Funding Opportunities

Available Funding

The Fund will provide non-repayable grants between $75,000 and $1,000,000 per project that range from 60 – 80% of eligible project costs. An applicant must make a financial contribution to the project, and their overall contribution may be a combination of cash and in-kind according to the cost-sharing requirements below. The required contributions depend on the value of total eligible project costs. Projects with higher eligible costs are expected to make a larger contribution, which can include other funding sources.

A minimum of 20% of eligible project costs must be contributed by the applicant. The financial contribution may be made by project partners or alternate funding sources such as federal funding. In-kind contributions such as staff time can count toward the applicant’s contribution to a maximum of 10%. All applicants must make a cash contribution to their projects.

Projects with total eligible costs of:

  • Up to $249,999 will require a contribution of at least 20% of eligible project costs
  • $250,000 – $499,999 will require a contribution of at least 30% of eligible project costs
  • $500,000 + will require a contribution of at least 40% of eligible project costs

For example:

  • A project with total eligible costs of $100,000 will require the applicant to contribute at least 20% or $20,000. The Fund will provide a grant no greater than 80% or $80,000.
  • A project with total eligible costs of $400,000 will require the applicant to contribute at least 30% or $120,000. The Fund will provide a grant no greater than 70% or $280,000.
  • A project with total eligible costs of $1,000,000 will require the applicant to contribute at least 40% or $400,000. The Fund will provide a grant no greater than 60% or $600,000.

In-kind contributions

In-kind contributions can constitute a maximum of 10% of the total eligible project costs. These can include donated material, equipment, or labour. Applicants will be required to disclose in-kind contributions within the budget at the application stage. Prior to signing the Funding Agreement, an in-kind contribution form will be provided to grantees to confirm matching and in-kind contributions are available for the project.

Contribution Calculator

To assist in project budget planning, use the contribution calculator to determine your contribution amounts and project budget. Enter any one amount and the other three will fill in automatically.

The Fund contribution amount is outside the eligible range of $75,000 to $1,000,000.

Funding Streams

Projects funded by the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund generally fall under two streams: Mitigation and Adaptation. Some projects may have elements of both mitigation and adaptation, in this circumstance the applicant is encouraged to contact program staff to discuss which stream to apply under.

Projects in the Mitigation Stream seek to slow the rate of climate change by avoiding and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or by removing carbon from the atmosphere. Projects should lead to lasting reductions and contribute to Nova Scotia’s emission targets.

Communities will be at different stages of readiness in developing projects that reduce GHG emissions. The Mitigation Stream is intended to support the implementation of medium-scale GHG reduction projects, as well as more costly designs, plans, feasibility studies or other necessary works for the future implementation of GHG reduction projects.

Projects focusing primarily on implementation of direct GHG reduction projects will have emission reductions that are in addition to what would have otherwise occurred and are non-reversible. Most mitigation projects will also have emission reductions that are capable of bring estimated or measured.

The Mitigation Stream includes a wide range of project types, including:

  • Buildings
  • Transportation
  • Energy generation and storage
  • Waste management and circular economy
  • Carbon storage and sequestration.

Click here to see Mitigation stream project examples.

Projects in the Adaptation Stream help communities to proactively prepare and respond to climate change, with the goal of reducing vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems. Applicants should consider how their project contributes to adaptive capacity, which is central to achieving successful outcomes from adaptation efforts. Learn more about Adaptive Capacity in the Applicant Guide.

Different communities and organizations have different adaptive capacity needs. Projects will range from understanding climate risks or setting priorities for action, to developing or implementing new plans, to sustaining efforts in the long term. Projects in all stages are eligible for funding. The Adaptation Stream includes a wide range of project types, including:

  • Built environment and climate-ready infrastructure. Where applicable, preference will be given to nature-based or ecosystem-based solutions in situations where there are viable alternatives to hard infrastructure.
  • Ecosystems projects that protect, restore and manage land, freshwater and coastal ecosystems.
  • Community coordination and planning that increases understanding of climate impacts and lays the foundations for wider efforts toward adaptive capacity.

Click here to see Adaptation Stream project examples.

Low-Barrier Supports

Low-barrier supports are available to assist projects led by and/or benefiting equity-deserving communities who will disproportionately experience the negative effects of climate change and face barriers to mitigation efforts. This includes Mi’kmaq peoples, African Nova Scotians, racialized peoples, newcomers, Acadians, individuals living on low incomes, individuals living with disabilities, seniors, youth, 2SLGBTQ+, and women.

Low-barrier supports are intended to enable collaboration with applicants (and recipients) in ways that are useful to them. Some possible options include:

  • Customized financial agreements
  • Support to define a project scope
  • Support with partnerships
  • Customized evaluation and reporting requirements
  • 1-1 webinars with your organization
  • Accessibility accommodations
  • Your ideas; this list is not exhaustive and we are open to possibilities.

Please let us know if you think there are low-barrier supports that could be useful to your organization. Eligible groups and organizations have an opportunity to self-identify early in the application process, or you can email to let us know you are interested. We can discuss your goals and explore possibilities.

The Fund has begun the effort of creating an equitable and inclusive funding program, but we know we still have work to do. We will be reaching out to equity-deserving groups to build awareness and identify applicant opportunities. We will continue shaping the program so that it meets the needs of diverse communities and enables exciting, relevant climate action. Your feedback will help us to keep improving. If you are not sure if the current opportunities are right for your organization we would be grateful to hear from you.

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Project Eligibility

The Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund is intended to support community climate change projects in various stages of the project development cycle, including ideation, assessment, feasibility, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge mobilization. To be eligible, projects must be based in Nova Scotia and must meet at least one of the two core objectives (mitigation or adaptation). Projects that meet some or all the co-benefits identified in the objectives are favorably considered.

Applicants may lead a maximum of two projects for consideration in each intake round.

For more information about project eligibility and application evaluation criteria, please review the Applicant Guide.

Project Examples

These project examples are intended to provide an overview of types of projects that could be eligible through the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund. It is not an exhaustive list, and communities are encouraged to proposed mitigation and adaption projects that arise from their local needs and opportunities.


  • Deep energy retrofits of non-residential buildings such as community or recreational centres
  • Electrification of heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) systems / fuel switching
  • Strengthening green building code standards
  • Implementing energy efficiency technologies
  • Developing the workforce for energy-efficient and high-performance buildings


  • Electrification of community transportation
  • Fleet conversion studies
  • Active transportation pathways and networks
  • Shared mobility services
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Energy generation and storage

  • New renewable on-site energy production
    • Rooftop solar photovoltaic systems
    • Ground-mount solar photovoltaic systems
    • Onshore wind projects
    • Feasibility studies
    • Business case development
  • Onsite combined heat and power projects
  • Retrofits to existing on-site energy production that result in the reduction of fossil fuel use
  • Energy storage projects

Waste management and circular economy

  • Waste prevention or minimization projects
  • Food rescue / donation system projects
  • Recycling, repair, refurnishing or material recovery projects
  • Installation of landfill gas management systems
  • Anaerobic digestion projects
  • Policy development

Carbon capture and sequestration

  • Blue carbon storage such as restoring and enhancing local seagrasses
  • Coastal wetland restoration
  • Enhancement of community forests

Built environment and climate-ready infrastructure

  • Reinforcement, rehabilitation, or modification of assets that protect community infrastructure and services from various climate risks
  • Flood risk mitigation measures or infrastructure projects, such as channel improvement, flow regulation, and other flood proofing measures
  • Mapping of vulnerable and at-risk community infrastructure and services

Ecosystems and nature-based solutions

  • Projects that address the intersection of fresh water and coastal system impacts, including storm water, storm surge, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise, ice jams, etc.
  • Protection and restoration projects for cultural assets and areas of cultural significance
  • Restoring wetlands for flood management
  • Restoring dune systems to protect communities from coastal hazards
  • Managing community forests to reduce floods and landslides

Community coordination and planning

  • Community emergency management planning
  • Flood mapping, preparation, and prevention
  • Sea level rise adaptation and managing retreat from shoreline
  • Water sustainability planning, drought mapping, preparation, and prevention
  • Forest and wildfire strategy or vulnerability assessments