Canada Nature Fund, special ministerial representative, and national advisory committee


The new Canada Nature Fund has been designed to motivate and support the efforts of Canadians whose participation is critical to achieving success in nature conservation. It will support a new approach to the conservation of biodiversity through targeted federal investments that enhance collaboration and partnership on protected and conserved areas and species at risk. Additionally, the Indigenous Guardians program will be launched this summer, with Indigenous Peoples.

The Canada Nature Fund will provide federal funding of $500 million over five years. Through leveraged partnership support from foundations, provinces, territories, the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, and others, we anticipate at least $1 billion being raised for conservation action. The Canada Nature Fund will make it possible to establish protected and conserved areas, secure private land, and support terrestrial- and aquatic-species protection efforts by provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and stakeholders.

A variety of partners are eligible for funding: provinces and territories, Indigenous organizations, communities, and environmental groups. Funds may be allocated directly, for identified federal priorities, or through a call for proposals or application-based process, potentially with philanthropic foundations and other funding partners.

The Canada Nature Fund will have two streams: Spaces and Species. Co-benefits between the two streams will be sought, as will co-benefits for climate change and Indigenous reconciliation.

The Spaces stream will provide close to $300 million over five years toward increasing the protected and conserved areas in Canada, their connectivity, and their ecological integrity to contribute to Canada’s Biodiversity Target1.

The Spaces stream is phased for rapid roll-out. The first focus will be a Quick Start component, which will be directed, this summer, to provinces and territories, Indigenous governments, representative organizations as well as not-for-profit organizations, to advance nearly ready projects and support capacity to help build momentum toward achieving Canada’s Target 1 commitments. 

By fall 2018, the Challenge component of the Spaces stream will launch through a call for proposals for interested partners who can make significant progress toward Canada’s Target 1, including the establishment of Indigenous protected and conserved areas. 

Also in fall 2018, a call for proposals to deliver the Private Lands component will be released for a four-year, third-party, partnership delivery model supporting the acquisition and stewardship of ecologically sensitive private lands, to contribute to Canada’s protected-areas target and conserve species at risk. 

Lastly, the Spaces stream funds, in combination with existing funds, will also support wetland conservation, innovative community-based projects that contribute to Target 1, as well as landscape science and research, not-for-profit partnership, and Indigenous collaborative management with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s protected areas.  

Under the Natural Legacy initiative, the Government of Canada is transforming its approach to species at risk by shifting to ecosystem-based, multispecies approaches. The Species stream of the Canada Nature Fund supports this shift by providing over $200 million over five years toward the protection and recovery of terrestrial species at risk—managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada—and aquatic species at risk—managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Under the Species stream, directed and application-based funding will contribute to the protection and recovery of priority species—such as caribou and some migratory fish—as well as priority areas and to mitigate risks associated with priority sectors—such as forestry, agriculture, and urban development.  

To inform and advise Minister McKenna on external partnerships, leveraging opportunities, and long-term directions for the Canada Nature Fund, the Minister will establish a national advisory committee on nature. A special ministerial representative will chair the advisory committee. The appointment of the special ministerial representative and other members of the advisory committee will be announced by the end of 2018.

1 Target 1 is one of 19 targets established under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy. Target 1 commits to conserving at least 17 percent of Canada’s terrestrial and inland water and 10 percent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, by 2020.

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