Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

The call for applications for projects commencing in 2024-2025 is now closed.


One of the Government of Canada’s conservation mandates is the conservation of nature, including the recovery of species at risk. In this regard, the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) was established in 2000. It provides funding for projects submitted by Canadians that contribute directly to the recovery objectives and population goals of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) or designated at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) administers HSP funds that support terrestrial stewardship projects while Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is responsible for administering the HSP for aquatic species at risk. Applicants wishing to pursue HSP projects on aquaticFootnote 1  species should contact the appropriate regional coordinator at DFO.

This page provides general program information and requirements for making an application to the HSP for terrestrial species at risk. Applications will be evaluated in the context of the Program’s funding priorities, which are updated annually.

Regional HSP Coordinators are the primary source of additional information for questions pertaining to information provided on this page, program priorities, and funding options available through ECCC’s Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). More specific questions related to funding amounts, outcome reporting, species data sharing, and project permits, can also be directed to the appropriate regional HSP coordinator. For more information about the terrestrial HSP program, please send specific questions to PIH-HSP@ec.gc.ca .

Objectives and Expected Results

The objectives of this program are to:

  • support habitat projects that benefit species at risk
  • enable Canadians to become actively involved in stewardship projects for species at risk, which will result in tangible and measurable conservation benefits
  • improve the scientific, sociological and economic understanding of the role of stewardship as a conservation tool

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 Conserving Nature expected results:

  • Canada’s wildlife and habitat is conserved and protected
  • Canada’s species at risk are recovered
  • IndigenousFootnote 2  Peoples are engaged in conservation

Eligible Recipients

The following are eligible for funding under the HSP:

  • Canadian non-governmental organizations
  • Canadian community groups
  • Canadian Indigenous organizations and communities
  • Canadian individuals
  • Canadian private corporations and businesses
  • Canadian educational institutions
  • Canadian provincial, territorial and municipal governments
  • Canadian provincial Crown corporations

Federal departments, federal agencies and federal Crown corporations are not eligible to receive HSP funds.

Geographic Location

Project activities must take place in Canada, on:

  • private land
  • provincial Crown land
  • lands under the administration and control of the commissioners of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut
  • Indigenous land
    • reserves and lands set aside for the use and benefit of Indigenous Peoples under the Indian Act or under section 91 (24) of the Constitution Act, 1867
    • other lands directly controlled by Indigenous Peoples (for example, land claim/treaty settlement lands and Métis Settlement lands)
    • lands where traditional food, social, and ceremonial activities (harvesting or other) are carried out by Indigenous Peoples

If the proposed project is expected to take place on Indigenous land, either entirely or partially, and the applicant is not Indigenous or has no rights to the land (for example, through a permit, lease, or as a Certificate of Possession holder), the applicant must provide signed letter(s) of support from the affected Indigenous community.

Eligible Species

The following species are eligible for funding under the HSP:

  • Species listed on Schedule 1 of SARA (except those listed as extirpated).
  • Species that have been designated by COSEWIC as endangered, threatened, or of special concern but that are not listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.

The majority of program funds (i.e., at least 80%) will be directed to projects targeting species 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 designated by COSEWIC as endangered, threatened or of special concern. Priorities within these eligible species are listed below. Please consult this list to determine if your proposal could have a higher chance of success. Funding priorities, including regional priorities, are reviewed and updated annually to ensure they align with the Government of Canada’s priorities.

For the most up-to-date list of species on Schedule 1 of SARA, as well as their recovery strategies, action plans and management plans, or to search for COSEWIC-assessed species and to obtain their status reports, please consult the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Program Priorities

The 2024-2025 call for applications prioritized projects targeting regionally identified priority species and actions (see Table 1).

The priority species listed below were selected based on their likelihood to benefit from stewardship activities and include those that may not benefit from other ECCC funding sources, while the actions are those of highest regional priority.

Table 1: Priorities by CWS region

Although the HSP funds projects on target species, it is recognized that actions for one or more target species may benefit multiple other non-targeted species, and this should have been highlighted in the application. Please see the list of HSP priorities for each region in Table 1, and other funding considerations below the table.

Table 1
Region Priorities

Atlantic Region

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

New Brunswick

  • Bank Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Black-foam Lichen
  • Blue-felt Lichen
  • Boreal Felt Lichen, Atlantic population
  • Boreal Felt Lichen, Boreal population
  • Canada Warbler
  • Chimney Swift
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Eastern Painted Turtle
  • Eastern Waterfan
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Frosted Glass-Whiskers, Nova Scotia population
  • Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
  • Leach’s Storm-Petrel
  • Little Brown Myotis
  • Macropis Cuckoo Bee
  • Monarch
  • Northern Myotis
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher
  • Piping Plover melodus subspecies
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Snapping Turtle
  • Suckley’s Bumble Bee
  • Tri-coloured Bat
  • Vole Ears Lichen
  • White-rimmed Shingle Lichen
  • Wood Thrush
  • Wood Turtle
  • Wrinkled Shingle Lichen
  • Yellow-banded Bumble Bee

Quebec Region

  • There were no specific priorities for the 2024-2025 call for applications in the Quebec Region.

Ontario Region

  • Bank Swallow
  • Bird’s-foot Violet
  • Blanding’s Turtle, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence population
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Colicroot
  • Eastern Foxsnake, Carolinian population
  • Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, pratensis subspecies
  • Jefferson Salamander, including Unisexual Ambystoma, Jefferson Salamander
  • dependent population
  • Hairy Valerian
  • Kirtland’s Warbler
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Monarch
  • Piping Plover, circumcinctus subspecies
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Spiny Softshell
  • Virginia Goats’-rue
  • Western Chorus Frog, Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canadian Shield population

Priority actions associated with priority species:

Projects including one or more of the following actions and that target one or more of the aforementioned priority species were prioritized:

  • The establishment or improvement of threatened or endangered reptile and amphibian habitat connectivity, particularly between breeding habitat and habitats used in other life cycle stages
  • The creation, restoration or enhancement of foraging habitats for aerial insectivores
  • The creation of Monarch habitat (to support nectaring, breeding, and roosting) within close proximity to the Great Lakes, south of the Canadian Shield. Sites must be at least 5 hectares in size and may be contiguous. Pollinator gardens will not be supported
  • Reforestation and the incorporation of species-at-risk needs into forestry and woodland management

Priority actions associated with other species at risk:

Projects including one or more of the following activities in areas where one or more federally-listed species at risk are known to occur, or occur in close proximity were prioritized:

  • The rehabilitation or re-naturalization of riparian habitat, including within agricultural and municipal drainage.
  • The creation, restoration or enhancement of large native grassland patches (greater than 6 hectares) that are linked to, or that will be established in close proximity to existing native grasslands.

Projects that addressed one or more of the aforementioned priorities and that evaluate success against target species’ population and distribution objectives as set out in a Recovery Document (or will develop a long-term plan to do so) were prioritized.

Prairie Region




  • Bird aerial insectivore species at risk (eg., Chimney Swift, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-pewee, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Common Nighthawk, Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow)
  • Grassland bird species at risk (eg., Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, McCown’s Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, Lark Bunting, Loggerhead Shrike)
  • Shorebird species at risk(eg., Piping Plover, Red Knot, Long-billed Curlew, Yellow Rail)
  • Bat species at risk(eg., Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Hoary Bat, Eastern Red Bat, Silver-haired Bat)
  • Amphibian species at risk (eg., Northern Leopard Frog, Great Plains Toad, Western Toad, Western Tiger Salamander)
  • Plant species at risk (eg., Fascicled Ironweed, Buffalograss, Small White Lady’s-slipper)
  • Invertebrate pollinator species at risk(eg., Mottled Duskywing, Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee, Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, Western Bumble Bee, Suckley’s Cuckoo Bumble Bee)
  • Monarch
  • Dakota Skipper
  • Species at risk in sand-dune/sand-prairie habitat (eg., Gold-edged Gem, Dusky Dune Moth, Pale Yellow Dune Moth, White Flower Moth, Gibson’s Big Sand Tiger Beetle, Tiny Cryptantha, Ord’s Kangaroo Rat)
  • Species at risk in the Interlake Region of Manitoba (eg., Least Bittern, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, Western Grebe)
  • Species at risk that are either burrow excavators or burrow users (eg., American Badger, Burrowing Owl, Prairie Rattlesnake, Bullsnake)

Pacific Region

British Columbia

  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of pollinator habitat threatened by herbicides and pesticides
  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of wildlife trees threatened by logging and wood harvesting
  • Habitat Protection and Securement or Habitat Improvement of riparian habitats threatened by residential and commercial development or by agriculture
  • Increase habitat connectivity and reduce wildlife mortality threatened by transportation corridors, or
  • Reduction of canopy cover or fuel load of oak or conifer woodlands threatened by fire and fire suppression

Northern Region


Northwest Territories


  • There were no specific priorities for the 2024-2025 call for applications in the Northern Region.

Other funding considerations

HSP project proposals also have a higher chance of success if they:

  • implement high priority activities described in established recovery documents, established wildlife or habitat conservation plans
  • increase or improve quality of Critical Habitat or other important habitat
  • target multiple species and demonstrate a focus on ecosystem-based recovery initiatives
  • involve collaboration among multiple partners with priority being given to projects that involve a greater number of confirmed partners
  • mitigate the threats of climate change to the target species
  • target priority sectors and/or threats as identified in the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada
  • contribute a high ratio of matching funds from non-federal sources
  • have a high proportion of eligible matching funds in cash rather than in-kind
  • have a well-developed workplan showing appropriate results for the investment, and a clear and appropriate plan to measure project results

Eligible Activities

The following activity categories are eligible for HSP funding. Applicants must select from the following activity categories in their application. The examples listed below each activity category are eligible options to consider. Activities that do not fall under these categories are subject to further review. Please consult with a regional HSP coordinator to discuss potential project activities other than those listed below.

Activity Categories

  • Habitat Protection and Securement: Through acquisition (purchase or donation) or other securement means; protecting target species habitat by enabling the acquisition of properties or establishing conservation easements, covenants, servitudes, leases, or other types of agreements with property owners.
    • Legally binding measures:
      • Securement of land by acquiring title (fee simple)
      • Securement of land by an easement, covenant or servitude
      • Securement of land through a lease
    • Non-legally binding measures:
      • Protection of land through a written conservation agreement
  • Habitat Improvement: Enhancing or restoring habitat of target species; changing land management or land use practices to benefit target species and improve habitat quality.
    • Restoration, enhancement and/or management of target species habitat
    • Vegetation planting or removal of exotics/invasive species in the habitat of, in the immediate area of, and for the direct benefit of a target species
    • Residence creation (eg., hibernacula, bird boxes, turtle nesting sites)
    • Implementation of beneficial management practices or land use guidelines
  • Species and Habitat Threat Abatement: Direct intervention for target species under immediate threat from human activity, or proactive/preventative activities.
    • Prevention of damage to target species habitats (e.g., educational signage, fences for the exclusion of habitat disturbances)
    • Protection and rescue of individualsFootnote 3  /prevention of harm to target species (e.g., enabling migration around roadways)
    • Application of modified or new technology to prevent accidental harm (e.g., using modified harvesting methods to reduce incidental take of target species)
  • Conservation Planning:
    • Development of target species conservation strategies to improve habitat and reduce threats
    • Planning of stewardship programs, including target audience engagement strategies
    • Compilation and dissemination of resource/land use guidelines and beneficial management practices
  • Surveys, Inventories and Monitoring: Activities such as identifying potential sites for habitat restoration, or assessing the presence of a target species and its habitat in order to target, design and carry out a current (or future) stewardship project.
    These activities will only be funded if they are part of a larger stewardship project that is clearly defined in the application and that will be implemented within the life of the project. Applicants will be required to demonstrate how their monitoring and data collection activities will lead to on-the-ground recovery action as part of the application.
    • Identifying potential sites for habitat restoration; could include mapping and analysis (needed to support target species stewardship activities)
    • Assessing the presence or abundance of target species through surveying or monitoring
    • Creation or maintenance of inventories or databases for habitat and species data
    • Documentation of Indigenous Knowledge
  • Outreach and Education: Providing information to appropriate target audiences on specific actions to be taken to protect target species; raising awareness about target species conservation needs; educating resource users about alternative methods that minimize impacts on target species and their habitat; promoting stewardship at the community level to improve attitudes and change behaviour.
    These activities should lead to direct target species recovery action; general outreach or non-targeted activities are not eligible. Any proposed outreach or awareness-building activities will need to be framed as a necessary component of a larger project plan unless they are sufficiently targeted and well supported to stand alone. Project applications will need to describe in detail how each outreach activity will lead to action in implementing on-the-ground species recovery and include a plan for measuring the implementation, either within the time frame of the project, or within a defined period afterward.
    • Development of targeted outreach materials emphasizing the importance of target species and the benefits of the action to be undertaken
    • Training of individuals/community members in stewardship practices related to target species
    • Informing and engaging community members/target audiences (e.g., land managers, resources users) about their potential contributions towards target species recovery
    • Engaging landowners directly in future habitat protection activities
  • Project evaluation: Assessing the social and biological results and effectiveness of stewardship activities.
    • Conduct project or program results assessment(s)


  • Activities not covered in the above list may be considered, subject to further review.
  • Activities must be closely linked to prescribed recovery actions in recovery strategies, action plans or management plans when available for SARA- listed species or in wildlife/conservation plans for COSEWIC designated species at risk not listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.
  • The creation of promotional merchandise (such as hats or mugs) is not eligible for HSP funding.
  • Scientific research activities, captive breeding, captive rearing, extirpated species reintroductions, the development of recovery strategies or action plans (including the identification of Critical Habitat, as required under SARA) are not eligible for HSP funding. However, HSP-funded activities can contribute to the content of recovery documents, such as through the collection of species data that can be used to inform on habitat needs, threat mitigation measures, etc.
  • Habitat securement is not an eligible activity for HSP funding for for-profit applicants.

Project Funding and Eligible Expenses

Project Funding

Funding is variable and dependent on project activities. In an effort to promote collaboration and multi-year projects, the suggested minimum funding request for new and multi-year projects is $25,000.


  • Project funding typically ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 per project, per year. New projects or amendment requests may extend over more than one year to a maximum of five years. Previously amended projects cannot exceed 10 years in total.
  • Non-Indigenous applicants will be required to obtain a minimum of 1:1 matching contributions from non-federal sources ($1 confirmed match for every $1 HSP funding).
  • Indigenous applicants will be required to obtain a minimum of 0.20:1 matching contribution from non-federal sources ($0.20 confirmed match for every $1 HSP funding).
  • Leveraging can take the form of either financial or in-kind resources (equipment loans, donations of building materials, and volunteer labour).

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the potential impact of variable timing of funding decisions on proposed project activities and budgets.

Matching Contributions

Applicants must obtain contributions of non-federal support (cash or in-kind) to obtain HSP funds.

  • Provincial agencies, non-governmental organizations, private landowners, the private sector, and the applicant, are all eligible sources of matching funds.
  • For non-Indigenous applicants, a minimum of 1:1 matching contributions (from non-federal sources) is required ($1 confirmed match for every $1 HSP funding). However, preference will be given to projects with matching contributions in excess of 1:1 and to projects with higher cash-matching contributions in relation to in-kind contributions.
  • For Indigenous applicants, a minimum of 0.20:1 matching contributions (from non-federal sources) of the HSP funding amount is required ($0.20 match for every $1 of HSP funding). However, preference will be given to projects with matching contributions in excess of 0.20:1 and to projects with higher cash-matching contributions in relation to in-kind contributions.
  • Please note that Band contributions for projects are considered as eligible sources of matching contributions.
  • Examples of in-kind resources are equipment loans, donations of building materials and volunteer labour. In-kind costs should be associated only with the portion used in the project, not the total cost of the materials and supplies. For specifics on the eligibility of and limitations on in-kind resources, please contact a Regional HSP Coordinator.
  • For multi-year projects, the program’s requirement for matching contributions is based on the ability of the applicant to obtain that support over the entire duration of the project, and approval is not contingent on securement of all matching funds up front.Footnote 8 
  • Federal funds (e.g., the EcoAction Community Funding Program, the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, and federal funds administered by third-party non-governmental organizations) are not eligible as match for HSP funding. Recipients can only receive funding from one federal funding program for each proposed activity. Organizations should review information from other ECCC funding programs to determine which program is the best fit for their project.
  • All proposed contributions must be listed in the application. If the HSP 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 “Anticipated funding from other project funders.”

Eligible Expenses

For all expenses, only those deemed to be a reasonable share for completing the project shall be considered eligible.

Eligible expenses may include reasonable and properly itemized costs for:

  • Salaries and wages
    • SalariesFootnote 4 , wages and benefits (directly associated with the project activities)
  • Management and professional service expenditures
    • Costs associated with services required to support a project, such as accounting, Elders/knowledge-holders fees, insurance (related to the project), legal (other than litigation) costs, official languages translationsFootnote 5  and other professional fees (other than travel)
  • Contractors
    • Costs associated with consultants and contractors engaged to undertake project activities (subject to regional limits)Footnote 6
  • Travel (as per the Treasury Board Secretariat DirectiveFootnote 7 )
    • Travel expenses and related expenses for contracted professional service providers or other non-employees (to a maximum of current Treasury Board Secretariat rates), including mileage and accommodation
    • Travel and related expenses for recipient organization employees
  • Material and supplies expenditures
    • Office supplies and materials
    • Field/laboratory equipment and field supplies
    • Includes equipment purchase costs under $10,000
  • Purchase of capital assets
    • Purchase of a single, tangible asset (with a useful life of more than one year) using more than $10,000 of ECCC funds (subject to approval in advance)
  • Equipment rentals
    • Lease, rental and/or repair of equipment used to undertake or support the project activities (subject to regional limits)
  • Costs associated with eligible land securement initiatives and projects
    • Costs associated with land acquisition or other means of land securement i.e. land transfer tax, leases, easements, covenants or servitudes
    • May include appraisal fees,surveys, baseline documentation, legal costs, etc.
  • Communication and printing, production, and distribution expenditures
    • Printing costs, websites, supplies, etc.
  • Vehicle rental and operation expenditures
  • Lease of office space
  • Overhead
    • Administrative costs (salaries and benefits of support staff, office utilities and rent, etc.) directly attributable to carrying out of the project up to a maximum of 10% of the HSP contribution; note that overhead costs are not included as part of the other eligible expenditures categories
  • Expenditures for preparing an independent financial report
    • Projects over $100,000 may be required to submit an independently verified financial report at the end of the project
  • Other expenditures
    • Meeting and training fees (e.g., materials and hall rental), registration fees for courses, conferences, workshops or seminars
  • Further disbursement of ECCC funding to final recipients
    • Organizations wishing to coordinate work for a specific species or threat, or within a certain geographic area may wish to consider a further disbursement project. A further disbursement project is one where a recipient distributes funds to third parties by means of their own competitive contribution-type program and agreements. Please contact a Regional HSP Coordinator for further details.

Please note:

  • GST/HST/QST/PST is an eligible project expenditure, therefore ECCC may reimburse recipients for the taxes they paid while undertaking the activities of the agreement that are not reimbursable by Canada Revenue Agency or by the provinces and territories. The amount of ECCC’s contribution includes the reimbursement for GST/HST/QST/PST. For example, if ECCC’s contribution is $25,000, this $25,000 includes ECCC’s reimbursement for all eligible expenditures including GST/HST/QST/PST. ECCC will not reimburse the recipient $25,000 plus GST/HST/QST/PST; the $25,000 is all-inclusive.
  • The use of universal day rates is not accepted. Costs must be broken down by expense category in order for the Contribution Agreement to be considered legally binding after signing. When costs are broken down into their respective categories, various clauses are triggered in the Contribution Agreement.
  • Costs, other than those identified herein, are ineligible unless specifically approved in writing by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change or their delegate at the time of project approval and are necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Consolidating Projects and Multi-Year Funding

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

Multi-year project applications 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.

Current Recipients of HSP multi-year funding can apply to receive additional HSP funding to undertake new and additional activities that are within the original scope/objectives of their current project, by way of an amendment to their existing contribution agreementFootnote 9 . Contact a Regional HSP Coordinator for details.

Projects are administered at the regionalFootnote 10  scale. Applicants whose projects cross 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 Regional HSP Coordinator early in the application process.

Other Requirements

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 (OLMCs) across Canada. It is recognized that projects or organizations funded by ECCC through a grants and contributions program may:

  • have an impact on OLMCs, or
  • provide potential opportunities to promote the use of both English and French, or
  • make it possible to promote Canada’s bilingual nature.

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, a project may be required to:

  • offer materials produced with project funds (websites, brochures, kits, handouts, newsletters, reports, etc.) in both official languages
  • have directional and educational signs produced in both official languages
  • offer workshop facilitation in both official languages

Cost directly related to official language translation required under the Official Languages Act for a project is an eligible cost under the program.

Applicants will be required to answer official language questions in their application 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 HSP coordinator.

Impact Assessment Act

Consult your Regional HSP Coordinator to help you evaluate whether the consideration of the environmental effects of a project may be required under the Impact Assessment Act.

How to Apply

Expression of Interest

To apply to the HSP, it is recommended that potential applicants contact their Regional HSP Coordinator to obtain an Expression of Interest form, or to discuss their proposed project to verify that it is aligned with Program priorities and expected results. This process will typically improve the quality of the application, but does not guarantee that the project will receive funding.

On-line application system

To submit an application, applicants must register on ECCC’s Single Window Information Management system to access the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS).

  • GCEMS is now closed to receive applications for project proposals that start in the fiscal year 2024-2025 (April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025).
  • The preceding HSP Tracking System is permanently offline. If you require information from the Tracking System, contact your Regional HSP Coordinator.

Writing a High-quality Project Summary

The following information provides guidance on how to complete the “Project Summary” module in the GCEMS Application. For additional guidance on completing other, non-HSP modules in GCEMS, please consult the GCEMS Applicant User Guide or your regional HSP coordinator.

Project title

This title will be used in all communications related to the proposal. Therefore, it must describe the work undertaken, the project purpose, the project location if possible, and be easily understood by an external audience. Do not use acronyms and do not make reference to the year or phase of a project (e.g., Year 1 of 2) as multi-year proposals are accepted. Example: Encouraging Landowners’ Participation in Conserving Habitat for Burrowing Owl in Southern Alberta.

Start date and end date

Indicate the project start and end dates. Please note that for funding starting in 2024, proposed activities in the application should not start before April 1, 2024. Specify the end date of your project by taking into consideration that HSP support may extend over more than one year to a maximum of five years. A project can be amended up to five (5) additional years at a time but cannot exceed 10 years in total.

Project location(s)

Please enter the City, Province, Canadian Wildlife Service region (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, Pacific or Northern), coordinates (latitude/longitude) and other criteria (if applicable) of the main office responsible for the implementation of the project. More detailed project location information will be requested in the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk 2024-2025 module.

Project description

This is a brief (suggested maximum 250 words) synopsis of the proposed project including the activities to be accomplished using HSP funding on the target species and habitat as outlined in the GCEMS Application. It must contain sufficient information to "stand alone" during the review and approval phases. Be sure to spell out acronyms. Consider the following items in developing your project description:

  • Type of project: Identify the funding program and whether it is a single or multi-year project.
  • Overall project purpose: Outline the project goal(s) and objective(s) (one to two sentences).
  • Location of Project: Identify the province(s) and main geographic area where the work is taking place.
  • Species: Name each target species and its status: Listed on Schedule 1 of SARA or assessed by COSEWIC and whether of special concern, threatened or endangered. Include whether it is a regional priority species.
  • Threats: Describe the main threat(s) faced by the species that the project will address. Be clear.
  • Main activities: List only the activities to address the recovery need/threat that is proposed to be funded by the HSP. Do not repeat the detailed activities provided in the proposal work plan, but rather provide an explanation of how the activities will achieve the project objective(s) and the needed species at risk recovery actions. These should be listed as measurable deliverables (e.g., number of hectares to be acquired or restored, and how). Do not use global terms like "enhancement activities will be undertaken" without describing what they will be. Include whether they are regional priority actions.
  • Project Timing: Provide a timeline for when the activities need to be carried out to achieve the project objective(s).
  • Anticipated project benefits/outcomes: Describe how the project will contribute to the recovery of the target species and how it will address HSP program priorities.
  • Program Objectives and Expected Results: Outline which HSP Program objective(s) and Conserving Nature expected result(s) will be addressed by the project and explain how they will be achieved.
  • Performance Evaluation: Describe how you will measure and report on the impact of each project activity on the recovery of the target species and their habitats in your project, including baseline data to evaluate post-project status and indicators that will be used to assess project success.
  • 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

Satisfactory Example of a Project Description:

This single-year HSP 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 2019 within the Milk River Watershed (South of Divide). Six SARA-listed species will be targeted, including Greater Sage-grouse and Burrowing Owl (both Endangered and Prairie Region priority species) and Loggerhead Shrike (Threatened). 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 deliver on two Conserving Nature expected results, Canada’s wildlife and habitat is conserved and protected, and Canada’s species at risk are recovered, by implementing an educational program where students are educated by farmers about stewardship and species at risk. The project will contribute to the recovery strategy actions of each target species 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 (respectively priority sector and threat), and increasing the network of stakeholders concerned with prairie conservation. Project performance will be evaluated with measurable direct (e.g., number of people engaged) and indirect (e.g., survey of changes made by farmers to promote native landscapes) outcomes.

Unsatisfactory Example of a 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.

Application deadline

The application period for projects commencing in 2024-2025 was open from September 19, 2023, to 2:00 pm (EDT) on October 31, 2023. Please note that extensions to the application deadline will not be granted due to personal considerations, minor technical malfunctions, or other reasons. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early since online systems can become slower as the deadline nears, due to a high volume of proponents accessing the system. *The creation of a new user account can also take several days.

In accordance with ECCC’s Grants and Contributions Service Standards, applicants will receive an acknowledgement that their application was submitted successfully within five working days of submitting an application. Please contact sgesc-gcems-sgesc-gcems@ec.gc.ca and copy your Regional HSP Coordinator if you have submitted an application but have not received this acknowledgment.

How Applications Are Reviewed

As the demand for funding from HSP regularly exceeds the funds available, there is no guarantee that a project will be funded. Every effort will be made to provide applicants with the earliest possible notice once a decision has been made. To ensure a higher likelihood of success, it is strongly encouraged that applicants complete the Expression of Interest form and work with their Regional HSP Coordinator to discuss their project’s eligibility and alignment with program priorities ahead of the actual application process.

Application Evaluation Criteria

Every project proposal undergoes a technical evaluation by the Regional HSP Coordinator to confirm that it meets eligibility requirements (species, applicants, activities, expenses, matching funds, etc.). Eligible applications will be evaluated and prioritized using the following criteria:

  • 60% for alignment with program objectives and priorities
  • 40% for technical merit of the application, which includes (though is not limited to) overall quality of the project application, feasibility of the application, and consideration of past performance

A high-quality project is one that

  • is developed with the involvement of recovery expert(s) for the target species or links to conservation activities identified in recovery strategies / action plans for endangered or threatened species, or management plans for species of special concern, where these documents exist,
  • links to conservation activities identified in wildlife/conservation plans for COSEWIC-assessed species not listed on Schedule 1 of SARA,
  • incorporates other regional considerations mentioned on this webpage, including benefits to multiple species with targeted species being program priorities, and ability to address critical habitat of SARA-listed species,
  • coordinates with other habitat conservation programs or partners, for both recovery actions and cost-efficiency,
  • demonstrates a high degree of local and regional support from a variety of partners,
  • involves individuals and communities with local experience/knowledge,
  • demonstrates the applicant’s ability to plan, manage and complete projects successfully (e.g., describes the issues and solutions to be implemented),
  • demonstrates the appropriateness of budget and schedules, which are realistic given the time frame and objectives of the project,
  • has a high likelihood of success based on applicant experience and realistic deliverables,
  • includes other funding sources in excess of the minimum eligible match funding ratio, demonstrating the applicant’s ability to raise funds from non-federal sources,
  • has a concise application presented in a clear and logical manner,
  • has a well-developed workplan and has a plan to measure project results, and
  • implements evaluation and performance measures.

Please note:

  • The ability of applicants to complete all reporting and administration requirements under the HSP will be considered during the evaluation. To this end, project evaluators will consider past performance in meeting reporting and administration deadlines for previous HSP projects and other Contribution Agreements with ECCC. Inability to meet these reporting requirements may result in disqualification of an applicant for future funding.
  • Due to Government of Canada policy, communication with applicants regarding application status during the project review and selection phase is prohibited until the final departmental decisions have been reached. 
  • ECCC will notify all applicants of funding decisions and will do so for each individual application submitted, and negotiation of Contribution Agreements with successful applicants will follow. ECCC aims to send these notifications as early as possible; however, applicants should expect variation in the timing of notifications within a program and between ECCC or other Government of Canada funding programs. 
  • The Program is unable to reimburse successful applicants for any expenses incurred prior to the official notification. 
  • ECCC will aim to have HSP funding decisions available by spring 2024.

For Accepted Applications

Once departmental approval in principle has been confirmed, applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) will be notified in writing. If your project application is approved in principle, you will be contacted to negotiate a Contribution Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of funding. Federal Members of Parliament or their teams may be advised about the approval in principle of a project and may be provided with information in this application, including applicant’s name, project title, project description, project location, funding amounts, and contact information. They may contact successful applicants before official notice from ECCC is received, to congratulate them on their project’s approval in principle.


Funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of a Contribution Agreement between the applicant and ECCC. As negotiations are a shared responsibility between the applicant and ECCC, the two parties will aim to complete negotiations within sixty working days.

Cash Flow Statement

Once confirmation of approval of the project has been received, applicants will be required to submit additional information, including, but not limited to, a detailed cash flow statement of all sources of revenue (including all in-kind contributions) and expenditures that are part of the approved project. A quarterly breakdown of ECCC’s contribution will also be required for the year, and if the project is multi-year, will be required at the beginning of every new year.

Intellectual Property Rights

Any Intellectual Property Rights created by the Recipient in association with their obligations and responsibilities under a Contribution 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.

Public Acknowledgement

Recipients are responsible for providing ECCC with final copies of any document or material utilizing the ECCC identifier, wordmark or acknowledgement statements prior to printing or distribution, for ECCC approval of the use of said logos or acknowledgement statements. The Regional HSP 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 communication products originating from the project must acknowledge ECCC’s contribution as will be described in Appendix E of the Contribution Agreement.

Reporting Obligations

The Contribution Agreement, between the recipient and ECCC, will specify project reporting deadlines. Report templates will be provided for recipients to provide regular progress reports, annual reports (for multi-year projects) as well as a final report upon the completion of the project. These reports will describe project revenue, expenses, accomplishments and detailed descriptions/quantifications of project outputs and outcomes.

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

  • total land area secured, protected, improved or restored
  • number of species targeted for protection
  • target species’ monitoring results
  • number of individuals directly or indirectly engaged through outreach

It is important to note that different projects may have different reporting requirements. The Regional HSP Coordinator will advise recipients on specific reporting requirements.

Survey Data Sharing

Recipients will be required to provide species occurrence or habitat data collected in the context of the project to the respective provincial/territorial wildlife data repository centre or to ECCC, as relevant to the project. Recipients will be asked to confirm in their annual or final report the submission of these data.


Recipients will be responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits associated with the project from relevant federal or provincial authorities (including those required under SARA, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and any other provincial or territorial acts that may apply) wherever the project triggers the need for a permit (e.g., it could impact target 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 for more information on SARA permits and this site for migratory bird permits.

Main links

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

Contact us

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

If you have any further questions, please contact us at PIH-HSP@ec.gc.ca, or contact your Regional HSP Coordinator. Please note that Regional HSP Coordinators are available to answer questions during regular business hours, local time.

Regional HSP Coordinators

Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick
Delphine Seto
Email: delphine.seto@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 506-540-1091

Jérôme Desrosiers
Email: jerome.desrosiers@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 581-703-2747

Patrick Rivers
Email: patrick.rivers@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 416-433-8322

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
Monika Tan
Email: monika.tan@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 639-398-6402

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

Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut
Christopher Carli
Email: christopher.carli@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 867-334-7393

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