Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

Overview

The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR), established in 2004-2005, 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 upon 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. The AFSAR program allocates approximately $4.5 million a year to projects on Indigenous lands and waters.

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
  2. AFSAR Prevention Stream focuses on projects addressing other species, beyond those listed on SARA, to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern

AFSAR is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and co-managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency with the support of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the guidance of National Indigenous organizations. AFSAR is one of the three main federal funding programs that focus on the protection and recovery of species at risk. The two other funds are the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund.

The AFSAR Species at Risk Stream helps Indigenous organizations and communities across Canada build capacity to enable them to participate actively in the conservation and recovery of species protected under SARA. Capacity building includes skill development (education, training, learning), tool development (systems or mechanisms), and information management (data) to enable Indigenous organizations and communities to acquire, develop, and use knowledge and skills so that they can play an active role in the implementation of SARA. Capacity building projects could occur on or outside reserves. The program also supports projects that protect and recover species at risk and their habitats on Indigenous lands. Habitat protection can take place across Canada on reserves, lands set apart for the use and benefit of Aboriginal Peoples under the Indian Act or the Constitution Act, other lands directly controlled by Indigenous Peoples, lands and waters where traditional activities are carried out and on federal waters.

AFSAR also works to keep healthy species healthy. While the Species at Risk Stream supports the recovery of species at risk and their habitats, the Prevention Stream fosters stewardship projects aimed at preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern. Under this latter stream, all species not listed under SARA are eligible and national/regional priorities are identified annually.

To guide the effective use of limited resources, national and regional planning partners establish the overall priorities annually, and then specific projects are developed. Activities that respond to regional priorities are regionally reviewed and recommended for funding in the following six regions: Pacific, Prairie, Northern, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic. Review committees represent the three responsible departments, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as well as Indigenous, provincial, territorial, conservation and other stakeholder interests.

Since its inception in 2004-05, AFSAR has supported Indigenous involvement in the conservation and recovery of species at risk across the country. Between 2004 and the end of March 2016, AFSAR invested over $33 million in 927 Species at Risk projects. The projects involved more than 225 communities, and benefited more than 100 species that are listed under SARA annually, through increased Indigenous awareness of species at risk and through the development of strategies, guidelines and practices, or the completion of monitoring, surveying and inventorying studies. Additionally, during its first year of operation, the Prevention Stream invested more than $635,000 in 23 conservation projects.

Program goals and expected results

Protecting aquatic and terrestrial habitat and contributing to the recovery of species at risk, as well as preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern, are AFSAR's main goals.

The Species at Risk Stream focuses on results in four main areas:

  • strengthen capacity in Indigenous communities for SARA implementation
  • mitigate threats to species at risk, be they individuals or populations
  • protect, improve or manage critical and important habitatFootnote1 of species at risk
  • document and conserve Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge on species at risk and, where appropriate, help with their use in the development of recovery objectives

The Prevention Stream focuses on the same results as the Species at Risk Stream but with a focus on species beyond those listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.

In addition to the above expected program results, 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 in the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour). Partner funding and other support broaden the scope of projects, improve on-the-ground results, and strengthen the public and private collaboration that is essential to involving all Canadians in stewardship activities for all species.

Application

Species at Risk stream

Prevention stream

Who can apply

Communities and organizations actively involved in the management of Indigenous lands and waters 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 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.

Application and program contacts

Information on procedures to follow in order to apply to AFSAR is available through regional offices listed below.

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

For general Department of Fisheries and Oceans inquiries, please send an email to: info@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

ASFAR email: ec.faep-afsar.ec@canada.ca

Terrestrial projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on terrestrial species.

New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Paul MacDonald
E-mail: paul.macdonald2@canada.ca
Telephone: (709) 896-6616

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

Ontario
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

Yukon
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

Aquatic projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on aquatic species.

Pacific
Vivian Chow
Email: vivian.chow@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (604) 666-4565

Central and Arctic
Melanie VanGerwen-Toyne
Email: melanie.toyne@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (204) 983-5137

Quebec
Kevin Wilkins
Email: kevin.wilkins@dfo-mpo.ca
Telephone: (418) 648-7870

Ontario
Stephen Haayen
Email: stephen.haayen@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (905) 336-4907

Gulf
Julie LeBlanc
Email: julie.leblanc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (506) 851-3611

Maritimes
Liette Pineo
Email: liette.pineo@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (902) 440-6594

Newfoundland and Labrador
Kimberley Penney
Email: kimberley.penney@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Telephone: (709) 772-5020

Questions and answers

What is the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) Funding Program?

The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) is a Government of Canada program, established in 2004-2005, supports Indigenous organizations and communities to acquire, develop and use knowledge and skills to enable them to participate in the conser­vation and recovery of species, under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The program supports projects that protect and recover species at risk and their habitat as well as projects that protect other species to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern on Indigenous lands.  AFSAR is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and co-managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Parks Canada Agency.

What are the selection criteria for projects under AFSAR?

Projects must satisfy each of the following criteria: 

  • meet all eligibility requirements
  • address one or both of the national and regional priorities
  • 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

AFSAR Species at Risk Stream supports projects that focus on results in four main areas:

  • strengthen capacity in Indigenous communities for SARA implementation.
  • mitigate threats to species at risk, be they individuals or populations.
  • protect, improve or manage critical and important habitat of species at risk.
  • document and conserve Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge on species at risk and, where appropriate, help with their use in the development of recovery objectives

The Prevention Stream of AFSAR supports projects that focus results on species beyond those listed on Schedule 1 of SAR in four main areas:

  • strengthen capacity in Indigenous communities for their participation in preventive action to conserve the target species and their associated habitat
  • stop, remove or mitigate potential threats, caused by human activities, to individual target species and/or their habitat
  • protect, improve or manage important habitat of the target species
  • help document and conserve ATK and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) on the target species
What is the evaluation process and how are fund amounts determined for eligible projects?

Each proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by Regional Management Teams and by a National Management Team to confirm they meet eligibility requirements.  Proposals meeting the eligibility requirements are then prioritized for funding based on alignment with program objectives, including national and regional priorities, and program and project administration criteria.   

Funding is variable and dependant 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 year.  Projects may extend between one to three years. A minimum of 20% matching contributions (from non-federal sources) is required (20₵ confirmed match for each $1 of AFSAR funding).

I would like to apply to AFSAR, when are applications due and can I have an application form?

The 2018 to 2019 National call for proposals for all Environment and Climate Change Canada’s application-based funding programs, including AFSAR, has been launched.  More information on these programs can be found on the Environmental funding programs’ website.  Please review the funding opportunities for 2018 to 2019 and discuss your project with the relevant Environment and Climate Change Canada or Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s regional staff.

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

As a result of the delay to the launch of the 2018-2019 call for proposals the notification of funding decisions will be received later than is typical. The departments will aim to have funding decisions made by mid-June 2018 for AFSAR aquatic projects, and by early September 2018 for AFSAR terrestrial 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 us at ec.faep-afsar.ec@canada.ca or contact the relevant Regional Coordinator to discuss your proposal in more detail.

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