Canada invests $34.1 million to protect priority species at risk across the country

News release

November 30, 2022 – Gatineau, Quebec

The world is facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis. Here and around the globe, cherished species that are critical to the health and well-being of Canadians and the economy are declining. Protecting species at risk and their habitat by working in collaboration with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, and other partners, is critical to reverse the situation and recover Canada's biodiversity.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced up to $34.1 million in funding as part of the Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative. This funding will support 13 new and ongoing projects focused on the recovery and protection of some of Canada’s most iconic species across the country.

To date, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have identified six shared priority species: caribou boreal, southern mountain, peary caribou, barren-ground caribou, greater sage-grouse, and wood bison. They are part of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. The priority species have special meaning for Indigenous peoples and most Canadians, and they have or had large geographic ranges and an important ecological role. Conservation of these priority species can have significant benefits for other species at risk, wildlife in general, and support related biodiversity goals.

Earlier this week, the Government of Canada released the Wild Species 2020: The General Status of Species in Canada report. The Report takes stock of 50,534 species, more than half of all those known in Canada. The results indicate that 20 percent of assessed species in Canada are at some level of risk of extinction, reinforcing the need for ongoing data, analysis, and action on species conservation.

Today’s Enhanced Nature Legacy funding includes an investment of up to $1.1 million to support the Government of Yukon's monitoring efforts on wood bison. The data collected on bison will develop a better understanding of their populations, their health, and help identify their key habitats in the Yukon. Analysis of bison movements and habitat use will support management decisions and ensure that threats affecting their populations are reduced.

The focus on species at risk highlights one of Canada’s key priorities as it welcomes the world to Montréal for the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), from December 7–19. This is an important opportunity for Canada to show its leadership, along with international partners, in taking actions to conserve nature and halt biological diversity loss around the world.


“The world and our country are facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis. But it is not too late to change course. Nature is part of our identity. It’s who we are, what we love, what Canadians are known for. When we support nature, nature supports us. The Government of Canada is committed to working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. We can only achieve this goal by working together, and it’s why our government supports on-the-ground initiatives for species at risk protection across the country.”

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

“The Yukon has participated in the national recovery effort for wood bison since 1980 and is home to three bison populations. The Aishihik bison herd is one of only a few free-range, disease-free bison herds in the world and represents a unique and important opportunity for conserving this threatened species. As such, Yukoners are global stewards of bison. Data collected through the Yukon’s bison-monitoring program will be used to implement the national recovery of the species, and to inform bison conservation and management across Canada and Alaska.”

– The Honourable Nils Clarke, Yukon’s Minister of Environment

Quick facts

  • The Priorities Species Stream of the Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative focuses on conservation efforts for priority species. It responds to the global biodiversity crisis and threats to Canada’s ecosystem and wildlife, and advances the protection and recovery of species at risk.

  • Canada is committed to protecting 25 percent of land and 25 percent of oceans by 2025 and 30 percent of each by 2030.

  • In 2021, the Government of Canada committed $4.1 billion to nature protection, including 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.

Associated links


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)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

Page details

Date modified: