes. A provincial or territorial environmental assessment may also be required.

If you are unsure, consult with your provincial or territorial government for environmental assessment requirements and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada for federal requirements.

Criteria for Duty to Consult

Depending on the location, the project could have potential adverse impacts on the Aboriginal or Treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples and may therefore trigger a Crown duty to consult with them. INFC has an obligation to determine whether the project requires consultation based on the information you provide. INFC will rely, to the extent possible, on the engagement activities of the Applicant with Indigenous Peoples to fulfill, in whole or in part, its legal duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate. Consultation costs are eligible expenses.

For additional information on consultation policy, review Infrastructure Canada Consultation with Indigenous Peoples.

Is the project located on federal lands?

Indicate if the project takes place on federal lands, including on Indian Reserve Lands. If it takes place on Indian Reserve Lands, provide the name of the reserve and the land code, where applicable. Native-Land.ca may be a resource to use to support your determination of where the project is taking place.

Does the project have any requirements related to a Modern Treaty, Self-Government Agreement, or Northern Environmental Assessment Regime?

Indicate if the project is located on, or could have adverse effects on, land covered by a Modern Treaty or a Self-Government Agreement. If applicable, identify the Treaty or Agreement, and state its requirements for the project. Indicate whether a Northern Environmental Assessment Regime applies to the project. If applicable, identify the Regime, and state its requirements for the project.

Has there been engagement with Indigenous groups about the project?

List groups that have been engaged and upload any supporting documents, such as:

  • Records of consultation;
  • Meeting minutes;
  • Letters of Support;
  • Band Council Resolutions; and/or
  • Consultation transcripts.
Have concerns been raised by Indigenous groups?

Detail:

  • Who was consulted;
  • Concerns raised;
  • Who raised the concerns;
  • How concerns have been addressed; and
  • Overall result.

Section 6. Delivery of Community Services

Criteria for Community Services

The delivery of multiple co-benefits with the natural and hybrid infrastructure project is a core component of the NIF. The community services are:

  • Climate change resilience
  • Environmental quality
  • Access to nature
  • Biodiversity and habitat
  • Climate change mitigation

All projects will be assessed on their ability to deliver one or multiple of the five community services.

  • Grants: At least one of the NIF community services must be delivered.
  • Contributions: At least two of the NIF community services must be delivered.

For each service that your project delivers, you will be asked to provide the following information. The answers you provide will help our team understand why your project is important to your community.

  • Problem / issue identification
    • Can include both present and future problems/issues.
    • Why are the problems significant? Who or what is impacted?

Note: For each problem/issue identification, there is a drop-down menu on the Applicant Portal that includes common problems/issues associated with the community service. If you do not see the problem/issue you are addressing, there is an option to provide your own.

  • Purpose of the natural or hybrid infrastructure
    • How will the project address these problems or enhance ongoing solutions?
  • Level of enhancement to the community service
    • What positive results do you expect to generate with the program and what other benefits do you foresee?
  • Maintenance of the service(s) delivered via the natural or hybrid infrastructure
    • How will you sustain the positive benefits the project delivers? Are there other strategies that align with the project?
Before you start, ensure that the evidence you have to support your analysis is ready to be uploaded to the Applicant Portal.

Each community service you deliver requires you to upload or provide a link to public-facing documents referenced throughout your responses. You must also explain why and/or how the documents helped you formulate the rationale as this will support the assessment of your project and confirm that data.

When providing evidence, you may use data and information from a comparable community. Whenever you use data or information from another community, you must explain why it is relevant to your community and how it applies to your context.

For each document that you upload, explain:

  • Key points of the document;
  • Rationale for selecting the document;
  • How the main arguments connect directly to the community service analysis; and
  • Pages where information can be found.

When you upload the document on the Applicant Portal, the box titled "Reference" must follow this format:

Author(s). Date of when document or website was published. Title of document or webpage. Organization affiliated with the document. Pages numbers where information or data can be found.

6.1. Climate Change Resilience Services

Climate change resilience services refers to the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner.

Examples of climate change resilience services include erosion prevention, flood protection, and regulating temperature extremes, as well as activities that reduce the costs and damages associated with climate hazards.

Please describe the impact of these climate hazards on your community or region.
  • Explain the impact of the identified hazards (e.g., occurrence, vulnerability, who or what is/will be impacted).
  • Detail the impact over short, medium, and long-term time frames (e.g., in the short-term, flooding will occur damaging roads, resulting in some level of disruption).
  • Include what would happen if no action is taken (e.g., if not addressed, flooding will increase by percentage, impacting major tributaries).
  • Use data, examples, and/or indicators to demonstrate the issue(s) (e.g., frequency of occurrence, costs of damages, and number of people/communities/sectors impacted).
Please describe how the natural or hybrid infrastructure involved in your project will directly address the impact of these climate hazards in your community or region.

Explain, with data, evidence, or information, how:

  • The project will directly enhance resilience and reduce hazards (e.g., bioswales will capture road surface flooding resulting in safer roads).
  • The project is the most effective solution to decrease hazards and will not result in new hazards or fail to achieve the desired results.
Please estimate the level of climate resilience enhancement and reduction to climate hazards attributable to your project.
  • Identify the degree of improvement to climate change resilience delivered through the project (e.g., reduction of costs for damages).
  • Describe how the enhanced climate resilience will occur over short, medium, and long-term time frames.
  • Explain who or what will benefit from the enhanced climate resilience and hazard reduction (e.g., specify how decreasing flood risk will have targeted benefits to people and ecosystems components).
  • Highlight any potential negative outcomes of enhanced climate resilience (e.g., flood diversion infrastructure in one location may result in a nearby location being exposed to increased flood risk).

6.2. Environmental Quality Services

Environmental quality services refer to the efficiency or productivity of natural systems and ecosystems to provide humans and communities with benefits such as clean air and clean water.

Examples of environmental quality services and processes include water management services such as pre-filtration of water, wastewater treatment, stormwater diversion, infiltration or detention, and ground water infiltration and replenishment.

Please describe the particular environmental quality needs or opportunities faced by your community or region.
  • Describe the current levels of the environmental quality services that your project targets (e.g., poor water quality).
  • Explain the impacts of the identified environmental quality issues (e.g., foul odors from water; visual nuisance).
  • Detail the impacts over short, medium, and long-term time frames.
  • Include what would happen if no action is taken (e.g., water odors currently may be a sign of a slow developing problem related to water quality with serious and irreversible damages over the long-term).
  • Use evidence, data, and/or indicators to make a clear connection with the service problem (e.g., filtration capacity of natural services impaired) and the environmental benefit that is impacted (e.g., water quality declining).
Please describe how the natural or hybrid infrastructure involved in your project will directly address these environmental quality needs/opportunities

Explain, with data, evidence, or information, how:

  • The project will directly improve environmental quality and environmental benefits (e.g., increasing vegetation along stream banks will reduce soil runoff into water, resulting in improved water quality). Note: Projects addressing man-made disasters, or improvements to drinking water sources and systems are not eligible for inclusion. Projects should consider how natural processes and functions can be improved with natural or hybrid infrastructure.
  • The project is the most effective solution to improve the efficiency of impaired and/or degraded environmental quality and will not result in new or severe environmental quality issues or other related problems.
Please estimate to what extent each environmental quality service will be improved by your project (e.g., quality and quantity changes).
  • Identify to what extent the environmental quality service will be improved (e.g., change in litres of water detained).
  • Describe how the improvement enhances environmental benefits (e.g., efficiency and productivity of the natural system) and why these outcomes are important.
  • Explain who and what will benefit from the improved environmental quality services (e.g., improved water detention will result in cleaner beach water and more opportunity for people to use beaches).
  • Highlight the monitoring and testing protocols for evaluating the level of change to environmental quality services.

6.3. Access to Nature Services

Access to nature services refer to the development of new and publicly available blue or green spaces or the increased availability or size of existing and publicly accessible natural spaces, along with other improvements supportive of encouraging positive interactions for diverse community users with nature.

Examples of access to nature services include increased public green space, active transportation, and design elements such as signage.

Please describe the needs or opportunities related to access to nature in your community or region.
  • Describe the current state of access to nature services and why access to nature is important to pursue in your community (e.g., opportunity to build parkettes in communities with limited access to green space).
  • Highlight any issues and/or concerns with access to nature and what needs to be improved.
    • Consider including how access to nature has evolved through the development of your community (e.g., more or less important; shifting perspective in value of "wild" spaces; COVID-19 increasing use).
  • Explain what would happen if the issues related to access to nature were not addressed (e.g., decreased access to nature over time).
Please describe the current state of public natural space and who presently benefits.
  • Explain why you have selected the specific locations or areas to focus your attention.
  • Include who uses these spaces, and who benefits from the project location and who is excluded.
  • Use evidence, data, indicators, and past experiences to help our team understand the issue(s) (e.g., number of park users, number of people excluded, narratives and experiences of using nature spaces).
Please describe how the natural or hybrid infrastructure involved in your project will directly address these access to nature needs/opportunities.

Explain, with data, evidence, or information, how:

  • The project will directly enhance access to nature (e.g., building new parkettes will provide new access to nature points).
  • The improved access to nature will have social, economic, and environmental benefits for community users, including considerations of improvement to design elements (e.g., beaches for local usage and tourism, with benefits of accessing blue spaces for recreation, leisure, or other activities).
Please estimate to what extent the availability, access, or usage of nature will be improved by your project (e.g., km2 of new greenspaces created). Please note who is expected to benefit and how.
  • Identify to what extent the availability, access, or usage of nature will be improved (e.g., km2 of new green space created; number of households near green space).
  • Describe how the enhanced access to nature will occur over short, medium, and long-term time frames.
  • Highlight any potential barriers and how those may be removed (e.g., human-nature conflict, accessibility, user knowledge of nature).

6.4. Biodiversity and Habitat Services

Biodiversity and habitat services refer directly to the enhancement or conservation of ecosystems, and improving ecosystem quality, quantity, and processes including the constituent elements forming ecosystem structure and function, such as animals and plants.

Examples of biodiversity and habitat services include ecological integrity or connectivity, and reduction of alien invasive species.

Please describe the need or opportunity to enhance biodiversity and habitat in your community or region.
  • Explain the current state of biodiversity and habitats (e.g., loss of species, species-at-risk, habitat loss, and fragmentation).
  • Describe the problem and how understanding has evolved (e.g., from species monocultures to species diversity).
  • Include what would happen if no action is taken.
  • Use evidence, data, and/or indicators to make a clear connection with the service problem.
Describe how the natural or hybrid infrastructure involved in your project will directly address these biodiversity and habitat needs/opportunities.

Explain, with data, evidence, or information, how:

  • The project will alter the current patterns of biodiversity loss and habitat fragmentation, or address the other biodiversity and habitat issues (e.g., installing naturalized area will connect two fragmented pieces of land).
  • The project is the most effective solution and will not result in new disservices to biodiversity and habitats (e.g., consideration of human-nature interactions, such as trees planted in a city that could create increased allergies, or wildlife passages that could increase undesired interaction between humans and animals).
Please estimate the level of improvement to flora, fauna, or habitat attributable to your project.
  • Identify the degree of improvement to biodiversity and habitat services obtained through the project (e.g., percentage increase in number of native species; change in km2 of habitat protected).
  • Describe how the habitat form and function have increased and  improved biodiversity outcomes (e.g., reduced habitat fragmentation; increased number of pollinator plants; increased biodiversity networks and linkages; increased species richness).
  • Explain who or what will benefit from the improvement to biodiversity and habitat services.

6.5. Climate Change Mitigation Services

Climate change mitigation servicesrefer to intentional interventions to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or store and sink carbon using natural and ecosystem processes; as well as the utilization of ecological and hybrid features to reduce demand from carbon-emitting processes.

An example of climate change mitigation services is carbon sequestration.

Please describe how the natural or hybrid infrastructure involved in your project will provide the above-noted climate change mitigation services.

Explain, with data, evidence, or information:

  • The existing natural capacity to capture, reduce, and/or store GHG emissions (e.g., inventory on existing carbon sinks).
  • How the selection of natural infrastructure will directly enhance climate change mitigation efforts and reduce GHG emissions.
Please provide an estimate of expected GHG emission reductions/carbon sequestration potential attributable to your project.
  • Estimate the expected reduction in GHG emissions, or the carbon sequestered, as a result of your project.
  • Describe how the enhanced mitigation will occur over short, medium, and long-term time frames.

6.6. Sustaining Community Benefits

For this section, you must demonstrate how you will:

  • Maintain the installed natural or hybrid infrastructure features of your project; and
  • Sustain the specific community service benefits derived from the project.
Please describe your plans to maintain the asset/asset systems involved in your project to ensure sustained delivery of the identified community services.

Explain:

  • How the installed natural or hybrid infrastructure will be maintained to ensure the community service benefits are sustained over short, medium, and long-term time frames (e.g., how will strategies to maintain and monitor street trees change as they mature?).
  • Who will be responsible for the maintenance process (e.g., organization, specific internal units for specific assets).
  • Maintenance procedures for each community service (e.g., hanging flower baskets will need to be watered to preserve biodiversity benefits for pollinator species).
  • How maintenance action will be linked between the community services.
Please include the tangible actions you expect to undertake as well as your plans to ensure the necessary resources and capacity is available (financial, technical, etc.).

Describe:

  • Planned actions to maintain assets (note that your planned actions cannot include developing an action plan to maintain assets) (e.g., hanging flower basket will be watered using a specific method, during specific time periods, and will be completed by parks or street team units during routine activities).
  • Planned actions to ensure maintenance procedure will be utilized (e.g., how will this action be followed through on, who must approve and how will action be evaluated or improved).
  • Internal and external resources and capacities required to maintain assets and sustain service benefits.
Please describe any risks you foresee that may impact the future performance of the asset(s)/asset system(s) involved in the project, and how these will be mitigated.

Describe:

  • Any issues or problems that may prevent maintenance of installed assets or the loss of community service function (e.g., severe drought conditions will result in flowers not being prioritized for  watering potentially resulting in loss of pollinator habitat).
  • How these issues/problems will be resolved.
  • Any potential degradation or loss of service benefits.
  • Strategies or actions to mitigate degradation or loss of service benefits.
Are these assets/asset systems presently included, or will they be included, in an asset management plan? Please describe.

Explain your strategy for including the new natural and hybrid assets into an asset management plan.

Section 7. Other Project Benefits

7.1. Project Readiness (Grants and Contributions)

Attention: This section does not apply to eligible Indigenous Applicants.

Criteria for Construction End Date

The project must be completed by March 31, 2024.

Describe:

  • Remaining phase(s) of project delivery;
  • Estimated duration of each phase, including the start and end dates;
  • Permits and approvals already obtained and those that remain; and
  • Project risks associated with the delivery (e.g., delays or disruptions to the completion of each phase with actions to address these delays).

7.2. Economic Co-Benefits (Grants and Contributions)

Please provide an estimated number of direct jobs created by the project

Indicate the estimated number of direct jobs that will be created during the implementation of your project.

E.g., labour associated with implementing a new green roof would be considered direct jobs, whereas the labour associated with providing the construction materials for that green roof would be considered indirect jobs.

What are the types of jobs that will be created by the project? Select all that apply.
  • Specify the different types of job positions (e.g., urban planners, landscape architects, ecologists, engineers, construction workers, other professional and consultant and others).
    • If you select "others," specify the position title with a brief description of this position's role and responsibilities.
Will the project support a skills or training programs for workers to easily integrate into the clean economy?

Clean economy can be used interchangeably with "low-carbon" or "green economy." A clean economy is oriented towards clean economic growth by strengthening innovative industries with low greenhouse gas emissions in the provision of clean jobs, goods and services.

Building on the question above, explain how the project supports skill development amongst the workers hired to implement the project. The skills and training program should directly link to careers in the clean economy and includes natural infrastructure.

Will the project generate employment for underrepresented groups?

Provide the following details:

  • Identify the underrepresented group; and
  • Highlight established targets, goals, and/or objectives to provide inclusive hiring (e.g., a specific number or percentage of positions filled by underrepresented groups).
Are there plans or strategies in place to support inclusive hiring?

Provide the internal plans and/or policies to ensure equitable, "bias-free" hiring. Examples include:

  • Mandatory training for the human resources team on social equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
  • Development of pre-determined, standard interview questions to ensure the candidate is assessed on their position-related skills and qualifications.
Is the project expected to provide broader economic benefits?

Other economic benefits you could expand on include examples such as:

  • Increased property values and tax revenue;
  • Reduced insurance costs;
  • Increased tourism and recreation; and/or
  • Positive impacts on local supply chains.
Will the project reduce operating, maintenance, repair, or replacement costs associated with grey infrastructure?

Detail the estimated amount of money that will be saved in lifecycle costs for natural versus grey infrastructure.

E.g., a cost-benefit analysis may reveal that a project to restore a wetland upstream, may reduce the long-term maintenance costs of a supply dam or a water treatment facility downstream.

7.3. Social Inclusion (Contributions Only)

Attention: This section does not apply to eligible Indigenous Applicants.

Please describe the community engagement and specific actions taken or planned to involve the community.

The actions you present could include examples such as:

  • Community town halls;
  • Online surveys; and
  • Public opportunities for feedback and comments on proposed approaches for the project.
Please describe how community concerns and/or feedback were/will be integrated into project design?

Describe:

  • What was heard via community engagement; and
  • How that feedback and/or concerns were integrated and addressed in project design and planned implementation.

If community engagement has not yet taken place, describe how feedback and/or concerns heard via the community engagement process will be integrated and addressed.

Marginalized communities are defined as certain social groups that experience significant structural and collective barriers to participating in society that compound to prevent groups from sharing benefits, opportunities, access to resources, voice, and/or respect for rights, which impacts social equity and social cohesion. This could include attitudinal, economic, environmental, historic, and/or social barriers based on age, sex, ethnicity, disability, economic status, family status, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

Will the project deliver benefits and services (outlined in Delivery of Community Services) to marginalized communities?

Identify the population group(s) and explain how the project will deliver the community services to the identified groups.

If no, explain why and indicate challenges that prevent the project from delivering community services to marginalized communities.

Will your project address measures under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action?

Provide a description of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, or similar provincial, territorial, municipal commitments, that the project addresses. Some examples of relevant Calls to Action are listed below (list not exhaustive):

  • Promote Indigenous languages and traditional land names;
  • Respect Indigenous Peoples' rights to self-determination;
  • Commit to meaningful consultation;
  • Ensure equitable access to job opportunities for Indigenous Peoples; and
  • Support education for project management on the history of Indigenous Peoples.

If no, explain why the Calls to Action were not addressed by the project.

Will your project remove barriers and improve accessibility for people with accessibility issues?

People with accessibility issues is inclusive of peoples with differing abilities, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, or sensory impairment or functional limitation.

Describe the measures taken to improve physical accessibility. This could include design elements that increase access to nature that remove barriers and improve accessibility for people with accessibility issues.

E.g., include ramps, signage with large print, high-contrast lettering, and Braille.

If no, explain why and indicate challenges that prevent the project from removing barriers for improving accessibility for people with accessibility issues.

7.4. Identified Need or Priority (Contributions Only)

To demonstrate that the project is addressing a community need or priority, you must highlight the linkages between your project and any existing or established plans, strategies, and/or community visions and objectives. Provide:

  • Type of plan (e.g., natural infrastructure, green network, climate action plan);
  • Description of the plan or strategy;
  • Description of the alignment between the plan or strategy and the project; and
  • Upload or link the specific plans or strategies.

7.5. Climate Impacts Associated with the Project (Contributions Only)

The application should clearly demonstrate that new climate change impacts and hazards will be addressed and will not be created through the construction and delivery of the project. This includes short-term project construction, as well as long-term risks associated with the natural or hybrid infrastructure. Adaptation actions to prevent current and future climate impacts should be considered over the lifespan of the installed natural or hybrid infrastructure.

E.g., an urban forest that provides increased climate resilience services, such as reducing flood risk or extreme heat, but may also be at risk of wildfire if appropriate measures are not implemented.

In addition, for construction activities that will result in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), please propose tangible strategies and mitigation actions to minimize or reduce emissions during the construction and implementation phases.

E.g., vehicle emissions on-site can be reduced by ensuring that trucks are not idling when not in use. Ensuring that lands (e.g., carbon sinks) where work is not undertaken will not be disturbed.

Please provide a brief description of how the above climate hazards are impacting the project over its entire lifespan (current and future impacts).

We encourage you to consult the Canadian Centre for Climate Services and ClimateData.ca to obtain data and tools associated with future climate projections.

If the project is in a location that is at-risk or vulnerable:

  • Identify the current and future climate change impacts that the project may face.
Based on the above response, describe the risk reduction strategies employed and identify whether each climate hazard was found to pose a low, medium or high risk to the delivery and sustainability of the project.
  • Low: Project activities are unlikely to trigger an event, but it may occur. If it does occur, the impact is unlikely to affect ecosystems, community, or other critical community assets adversely.
  • Medium: Project activities are possible and likely to trigger, or contribute to, increased impact of a climatic impact. If it does occur, the impact will create moderate negative effects to ecosystems, communities, or other critical community assets.
  • High: Project activities are certain to amplify climate impacts. The impacts will be elevated and exacerbate affects to ecosystems, communities, and other community assets.

 

List and describe any other climate risks impacting the project.  Identify whether each climate risk was found to pose a low, medium or high risk to the delivery and sustainability of the project. 

If the project is not in a location that is at-risk or vulnerable, list the climate risks that you considered. In addition to listing climate risks, explain:

  • Whether the climate change impacts identified are low, medium, or high-risk to the project (e.g., trees will be planted in an area adjacent to fire hazard zone, road breaks exist, medium risk).
  • How these impacts may affect the ability to sustain the lifecycle and benefits of this asset.
  • Resilience measures that address or reduce the climate change impacts to the project.

If you have more than three climate risks to list, you can bundle them according to the low, medium, or high-risk categories, providing additional detail about how these multiple climate risks will be addressed in the appropriate category's paragraph box.

Are you employing any best practices to reduce any GHG emissions associated with the design or construction of your project?

If yes, identify:

  • Relevant materials related to reducing your GHG emissions with the various phases of the project.
  • Key sources and estimates of emissions as a result of project activities.
  • The specific climate mitigation measures to capture and sink GHG emissions or measures to avoid the release of emissions.

If no, explain why you are not employing best practices for the project.

If not applicable, explain why GHG mitigation is not applicable to the project.

After Submitting the Application

Thank you for your interest in the NIF and for completing an application!

Once you submit your application, INFC will review your eligibility and assess the criteria. Once the assessment is complete, INFC will send a Letter of Approval in Principle to successful Applicants, at which point the Recipient and INFC will begin the grants and contributions negotiations for agreements. This process may take several weeks.

Additional Details and Contact Information

You may review Annex C.3 for reporting requirements and Annex C.4 for additional program requirements. For additional resources to support your application, see Annex E.

You may contact INFC at nif-fin@infc.gc.ca with any questions regarding the Natural Infrastructure Fund or the Small Projects Stream intake process.

Annex A: Glossary

A

Access to nature services
Refer to the development of new and publicly available blue or green spaces or the increased availability or size of existing and publicly accessible natural spaces, along with other improvements supportive of encouraging positive interactions for diverse community users with nature.
Applicant share
Refers to the balance of funds that needs to be secured by the Applicant which exceeds the maximum eligible amount granted by the federal share.
Asset element
An independent entity, which may provide one or many ecological functions.
Asset system
A collection of asset elements that work systematically towards providing many services and benefits.

B

Biodiversity and habitat services
Refer directly to the enhancement or conservation of ecosystems, and improving ecosystem quality, quantity, and processes including its constituent elements forming ecosystem structure and function, such as animals and plants.
Brownfield
Open land or property with hazardous contaminants and pollutants.

C

Capital costs
An expense that will deliver a lasting benefit, purpose, or advantage.
Class estimates
Cost projections used for the project’s budget planning that is provided at different steps of the design process.
Clean economy
Oriented towards clean economic growth by strengthening innovative industries with low greenhouse gas emissions in the provision of clean jobs, goods, and services.
Climate change mitigation services
Refer to intentional interventions to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions or store and sink carbon using natural and ecosystem processes; as well as the utilization of ecological and hybrid features, to reduce demand from carbon-emitting processes.
Climate change resilience services
Refer to the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner.
Climate hazards (risk)
A climate-induced event (e.g., flood, drought, wildfire, erosion, etc.) that can harm human health, livelihoods, economies, and built or natural infrastructure.
Co-Benefits
Refers to the additional positive effects that a project might provide aside from the delivery of community services, such as economic co-benefits and social inclusion.
Community Employment Benefits (CEB) identified underrepresented groups
The CEB is a reporting requirement and not a procurement requirement. It allows for the reporting on employment opportunities for groups targeted by the CEB initiative, including apprentices; Indigenous Peoples; women; persons with disabilities; veterans; youth; recent immigrants; and small-sized, medium-sized, and social enterprises.
Apprentices
A paid employee, registered with the regional apprenticeship authority, who works under the supervision of a certified journeyperson to learn their skilled trade and fulfill all requirements established by their province or territory.
Indigenous Peoples
Includes First Nations, Inuit, Métis Nation, and urban and off-reserve Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
Women
Self-identified (due to complexity, there is no single, harmonized “operational” definition of woman).
Persons with disabilities

Means persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric, or learning impairment and who:

  1. Consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment because of that impairment; or
  2. Believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment because of that impairment, and includes persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace. 
Veterans
Any former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who successfully underwent basic training and is honorably released.
Youth
Youth are defined as individuals aged 15 to 29 years old.
Recent immigrants
Refers to a person who obtained a landed immigrant or permanent resident status up to five years before a given census year (StatsCan). Recently landed within 10 years of the start of work.
Small-sized and medium-sized enterprises
Small businesses are businesses with 1 to 99 employees, and medium-sized businesses are businesses with 100 to 499 employees and less than $50 million in gross revenues.
Social enterprises
A social enterprise seeks to achieve social, cultural or environmental aims through the sale of goods and services. The social enterprise can be for-profit or not-for-profit but the majority of net profits must be directed to a social objective with limited distribution to shareholders and owners.
Contingency
A reserve set aside to cover any unexpected costs, risks, and uncertainties, and is not necessarily allocated to a specific area. The percent cost value accepted depends on the class estimates.
Contribution
A conditional transfer whereby specific terms and conditions must be met or carried out by a recipient before costs are reimbursed.
Crown corporations
A corporation that is owned and regulated by the national government to serve a need that cannot be met by the private sector alone.

D

Developed land
Land that was previously cleared of vegetation and used for human purposes. Developed lands include highly developed urban areas, rural areas that were previously cleared and used for agricultural purposes, brownfields, railways, or road right of way.
Direct jobs
Created during the implementation of the infrastructure project.
Disturbed Land
Land that has been altered by humans and includes physical disturbance of the surface layer.

E

Ecosystem features
The defining features or functions of an ecosystem.
Enhancement
Developments to improve the ecological condition of a particular ecological environment and increase biodiversity (e.g., introducing native plant species).
Environmental quality services
Refer to the efficiency or productivity of natural systems and ecosystems to provide humans and communities with benefits such as clean air and clean water.
Excavation
Typically requires the use of heavy machinery to move earth and prepare a construction site.

F

Federal land

(defined in the Impact Assessment Act), includes:

Lands that belong to Canada, that Canada has the power to dispose of, and all waters on and airspace above those lands, other than lands under the administration and control of the Commissioner of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut;

The following lands and areas: (i) the internal waters of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province, (ii) the territorial sea of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province, (iii) the exclusive economic zone of Canada, and (iv) the continental shelf of Canada; and

Reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and that are subject to the Indian Act, and all waters on and airspace above those reserves or lands.

Federal share
Total contributions from all federal sources towards the total eligible cost of a given project.
Federal share cashflow
The breakdown amount the Applicant’s organization will be claiming to the Government of Canada for a given fiscal year.

G

Grant
An unconditional transfer payment where eligibility criteria and applications received in advance of payment sufficiently assure that the payment objectives will be met.
Grey infrastructure
Consist of features of the built environment made exclusively of engineered materials such as concrete and steel.

H

Hybrid infrastructure
Projects incorporating elements of grey infrastructure to enhance or support natural infrastructure and/or the use of ecosystem processes.

I

Inclusive community engagement
Defined as collaboration and consultation with a diverse group of individuals that are fully representative of the community. This includes varied social categorizations (e.g., race, gender, income, health, etc.), perspectives, experiences, and approaches.
Indigenous development corporations
These corporations constitute the business and economic arm of Indigenous communities or governments and typically count the members of the community as their shareholders.
In-kind contributions
Involve non-cash asset transactions (e.g., securities, land, buildings, equipment, use of facilities, labour, goods) that are provided by interested parties.

K

KML file
A file type that is designed specifically for the visualization of geographic data. It provides an accurate and detailed representation of the project location and allows a variety of point, polygon, and line data to be spatially represented.

M

Marginalized communities
Defined as certain social groups that experience significant structural and collective barriers to participating in a society that compound to prevent groups from sharing benefits, opportunities, access to resources, voice, and/or respect for rights, which impacts social equity and social cohesion. This could include attitudinal, economic, environmental, historic, and/or social barriers based on age, sex, ethnicity, disability, economic status, family status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, etc.

N

Natural infrastructure
Defined as the use of preserved, restored, or enhanced ecosystem features and materials (e.g., water, native species of vegetation, sand and stone, etc.) to deliver beneficial community services and infrastructure outcomes.
Non-competitive (sole source) procurement
A non-competitive selection process for an outside party to purchase goods, provide a service, or lease real property.

P

People with accessibility issues
Inclusive of peoples with differing abilities, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, or sensory impairment or functional limitation.

R

Recipients
The eligible provincial, territorial, regional, municipal, local, public-sector, non-profit or Indigenous community organizations that will deliver the natural or hybrid infrastructure through grants and contribution funding from the NIF program.
Restoration
The process of restoring or repairing ecosystems that are degraded or destroyed to restore the ecosystem to a healthy condition (e.g., removing invasive species).
Risk
The potential loss of life, injury, or destroyed or damaged assets which could occur to a system, society, or a community in a specific period of time, determined probabilistically as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity.

S

Sustaining community benefits
The proposed strategies to maintain the implemented natural and hybrid infrastructure features along with tangible actions to preserve or enhance the specific benefits (e.g., flood mitigation; increase green space) identified through the community services (e.g., climate change resilience, environmental quality service, etc.).

T

Total project cost
The sum of both eligible and ineligible costs for a given project.

U

Undeveloped land
Land not cleared of vegetation, in a natural state, and not currently used for human purposes. Undeveloped lands include undeveloped shorelines, riverbanks or gullies, grasslands, forested areas, and scrub/brush areas.
Undisturbed land
Land in its natural state and not currently used for human purposes.

V

Vegetation clearing
The intensive removal of undisturbed vegetation including trees, stumps, logs, bush, shrubs, and grasses, including tree root systems, and requires the use of heavy equipment or industrial machinery for clearing and grubbing an area. This does not include removing vegetation in previously developed areas, manicured lawn or turf areas, or grassed ditches.

W

Water body
Can include a lake, a canal, a reservoir, an ocean, a river and its tributaries and a wetland, up to the annual high-water mark, but does not include a sewage or waste treatment lagoon, a mine tailings pond, an artificial irrigation pond, a dugout or a ditch that does not contain fish habitat as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Fisheries Act.

Annex B: Account Registration

To submit an application form, Applicants must complete the Infrastructure Canada Program Registration Form to log in to the online Applicant Portal, and gain access to the Application Form and applicant support services. Applicants must fill all required sections and read the Privacy Notice Statement in order to create their account.

Once the Program Registration Form has been submitted, you will shortly receive an email providing the login information you will need to access the Portal. If you don't see an email from Infrastructure Canada within a few minutes, you should check your spam folder. If you don't have it in your spam folder, you should contact the Infrastructure Canada Support Team.

Annex C: Additional Program Requirements

C.1. Privacy Agreement

Before submitting your application, review our Privacy Notice Statement – this comes up on the first page of the Applicant Portal, as well.

The information you provide as part of the funding process is collected under the authority of Order in Council P.C. 2004-0325 for the purpose of administering the funding program. It may be used to evaluate, select and review applications under the Natural Infrastructure Fund, monitor the progress of approved projects, and coordinate administrative decisions with other federal departments and agencies, provincial/territorial governments, and/or municipal governments. The information may be shared with other federal departments and agencies, provincial/territorial governments, municipal governments, and/or other organizations, for the purpose of assisting INFC with project review, evaluation and selection, determining eligibility for other Government of Canada programs and verifying past federal funding sought by an Applicant. The information may be used by and disclosed to other external experts (e.g., scientific, technical, financial, or marketing) contracted by the Government of Canada (with confidentiality obligations) for the purpose of assisting the Department with project review, evaluation and selection, program analysis, results and determining eligibility under other programs. General information about approved projects including the name of the successful Applicant, date of approval, the funding amount, project description, and the location is proactively disclosed to the public once a funding agreement is signed. Failure to consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of this information will result in the application not being further considered.

Other possible uses and sharing of personal information are described in the Grants and Contributions Initiatives personal information bank. Under the Privacy Act, you have the right to the protection of, access to, and correction of your personal information. You also have the right to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada regarding INFC's handling of your personal information.

C.2. Ineligible Expenditures

Under the NIF, ineligible expenditures include:

  • Project costs before May 1, 2021, or after March 31, 2024, except as noted for Indigenous consultation and engagement activities, and eligible costs for Indigenous recipients.
  • All capital costs and non-capital costs, including private land acquisition, site preparation, and construction costs, for all projects until INFC is satisfied that the appropriate acts, relevant legislation, and Indigenous consultation obligations have been met and continue to be met.
  • Costs incurred for canceled projects.
  • Real estate fees and related costs.
  • Costs related to the purchase or construction of buildings and facilitates (except as outlined in Section 2: Project Information with particular elements that may be eligible e.g., green roofs, living walls).
  • Leasing land, buildings, and other facilities.
  • Cost of leasing equipment (except if the equipment is directly related to the construction of the project).
  • Financing charges, legal fees, and loan interest payments including those related to easements.
  • Provincial sales tax and Goods and Services Tax/HST, for which the recipient is eligible for a rebate, and any other costs eligible for rebates.
  • Costs associated with operating expenses and regularly scheduled maintenance work.
  • Services or work that is normally provided by the recipient or a related party.
  • Salaries and other employment benefits of any employees of the recipient (except as outlined in Section 4: Financial Information).
  • In-kind contributions (goods or services).
  • Costs related to business promotion.
  • Costs for activities intended to directly influence and lobby governments.
  • Travel costs (except for impact assessment or Indigenous consultation purposes, or if travel is proven essential for a project in a rural, remote, or northern area).

C.3. Reporting Requirements

All recipients will be responsible for submitting reports to INFC that will be outlined in the grant or contribution agreements. The reporting deliverables will include:

Progress Reports (Contributions Only)

The content of the progress report will include, at a minimum, details of the funds and their management, including:

  • Ongoing eligible costs receiving funding;
  • Completed eligible costs with a claim for why a payment would be made;
  • Completed eligible costs spend and results achieved or expected outcomes;
  • Forecasted expenditures for the upcoming period; and
  • Planned activities for the period in question.

Annual Reports (Grants and Contributions)

The content of the annual report can include (list not exhaustive):

  • Update on the implementation progress of the project, by project phases;
  • Benefits expected for communities and populations;
  • Employment reporting;
  • Details of the funds and their management; and
  • An attestation that the recipient and their project(s) continue to maintain eligibility.

Final Report (Grants and Contributions)

The final report will provide the same information as the annual reports above, as well as cumulative reporting for the duration of the project on key performance indicators (as defined in the funding agreement).

This report will include an attestation that the project has been completed and include reconciliation of financial reporting.

C.4. Other Requirements

All projects must meet all federal requirements, including:

  • Meeting or exceeding the requirement of the highest published accessibility standard in a jurisdiction (e.g., Canadian Standards Association's Accessible Design for Built Environment (CAN/CSA B651-18), in addition to applicable provincial or territorial building codes, and relevant municipal by-laws. Applicants may also want to refer to the Accessible Canada Act for an understanding of barriers that hinder the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment; and
  • Promote linguistic duality and promote the development of representing the official language of minority communities.

Annex D: Asset Information

To get latitude and longitude information, please refer to :

  • D.1. Using Google Maps

To create KML file, please refer to:

  • D.2. Creating a KML File using the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Information System (ATRIS)
  • D.3. Creating a KML file using Google Earth

D.1. Using Google Maps

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Add in your asset location details.
  3. Right-click on the asset location.
  4. Latitude and longitude appear at the top of the lists, with latitude first and longitude second.
  5. Click on the figures to copy the information to your clipboard.
Screenshot of Google Maps showing latitude and longitude information

D.2. Creating a KML File using the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Information System (ATRIS)

ATRIS is a Web-based information system intended to map out the location of Indigenous communities and display information pertaining to their potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. Users can search this information by:

  • Using the search tab and entering the name of an Indigenous community or organization, or other keywords (e.g., treaty, agreement, claim, assertion, band number, place name, postal code, map coordinates, etc.) and pressing the Search button to find the appropriate information; or,
  • Using one of the selection tools on the interactive map to define a search area (e.g., point, line, polygon); and pressing the map's Search button; or,
  • Selecting types of information in the content/legend to be displayed as a highlighted area on the interactive map.

To use ATRIS, follow steps below:

  1. Access ATRIS – Search.
  2. Navigate to the project location in the map viewer, either by clicking, dragging, and scrolling to zoom, or using the various search options available in the 'Search By:' drop-down menu. Screenshot of ATRIS map viewer zoom function and search bar
  3. Draw your project on the map in the exact location using the "Draw on the map" tools drop-down located in the top right of the ATRIS interface. You may draw as many components of varying types (point*, line, polygon) as necessary to be saved as one single KML file.

    *Note: ATRIS users will not be able to create a geometry "point" in GIS terms, but the "Circular Search" option allows users to create circular polygons able to mimic points in terms of scale.

    Screenshot of drop-down menu for the Draw on map functions

    Choose the appropriate drawing tool for the type of component you are drawing:

    • Line search:
      Screenshot of drop-down menu for the Draw on map functions
      • Click as many times as necessary to create a line that represents your linear project feature. Double click to complete.
      • Examples include roads, sewer lines, railways, pipelines, trails, transmission lines, etc.
    • Polygon search:
      Screenshot of the Polygon search function option
      • Click as many times as necessary to create a closed polygon that represents the project feature. Double click to complete.
      • Examples include building footprints, vegetation cuts, sewer/wastewater lagoons, etc.
    • Circular search:
      Screenshot of the Circular search function option
      • Click on the map to automatically create a circle. To create a smaller circle similar to a point, zoom in as close as possible on the map before clicking. Alternatively, click and drag, then release to draw a circular project feature yourself.
      • Examples include wells, outfalls, culverts, etc.
    • To erase anything you've drawn:
      Screenshot of the Erase by Extent and Global Erase icons
      • Erase by Extent: Click and drag to create a shape around what you want to delete. Anything intersecting the box will be deleted when you release it.
      • Global Erase: This will erase everything on the map. Click OK when prompted to clear the map viewer and start fresh.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the drawn representation of your project, click the 'Export' button.
    Screenshot of the Export icon
    • The .KML will download as 'SearchAreas.kml (unless you have specified otherwise) to the location where your browser saves downloads.
    • The file name can be changed to something that reflects the project name before sharing it to INFC.

    Once saved, the .KML file is ready to be uploaded in the Applicant Portal.

    Should you need any further assistance with ATRIS, please visit the following link to find more information about ATRIS training webinars.

D.3. Creating a KML file using Google Earth

If you already have Google Earth installed on your operating system, please disregard Step 1.

  1. If you do not have Google Earth (free) installed on your system, follow the download instructions.
  2. Navigate to your project location using one or more of the following options:
    • Typing an address or coordinates in the search bar (a).
    • Clicking, dragging, and scrolling in the map viewer (b).
    • Using the navigation tools (c).
    Screenshot of Google Earth Pro showing the search bar, map viewer, and navigation tools
  3. Draw your project on the map in the proper location using the placemark, polygon, and path tools (pictured below). You may draw as many components of varying types (point, line, polygon) as necessary.

    Screenshot of the Placemark, Polygon, and Path icons on the Google Earth Pro application toolbar

    Choose the appropriate drawing tool for the type of component you are drawing:

    • Placemark: point project components
      Screenshot of the New Placemark window in Google Earth Pro
      • Examples include wells, outfalls, culverts, etc.
      • Screenshot of the Placemark iconClicking this button will add a placemark to the map and bring up a corresponding dialogue box.
      • You can rename the placemark by changing the entry in the 'Name' field of the dialogue box (a).
      • You can move the placemark by clicking and dragging it to the desired location or entering the desired latitude and longitude coordinates in the dialogue box (b).
      • Click 'OK' when finished (c).
    • Polygon: project components that consist of an area of any shape
      Screenshot of the New Polygon window in Google Earth Pro
      • Examples include building footprints, vegetation, sewer/wastewater lagoons, etc.
      • Screenshot of the Polygon iconClicking this button will bring up a dialogue box and a crosshair cursor (see below). Click as many times as necessary to create a closed polygon that represents your project feature.
      • You can rename the polygon by changing the entry in the 'Name' field of the dialogue box (a).
      • Click 'OK' when finished (b).
    • Path: linear project components
      Screenshot of the New Path window in Google Earth Pro
      • Examples include roads, sewer lines, railways, pipelines, trails, transmission lines, etc.
      • Screenshot of the Path iconClicking this button will bring up a dialogue box and a crosshair cursor (see below). Click as many times as necessary to create a line that represents your project feature.
      • You can rename the path by changing the entry in the 'Name' field of the dialogue box (a).
      • Click 'OK' when finished (b).

    All drawn components will appear in the 'Places' sidebar under the 'Temporary Places' folder.

    Screenshot of the Places sidebar under the Temporary Places folder
  4. Export the shapes to .KML to be shared.

    Warning: If you have multiple shapes, they will need to be exported individually as separate .KML files.

    • Right-click on the component in the 'Places' sidebar and click 'Save Place As…'.
    • Change the file type from .KMZ to .KML using the 'Save as type:' drop-down menu.
      Screenshot of the Save Places As… menu option
      Screenshot of the KML file saving option in the Save file… window
    • Choose the location where you would like to save the file in the file browser. You will need to locate it, later on, to send it to INFC.
    • Click 'Save' when you are finished. You are now ready to upload the file in the Applicant Portal.

    Repeat Step 4 for as many project components as you have created if you have more than one.

Annex E: Additional Resources

A list of resources (tools, toolkits, guides, primers, workbooks, reports, case studies) for valuing community services and benefits associated with the project are provided below: