Trail Funding Program: Program Framework

The Trail Funding Program is intended to assist Trail operators across Canada in the development and enhancement of the Trans Canada Trail through a range of funding streams that support specific Trail priorities. To review the details of the individual funding streams, please refer to each of the individual guidelines listed below.

Please note that this framework is subject to change. Applicants are advised to read through the framework prior to each grant intake and subsequent application submissions.

1. Funding streams

Trans Canada Trail will fund projects through the following funding streams. Please refer to the appropriate funding stream guidelines for further clarification.

2. General project eligibility criteria

Specific eligibility criteria for each stream can be found in the guidelines, however all projects should meet the following general eligibility criteria to be considered for funding:

  • The project is located on the Trans Canada Trail network.
  • The project falls under one of the funding streams and meets the eligibility criteria for that stream.
  • Applications must be complete and include all required information and documentation.
  • The project is feasible and well-structured with a comprehensive budget, realistic schedule and all applicable project permissions have been obtained.
  • The organization is able to demonstrate that it has the authority to implement, and be responsible for, the project, and that it is supported by the community.
  • The organization is able to ensure adequate maintenance of the Trail once the project is complete.
  • The organization can receive no more than three (3) grants under the Trail Funding Program at any given time and must be in good standing with Trans Canada Trail.
  • Operational trails registered with Trans Canada Trail must have General Liability Insurance of at least $2,000,000. Trail operators must provide Trans Canada Trail with a Certificate of Insurance for General Liability on an annual basis.
  • The project should aim for net-zero tree loss. Whenever trees need to be removed for trail work to occur, the trail group or municipality should replace the removed trees with new plantings. To achieve this, we recommend enlisting the expertise of a forest engineer, who can assess the value of the trees and propose a plan for their potential replacement. We recognize that it will be important to distinguish between different actions, such as brush-cutting and removing mature trees. Trans Canada Trail may consider providing an additional contribution to assist the applicant in managing the costs associated with meeting this requirement. This commitment underscores a dedication to enhancing biodiversity, minimizing ecological impact and promoting environmental sustainability along the Trail.
  • Trans Canada Trail wants to protect and increase the number of designated greenway sections on the Trans Canada Trail. Click here to review Trans Canada Trail’s Greenway Principles.
  • For some funding streams, some groups may have to meet additional requirements or provide additional information in order to make the project eligible for funding.

Trail Funday Framework Program

3. Eligible expenses – cash and in-kind

To be eligible, expenses must be directly linked to the project submitted and approved.

Contracts (consultants, contractors, site controls and laboratory fees)

Expenses related to the hiring of external resources to execute the completion of a project are considered eligible project expenses.

Time donations (in-kind contributions) by contractors are also eligible to be applied towards the total cost of the project and will be considered when calculating the contribution from Trans Canada Trail. Their value must be estimated according to actual and fair market value.


The purchase of materials necessary to complete the project is considered an eligible project expense. Any external materials or the donation of supplies (in-kind contributions) are eligible to be applied towards the total project cost and will be considered when calculating the contribution from Trans Canada Trail. Their value must be estimated according to actual and fair market value.


Any equipment rental necessary to carry out a project is considered an eligible expense. For equipment owned by a Trail group, only the fees attributable to the use of the equipment for the project (depreciation, operators, fuel, wear and maintenance, insurance) are considered eligible project expenses.

External equipment donations (in-kind contributions) are eligible to be applied towards the total project cost and will be considered when calculating the contribution from Trans Canada Trail. Their value must be estimated according to actual and fair market value.

Labour and travel expenses

Trans Canada Trail acknowledges the importance of the work done by the employees of local groups toward the development of Trail projects, and will therefore provide financial support for certain expenses incurred by the group for this type of work, with the following limits:

  • Project manager salary: actual salary cost related to the supported project, plus contributions and deductions, without benefits, up to $45/hour.
  • Internal technical team salary: actual salary cost related to the supported project, plus contributions and deductions, without benefits, up to $35/hour.
  • Wage earners/labourers: actual salary cost related to the supported project, plus contributions and deductions, without benefits, up to $25/hour.
  • Travel expenses: max. 50 km/workday – all vehicles combined. Reimbursement rate: 50 cents/km.
  • Salary expenditures for project management by a municipality or city, which have already been included in the municipal budget, are not eligible.

Ineligible cash and in-kind expenses

The following is a partial list of expenditures not eligible for financial support:

  • General administration costs of the organization, including administrative salaries (office admin, accounting, etc.)
  • Volunteer time – Although it is of great value, volunteer time is not eligible and cannot be added to the total cost of a project
  • Office expenses (rent, telephone, computers, photocopies, insurance, etc.)
  • Application costs associated with funding requests
  • Private land use expenses, including rent or taxes
  • Land purchase costs
  • Financial expenses (interest, bank charges, etc.)
  • Unforeseen expenses and contingency budget items
  • Sales tax

4. Project administration

Before submitting an application, groups must contact a representative from Trans Canada Trail to evaluate the eligibility of their project. If you do not have a representative, or to obtain the contact information for your regional Trans Canada Trail representative, please contact Following the initial evaluation and once all the project requirements are in place, the application can be submitted to Trans Canada Trail.

Decision and contribution agreement

Within three months of receiving a complete application, Trans Canada Trail will send a formal letter to the applicant with the results of their application. If the project is approved, the letter will indicate the maximum financial support offered, as well as any conditions and additional information to be submitted before the contribution agreement can be signed. Signing Trans Canada Trail’s contribution agreement is mandatory and confirms the financial contribution. Please note that the contribution agreement is an official Trans Canada Trail document and cannot be modified.


Any group receiving a Trans Canada Trail contribution must submit project reports to Trans Canada Trail according to the schedule set out in the contribution agreement. The reports must include:

  • Changes to the project (an explanation must be provided for any changes)
  • Confirmation of the project schedule (an explanation must be provided for any changes)
  • Budget confirmation (an explanation must be provided for any changes)
  • The total project and in-kind expenditures to date
  • Any other information or documents required, in accordance with the contribution agreement
  • Supporting documents for expenses may be required
  • Photos (before, during and after the project)

Payments and maximum contribution

Each payment will be made within 90 days of the signing of the contribution agreement and/or approval of a project report by Trans Canada Trail. Payments will be made according to the following schedule:

  • 25% of the contribution paid upon signing the Contribution Agreement
  • 50% of the contribution paid upon approval of the progress report when 50% of the report has been completed
  • Final payment of the contribution upon approval of the final report

Total payments for the project shall not exceed the maximum amount specified in the Contribution Agreement. Trans Canada Trail reserves the right to modify this payment schedule based on the specifics and constraints of a project.

The total contribution may be less than originally planned if the eligible expenses incurred by the group are less than those provided in the application.

The group is required to inform Trans Canada Trail in writing if they receive additional funding for their project from another source. The cumulative financial support cannot exceed the total cost of the project. If the total funding received exceeds this limit, the overpayment amount must be returned to Trans Canada Trail.

5. Purchasing process recommendations

Trans Canada Trail encourages trail organizations to think about and adapt their purchasing processes to:

  • Consider the environmental performance of all suppliers and contractors
  • Include a diversity of suppliers and contractors
  • Encourage local enterprises to bid
  • Maximize opportunities for engagement, employment, experience and economic gain within and for Indigenous communities.

Trans Canada Trail also encourages anyone working in trail and land use to engage local Indigenous communities in projects, regardless of the jurisdiction of the project.

For all projects with an estimated cost of $150,000 or more, the applicant will be asked to provide, for each of the above items, a short description of the purchasing processes that have been put in place, or of the intent to meaningfully engage with a greater variety of suppliers during the project.

Trans Canada Trail may provide an additional contribution to help the applicant defray the cost of various purchasing initiatives.

6. Costing tools for trail planning and management

Together with the engineering and professional services firm, WSP, Trans Canada Trail has prepared two costing tools to support trail operators in the planning and management of trail projects. The tools are free to trail operators. Reach out to to request access. 

7. Promotion and recognition

Trail operators receiving funding must comply with Trans Canada Trail’s Grant Acknowledgement Guidelines.