Ontario Newsroom

Experimental Lakes Area to Remain Open

News Release

Experimental Lakes Area to Remain Open

Ontario Government Commits $2 million per year to foster Research and Innovation

Office of the Premier

Ontario will commit up to $2 million per year to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open - the only fresh water research facility of its kind in the world - a decision that will see that the important research conducted there can continue to benefit the world.

The Experimental Lakes Area is a freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario specializing in pollution reduction strategies, climate change, and protection of freshwater ecosystems. This unique facility in Ontario attracts scientists from around the world while conducting important research which informs our pollution reduction strategies, our understanding of climate change and how we can protect our lakes and rivers right here in Ontario, across the country and the entire globe.

This investment is part of the Ontario government's plan to foster research and innovation and create jobs in Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • An agreement between Ontario, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the federal government was reached before September 1st to keep the facility open as Ontario and the IISD finalize a long-term agreement.
  • The Experimental Lakes Area was established in 1968 and is approximately 50 kilometres southeast of Kenora, in the Lake of the Woods watershed.
  • In the 1970s research at the Experimental Lakes Area identified that acid rain could lead to freshwater fish deaths.
  • In April, the new Ontario government announced that it was working with the federal government, the Government of Manitoba and other partners to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open.
  • The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will assist with the transitional phase until the IISD fully takes over the Experimental Lakes Area operations while all three parties continue to negotiate a long-term agreement.
  • The Manitoba government is also providing ongoing funding to the IISD as the organization takes over the operation of the Experimental Lakes Area.

Additional Resources


Kathleen Wynne

“I am thrilled that the Experimental Lakes Area will remain open. The research performed here provides invaluable knowledge about climate change and helps protect freshwater systems around the world. I want to thank all parties for working together to help make Ontario a world-class destination for scientific research.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

David Orazietti

“The Experimental Lakes Area is a one-of-a-kind, world class research facility and our government has stepped-up with the financial support necessary to ensure it remained open because we recognize the importance of the scientific work being done in Northwestern Ontario.”

David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

Michael Gravelle

“The Experimental Lakes Area is a truly unique and significant location in the Northwest, which continues to provide vital science and research opportunities. As both the Minister responsible for northern development and the MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, I’m extremely pleased that our government has taken a lead role to keep the facility operational in 2013, while a long term solution is found.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Bill Mauro

“I am pleased that our government has reached an agreement with our partners that will keep the Experimental Lakes Area open. It is a truly unique facility that is performing important research that will help protect our region for years to come.”

Bill Mauro

MPP, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

“We are very pleased that the Experimental Lakes Area will remain open and the monitoring will continue. Today is a good day for science in Canada. We are grateful to Ontario, the federal government and Manitoba for their ongoing cooperation and support.”

Scott Vaughan

President of the International Institute for Sustainable Development



Environment and Energy Government Rural and North