Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk


The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) was established in 2004. This fund supports the development of Indigenous capacity to participate actively in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The protection of species at risk in Canada depends on a meaningful collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and organizations. The Act recognizes the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in wildlife conservation and the need to consider Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) in the assessment of which species may be at risk, as well as in the development and implementation of protection and recovery measures. Additionally, AFSAR supports projects that will proactively prevent species, other than species at risk, from becoming a conservation concern. 

Funding under AFSAR is separated into two streams:

  1. AFSAR Species at Risk Stream focuses on projects addressing the recovery of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of SARA; and
  2. AFSAR Prevention Stream focuses on projects addressing other species, beyond those listed on SARA, to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern.

Environment and Climate Change Canada administers the AFSAR funding projects that support terrestrial stewardship projects and Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for administering AFSAR aquatic stewardship projects.

Funding date

The application period for projects commencing in 2019/2020 has now closed. Details on the application window for projects beginning in 2020/2021 will be posted when the call for proposals opens in the fall of 2019.

Contact email



The overall program goals of AFSAR are to:

  • Support and promote the conservation, protection and recovery of target species and their habitats on Indigenous lands or traditionally used territories; and
  • Support the engagement and cooperation of Indigenous Peoples in the conservation and recovery of the target species, their habitats and SARA processes.

Expected results

The AFSAR Program’s expected results are:

  • Canada’s wildlife and habitat is conserved and protected;
  • Canada’s species at risk are recovered; and
  • Indigenous Peoples are engaged in conservation

Eligible applicants

Communities and organizations actively involved in the management of Indigenous lands across Canada are eligible for funding, including:

  • Indigenous associations/organizations
  • Territorially based Indigenous groups
  • District councils / chief and council
  • Traditional appointed advisory committees
  • Indigenous corporations
  • Tribal councils
  • Indigenous partnerships and groups
  • Indigenous research, academic, and educational institutions
  • Indigenous school authorities
  • Indigenous cultural education centres
  • Indigenous land/resource management authorities
  • Indigenous co-operatives
  • Indigenous societies
  • Indigenous boards and commissions, and
  • Other organizations (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) if mandated by eligible recipients.

Geographic location

Projects must take place on:

  • Reserves and Lands set apart for the use and benefit of Aboriginal Peoples under the Indian Act or under section 91 (24) of the Constitution Act,1867;
  • Other lands directly controlled by Indigenous Peoples (e.g., Métis Settlement lands, and land claim/treaty settlement lands), and lands set aside in the Yukon and Northwest Territories pursuant to Cabinet Directive, circular No.27; or
  • Lands where traditional activities (harvesting or other) are carried out.

Eligible projects

In order to be eligible, proposed projects must target the following species:

  • Species at Risk (SAR) stream:
    • Species listed as Endangered, Threatened and of Special Concern on Schedule 1 of SARA
  • Prevention (PRE) stream:
    • Species that have been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as endangered, threatened, or of special concern but have not yet been listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.
  • Activities eligible for funding include:
    • Habitat Protection and  Securement
    • Habitat Improvement
    • Species and Habitat Threat Abatement
    • Conservation Planning
    • Surveys, Inventories and Monitoring
    • Project Evaluation
    • Collection and Gathering of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge
    • Outreach and Education

Note: Activities other than those listed above may be considered subject to approval.

The AFSAR program evaluates and funds proposals in the context of AFSAR program priorities, which are reviewed annually. Please consult the 2019-2020 Call for Proposals to align your proposal with the program priorities. The application package can be obtained by contacting your regional AFSAR coordinator (listed below) or ec.FAEP-AFSAR.ec@canada.ca.

Range of funding

The minimum funding request suggested for new and multi-year projects is $10,000 and project funding usually ranges from $10,000 to $50,000 per project. Projects may extend over more than one year to a maximum of 3 years. The program requires a minimum of 1:0.20 leveraging on funds that it invests so that, for every $1 provided by AFSAR, at least $0.20 is raised by project recipients. This leveraging can take the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour).

Frequently asked questions

What are the selection criteria for projects under AFSAR?

Projects must satisfy each of the following criteria: 

  • meet all eligibility requirements (applicants, species and activities);
  • address the Program priorities; and
  • leverage a minimum of 1:0.20 on funds that AFSAR invests, that is to say that for every $1 provided by AFSAR at least $0.20 is raised by project recipients
What is the evaluation process and how are fund amounts determined for eligible projects?

Each proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by your regional AFSAR coordinator to confirm that it meets eligibility requirements.  Proposals meeting the eligibility requirements are then prioritized for funding based on alignment with program objectives, including program priorities, and program and project administration criteria.   

Funding is variable and dependent on project activities. In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the minimum funding request suggested for new and multi-year projects is $10,000 and project funding usually ranges from $10,000 to $50,000 per project.  Projects may extend between one to three years.

When will I receive notification that I have been approved for funding?

Environment and Climate Change Canada will aim to have funding decisions finalized by early spring  2019 for AFSAR projects.

I have an idea for a project, can you tell me if I should consider applying to the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk or not?

If you are interested in applying to AFSAR please contact your Regional coodinator (listed below) or ec.faep-afsar.ec@canada.ca to discuss your proposal in more detail.

Points to consider

  1. Starting in 2019-2020, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is transitioning to take on full authority for projects that contribute to the recovery of aquatic species at risk. Applicants wishing to pursue aquatic AFSAR projects should contact the appropriate aquatic regional coordinator at DFO.
  2. In accordance with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Grants and Contributions Service Standards, applicants will receive an acknowledgement that their application was submitted successfully within five (5) working days of submitting an application. Contact your regional coordinator (listed below) if you have submitted an application but have not received this acknowledgment.
  3. Any proposal submitted to other Environment and Climate Change Canada funding programs must be for activities that are different from those submitted in the AFSAR proposal. Organizations should review information from other Environment and Climate Change Canada funding programs to determine which program is the best fit for their project. 

Application instructions

To apply

  • In order to obtain an application package, which includes the Call for Proposals, Application Guidelines and Expression of Interest, please contact your regional AFSAR coordinator or ec.FAEP-AFSAR.ec@canada.ca.

On-line system

Contact Information

For general Environment and Climate Change Canada or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca.

AFSAR Regional Coordinators

If you have any further questions, please contact us at ec.faep-afsar.ec@canada.ca or contact your regional AFSAR coordinator. Please note that regional AFSAR coordinators are available to answer questions during regular business hours, local time.

New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Isabelle Robichaud
E-mail: isabelle.robichaud@canada.ca
Telephone: (506) 364-5198

Jordan Drapeau
E-mail: jordan.drapeau@canada.ca
Telephone: (418) 648-7025

Cheyenne Loon
E-mail: cheyenne.loon@canada.ca
Telephone: (416) 739-4100

Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Carmen Callihoo-Payne
E-mail: carmen.callihoo-payne@canada.ca
Telephone: (780) 951-8672

Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Dawn Andrews
E-mail: dawn.andrews@canada.ca
Telephone: (867) 669-4710

Saleem Dar
E-mail: saleem.dar@canada.ca
Telephone: (867) 393-7976

British Columbia
Kate Shapiro
E-mail: kate.shapiro@canada.ca
Telephone (Monday, Thursday): (604) 664-9044
Telephone (Tuesday, Wednesday): (604) 350-1952

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