Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

The application submission period for projects commencing in 2021-22 is now closed.


The protection of species at risk in Canada depends on a meaningful collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and organizations. The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) was established in 2004 and supports the development of Indigenous capacity to participate actively in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Act recognizes the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in wildlife conservation and the need to consider Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) 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.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) administers AFSAR funding that supports terrestrial stewardship projects and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is responsible for administering AFSAR aquatic stewardship projects.

Applicants wishing to pursue aquatic AFSAR projects should contact the appropriate aquatic regional coordinator at DFO.


The objectives 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 expected results of AFSAR 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 recipients

All Indigenous communities and organizations located in Canada are eligible for funding, including:

  • Indigenous not-for-profit and for profit organizations
  • territorially based Indigenous groups
  • district councils, Chiefs councils and Tribal councils
  • traditional appointed advisory committees
  • Indigenous corporations
  • Indigenous partnerships and groups
  • Indigenous research, academic, and educational institutions
  • Indigenous cultural education centres
  • Indigenous land/resource management authorities
  • Indigenous co-operatives
  • Indigenous societies
  • Indigenous boards and commissions
  • other organizations (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) if mandated by one of the above 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 by Indigenous Peoples

Eligible projects

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

  • species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA (except those listed as extirpated), and/or
  • 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.

Up to 20% of the available funds will be directed towards projects targeting species that are not listed on Schedule 1 of SARA but assessed by COSEWIC as endangered, threatened or special concern. The majority of program funds (i.e., at least 80%) will be directed to projects targeting species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA. Priorities within these eligible species are listed below. Please consult this list to determine if your proposal could have a higher chance of success.

Activities eligible for funding include:

  • habitat protection and securement
  • habitat improvement
  • species and habitat threat abatement
  • conservation planning
  • surveys, inventories and monitoring
  • project evaluation
  • documentation and use of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge
  • outreach and education
  • capacity building

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

Application instructions

On-line application system

Related links

Application deadline

The application period for projects commencing in 2021-22 was January 19, 2021 to March 2, 2021, and is now closed.

In accordance with ECCC’s Grants and Contributions Service Standards, applicants receive an acknowledgement that their application was submitted successfully within five (5) working days of submitting an application. Please contact ­ec.sgesc-gcems-sgesc-gcems.ec@canada.ca and copy your regional AFSAR coordinator if you submitted an application but did not receive an acknowledgment.

Program priorities

The program will prioritize projects targeting Priority Species (see Table 1).

Priority Species were selected to align with the Government of Canada’s Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. This new Pan-Canadian Approach represents a shift from a single-species approach to conservation to one that focuses on priority places, species, sectors and threats, through more multi-species and ecosystem-based efforts and collaborative partnerships. The Priority Species listed below were selected based on their likelihood to benefit from stewardship activities, to include those that may not benefit from other ECCC funding sources, and to include those with cultural significance.

Table 1: Priority species by region

Although the AFSAR funding priorities in 2021-22 are species specific, it is recognized that actions for one species may benefit multiple species and this should be highlighted and noted in the application. Please also see other funding considerations below the table.

Table 1
Region Priority species

Atlantic Region

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

New Brunswick


  • American Marten, Newfoundland population
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye, Eastern population
  • Blanding’s Turtle, Nova Scotia population
  • Canada Warbler
  • Chimney Swift
  • Harlequin Duck, Eastern population
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Monarch
  • Piping Plover (melodus subspecies)
  • Polar Bear
  • Wood Turtle
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population


  • Black Ash
  • Caribou, Eastern Migratory population
  • Caribou, Newfoundland population

Quebec Region


  • American Ginseng
  • Bank Swallow
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye, Eastern population
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Eastern Wolf
  • Harlequin Duck, Eastern population
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Polar Bear
  • Red Knot rufa subspecies
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Wood Turtle
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population
  • Yellow Rail
  • Yellow-banded Bumble Bee


  • Caribou, Eastern Migratory population

Ontario Region


  • Blanding’s Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population
  • Eastern Wolf
  • Lakeside Daisy
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Massasauga Carolinian population
  • Massasauga, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population
  • Monarch
  • Northern Myotis
  • Red Knot rufa subspecies
  • Tri-coloured Bat
  • Western Chorus Frog, Great Lakes /St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population


  • Black Ash
  • Caribou, Eastern Migratory population

Prairie Region





  • Burrowing Owl
  • Greater Sage-Grouse urophasianus subspecies
  • Grizzly Bear, Western population
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Monarch
  • Northern Myotis
  • Red Knot rufa subspecies
  • Whitebark Pine
  • Whooping Crane
  • Wood Bison
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population
  • Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population


  • Caribou, Barren-ground population
  • Caribou, Eastern Migratory population
  • Plains Bison

Pacific Region

British Columbia


  • Barn Owl, Western population
  • Great Basin Spadefoot
  • Grizzly Bear, Western population
  • Lewis’s Woodpecker
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Northern Leopard Frog, Rocky Mountain population
  • Northern Myotis
  • Oregon Forestsnail
  • Pacific Water Shrew
  • Sand-verbena Moth
  • Western Painted Turtle, Intermountain – Rocky Mountain population
  • Western Painted Turtle, Pacific Coast population
  • Western Rattlesnake
  • Western Screech-Owl kennicottii subspecies
  • Western Screech-Owl macfarlanei subspecies
  • Whitebark Pine
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker

Northern Region


Northwest Territories



  • Baikal Sedge
  • Barren-ground Caribou, Dolphin and Union population
  • Collared Pika
  • Grizzly Bear, Western population
  • Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Peary Caribou
  • Polar Bear
  • Spiked Saxifrage
  • Western Toad, Non-calling population
  • Wolverine
  • Wood Bison
  • Woodland Caribou, Boreal population
  • Woodland Caribou, Northern Mountain population


  • Caribou, Barren-ground population

Other funding considerations

AFSAR projects may also have a higher chance of success if they:

  • target multiple species and focus on ecosystem-based recovery initiatives
  • involve collaboration among multiple partners with priority being given to projects that involve a larger number of confirmed partners
  • include the consideration of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) for application in SARA processes and the planning and implementation of national recovery documents
  • support the enhancement of wildlife that are of cultural and/or socio-economic importance to local communities
  • implement high priority activities described in established recovery documents, established wildlife and/or habitat conservation plans
  • mitigate the threats of climate change to target species; and/or
  • target priority sectors and/or threats as identified in the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada

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 1 year to a maximum of 2 years.

Indigenous applicants will be required to obtain a minimum of 0.20:1 matching contributions ($0.20 confirmed match for $1 AFSAR funding).

Non-Indigenous applicants will be required to obtain a minimum of 1:1 matching contributions ($1 confirmed match for $1 AFSAR funding).

Leveraging can take the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour).

Selection criteria

Projects will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • whether they meet all eligibility requirements (applicants, species and activities)
  • the extent to which they address AFSAR program priorities and
  • ability to leverage a minimum of 0.20:1 on funds for Indigenous applicants ($0.20 confirmed match for $1AFSAR funding) and
  • a minimum of 1:1 on funds for non-Indigenous applicants ($1 confirmed match for $1 AFSAR funding)

Evaluation process

Each proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by the 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. ECCC will aim to have AFSAR funding decisions available by summer 2021.

Contact us

For general ECCC or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca.

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.

AFSAR Regional Coordinators

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

Jordan Drapeau
Email: jordan.drapeau@canada.ca
Telephone: 418-563-5397

Cheyenne Loon
Email: cheyenne.loon@canada.ca
Telephone: 416-739-4100

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

British Columbia
Adèle McKay
Email: adele.mckay@canada.ca
Telephone: 343-572-1563

Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Dawn Andrews
Email: dawn.andrews@canada.ca
Telephone: 867-444-0531

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