Gateway Gazette

Government’s Historic Nature Investment is Producing Results, but More Needed

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 20, 2020 – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released a report today to mark two years since Budget 2018, when the federal government announced the biggest-ever investment in Canadian nature. 

The CPAWS report, Government investments bring Canada closer to conservation goals, finds that the historic $1.3-billion investment has stimulated provincial and territorial government efforts, resulting in new protected areas like the 55,000 square-kilometer Peel Watershed in Yukon and twenty-seven new protected areas in Nova Scotia.

The federal investment has also resulted in unprecedented Indigenous-led conservation projects. This includes the newest addition of Thaidene Nëné in the Northwest Territories, which will be governed in partnership with the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation. 

“One of the lessons of the past few years is that federal support for nature conservation can be a powerful tool for Indigenous reconciliation”, said Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director. 

The CPAWS report also finds that the federal investment has unleashed an equally historic investment by the private sector, ultimately reaching $500 million. 

“Canada has never seen this level of private investment in nature before,” said Ms. Schwartz. “The philanthropic community is helping public dollars go double the distance in some cases”.

However, the CPAWS report also makes clear that the federal government’s latest targets, to protect 25% of Canada’s lands and freshwater by 2025 and 30% by 2030, will require more investment. Canada currently protects 12.2%, with current projects expected to push that number to roughly 17%. 

The Green Budget Coalition, of which CPAWS is a member, has called for $467 million* from the federal budget for ongoing nature protection in 2020-2021.

“Getting to 25% and 30% won’t be easy,” said Ms. Schwartz. “We need to keep up this positive momentum”.

*NOTE: This figure only includes establishment monies for terrestrial protected areas on public lands for 2020-21, and does not include monies for ongoing protected area management.

About CPAWS

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land, ocean and freshwater, and ensuring our parks and protected areas are managed to protect nature. Since 1963, we have played a leading role in protecting over half a million square kilometres! Our vision is to protect at least half of Canada’s public land and water in a framework of reconciliation – for the benefit of both wildlife and humans.

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