Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

The application period for projects starting in 2024-2025 is closed. The application period for projects starting in 2025-2026 will open in the fall of 2024. For more information, please contact your Regional Coordinator listed at the bottom of this page

About the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is committed to working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 and to achieving a full recovery for nature by 2050. Supporting Indigenous leadership in conservation is essential to meeting these targets. The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR), established in 2004, 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 knowledge in the assessment of which species may be at risk, as well as in the development and implementation of protection and recovery measures. AFSAR also supports and promotes the conservation, protection, and recovery of target species and their habitats on Indigenous lands and territories.

This webpage provides general program information and requirements for applying to the AFSAR program. Applications will be considered in the context of the program’s objectives, which are outlined below.

Regional AFSAR Coordinators are the primary source of additional information and questions pertaining to the program and other funding options available through the Canadian Wildlife Service of ECCC. Questions related to funding amounts, outcome reporting, species data sharing, and project permits can be directed to the appropriate Regional AFSAR Coordinator or sent to AFSAR-FAEP@ec.gc.ca.

Objectives and expected results

To be eligible, proposed projects must demonstrate how they contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of target species. Further, the application must contribute to one or more of the following objectives and expected results:

The objectives of AFSAR are to:

The expected results of AFSAR are:

What are the eligibility requirements to obtain funding for a project?

Eligible recipients

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

Eligible lands

Projects must take place on:

Eligible projects

Projects must support and promote the conservation, protection and recovery of target species and their habitats on Indigenous lands or lands where traditional food, social, and ceremonial activities are carried out by Indigenous peoples. To be eligible for AFSAR funding, target species include:

Species Assessed SARA Schedule 1 - 80% funding – most funding will be directed to projects targeting species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA. Please consult this list to determine if your application could have a higher chance of success.

Species Assessed COSEWIC - Up to 20% funding 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.

Additionally, AFSAR projects that target at least one species from the above categories may also include proposed actions that proactively prevent species, other than species at risk, from becoming a conservation concern.

For the most up-to-date list of species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA, as well as their recovery strategies, action plans and management plans, please visit the SARA Public Registry. To search for COSEWIC assessed species and to obtain their respective status reports please visit the COSEWIC website.

Eligible activities

The following activity categories are eligible for funding under AFSAR. Applicants must select from the following activity categories in their application. The examples listed below each activity category are eligible options to consider with a few exceptions. Activities that do not fall under these categories are subject to approval. Please discuss potential project activities other than those listed below with a Regional AFSAR Coordinator.

Any proposed outreach or awareness-building activity needs to be a necessary component of a larger project plan unless they are sufficiently targeted and well supported to stand-alone. Project applications must describe in detail how each outreach activity will lead to action in implementing on-the-ground species recovery. They must also include a plan for measuring the implementation, either within the timeframe of the project or within a defined period afterward.


How much funding is available, and how does it work?

Project funding details

Minimum Funding: The amount of funding varies depending on project activities. To promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the minimum funding request for new and multi-year projects is $10,000.

Project Funding Range: Project funding usually ranges from $10,000 to $50,000 per project, per year.

Project Length: New projects may request funding for 1 to 3 years. Previously approved projects may request additional funds for up to an additional 5 years, to a maximum 10 year project length.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the potential impact of timing of funding decisions on proposed project activities and budgets. Funding decisions may not be made within the project start date proposed by an applicant.

Eligible expenses

For all eligible expenses, only those deemed to be a reasonable share for completing the project will be considered eligible. Eligible expenses may include reasonable and properly itemized costs for:


Other requirements

Impact Assessment Act, 2019

Consolidating small projects

If an applicant wishes to submit more than one project for AFSAR, they are encouraged to consolidate multiple, small applications on the same target species or related to the same priority into a single, large application that outlines the different priority activities.

Multi-year projects

Multi-year projects are encouraged because they consider the longer-term conservation outcome, and once approved, offer assurance of funding from one year to the next provided the Recipients meet all terms, conditions, and other obligations in the Contribution Agreement. Projects may extend over more than one year to a maximum of five (5) years.

Current Recipients of AFSAR multi-year funding can apply to receive additional AFSAR funding to undertake new and additional activities as part of their current project, by way of an amendment to their existing contribution agreement. A project can be amended up to three (3) additional years, but the project cannot exceed ten (10) years in total.

Contact a Regional AFSAR Coordinator for details.

Regional administration of projects

Projects are administered by Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) regions which are:

Applicants whose project crosses regional boundaries should identify a primary region based on where the majority of activities will take place. It is strongly recommended that applicants with projects crossing over regional boundaries discuss their project with the primary region’s Coordinator early in the application process.

Matching contributions

Projects that can obtain resource support from collaborators have a greater chance for success and are evaluated favourably because of the additional backing and support. Therefore, applicants must obtain resource support from non-federal contributors in the form of cash and/or in-kind contributions to qualify for AFSAR funding support.

Matching contribution amounts:

Indigenous applicants - minimum 0.20:1 ($0.20 confirmed match for $1.00 AFSAR funding)

Indigenous applicants are asked to obtain a minimum of 0.20:1 from non-federal sources matching contributions ($0.20 confirmed match for $1 AFSAR funding).

Non-Indigenous applicants - minimum 1:1 ($1.00 confirmed match for $1.00 AFSAR funding)

Non-Indigenous applicants are asked to obtain a minimum of 1:1 from non-federal sources matching contributions ($1 confirmed match for $1 AFSAR funding). However, preference will be given to projects with matching contributions more than 1:1 and to projects with higher cash-matching contributions in relation to in-kind contributions. This requirement also applies to non-Indigenous applicants applying on behalf of an Indigenous group.

Multi-year projects - For multi-year projects, the program’s requirement for matching funds is based on the ability of the applicant to obtain those funds over the entire duration of the project, and approval is not contingent on securement of all matching funds up front. The rate of matching can be less than 20% of the AFSAR fund amount in any given year, as long as the 20% is met by the project’s completion. Note that each year's match will be verified. If the match is insufficient by the last year of the project, the final year's funding may be reduced accordingly. In-kind costs should be associated only with the portion used in the project, not, for example, the total cost of the materials and supplies. For specifics on the eligibility of and limitations on in-kind resources, please contact a Regional AFSAR Coordinator.

Non-eligible match contributions - Federal funds (e.g., EcoAction, Habitat Stewardship Program [HSP], and federal funds administered by third-party non-governmental organizations) are not eligible as match. See ‘Overlap with Other Federal Funding Programs’ for other requirements relating to the use of funds from other federal funding programs.

Note Re: ‘Anticipated Funding’ -All proposed contributions must be listed in the application. If the AFSAR application is successful, all confirmed contributions must be identified in the Contribution Agreement signed with ECCC. If the applicant is not sure where the funding will come from precisely at the time of application, they can specify at the time of application “Anticipated funding from other project funders.”

Eligible match sources

How to apply for funding

Expression of interest

To apply to AFSAR, it is recommended that potential applicants contact their Regional AFSAR Coordinator to discuss their proposed project to verify that it is aligned with AFSAR objectives and expected results. This process will typically improve the quality of the application, but does not guarantee that the project will receive funding.

Application period and deadline

The application window for projects was open from September 19 to October 31, 2023. The application window will close at 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time on October 31, 2023.

On-line application system

To apply to the AFSAR program, applicants must register on ECCC’s one window application system for the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS).

Application extensions

To provide equal treatment to all applicants, extensions are not available. If an applicant experiences a major technical malfunction of the program’s online system or other reasons, an extension may be granted. To avoid problems, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early, as online systems can become slower as the deadline nears, due to a high volume of proponents accessing the system.

Application notification

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 applying. Please contact ec.sgesc-gcems-sgesc-gcems.ec@ec.gc.ca and copy your regional AFSAR coordinator if you applied but did not receive an acknowledgment.

Note: Due to Government of Canada policy, communication with applicants regarding application status during the project review and selection phase is prohibited until the departmental approvals in principle have been granted. ECCC will notify all applicants of such approvals in principle and will do so for each individual application submitted. ECCC aims to send these notifications as early as possible. Therefore, applicants should expect variation in the timing of notifications within a program and between ECCC or other Government of Canada funding programs. Applicants will be notified as soon as funding approvals in principle have been made, and negotiation of the Contribution Agreement will follow. This notification may also be shared with Members of Parliaments of the applicants. The program is unable to reimburse applicants for any expenses incurred prior to the official notification.

How are projects chosen for funding

As the demand for funding from AFSAR regularly exceeds the funds available, there is no guarantee that a project will be funded. Every effort is made to provide applicants with the earliest possible notice once a decision has been reached. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with their Regional AFSAR Coordinators to ensure projects meet the Program priorities.

Selection criteria

Project applications are chosen based on the extent to which they:

Evaluation criteria

Eligible applications are evaluated and prioritized using the following criteria:

Please note: The ability of applicants to complete all reporting and administration requirements under the AFSAR Program will be considered during the evaluation. To this end project evaluators will consider past performance in meeting reporting and administration deadlines for all contribution agreements with ECCC. Inability to meet these reporting requirements may result in disqualification of an applicant for future funding.

What makes a quality project

Alignment with selection criteria (60%) means:

Technical merit of the application (40%) means:

Quality project description

A quality project description is a brief (suggested maximum 250 words) synopsis of the proposed project including the activities to be accomplished using AFSAR funding on the target species and habitat as outlined in the Application (refer to the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk 2024-2025 module). It must contain sufficient information to “stand alone” during the review and approval phases so enough detail is required. In other words, be sure to spell out acronyms, and do not assume that the reader is familiar with or has read the full application.

Consider the following items in developing your project description:

Only refer to past years' projects if building on past results. Even if this is a similar project to past years, do not duplicate the description, but rather clearly indicate the specific value of this project, and how it makes a unique contribution to the species recovery need being addressed.

Example of a Satisfactory Project Description:

This single-year AFSAR project will focus on targeted outreach and education to assist in the conservation and recovery of species at risk and their habitats in Saskatchewan. The project will take place between May and October 2023 within the Milk River Watershed (South of Divide). Six SARA listed species will be targeted including: Sage Grouse (Endangered), Loggerhead Shrike (Threatened), and Burrowing Owl (Endangered). Project activities will include a prairie-wide workshop where stakeholders will discuss the benefits and incentives of conserving natural landscapes and best agricultural management practices and outreach events to increase awareness of the importance of native prairie stewardship. The project will also deliver on the two Conserving Nature expected results: Canada’s wildlife and habitat are conserved and protected, and Canada’s species at risk are recovered. The project will contribute to the recovery strategy actions of each species at risk by engaging the community and raising awareness of the species and their threats, including wetland habitat degradation through conversion to agricultural use or invasive species (Priority Sector and Threat), and increasing the network of community members concerned with prairie conservation. Project performance will be evaluated with indicators such as measurable direct outcomes (e.g. number of people engaged) and indirect outcomes (e.g. survey of changes made by leaders to promote native landscapes).

Example of an Unsatisfactory Project Description:

This project will address the threat of the SARA-listed Greater Sage Grouse and other SAR present in the area. It will be conducted within the Milk River Watershed. Outreach activities will be carried out such as holding workshops and delivering classroom education sessions. These activities will enhance and protect the habitat of the Greater Sage Grouse.

Evaluation process

Each application undergoes a technical evaluation by the regional AFSAR coordinator to confirm that it meets eligibility requirements. Applications 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 spring 2024.

My project was accepted – now what

Once confirmation of approval of the project is received, applicants will be required to submit additional information, including but not limited to the following:

Cash flow statement

A detailed cash flow statement of all sources of revenue (including all in-kind contributions) and expenditures that are part of the approved project will be required.

Reporting obligations

The Contribution Agreement, between the recipient and ECCC, will specify project report deadlines and will include the required forms. Reporting will be completed online, and recipients will need to provide regular progress reports, annual reports (for multi-year projects) as well as a final report at the end of the project.

These reports will describe project revenue, expenses, accomplishments and detailed descriptions/ quantifications of project outputs and outcomes. Project expected results are basic quantifiable project achievements while project intermediate outcomes include longer term indicators of effectiveness of project activities in supporting the recovery of species and their habitats.

Project expected results for annual or final project reports could include:

Project intermediate outcomes for annual or final project reports could include:

Outcomes and accomplishments must be reported using the performance indicators identified in the Contribution Agreement. It is important to note that different projects may have different reporting requirements. The Regional AFSAR Coordinator will advise recipients on specific reporting requirements.

SAR survey data sharing

Recipients will be encouraged to provide species occurrence or habitat data collected in the context of the project to their respective provincial/territorial wildlife data repository centre and to ECCC or Parks Canada, as however relevant to your project. Recipients will be asked to confirm in the final report the submission of data.

Intellectual property rights

Any Intellectual Property Rights created by the Recipient in association with their obligations and responsibilities under this Agreement shall vest in and remain the property of the Recipient. ECCC shall have no rights to this intellectual property for any purpose without the express written permission of the Recipient.


Recipients will be responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits associated with the project from relevant federal and/or provincial authorities (including those required under the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and any other provincial or territorial wildlife acts that may apply) wherever the project triggers the need for a permit (for example, it could impact the species).

As permits take time to arrange, recipients should address this need several months before the project start date to reduce delays once a funding announcement is made (see the SARA Registry).

Public acknowledgement

Recipients are responsible for providing ECCC with final copies of any document or material utilizing the ECCC identifier, wordmark and/or acknowledgement statements prior to printing or distribution, for ECCC approval of the use of said logos and/or acknowledgement statements. The Regional AFSAR Coordinator will need to be consulted prior to making any communications products such as publications, public information releases, advertising, promotional announcements, activities, speeches, lectures, interviews, ceremonies, and websites. All such communications products originating from the project must acknowledge ECCC’s contribution by displaying the ECCC identifier with the public acknowledgement text along with the ECCC wordmark.

Official languages

The Official Languages Act (Part VII) requires that the Government of Canada promote both official languages and enhance the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMC) across Canada. It is recognized that projects or organizations funded by ECCC through a contributions program:

Applicants whose project may be delivered in a geographic area with OLMCs or which includes any public events, signage, promotional or other communications may need to consider official language requirements, for example:

Any cost related to official language translation is an eligible cost under the program.

Applicants will be required to complete the Official Language Questionnaire for Funding applicants in order to assess the official language requirements that may apply to the project. Applicants should discuss any potential official language requirements and opportunities with their Regional AFSAR Coordinator.

Overlap with other federal funding programs

You can only receive funding from one federal funding program for each approved activity. Any application submitted to other Environment and Climate Change Canada funding programs (e.g., HSP and EcoAction, etc.) must be for activities that are different from those submitted in the AFSAR application. Organizations should review information from other Environment and Climate Change Canada funding programs to determine which program is the best fit for their project.

Links to additional information

Please see the following websites for additional information that may be useful for your application:

Please contact us at AFSAR-FAEP@ec.gc.ca or contact the appropriate Regional AFSAR Coordinator for all other questions. Please note that Regional AFSAR Coordinators are available to answer questions during regular business hours, local time.

Contact us

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

If you have any further questions, please contact us at AFSAR-FAEP@ec.gc.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

New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
Caroline Canning
Email: caroline.canning@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 506-800-1779

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

Danielle Aulenback
Email: danielle.aulenback@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 647-952-4129

Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan
Maggie Glasgow
Email: maggie.glasgow@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 587-334-5581

British Columbia
Gillian Booth
Email: gillian.booth@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 778-363-6921

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon
Sara Wong
Email: Sara.Wong2@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 867-444-9565

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