National Active Transportation Strategy 2021-2026

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National Active Transportation
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Table of Contents

Foreword from the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary

Every journey begins and ends with active transportation. We walk to the bus stop to get to work. We cycle to a local park with our kids to enjoy the playground. We take our wheelchair to and from our car to go to the grocery store. But that’s not enough. Improving access and choice will bring a myriad of social, economic and environmental benefits, including health benefits as well as reductions in congestion, air and noise pollution, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government of Canada’s vision for the Strategy is guided by the ACTIVE/ACTIF framework, which is adaptable to the varied and shifting needs of Canadians, while prioritizing key elements that will be crucial for the Strategy’s success: awareness, coordination, targets, investments, value, and experience.

Investing in active transportation will strengthen urban, suburban, rural and Indigenous communities across the country and deliver a better quality of life for all Canadians. Pathways and trails that make clean, green, and safe connections to public transit will make communities more healthy and liveable, and will give every Canadian a role in helping us reach our net zero emissions goal.

Since 2015, the Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada Plan has invested over $236 million for more than 300 active transportation projects from coast-to-coast-to coast for cities and towns across the country. And this is just the beginning. As we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will expand these smart investments that support Canadians.

This is why this Strategy is supported by the deployment of the Active Transportation Fund, the first dedicated fund supporting the expansion and enhancement of active transportation infrastructure across Canada. This plan will provide $400M over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges. The Active Transportation Fund is part of the Government’s recently announced $14.9B over 8 years for public transit projects, and complements other federal funding such as that provided by the Investing in Canada Plan.

Thank you to Andy Fillmore and Brian Pincott for leading the engagement and to all those who participated and helped make the National Active Transportation Strategy a reality. Active transportation is good for everyone, and the Strategy, together with the Active Transportation Fund, will go a long way in promoting and improving access to active transportation for smarter, healthier, and cleaner communities.

Catherine McKenna
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

In February 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I announced that Minister McKenna had tasked me with leading the development of Canada’s first National Active Transportation Strategy, and that within a month or two I would be launching a national public engagement program to help shape the strategy.

However, within a few weeks of that announcement COVID-19’s proliferation around the world put a stick in our spokes.

While Government’s response to the pandemic did temporarily distract attention from the creation of the Strategy, this delay allowed for a fortuitous development: During the pandemic lockdowns there was a surge in demand from coast-to-coast-to-coast for safe, physically distant ways for people to move around their communities.

Community responses to this demand were nimble and creative, often breaking down old norms about what was and wasn’t acceptable uses of public spaces like streets and parks. All around the country we saw vehicle lanes being repurposed for use as bike lanes. We saw pop-up sidewalk widenings. We saw authorities relaxing old rules prohibiting bicycles and other human-powered transport in shared spaces in our communities. And as the pandemic raised questions about equity in our society, we gained a deeper understanding of what it means to make active transportation accessible to those historically not served by active transportation in their communities.

In this way, the work of active transportation advocacy was accelerated to great effect during the pandemic. And it was in that context of this accelerated advocacy that we began our public consultations on the National Active Transportation Strategy in the spring of 2021, a year later than planned. And as it turned out, that intervening year set the conditions for us to go further, faster, with our ambition for this Strategy. 

I am proud that Canada’s first Active Transportation Strategy is rooted in a country-wide public engagement program led jointly by me and Brian Pincott, the Executive Director of Vélo Canada Bikes. This engagement set out a vision for active transportation in Canada in which Canadians of all ages and abilities will be able to access safe, convenient and connected active transportation infrastructure, in urban, suburban, rural and Indigenous communities.

Together the National Active Transportation Strategy and the new Active Transportation Fund which will support it, signal a green light for active transportation in Canada. This Strategy will generate interest in, and demand for active transportation options, and the Fund will help communities with the capital required to meet that demand.

I wish to thank all those whose tireless advocacy over many years set the stage for this Strategy, and also to thank all those who generously shared their experience and knowledge in the public consultation process that underpins the strategy. I look forward to seeing you on the trail!

Andy Fillmore
Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities, and MP for Halifax

Introduction: Our Vision for the Future of Active Transportation

Canada’s First National Active Transportation Strategy

Our vision is for Canadians of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, genders, and backgrounds to be able to safely and conveniently access active transportation in their communities, and to significantly increase the ‘modal share’ of active transportation: the proportion of Canadians who regularly make the choice to use active transportation.

Making it a reality will require quality infrastructure investments throughout the country, but we recognize that infrastructure alone is not a solution. Our vision will be driven by the six elements of the A-C-T-I-V-E framework, discussed under the Public Engagement section of this document. Awareness, Coordination, Targets, Investment, Value, and Experience sit at the heart of this strategy. Each element is essential for advancing active transportation. Our aim is to make data-driven and evidence-based investments to build new and expanded active transportation networks and to create safe environments for more equitable, healthy, active and sustainable travel options to thrive.

This vision will ultimately require coordination and collaboration with all orders of government, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and experts throughout the country.

Defining Active Transportation and Active Transportation Infrastructure

What is active transportation?

Active transportation refers to the movement of people or goods powered by human activity. Active transportation includes walking, cycling and the use of human-powered or hybrid mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters, e-bikes, rollerblades, snowshoes and cross-country skis.

What is active transportation infrastructure?

Active transportation infrastructure refers to physical structures and the built environment that support active transportation, such as pathways, bike lanes, multi-use trails and widened sidewalks. The most effective active transportation infrastructure provides a complete network that allows users to safely move through their communities and between destinations, from main streets to schools, parks, public transit hubs and residential neighbourhoods.

What Active Transportation Can do for Canada and Canadians

Increasing opportunities for Canadians to engage in active transportation comes with many benefits. In addition to getting us from point A to point B, active transportation also improves our health and well-being en route. It is vital to our economy and tourism sectors, and plays an essential role in connected and consistent multi-modal transportation systems that support more equitable, vibrant, liveable communities. It will also reduce healthcare costs, noise pollution, and improve air quality.

Increased active transportation will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will form part of Canada’s response to climate change, the biggest long-term threat we face. In December 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. At the heart of the plan is a commitment to building cleaner, more liveable communities and helping Canadians get around in more affordable ways. Increasing the modal share for active transportation will be key to making this a reality.

A bicycle can travel 423 km on the equivalent of 1 litre of vehicle fuel

Although Canadians are eager for active transportation to play a greater role in their lives, we recognize that a variety of barriers limit participation in active transportation and impact some people, households, and communities more than others. Barriers include limited access and real and perceived safety concerns, especially during the winter, that can stem from exposure to traffic, poor lighting, or deficient crossing provisions like inadequate time to cross an intersection or the lack of audio or braille signals.

We also know that barriers can be overcome. The Strategy is our first effort at a coast-to-coast-to-coast strategic approach for promoting active transportation and its benefits. It will not be static. Over time, it will evolve, shift and update to reflect the constantly changing conditions and context of active transportation in Canada. As it evolves, it will help guide future funding programs and policies that move us closer to achieving our vision for active transportation: enable more Canadian to choose active transportation every day. In launching this Strategy, we are joining countries, cities and towns around the world that have recognized the importance of active transportation and launched strategies of their own. On the international stage, this includes; Australia, the United Kingdom, France and Finland, with a special interest in communities with high daily active transportation rates. Within Canada, several provinces have created active transportation strategies of their own: British Columbia, Ontario, Québec, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia have strategic plans and resources to guide development of active transportation.

Canada’s investments in active transportation infrastructure have resulted in significant triple bottom line benefits:


  • household transportation savings through fewer vehicle expenses,  trips and parking requirements;
  • increased tourism from active visitors and growth of the outdoor and eco-tourism economy;
  • increased spending at outdoor and active transportation-related businesses; increased foot traffic and spending at businesses accessible by active transportation; and
  • new job creation.


There are 558 cycling equipment and supplies stores across Canada supporting workers and their families.



  • climate change mitigation and improved air quality resilience by increased modal share for active transportation;
  • less space required for roads and parking, which helps to preserve open space and reduce water pollution due to runoff from paved surfaces; and
  • improved potential for nature-based solutions.

The government of Canada estimates that 15,300 premature deaths can be linked to air pollution from fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone. The total economic value of air pollution in Canada is 120 billion per year.



  • improved mental and social health, as people who use active transportation every day are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines, which helps to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, and other related health issues;
  • increased public space for social connectedness; improved access to amenities, health, education, and social services; and
  • increased access to transit options to promote improved safety for vulnerable populations.



The estimated healthcare costs of inactivity in Canada total $6.8 million a year.


Public Engagement and Work Done to Date

Public Engagement

In March, 2021 the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna and Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore initiated Canada’s First National Active Transportation Strategy Framework. The framework was broken down into six elements to create the A-C-T-I-V-E framework consisting of awareness, coordination, targets, investment, value, and experience – which served as a guiding federal framework for public engagement on the development of Canada’s first National Active Transportation Strategy.

Awareness: Raise public awareness about the benefits of active transportation and promote its use, including by launching an online website to share best practices, relevant government programs, and project success stories. Benefits are felt personally through enhanced safety, accessibility, health and well-being, and felt communally by reducing traffic congestion, promoting job creation and reducing carbon emissions and air pollution.
Coordination: Coordinate active transportation investments that reflect best practice planning, design, regulations, and standards across levels of government, Indigenous communities, not-for-profits and the private sector.
Targets: Support the adoption of targets and data collection while mobilizing existing data to inform an evidence-based approach to active transportation policy-making and investments.
Investments: Guide the investment of the $400 million fund and other incentives for active transportation projects, and identify areas for financial collaboration with other government departments, other levels of government, and other funders to support good projects in communities across the country.
Value: Ensure that all active transportation investments and policies deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits, maximizing the value and benefit to all Canadians.
Experience: Support active transportation as a positive user experience, particularly for vulnerable communities, by promoting safe and accessible project designs and supporting connections between existing transportation, active transportation or public transit networks.

Shortly after the launch of the framework, Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore hosted regional engagement sessions with key stakeholders including provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, municipalities, not-for-profits and more so that he could hear what role they expected the federal government to play in the world of active transportation policy and active transportation infrastructure.

Building upon his experience as a city planner in the public, private and academic sectors, Andy Fillmore was joined by Brian Pincott, the Executive Director of Vélo Canada Bikes to engage with Canadians in both official languages. In addition to the sessions, a web portal for feedback was also launched in March 2021 and over 100 comments have been submitted, informing the development of this strategy.

Using the National Active Transportation Strategy Framework, we heard from over 50 active transportation experts and 250 community advocates from all sectors about the need for safer, more accessible and more equitable active transportation from coast-to-coast-to-coast. We also heard program-related feedback, such as: the need for better application guides; more streamlined funding for smaller projects; opportunities for planning studies to be eligible project costs; and the need to better support collaboration and information sharing between communities. Throughout the sessions there was a purposeful focus on equitable access for rural, remote, and equity-deserving communities and, how the Active Transportation Strategy and Fund can best support the needs of citizens in those communities. 

1 Travel lane on typical road can accommodate 1,600 cars per hour or 7,500 bikes or 9,000 pedestrians


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Private motor vehicle: 600-1,600/hour


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Two-way protected bike-way: 7,500/hour


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Sidewalk: 9,000/hour


Source: NACTO

Engaging Canadians in active transportation decisions is critical to achieving our vision and making sure all Canadians have access to and benefit from safe, supportive infrastructure in their communities. As the Strategy and Fund roll out, and we begin to see projects being implemented, continued public engagement will be crucial over the coming years to ensure these initiatives are successful in generating the results communities need.

Active Transportation Fund

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested in almost 650 kilometres of active transportation trails, bike and pedestrian lanes, and recreational paths. Through the Investing in Canada Plan, the Government of Canada has provided over $236 million for more than 300 active transportation projects from coast to coast to coast, ranging from bicycle storage lockers to complete active transportation networks. In addition, hundreds more infrastructure projects funded by the Government of Canada have included components that promote active transportation. Appendix A provides a list of existing federal programs that support active transportation throughout Canada.

In March 2021, the Government of Canada announced the Active Transportation Fund, the first dedicated fund supporting the expansion and enhancement of active transportation infrastructure across Canada.

The new $400-million fund is part of an eight-year, $14.9-billion public transit investment outlined by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna on February 10, 2021. It will support communities as they build vibrant neighbourhoods where people can safely live, work and play. The fund will also help Canadians living in rural communities and places currently without active transportation options to unlock the potential in their communities.

What makes the Active Transportation Fund timely is that for the first time in an Infrastructure Canada funding program, the spotlight is entirely on active transportation. Previously, active transportation applications had to compete in the same funding pool as other infrastructure such as public transit and green infrastructure.

All applications – which will be received directly from municipalities, Indigenous communities, provinces, territories, and any eligible partners – will be evaluated on their potential to advance active transportation in their respective community. This can include both capital projects like multi-use pathways, bike lanes, footbridges across roadways, new lighting, and wayfinding signage – and soft costs for planning and design as well as education and outreach programs that help communities create the necessary environment for active transportation to succeed. 

Dedicating a funding program to active transportation allows Infrastructure Canada to take a holistic approach when considering the types of projects that will help grow safe and convenient active transportation, and include considerations such as how projects will:

  • Create Community Connection and make it easier for Canadians of all ages, abilities and circumstances to get to the places they live, work, shop and play by improving the consistency and connectivity of transport networks?
  • Improve User Experience by improving safety, convenience, and user experience for all modes of active transportation?
  • Assist in a Modal Shift that will move the dial on climate action by encouraging Canadians to choose active transportation instead of motorized vehicles for short trips?
  • Increase Equity to help our most vulnerable and marginalized communities and address the structural inequities in the built environment that make many Canadians feel like active transportation is not for them?

Strategic Directions: What are We Doing and Where are We Going?

The Government of Canada is committed to making active transportation a priority. In order to realize our vision for active transportation, we will need pan-Canadian commitment that goes behind investing in world class infrastructure and facilities. To accomplish this vision, all orders of government and stakeholders will need to be A-C-T-I-V-E and promote: awareness, coordination, targets, investment, value, and experience will be essential when it comes to advancing active transportation. These strategic directions, like the Strategy itself, will continue to evolve to incorporate changing needs and priorities.

1. Awareness

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20-30 minutes of walking everyday can increase physical and mental wellbeing and ward off depression

Raising public awareness about active transportation helps to communicate its benefits and share best practices. By sharing information about benefits and breaking down barriers to participation, awareness raising advances active transportation that it is reflective of Canada’s diverse population.

In addition, targeted awareness initiatives centred on health promotion, road safety, and education can demonstrate that all Canadians can be active transportation users, no matter their age, ability or socio-economic circumstance.

Through the National Active Transportation Strategy, we will help raise public awareness of active transportation by:

  • Launching a user-friendly National Active Transportation Online Hub, a one-stop-shop for everything active transportation. This web page will be updated regularly with new information about the Active Transportation Fund and Strategy. This will be a critical component to ensuring that the Strategy is “evergreen” and adaptive to on-the-ground realities.
  • Committing over $10 million of the Active Transportation Fund toward planning and design activities, as well as education, outreach and engagement.
  • Working with partners to support community engagement and awareness raising activities that will be supported through the Active Transportation Fund.
  • Producing signs and displays for projects supported through the Active Transportation Fund that will help to raise public awareness of the benefits of active transportation infrastructure.

2. Coordination

This Strategy recognizes that active transportation policy weaves through the jurisdictional responsibility of all orders of government. Therefore, coordination of planning, design, regulations, standards and active transportation investments across levels of government, Indigenous communities, not-for-profits, and the private sector is essential for advancing active transportation on a national scale. Coordination is an ongoing effort rather than an end-point, and begins with recognizing common objectives and the value of rowing in the same direction as well as efforts and tools to share ideas and best practices.

The National Active Transportation Strategy will support better coordination by:

  • Working with all orders of government, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to ensure there is alignment on policy, planning, design standards and regulations. This will be accomplished through engagement sessions and continued coordination under the auspices of the National Active Transportation Strategy.
  • Increasing the reach of projects, programs, and good practices being advanced throughout Canada by sharing data and success stories through the National Active Transportation Strategy Online Hub.
  • Committing to host Canada’s first national summit on active transportation in 2022 with all orders of government and all relevant departments in attendance. This will provide a nation-wide platform to consult, share, and develop best practices in the promotion of moving people and goods by active transportation in a wide variety of Canadian settings including urban, rural and remote communities.
  • Enhancing whole-of-government collaboration among federal partners supporting active transportation, notably Transport Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Regional Development Agencies. 

3. Targets

Targets for active transportation typically focus on modal share, but it is okay to think outside the bike lane: targets must also prioritize greater diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, benefits on the environment, and reflect what active transportation means to tourism and business in Canada. In order to set targets effectively, we need to prioritize data and be aware that a ‘one-size’ approach will never fit all Canadians: different communities, groups, governments and researchers have varying capacities and access to methods, tools, data and reporting.

The National Active Transportation Strategy will support the adoption of targets and data by:

  • Establishing funding opportunities for research that will grow the data and knowledge foundations for active transportation in Canada, including through Knowledge Synthesis Grants and a commitment to launch calls for proposals in 2021. With this foundational understanding of active transportation users and infrastructure, we can support the development of ambitious targets and goals for active transportation.
  • Working with Statistics Canada to collect disaggregated data that will ensure the adequate and appropriate monitoring and reporting of the prevalence, potential and safety of AT in Canada, not just in large municipalities but in smaller, rural and remote communities, and Indigenous communities. Through this work, we can better examine the inclusion in the National Census of questions that will yield better data on the mobility habits and needs of Canadians.
  • Supporting the development and use of data collection tools, such as automated counting systems, which will then be used to inform infrastructure investments which advance modal share growth for sustainable transportation.
  • Leveraging data, including data collected through the implementation of the Active Transportation Fund, for the continuous improvement and more effective planning of active transportation infrastructure.

Only 15% of Canadians are meeting physical activity guidelines

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4. Investments

Federal funding can drive investments and help to leverage funding from other orders of government and partners that can support the development of active transportation from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Ensuring that that we maximize the impact of every dollar spent will be critical to achieving our vision for active transportation.

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $236 million in over 300 active transportation projects for cities and towns across the country through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Moving forward, Infrastructure Canada will be developing its priorities for permanent transit funding: $3 billion of annual investment, beginning in 2026. As part of this approach, we will explore connections with other programs to better coordinate investments that reflect best practices in planning, design, regulations and standards. This multi-faceted approach to investment in active transportation will ensure that all perspectives – from making commutes easier to improving opportunities for access to nature and recreation – are prioritized.

Pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure make 46% more jobs than road-only projects


Bicycle projects

     11,4 jobs

Pedestrian-only projects

     10 jobs

Multi-use trail projects

     9,6 jobs


Road-only projects

   7,8 jobs


The federal government is committed to:

  • Implementing the nation’s first Active Transportation Fund.
  • Coordinating active transportation investments across government programs and continue to invest in active transportation projects through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, Active Transportation Fund, Permanent Public Transit Program, Canada Community-Building Fund (formerly the Gas Tax Fund), Canada Healthy Communities Initiative and Green Municipal Fund, Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, and Natural Infrastructure Fund.
  • Supporting place-based projects which are initiated in the non-profit sector, where organizations from coast-to-coast-to-coast are improving the state of active transportation in their communities.

5. Value

Active transportation infrastructure like bike lanes increase customer visits and spending intention by 48%

Value means ensuring that active transportation investments and policies promote social, economic, and environmental benefits. In doing so, these investments maximize benefits for all Canadians, while also looking for opportunities to accelerate change by providing short-term incentives that balance triple bottom line outcomes.

When it comes to value for money, active transportation is hard to beat. It does a fantastic job of minimizing the need for expensive, space-intensive infrastructure, costs less to use and maintain than a personal motorized vehicle, and reduces potential healthcare costs by enhancing physical and mental health. It is environmentally friendly, which can help us address the fact that around 25 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. It is conducive to more walk-in traffic for businesses and has been demonstrated to increase sales, and has also been linked to direct job creation in in the construction, tourism, and retail sectors.

The National Active Transportation Strategy will ensure investments achieve social, economic, and environmental benefits by:

  • Deploying all active transportation funding provided over the next five years with an eye towards value by ensuring that every dollar spent brings social and environmental benefits to communities while creating good jobs for Canadians. For more information, please see application guide.
  • Tracking our progress over the next five years by monitoring and transparently reporting how the projects supported by our programs are moving the dial on active transportation in Canada. By tracking our progress, we will be able to assess how we can improve upon this Strategy. This will be communicated via regular updates and improvements to our National Active Transportation Online Hub.
  • Regularly updating the Online Hub with a catalogue of active transportation projects being supported under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and Active Transportation Fund to communicate the value added to communities through these projects and inspire new ideas around the country.

6. Experience  

Safe, accessible, and convenient design and infrastructure that supports connections between existing transportation, active transportation, or public transit networks, while being aware that not everybody has the same experience with active transportation. The participation of persons with disabilities, women, and equity-deserving communities is often marginalized by designing for a universal user experience.

Unsafe road conditions, poor or non-existent signage, gaps in the network, and inconsistent infrastructure are just a few reasons why someone might have a poor experience or not want to choose active transportation. Designing active transportation networks with all ages, abilities and backgrounds in mind will help to create a safe and welcoming user experience.

The Government of Canada is committed to putting user experience front and center its active transportation programming and are doing so with the support of our key partners: organizations such as Vélo Canada Bikes, Trans Canada Trails, and the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association are pivotal to our understanding how we to improve user experience, as are our partners in other orders of government. 

The National Active Transportation Strategy will support a positive user experience by:

  • Placing an emphasis on connected communities, strong first-and-last-mile connections, and social equity in the Active Transportation Fund, which has set-aside 10% of the total funding envelope for active transportation infrastructure in Indigenous communities.
  • Providing resources for high level guidance for design guidelines and planning. Our National Active Transportation Online Hub will provide resources to help guide the development of safe and accessible active transportation projects, such as Transport Canada’s resource and planning guide for Active Transportation in Canada.
  • Including project planning and design, including wayfinding projects, as an eligible cost under the ATF to ensure projects are well thought out from the outset and support connected networks to enhance the uptake of active transportation and use of active transportation infrastructure.

Let’s Keep Moving Forward

The successful rollout of the Active Transportation Fund and the implementation of the Strategy and its recommendations will depend on our ability to work together across all orders of government, with community input and consultation throughout the next five years. With permanent transit funding beginning in 2026-2027, an inclusive, collaborative, transparent and accountable approach, with ongoing public engagement will set us on a solid path to keep moving forward while maximizing investments and advancing important social, economic and environmental objectives. As this Strategy evolves, it will be guided by key elements for ensuring a modal shift toward more active transportation, awareness, coordination, targets, investments, value, experience, with the ultimate objective of strengthening our communities and building cleaner, more inclusive, safer, and more resilient communities for generations to come.



The ecological footprint of a cyclist is 1/10th of a commuting driver


Streets draw 2.57 times more cyclists once cycle tracks are installed

Appendix A

Existing programs

The Active Transportation Fund builds on a significant legacy of past and existing programs that help grow active transportation in communities across the country. Funded projects include the Grouse Mountain Regional Park trails in North Vancouver, the Flora Foot Bridge in Ottawa, a bikeway extension in Corner Brook, and a new cycling path along the Mine, Notch and Kingsmere corridor in Chelsea, Quebec.

Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)

Under the Investing in Canada Plan, the Government of Canada is delivering $33 billion in funding to communities through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The program, which is delivered through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, provides long-term, stable funding in order to:

  • Help communities reduce air and water pollution, provide clean water, increase resilience to climate change and create a clean-growth economy;
  • Build strong, dynamic and inclusive communities;
  • Ensure Canadian families have access to modern, reliable services that improve their quality of life; and,
  • Address the challenges faced by communities as a result of COVID-19, including supporting active transportation infrastructure.

Investments in infrastructure are being made through the following targeted funding streams:

Public Transit

Green Infrastructure

Community and Recreation

Rural and Northern Communities

A temporary COVID-19 Resiliency Stream

Active transportation projects have been funded under ICIP as part of the Public Transit and Green Infrastructure streams, respectively. The Active Transportation Fund will help accelerate the implementation of future projects, and generate the greatest possible economic, social and environmental impacts for Canadians.

Additionally, under ICIP, a new temporary COVID-19 Resilience stream, with over $3 billion available in existing funding, has been created to provide provinces and territories with added flexibility to fund quick-start, short-term projects that might not otherwise be eligible under the existing funding streams. It provides provinces and territories with the flexibility to transfer up to 10% of original stream allocations to the new COVID-19 Resilience stream to help mobilize their remaining funds under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Active transportation infrastructure projects – including parks, trails, foot bridges, bike lanes and multi-use paths – are among the eligible projects that can be submitted under an accelerated and streamlined approvals process.

Active Transportation Fund (ATF)

The ATF is a $400-million fund that will be delivered over five years. It will support communities as they build vibrant neighborhoods where people can safely live, work and play. The fund will also help Canadians living in rural communities and places without active transportation options to unlock the potential in their communities. All applications – which will be received directly from municipalities, Indigenous communities, provinces, territories, and any eligible partners – will be considered in light of how they will be able to advance active transportation in their respective communities. This can include both capital projects like multi-use pathways, footbridges, bike lanes, new lighting, and wayfinding signage – and soft costs for planning and programs that help communities create the necessary environment for active transportation to succeed. 

Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI)

The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI) is providing up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy new ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.  The initiative is supporting projects under three main themes:

  • Creating safe and vibrant public spaces,
  • Improving mobility options, and
  • Digital solutions.

CHCI supports a range of projects that deliver mobility and transportation options, including walking, cycling, or connecting to public transit. This means that people will be able to travel throughout their communities, and access public spaces, while respecting public health guidelines.

Canada Community-Building Fund

The Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF) is a permanent source of funding provided up front, twice-a-year, to provinces and territories, who in turn flow this funding to their municipalities to support local infrastructure priorities. Municipalities can pool, bank and borrow against this funding, providing significant financial flexibility. The CCBF delivers over $2 billion every year to 3600 communities across the country. In recent years the funding has supported approximately 4000 projects each year. Communities select how best to direct the funds with the flexibility to make strategic investments across 18 different project categories. Active transportation infrastructure including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and multi-use paths are eligible under the various categories of the CCBF.

Natural Infrastructure Fund

The Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) is a new $200 million fund which will support projects that use natural or hybrid approaches to protect the natural environment, support healthy and resilient communities, contribute to economic growth, and improve access to nature for Canadians. This will help to improve well-being, mitigate the impacts o f climate change, improve access to nature for Canadians, and prevent costly natural events.

Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund (DMAF)

The Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund is a national merit-based program that supports infrastructure projects that help communities better manage the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards. As part of Budget 2021, an additional $1.4 billion in federal funding over 12 years was announced to renew the DMAF; this builds upon the $2 billion commitment over 10 years announced in 2018. Eligible investments aim to reduce the socio-economic, environmental and cultural impacts of natural hazards and extreme weather events when considering current and potential future climate change impacts.

Permanent Public Transit Program

The Permanent Public Transit Program (PPTP) will provide $3 billion/year for public transit starting in 2026/27. This funding will offer cities and communities the predictable funding they need to plan for the future, and will help to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and help to sustain a resilient economy. Investing in public transit for the future will include ensuring Canadians can more easily access mobility options, and create solutions that meet their needs. While the Government’s approach to the PPTP is still being developed, a permanent source of funding for public transit will undoubtedly offer the greatest benefits to communities and improve the quality of life for Canadians across the country.

People who walk or cycle to work reduce their risk of developing chronic disease by 11%

Active Transportation in Action Across Canada

Grouse Mountain Regional Park Trails, Vancouver, British Columbia

Work is underway to upgrade a series of popular trails in the Grouse Mountain Regional Park, including Grouse Grind Trail and the B.C. Mountaineering Club Trail. Improvements to the entrance area on the main trailhead, along with the introduction of new connections to other trails, and the construction of new view points and rest areas will greatly improve the experience for hikers, while attracting new visitors to the park and encouraging people to adopt healthier and more active lifestyles.

First Nations groups are being consulted as part of this project and the upgrades, funded through the Community, Culture and Recreation Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, are expected to be completed by April 2025.

image of Grouse Mountain Regional Park Trails, Vancouver, British Columbia

Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional District

All-Ages-And-Abilities Bikeway, Halifax, Nova Scotia

image of All-Ages-And-Abilities Bikeway, Halifax, Nova Scotia

An All-Ages-And-Abilities (AAA) Cycling Network is being built in Halifax with funding from the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, to create an accessible, safe and convenient network of cycling routes to encourage active transportation and offer more ways of getting around the regional municipality.

Work is underway on a 30-kilometre system of bikeways and pedestrian pathways, with many routes already complete, including a stretch along Hollis Street in the downtown which now features protected bike lanes. This network is a key part of Halifax's Integrated Mobility Plan and will improve the active transportation system’s capacity, condition and accessibility and contribute to making the city more liveable, vibrant and sustainable.

Credit: City of Halifax

Flora Footbridge, Ottawa, Ontario

Residents of Ottawa are enjoying a safer and more convenient way of navigating the mid-town neighborhoods with the construction of the Flora Footbridge, a pedestrian and cyclist bridge crossing the Rideau Canal.

The Flora Footbridge, which was funded through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and which opened ahead of schedule in the summer of 2019, has helped shorten commute times and introduced a dedicated active and sustainable transportation route to schools, work, entertainment and shopping sites nearby. It has also helped strengthen links to other pathways connecting to Ottawa's LRT network, enabling more people to integrate active transportation into their daily commutes and making it easier for people to move around the city.

image of Kelly's Brook Shared-Use Path in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Kelly's Brook Shared-Use Path in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

The City of St. John's is consulting residents and designing upgrades for the Kelly's Brook Trail with the goal of creating an attractive and continuous 4.8-kilometre route in St. John's that will serve as both a recreational path and an active transportation option, connecting popular destinations and amenities along the way.

The project involves upgrading and connecting existing segments of a trail that parallels Empire Avenue to create a safer, inclusive pedestrian and cycling route. Once complete, residents will benefit from a multi-purpose path that will better connect different neighbourhoods and connect the east and west ends of St. John's.

The project is being funded through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and construction is expected to get underway in 2021.

Credit: Trace Design and City of St. John's