The Governments of Canada and Manitoba work together to protect nature at Canadian Forces Base Shilo

News release

March 7, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Nature is an important part of Canadian identity, and we all need to do more to protect our natural areas for our children and grandchildren. That’s why the Government of Canada is doubling the amount of nature protected in Canada’s lands and oceans.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, the Minister of National Defence, Harjit S. Sajjan, and Manitoba’s Sustainable Development Minister, Rochelle Squires, announced the designation of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shilo as an area providing important benefits for nature and biodiversity conservation.

This is the first time that a Canadian military base will formally be recognized as an other area-based effective conservation measure (OECM) in support of Canada’s land conservation goals. The Department of National Defence and Environment and Climate Change Canada are working together to identify other lands that could potentially be conserved and contribute to Canada’s nature protection goals.


“Canada is working hard to double the protection of our lands and oceans. The recognition of CFB Shilo helps us conserve a special part of Manitoba, and contributes to our nature protection goals.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Manitoba acknowledges the importance of conserving natural habitat, and the recognition of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shilo as an other effective area-based conservation measure (OECM) is a great step towards expanding the areas of our province where natural habitats are recognized and specially designated. By partnering with the Department of National Defence, Manitoba continues to be a leader in landscape conservation initiatives.

– Rochelle Squires, Manitoba Minister of Sustainable Development

“In line with our Defence Energy and Environment Strategy – we are working towards more sustainable defence operations. Today’s announcement on conserving biodiversity at CFB Shilo is an important one, as it demonstrates the efforts of our Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence to contribute to a greener Canada.”

– Harjit. S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“We are very proud of our long-standing commitment to sustainable land management practices and biodiversity at CFB Shilo. It is gratifying to our team that this hard work will be recognized as part of our designation as an OECM.”

– Lieutenant Colonel Dave MacIntyre, Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base Shilo

Quick facts

  • Canada is now recognizing other area-based effective conservation measures (OECM) that make important contributions to biodiversity conservation. The Convention on Biological Diversity defines Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECM), as: “a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem services.”

  • OECMs achieve the conservation of biological diversity, regardless of the primary objective of the area. Up to now, parks and protected areas have been the primary tools to protect and conserve biological diversity.

  • The main difference between a protected area and an OECM is the primary purpose of the area. Protected areas should have conservation as their primary objective. On the other hand, an OECM often has similar conservation and biodiversity results, while meeting other primary objectives.

  • Canada currently protects 10.5% of its land and freshwater.

  • CFB Shilo is located in the mixed-grass prairie ecosystem of south-central Manitoba and is home to 17 species at risk and other wildlife.

  • Approximately 20,000 hectares of CFB Shilo are natural areas that support diverse plant and wildlife communities while still fulfilling their primary military purpose. By committing to maintain these natural areas according to established criteria, CFB Shilo can be reported to the federal protected and conserved areas database as an Other Effective area-based Conservation Measure (OECM).

  • Canada Target 1 states that “by 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.”

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Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

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