Protecting nature: Canada’s story

It’s in our nature

Canada is home to a quarter of the Earth’s wetlands, temperate rainforests and boreal forests; 20% of its fresh water; the longest coastline in the world; and precious habitats for birds, fish, and mammals. We have a special responsibility to the world, and we are doing our part.

We are committed to conserving a quarter of our lands and a quarter of our oceans by 2025

We committed to conserving 2,496,168 km2of our land and fresh water and 1,437,500 km2of our oceans by 2025. That will be 3,933,668 km2of protected lands, lakes, and oceans—an area bigger than India! This action is part of the Government of Canada’s commitments to conserving a quarter of Canada’s lands and a quarter of its oceans by 2025 and working toward conserving 30% of each by 2030.

To reach our goals, we are working together with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, cities and towns, foundations, charities, and other partners from coast to coast to coast.

Long description

Map of Canada with text “Making progress towards protecting 25% of our lands and oceans by 2025.” and arrow indicating the increase in protected land and oceans divided into three dates:

2015: 1.12 million km2

Today: Almost 2.2 million km2

2025: 3.93 million km2

The data is as of December 2022.

What we are doing

We are working with partners to protect more land and freshwater, and at the same time, recognizing conservation measures already in place across the country. We have a plan to reach our 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030 targets—together we can do it. 

Long description

Map of Canada using different shapes and colours to indicate current protected and conserved areas, areas that are on track for conservation by 2025, other areas of progress and candidate areas for Project Finance for Permanence initiatives.

Map title: Marine and Terrestrial Projects

The map shows:

  • ‘Areas on track for 2025’, (represented by a red circle), there are 4 in British Columbia, 3 in offshore Pacific near British Columbia, 1 in Saskatchewan, 2 in Ontario, 7 in Quebec, 1 in New Brunswick, 8 in Nova Scotia, 3 in Prince Edward Island, 3 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 2 offshore or coastal Atlantic near Newfoundland and Labrador, 2 in Nunavut, 1 in Arctic marine near Nunavut, and 3 in Northwest Territories
  • ‘Areas of Progress’, (represented by a smaller orange circle), there are 12 in British Columbia, 4 in AB, 4 in Saskatchewan, 5 in Manitoba, 7 in Ontario, 16 in Quebec, 9 in New Brunswick, 10 in Nova Scotia, 2 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 2 in Nunavut, 2 in Northwest Territories, and 2 in Yukon

For both the ‘Areas on track for 2025’ and ‘Areas of progress’, the legend has a note that these include “Challenge Fund areas, including indigenous led area based conservation initiatives, National Wildlife Areas (new and expanded), Biosphere Reserve Buffer Zone areas, Parks Canada administered protected areas that are actively being pursued, and marine areas under consideration for conservation”.

  • ‘National Urban Parks on track for 2025’, (represented by a dark purple pentagon), there are 1 in British Columbia, 1 in AB, 1 in Saskatchewan, 1 in Ontario, and 1 in Nova Scotia
  • ‘National Urban Parks areas of progress’, (represented by a light purple pentagon), there are 1 in Manitoba and 1 in Quebec
  • ‘Established National Urban Parks’ (represented by a dark green pentagon) there is 1 in Ontario

There are 4 Candidate Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) initiatives as submitted by proponents, represented by a beige shape with orange dashed boundaries, for Northern Shelf Marine PFP, Northwest Territories PFP, Qikiqtani PFP, and Omushkego PFP.

The map shows all current protected and conserved area pentagon split out by terrestrial in green and marine in blue. Size and locations can be found on the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Canada’s conservation network is diverse and vast, and we are continuing to expand it by:

What we have done

So far, more than 2 million km2 of our lands and oceans are already protected or conserved—an area that is bigger than the size of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador combined. Over the past several years, we have increased this number by creating and supporting new federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous protected areas, as well as areas protected by land trusts and communities.

We’re adding new protected and other conserved areas:

Interactive tools

Protected and conserved areas

NEW - Learn more about the types and locations of protected and conserved areas in the Canadian network. The Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database is now available on the Open Data portal. Did you know:

Critical habitat

Understanding critical habitat is an important step in halting and reversing biodiversity loss and prioritizing conservation for species at risk in Canada. Now you can view critical habitat for over 250 species at risk in one interactive map on the Open Data portal.

How you can help

Learn about activities you can do at home to protect nature.

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