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The Government of Canada and the Friends of the Rouge Watershed Announce 2 Billion Trees Program Funding to Plant 31,500 Native Trees

Press Release

From: Natural Resources Canada

September 15, 2023

Forests and trees capture and store carbon, making them an effective natural climate solution. Trees also clean the air that we breathe, improve water quality, enhance biodiversity and improve human well-being. Planting two billion trees over a decade is a crucial part of Canada’s climate plan, and the Government of Canada is continuing to work with provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, local communities and Indigenous Peoples.

Today, the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on the behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Friends of the Rouge Watershed announced a joint investment of more than $1.1 million to plant 31,500 native trees in the Greater Toronto Area.

Through this project, the Friends of the Rouge Watershed will involve youth and community volunteers by educating and motivating 6,000 volunteers in forest restoration while improving the local habitat. By doing so, viable forest corridors within the Greater Toronto Area between the Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario will be restored. At the same time, local urban temperatures will be lowered and heat stress impacts will decrease in Canada’s largest city.

The Government of Canada’s 2 Billion Trees program is helping to clean the air, keep neighbourhoods cool in the summer, create jobs and fight climate change while protecting nature. Since the program was launched in 2021, Canada has planted over 100 million trees, exceeding program expectations. This means that the 2BT program is on track toward its ultimate goal — planting two billion trees over 10 years.


“Trees are essential to our lives — they capture carbon, improve air quality and support wildlife — and they are important allies in our fight against climate change. That’s why Canada has committed to planting two billion trees. Through this investment with the Friends of the Rouge Watershed to plant over 31,000 trees in the Greater Toronto Area, we are showing how collaborative work can permanently expand forest cover by ensuring that the right tree is planted at the right place at the right time.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Canada is not immune to the global impact of climate change and the heavy toll it takes on lives, property and infrastructure. By training community volunteers and planting 31,500 native trees, our government is taking pre-emptive action to prevent flooding and erosion in Scarborough–Rouge Park and the GTA.”

The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This welcome funding from the federal government’s 2 Billion Trees program will help Friends of the Rouge Watershed involve 6,000 school and community volunteers in the planting of 31,500 native trees to combat climate change and flooding impacts — and improve water quality, air quality, biological diversity and human health in the Greater Toronto Area.”

Kevin O’Connor

President at the Friends of the Rouge Watershed

Quick facts

  • On August 2, 2023, Minister Wilkinson announced that Canada has supported the planting of over 110 million trees since the program was launched in 2021 — exceeding the goal to plant approximately 90 million trees during the first two years of the program — and is putting us on track to achieve the two billion trees commitment.
  • Since 2021, the 2BT program has supported 179 tree-planting and capacity-building projects from coast to coast to coast. Ninety percent of these projects planted more than two types of trees, and one in five projects were Indigenous-led. Over 220 different species were planted at more than 2,900 sites across Canada.
  • Planting two billion trees over 10 years is a whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort. Trees planted in provinces and territories under the Low Carbon Economy Fund are captured in this effort.

Related products


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Carolyn Svonkin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Canada

Jim Robb
General Manager
Friends of the Rouge Watershed


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