Frequently asked questions

What is the St. Lawrence Action Plan?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011–2026 is an agreement between the governments of Canada and Quebec to foster the conservation and enhancement of the St. Lawrence River. Under this agreement, the two governments are working together by pooling their resources and expertise. Other partners are also joining this initiative, including local organizations, environmental groups, research centres and universities.

How is the St. Lawrence Action Plan helping improve the health of the St. Lawrence?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan has enabled the federal and provincial governments to harmonize their efforts to protect, enhance and work together on the St. Lawrence in order to foster the sustainable development of this vast ecosystem. Through its many research projects, the St. Lawrence Action Plan has not only enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the St. Lawrence but also helped improve water quality and, particularly, reduce contaminants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The Plan has also contributed to the protection of many species and their habitats and the restoration of access to the St. Lawrence at a number of locations and has facilitated the development and implementation of the Sustainable Navigation Strategy, which is aimed at harmonizing the protection of the St. Lawrence with the needs of users and the development of the marine industry.

What government organizations are involved?

Government of Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Canadian Space Agency
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Health Canada
Parks Canada Agency
Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Transport Canada

Government of Quebec

Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation
Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation
Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
Ministère de la Sécurité publique
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Ministère du Tourisme
Ministère des Transports

How long has the St. Lawrence Action Plan been in existence?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan came into effect in 1988 when the first Canada–Quebec Agreement on the St. Lawrence was signed. The two governments have renewed the agreement over the years, and the most recent agreement was signed in 2011 and will be in effect for 15 years (Canada–Quebec Agreement on the St. Lawrence 2011–2026). It provides for three five-year plans, the first of which will end in March 2016.

What types of projects are carried out under the St. Lawrence Action Plan?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011–2026 addresses three priority issues that the governments will focus their joint actions on: biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and improved water quality. Backgrounders describing each of the projects that will be carried out in the Plan’s first phase (2011 to 2016) are available on the St. Lawrence Action Plan website, in the section devoted to each area of focus.

In addition to those projects, the St. Lawrence Action Plan includes two decision-making support tools: the State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program, which monitors the St. Lawrence by means of 21 environmental indicators, and the Numerical Environmental Prediction Program, which aims to pool the expertise and combine the prediction models of the various participants in order to improve predictions and gain a better understanding of the St. Lawrence ecosystem and flow regime.

As well, through the Community Interaction Program, the St. Lawrence Action Plan funds local awareness, conservation and ecosystem restoration initiatives. Details on the program and the types of projects that are eligible are also available on the St. Lawrence Action Plan website.

Lastly, the St. Lawrence Action Plan supports the integrated management of the St. Lawrence, a process that is based on the cooperation of all decision makers, users and civil society in planning and more effectively harmonizing measures for the protection and use of the resources of the St. Lawrence from a sustainable development perspective. This process has led to the annual Forum on the St. Lawrence and the gradual establishment of the regional round tables.

How much money has been invested to date under the St. Lawrence Action Plan?

Since the first agreement was signed, the governments of Canada and Quebec have invested $384 million and $332 million, respectively, under the St. Lawrence Action Plan, for a total of $716 million.

Can I get funding under the St. Lawrence Action Plan to carry out a project?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan includes the Community Interaction Program, which is a funding program for community initiatives aimed at conserving and enhancing the St. Lawrence ecosystem. More details on the program are available on the St. Lawrence Action Plan website.

How can I find out about the state of the St. Lawrence?

The State of the St. Lawrence Monitoring Program monitors the St. Lawrence by means of 21 environmental indicators. Monitoring sheets for each of the indicators are updated periodically, and you can consult them to find out about specific aspects of the state of the St. Lawrence. For an overall look at the health of the St. Lawrence, you can consult the Overview of the State of the St. Lawrence, a publication that is updated every five years and whose next version is slated for release in 2015.

Where can I get more information about the St. Lawrence Action Plan?

The St. Lawrence Action Plan website is the best place to find all information about the Plan. The site includes a section on available funding under the Community Interaction Program, simplified information sheets on the projects carried out for each of the priority issues, and information about the Forum on the St. Lawrence. We can also be reached by e?mail at or for further information.