Canada Nature Fund

The Canada Nature Fund supports the protection of Canada’s biodiversity through the creation of protected and conserved areas and through initiatives that help to recover species at risk. The Fund is available to not-for-profit and Indigenous organizations, provinces and territories, and others.

Spaces stream

The Spaces stream of the Canada Nature Fund provides resources that will enable partners to drive progress toward Canada’s biodiversity commitments. This stream currently consists of 2 core components:

  1. The Pathway to Canada Target 1 Challenge, which supports the creation of protected areas on provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous lands.
  2. The Natural Heritage Conservation Program, which supports the creation of protected areas on private lands.

Through these components, we will support actions toward the following:

Pathway to Canada Target 1 Challenge

In August 2019, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced funding for a series of Challenge projects, including the establishment of up to 27 Indigenous protected and conserved areas. For more information about these projects, check out our map of Challenge projects.

Natural Heritage Conservation Program

Funded by the Canada Nature Fund, the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a national program that establishes new protected and conserved areas by working with partners across Canada to secure private lands and private interests in lands.

The NHCP is delivered through agreements with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Wildlife Habitat Canada, in collaboration with the Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts on behalf of local and regional land trusts across the country.

To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $440 million in the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, with matching contributions of $870 million.

Species at Risk stream

As part of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in CanadaFootnote 1 , the Government of Canada is investing $155 million over 5 years to help protect terrestrial and aquatic species at risk.  Under this stream, partners will contribute to the protection and recovery of species at risk and other biodiversity for priority species, places and sectors. Through innovative, multi-species and ecosystem-based initiatives, we will support priorities for action and build relationships with Indigenous Peoples, other governments and organizations, industry, and other resource users.

Priority places

Funding for community-nominated priority places is helping to protect species at risk across Canada by developing partnerships and implementing multi-species and ecosystem-based conservation actions. Community-nominated priority places are found outside of the 11 priority places currently identified under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada.

The current suite of community-nominated priority places are located across 9 provinces and territories, in areas of high biodiversity that have the potential to benefit a large number of species at risk.

Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk

The Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk supports stewardship projects that help recover and protect aquatic species at risk. This fund is focused on multi-species approaches to address threats to aquatic species at risk in the marine environment, and to support multi-species recovery actions in freshwater areas across Canada. Since 2018, over 90 multi-species projects have been supported, benefiting over 140 aquatic species at risk. 

Related funding initiatives

Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program

This program gives Indigenous Peoples greater opportunities to exercise responsibility in stewardship of their traditional lands, waters, and ice.

Ecological Gifts Program

This program provides a way for Canadians, either individuals or corporations, to donate ecologically sensitive land to qualified recipients and receive significant tax benefits.

Habitat Stewardship Programs for terrestrial and aquatic species at risk

This program allocates funds to projects that conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats and help to preserve biodiversity as a whole through the participation of local communities.

Aboriginal Fund for terrestrial and aquatic species at risk

This program supports the development of Indigenous capacity to participate actively in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act. Funds are allocated to projects that protect habitat and contribute to the recovery of species at risk, and to projects that prevent other species from becoming a conservation concern.

Other environmental funding programs

The Government of Canada offers several other environmental funding programs.

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