February 27, 2018
CPAWS applauds today’s announcement of 1.3 billion dollars over 5 years to protect Canada’s land, freshwater, and wildlife. This unprecedented investment will enable Canada to achieve its commitment to protect at least 17% of our land and freshwater by 2020. To date, Canada has protected 10.6% of our landscape; Manitoba has protected 11% of lands and freshwaters within its borders.
“Today’s historic federal investment in protecting wildlands and wildlife could be a game-changer for nature conservation across Canada, including in Manitoba,” said Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of the CPAWS Manitoba chapter. “Budget 2018 recognizes the scale of the biodiversity crisis we face, the need to move quickly to deliver on our promises, and the need to support efforts by all levels of government, civil society, and other partners to protect our treasured natural heritage.”
For the first time, the federal budget not only allocates funding for federal action on nature conservation but also includes significant support for provinces, territories, and Indigenous governments to work to establish more protected areas, recognizing their jurisdiction over land management in most of the country. This cost-shared model is similar to the approach used to deliver on other shared priorities in Canada, such as infrastructure, climate change mitigation, and health care.
Highlights of Budget 2018 conservation investments include:
$500 million over five years for a new $1 Billion “Nature Fund” to support conservation partnerships and which will leverage funding from other government and non-governmental sources;
$800 million over five years to support:
- New federal protected areas
- Increased capacity for national park management
- Increased capacity to protect species at risk
- Funding to establish a coordinated network of conservation areas working with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.
“This is an opportunity for Manitoba to secure much needed funding to support the creation of new protected areas in our province, including proposed protection for important terrestrial polar bear habitat along the Hudson Bay coast and conservation designations in the Fisher Bay region located on the southwest basin of Lake Winnipeg,” says Thiessen. “With this additional support we hope to see accelerated action to protect these and other important natural areas.”
“We are particularly pleased to see funding for Indigenous protected areas. Indigenous governments are leading innovative conservation initiatives across Canada, and we hope this funding will help advance their work Manitoba, which could also contribute to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,” says Thiessen.
“We thank the federal government for listening to the recommendations made by CPAWS and our environmental partners in the Green Budget Coalition,” said Alison Woodley, CPAWS’ National Conservation Director, “and we deeply appreciate the efforts of many thousands of Canadians who wrote to the Finance Minister, and of the 116 parliamentarians who signed an open letter supporting our recommendations. Today’s investment confirms how much Canadians care about this issue and shows that raising our collective voice truly works!”
In 2010, Canada and other signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)endorsed a strategic plan to reverse a global biodiversity crisis, including a commitment to protect at least 17% of land and inland waters and 10% of ocean areas by 2020. The CBD was signed in 1992 alongside the UN Convention on Climate Change, recognizing the need to jointly tackle these two critical environmental challenges. Last year the federal government invested in a Pan-Canadian Climate Plan. This year’s investment will support a parallel pan-Canadian effort to protect biodiversity.
In February 2017, federal, provincial, and territorial governments launched the “Pathway to Canada Target One”, a process through which they are working with Indigenous peoples, civil society, and other partners to develop a plan to deliver on Canada’s international land and freshwater protection target. This Budget 2018 funding is critical to support implementation of this collaborative work.
“Investing in protected areas will conserve Canada’s wildlife, water, and wilderness, provide more protected spaces for healthy outdoor activities, and create jobs in communities across the country by growing sustainable nature and culture-based tourism economies,” says Woodley. “This is an investment in the future of our country, which will deliver huge returns.”
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. In the past 50+ years, we’ve played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and water so that future generations can benefit from Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness.