Working with Newfoundland and Labrador to halt biodiversity loss

News release

April 6, 2022 – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Conserving and restoring nature is vital to help combat climate change; protect biodiversity and species at risk; and maintain a strong, sustainable economy. Biodiversity, globally and in Canada, is declining at a rate unprecedented in human history. We all depend on nature to supply us with food, clean water, breathable air, and a livable climate.

Today, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador have committed to accelerate the creation of new protected areas in the province. In recognition of the importance of biodiversity and nature conservation efforts that can support broader environmental goals and climate change resiliency, the two governments agreed to work together to:

  • Establish Eagle River Watershed protected area, in consultation with Indigenous communities, by 2025;
  • Negotiate a memorandum of understanding by the end of 2022 to assess the feasibility of a South Coast Fjords national marine conservation area and consider an adjacent national park in the Burgeo region; and
  • Agree to advance marine conservation opportunities on the Labrador Coast in partnership with Labrador Indigenous communities.

The two governments also agreed to investigate the identification of additional national marine conservation areas, national wildlife areas, national parks, and Fisheries and Oceans–led marine conservation areas in Newfoundland and Labrador. This work builds upon the collaborative efforts between the governments and the legacy and benefits that the four existing national parks bring to the provincial economy. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is supportive of these important efforts to increase protected areas and decrease biodiversity loss.

Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador also agreed to advance negotiations on a Nature Agreement that will focus on advancing a number of nature-related issues, including habitat protection for species at risk and migratory birds.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments to support nature and nature-based climate solutions. This includes committing to protect 25 percent of lands and oceans by 2025 while working towards 30 percent by 2030. These investments will help to decrease the country’s overall net greenhouse gas emissions to help Canada meet its 2030 Paris Agreement and 2050 net‑zero targets. In 2019, the Government of Canada also announced a new protection standard for new federal marine protected areas in which oil and gas exploration and exploitation, mining, dumping, and bottom trawling will be prohibited.

By working together, climate change can be tackled and biodiversity loss halted. The future depends on taking action now.


“By working closely together, with provinces, Indigenous Peoples, and communities, we are succeeding in protecting nature, halting biodiversity loss, and fighting climate change. On land, since we formed government, we have protected habitat equal to almost half the size of Manitoba. On Canadian marine areas, we have gone from 1 percent to 14 percent areas protected. Today’s announcement is concrete action from both levels of government on these goals that are important to us all.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Our government is delivering on our promise to protect Canada’s oceans. Today’s commitment between the federal government and Newfoundland and Labrador is a watershed moment for nature protection in the province. Within these proposed protected areas, we will conserve the ecosystems of many important species so they can thrive, while setting the stage for a significant contribution to the amount of marine protected areas from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada.”

– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Biodiversity is disappearing. Newfoundland and Labrador needs us to take action. Our fjords, our bays, our rivers, and our ocean—we owe it to the lands and the seas that have fed, clothed, and housed us, and to the Indigenous Peoples we share stewardship with, to take action and protect our province.”

– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl and Canada’s Minister of Labour

“This is a great day for the province, as it shows the value of collaboration for conservation. With this collaboration agreement between the federal and provincial governments, I am very excited to see this commitment to protection of our natural spaces. I encourage groups to make your voices heard in support of this pivotal moment of nature protection in the province.”  

– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“Our government is committed to taking bold steps to tackle climate change and protect the invaluable natural resources throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, from the land to the sea. Working closely with our Indigenous and federal partners, we look forward to continuing such important measures to ensure a bright, sustainable future for generations to come.”

– The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Expanding protected areas in Newfoundland and Labrador is a significant measure towards the shared goals of both governments to address climate change and reach net zero by 2050. Our province is well aware of the importance of preserving the biodiversity of our oceans, forests, and wetlands and we value the ongoing work with our federal partners to ensure actions like this are undertaken.”

– The Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Nature-based climate solutions help preserve the adaptive potential of the earth, reducing risk from natural disasters, and enhancing the resilience of communities. Oceans, forests, wetlands, grasslands, and farmland absorb and store large amounts of carbon (CO2), keep the air and water clean, and provide habitat for wildlife. Nature-based climate solutions also help advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, increase the resilience of nature-based economic sectors such as agriculture, and create green jobs in communities across the country.

  • In 2021, the Government of Canada committed $4.1 billion to nature protection, setting aside an additional $2.3 billion over five years for Canada’s Enhanced Nature Legacy to continue supporting nature conservation measures across the country, including Indigenous leadership in conservation. It also includes almost $1 billion over five years to protect the health of oceans.

  • In 2019, the Government of Canada also announced a protection standard for new federal marine protected areas in which oil and gas exploration and exploitation, mining, dumping, and bottom trawling will be prohibited. This protection standard was announced in response to the National Advisory Panel on marine protected area (MPA) Standards, which used guidance developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop its recommendations.

  • To date, fifty-two Indigenous communities across the country have received funding to either establish Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) or undertake early planning and engagement work that could result in additional IPCAs.

  • There are currently fifty-five national wildlife areas across Canada, some located in regions that include relatively undisturbed ecosystems, containing nationally significant habitats for animals or plants.

  • There are currently forty-seven national parks, five national marine conservation areas, and one national urban park. These treasured places represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.

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Kaitlin Power
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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