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Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program - Phase 3

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program - Phase 3

Ministry of Infrastructure

To help small rural and northern communities receive clean, safe and affordable water and wastewater services, Ontario has introduced the third phase of the Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program (OSWAP-3).  The third phase of the program will receive an additional $30 million to provide a total investment of up to $50 million, a boost from the original commitment of $20 million announced in August 2007.  OSWAP-3 has been enhanced in recognition of the challenges many small communities face in meeting their water and wastewater investment needs.


OSWAP-3 will provide up to $75 million in capital funding over the next four years to small communities across Ontario - $50 million from the province and $25 million from municipalities. Municipalities and Local Services Boards that own residential drinking water or wastewater systems that provide services to 5,000 and fewer residents will be eligible to apply for funding.

In municipalities where both services are provided, average population served will be used to determine eligibility. First Nation communities will be eligible if the project is being undertaken in collaboration with one or more eligible municipalities and/or Local Service Boards.

Some Ontario small rural and northern communities face unique challenges in meeting their investment needs related to water and wastewater services.  Projects funded under OSWAP-3 will help avoid the need for costly infrastructure expansions and can help reduce operating costs.

Communities are being encouraged to target projects that support conservation, improve efficiency and promote collaboration between small communities.


As OSWAP-3 is a merit-based grant program, communities must apply for funding and provide details of their proposal.  Applications for the first intake must be submitted by February 15, 2011 and applications for the second intake must be submitted by February 15, 2012. An application form, as well as a guidebook explaining program details and how to apply is now available online.

Ontario's Water Strategy

As part of its Open Ontario Plan the province is taking steps to make Ontario the leading clean water jurisdiction in North America.

The proposed Bill 72, Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act, introduced in the Legislature on May 18, 2010, will, if passed, encourage the creation and export of innovative clean water technology, promote water conservation, attract economic development and create jobs. Among the proposals, Bill 72 would:

  • Make Ontario a North American leader in developing and selling water technologies and services through the creation of the Water Technology Acceleration Project (TAP) - a technology hub bringing together industry, academics and government to develop the sector and promote it abroad.
  • Encourage Ontarians to use water more efficiently by creating and implementing innovative approaches to conserve water.
  • Strengthen sustainable municipal water planning by helping to identify and plan for long-term infrastructure needs.

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