Active Transportation Fund - Applicant Guide

Active Transportation Fund at a glance

Active transportation provides tangible benefits to communities, shortening commute times for families, creating good middle-class jobs, growing the economy, promoting healthier lifestyles, cutting air and noise pollution, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Active transportation will support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to long-term, sustainable, inclusive economic growth, while setting the foundation for achieving a more inclusive Canada and net-zero climate emissions by 2050.

The Active Transportation Fund will provide $400 million over five years to support the expansion and enhancement of active transportation infrastructure and a modal shift away from cars and toward active transportation. The Fund will also support the goals of Canada's Strengthened Climate Plan.

Table of Contents

1. What is the Objective of the Active Transportation Fund?

2. Projects Eligible for Funding

3. Eligible Recipients

4. Application Process

5. Environmental Assessment and Duty to Consult

6. Additional Information

1. What is the Objective of the Active Transportation Fund?

On February 10, 2021, the Prime Minister, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced $5.9 billion in new funding for public transit and active transportation over 5 years, beginning in 2021-22, with a permanent annual envelope of $3B ongoing beginning in 2026-27.

This funding included the creation of an Active Transportation Fund (the Fund), a $400 million, 5-year investment to fund projects that expand and enhance active transportation networks in communities of all types and sizes, and support Canada's National Active Transportation Strategy.

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, and more.

The objective of the Fund is to increase the total amount, usage, and quality of active transportation infrastructure throughout Canada. The Fund will support capital and planning projects that encourage a modal shift away from cars and improve the safety and security of Canadians.

In advancing this objective, the Fund will also support the goals of the Strengthened Climate Plan and improve the resilience of communities. In recognition that almost every journey begins and ends with a form of active transportation, the Fund will seek to enhance the impact of other modes of transit by supporting first-and-last kilometre connections to existing and planned infrastructure.

2. Projects Eligible for Funding

There are two streams of projects eligible for funding: capital projects and planning projects.

The maximum amount payable for a planning project will not exceed $50,000.

2.1 Planning and Design Projects (Grant Program)

Planning and design projects refer to the development or enhancement of formal active transportation strategic planning documents or stakeholder engagement. This could entail the development of an Active Transportation Strategy, that could support the National Active Transportation Strategy, or the development of an active transportation component which can be added to other planning documents, such as Official Community Plans, Sustainability Plans, and Transportation Plans. Eligible projects include:

  • Research, including case studies, data collection initiatives, mapping of walkability and bikeability, community audits/assessments;
  • Public and/or stakeholder engagement and outreach, education programs;
  • Policy development, including drafting objectives/actions for inclusion in community land use and/or transportation plans;
  • Feasibility studies, business cases, and detailed costing estimates relating to the design of a project or program;
  • Projects which support the implementation of Canada's national active transportation strategy, such as events raising awareness and encouraging adoption of active transportation.

2.2 Capital Projects (Contribution Program)

Capital projects refer to new infrastructure construction, enhancement of existing infrastructure, and fixed design and safety features that encourage increased active transportation. Eligible capital projects include:

  • Building or enhancing infrastructure for active transportation, such as multi-use paths, sidewalks, footbridges, separated bicycle lanes, and connections to other roadways (this could include nature trails and other infrastructure which could support recreation, so long as this infrastructure can be demonstrated to reflect evaluation criteria);
  • Enhancing active transportation infrastructure, including design considerations in which there may be no net gain in kilometers of infrastructure, but quality improvements that support greater usage;
  • Building or enhancing design features and facilities which promote active transportation, such as storage facilities, lighting, greenery, shade, and benches;
  • Building or enhancing safety features which promote active transportation, such as crosswalks, medians, speed bumps, and wayfinding signage.

Ineligible projects include:

  • Proposals to build or enhance infrastructure for which the primary users would be passenger and commercial vehicles;
  • The purchase of non-fixed, removable assets, such as bikes for bike share systems (non-removable infrastructure in such systems may be eligible).

If you would like to confirm whether your project is eligible for the Fund, please contact the Fund team at:

3. Eligible Recipients

An applicant must be a legal entity capable of entering into legally binding agreements. To be considered an eligible recipient, applicants must fit within one of the following categories:

  • A municipal, local or regional government established by or under provincial or territorial statute.
  • A provincial or territorial government.
  • A public sector body that is established by or under provincial or territorial statute or by regulation or is wholly-owned by a province, territory, municipal or regional government, including, but not limited to:
    • Municipally-owned corporations (e.g. autonomous organizations owned by municipalities, used to produce or deliver local public services outside the local bureaucracy);
    • A provincial or territorial organization that delivers municipal services (e.g. public utilities, community health services, economic development bodies); and
    • Any other form of local governance that exists outside of the municipality description (e.g. local service districts; public-private partnership boards that manage community facilities).
  • Not-for-profit organizations*.

Eligible Indigenous Recipients include:

  • Indigenous Governing Body:
    • 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 that are established by or under legislation whether federal or provincial that incorporates a governance structure.
  • A federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to improve Indigenous outcomes, organizations serving Indigenous communities living in urban centers and First Nations living off reserve; and
  • Indigenous development corporations.
    • Indigenous development corporations are normally set up by an Indigenous community/ organization/government. These corporations constitute the business/economic arm of Indigenous communities /governments and typically count the members of the community as their shareholders. Their primary role is to develop the economic activity of the Indigenous community that established them. Indigenous development corporations generally fall under two categories: for-profit and not-for-profit. The for-profit model however is unique in that profits are then re-invested in the community.

*Not-for-profit organizations are eligible to receive funding when an application to lead a project on behalf of an ultimate eligible recipient (any of the above) is submitted. The not-for-profit organization must provide a letter of support confirming the partnership authority of the ultimate eligible recipient.

Applications which support activities that connect multiple administrative regions are eligible, so long as an initial recipient is identified by the proponent(s) in the application.

Provincial and territorial governments may apply directly to the Fund, so long as their jurisdictional funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (ICIP-PTIS), the COVID-19 Community Resilience Stream, and the Rural and Northern Communities Stream, has been fully allocated where applicable. Provincial and Territorial governments may make an application on behalf of municipal governments. When making an application on behalf of municipal governments, the requirement to have allocated relevant ICIP funding may be waived.

Canada may enter into agreements with eligible recipients as direct recipients, who will directly undertake eligible projects. Canada may also enter into agreements with the above recipients as initial recipients, who will further distribute funding to the above ultimate recipients.

Ineligible recipients include:

  • Individuals; private citizens;
  • For-profit entities (with the exception of Indigenous for-profit entities); and
  • Federal entities, including federal Crown corporations.

If you would like to confirm your eligibility status, please contact the ATF team at:

4. Application Process

4.1 How do I apply?

Applications will be accepted through Infrastructure Canada's online and accessible application portal (link to be released at a later date). If you are unable to apply through the portal, please contact the Fund team at:

4.2 What is the intake process?

Applications will be accepted through a combination of timed intakes (i.e., with an open and close date), and rolling intakes with continuous assessment. Projects from Indigenous applicants will be accepted through rolling intakes and continuous assessment.

Project selection will be merit-based; final project selection will be undertaken with a view to balancing funding support by taking into consideration such factors as regional distribution, the type of project, and equitable access.

Once the project intake launches, applicants are invited to submit a planning and design or capital project application. The final selection decision will remain at the sole discretion of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. Successful applicants will be notified if their project is approved and applicants will later be asked to sign a contribution agreement (in the case of a capital project) or a grant agreement (in the case of a planning project).

Text description of Graph 1
  • Step 1) Active transportation fund launch (Infrastructure Canada)
  • Step 2) Planning or Capital Project Applications Submission (Applicant)
  • Step 3) Applicant Eligibility and Project Merit Assessment (Infrastructure Canada)
  • Step 4) Grant or Contribution Agreement (Infrastructure Canada & Applicant)
  • Step 5) Grant or Contribution Payment(s) Determined by Grant of Contribution Agreement (Infrastructure Canada & Applicant)

4.3 How will applications be evaluated?

Applications will be evaluated based on the information provided and how it addresses the various elements below.

4.3.1 Planning and Design Projects


There is a high need for the project, to help vulnerable communities and address structural inequities, given the demographics and/or current state of active transportation.

The project will promote and/or raise awareness or will allow for a subsequent active transportation capital project.


The project supports and integrates transportation or land use planning, active transportation planning, and/or identifies shovel-worthy projects for future development.


The project has significant community support, and the project's proposed activities will be completed within 24 months.

4.3.2 Capital Projects

Improved Community Connectivity and Accessibility

The project strategically improves active transportation connectivity and enhances accessibility within and/or to other communities, particularly for vulnerable populations.

Economic Benefits

The project provides economic value to the community through increased construction, tourism and/or active transportation access to business districts.

Environmental and Climate Benefits

The project results in environmental benefits, such as GHG reductions, land use intensification, protection of green spaces, and/or the use of green technologies.

Improved User Mobility and supports a Safe and Secure Environment

The project provides enhancements in non-automotive mobility and contains measures to ensure a safe and a secure environment, including for vulnerable populations.

Project Viability

The project is part of an active transportation strategy, has significant community support, and planning work is in an advanced state (e.g. design, permits, matching funds secured).

4.4 Application Requirements

Applicants will need to submit a comprehensive project proposal for their project to be considered for funding under the Fund. Proposals should address the questions (not an exhaustive list) below: 

Description of the Project

What is the project about? What will the funding be used for? Where and when will it be implemented?

Objectives of the Project

What are the proposed outputs (what will be produced)?

Benefits of the Project

What are the proposed outcomes, be they economic, environmental, social? Who will benefit?

Workplan and Budget

What are the forecasted/actual construction start and end dates? What are the estimated eligible costs, sources of funding, amounts?

Risk and Mitigation Measures

What risks might the project run into? What mitigation measures will the be put in place?

5. Environmental Assessment and Duty to Consult

5.1 Environmental Assessment

Depending on where the project is located, an environmental impact assessment may be required prior to undertaking certain activities. Applicants are responsible for providing information to determine whether their project may require an environmental impact assessment under the federal Impact Assessment Act (IAA), Modern Treaties or Northern Regimes. If applicants are unsure of their legislative responsibilities, please consult the appropriate provincial or territorial government for environmental assessment requirements and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada's (IAAC's) website for the basics of the federal IAA requirements. Under the IAA, projects may be designated (s. 8) or may be subject to requirements if they are on federal lands (s.82). Environmental assessment requirements must be met for the project to proceed.

5.2 Duty to Consult

Infrastructure Canada has an obligation to determine whether or not the project requires consultation with Indigenous groups based on the information provided by the Applicant. INFC may have a legal duty to consult with, and if applicable, accommodate, Indigenous Peoples when it contemplates conduct that might adversely impact Aboriginal and/or Treaty rights. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest. INFC will assess potential impacts of projects on these constitutionally protected rights, and ensure that those affected Indigenous communities are notified, consulted and, where required, accommodated. Costs associated with engagement and consultation are eligible expenditures and applicants should plan to include these costs in their project estimates.

While the duty to consult with Indigenous Peoples is an obligation that rests with the Crown, INFC will expect funding applicants to carry out certain procedural aspects of consultation on a proposed project, where appropriate. These could include, but are not limited to, providing notification letters and organizing consultation sessions with Indigenous communities that will be affected by the proposed project. More information on Infrastructure Canada's duty to consult requirements is available at Infrastructure Canada Consultation with Indigenous Peoples.

6. Additional Information

6.1 Maximum Program Contributions

The Fund includes a minimum funding-floor set-aside of 10% of total funds for Indigenous recipients. Considerations will be given to ensuring a distinctions-based distribution through the project assessment process. Moreover, 3% of the Fund has been notionally allocated for planning projects.

6.1.1 Planning and Design Projects

Planning projects will be funded up to 100%. Note that the maximum amount payable for a planning project will not exceed $50,000.

6.1.2 Capital Projects

Active Transportation Fund Component

Maximum Program Contribution (up to)

Maximum Federal Contributions from all sources (up to)

Total Canadian (i.e. federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) Government stacking (up to)

Municipal activities located in Provinces




Municipal activities located in Territories




Activities located in Indigenous communities




Activities located in Provinces where the focus is a provincial asset




Applicant is eligible not-for-profit organization applying on behalf of an eligible applicant

60% in provinces
75% in territories
100% in Indigenous communities

60% in provinces
75% in territories
100% in Indigenous communities


6.2 Eligible Expenditures 

Eligible expenditures are those considered to be direct and necessary for the successful implementation of an eligible project and excluding those explicitly identified in the Ineligible Costs section below.

Eligible capital expenditures can include construction of cycling or walking paths; the development of a plan or design for an active transportation capital project; and engagement or outreach activities that support the goals of the National Active Transportation Strategy.

Non-capital eligible expenditures can include:

  • Expenditures directly associated with joint federal communication activities and with federal project signage;
  • Costs/expenditures incurred for consultation or engagement with Indigenous groups on the project. These costs are retroactively eligible dating back to one year prior to the submission of the application for funding. These costs can include legal fees of the Indigenous groups, as part of overall consultation capacity funding, if they are incurred by an Indigenous group who is not a Recipient or an Ultimate Recipient of the given project, are reasonable, as determined by Canada, support consultation efforts, activities or tools and are not used to fund litigation against the Crown;
  • Expenditures incurred for accommodation of adverse impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty rights;
  • Incremental expenditures directly related to meeting specific program requirements, such as climate change and resiliency assessments, as well as creating community employment benefit plans;
  • The incremental costs of the eligible recipients' employees may be included as an eligible expenditure provided that the use of employees or equipment pertains solely to the implementation of the project, and:
    • There is a lack of private sector capacity to undertake the work; or
    • The work involves proprietary or specialized infrastructure or equipment that requires specific knowledge or skill of the recipient's employees; or
    • A collective agreement requires the recipient to use their own unionized employees for certain project work.
  • Costs associated with project monitors or independent certifiers.

Project expenditures and contracts will only be eligible as of project funding approval, except for expenditures associated with Climate Lens assessments and Indigenous consultation which are eligible before project funding approval. Costs can only be reimbursed if and when project funding is approved, the Contribution Agreement is signed, and conditions outlined in the Contribution Agreement are met.

Ineligible expenditures include:

  • Expenditures already covered through another funding program, fund, or strategy;
  • Expenditures incurred before project funding approval and any and all expenditures related to agreements and contracts signed prior to project funding approval, except those specified as eligible expenditures;
  • Expenditures related to purchasing land, buildings and associated real estate and other fees;
  • Expenditures related to cost overruns or incurred for cancelled projects;
  • Furnishings and non-fixed assets which are not essential for the operation of the asset/project;
  • General repairs and maintenance of a project and related structures, unless they are part of a larger capital project;
  • Services on works normally provided by an eligible recipient, incurred in the course of implementation of the project, except those specified as eligible expenditures;
  • Taxes for which the eligible recipient is eligible for a tax rebate and all other costs eligible for rebates;
  • On-going operations, maintenance and/or electricity and fuel costs associated with the operations of capital assets;
  • Legal fees, except those specified as eligible expenditures;
  • Financing, interest, and taxes;
  • Leasing land, buildings, equipment and other facilities except for equipment other than equipment directly related to the construction of the project, real estate fees and related costs;
  • 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;
  • Expenditures related to any good and services which are received through donation or in-kind contribution;
  • Employee costs, with the exception of incremental costs which pertain solely to the implementation of the project, specified as eligible expenditures;
  • Maintenance expenditures incurred as part of regular operations; and
  • Purchase or maintenance of fossil-fuel emitting buses.

6.3 Reporting and Audit Requirements

Infrastructure Canada will utilize a risk-based approach to reporting, with detailed reporting requirements outlined in grant or contribution agreements, as applicable.

Recipients of funding for capital projects will be required to provide progress reports to Infrastructure Canada in accordance with the contribution agreement. Recipients of planning grants would be required to submit a narrative report on their activities at upon the completion of their planning strategy.

6.4 Privacy Notice Statement and Confidentiality

The information you provide as part of the funding process is collected under the authority of the Order in Council P.C. 2004-0325 for the purpose of administering the program. It may be used to evaluate, select and review applications under the program, monitor the progress of approved projects, and to coordinate administrative decisions with respective federal departments, provincial and or municipal counterparts/partners. Information may be shared with other federal government institutions, for the purpose of assisting Infrastructure Canada with project review and evaluation, determining eligibility under other federal government institutions' programs, and confirming past federal funding sought by an applicant. Infrastructure Canada may also disclose the information to external experts (e.g., scientific, technical, financial, marketing or commercialization) hired by the Government of Canada under contract with confidentiality obligations, for the purpose of assisting Infrastructure Canada with project review and evaluation and/or determining eligibility under other federal government 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. Other possible uses and sharing of personal information are described in the Grants and Contributions Initiatives personal information bank. Failure to provide this information, and to consent to the collection, use and disclosure of this information, may result in the application not being further considered, and a delay in assessing your application for funding. You have the right to the correction of, access to, and protection of your personal information under the Privacy Act and to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada over Infrastructure Canada's handling of your information as set out under the Privacy Act

By submitting your application, you agree to the collection, use and disclosure of this information as outlined above.


Any questions? If you have any questions about the Active Transportation Fund that were not answered by this guide, please contact the ATF team at: