Canada Nature Fund

The Canada Nature Fund supports the protection of Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity—including 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 will provide resources that will enable key partners and stakeholders to significantly advance progress toward Canada’s biodiversity commitments. It consists of three core components:

  • Challenge
  • Natural Heritage Conservation Program
  • Quick Start

Through them, we will optimize and coordinate supporting actions toward:

  • achieving Canada’s goal of protecting at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water by 2020 (hectares coverage)
  • enhancing the integrity and connectivity of Canada’s protected and conserved areas network
  • establishing new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) to support Indigenous engagement in conservation

Pathway to Canada Target 1 Challenge

Pathway to Canada Target 1 Challenge projects will make a significant contribution to conserving 17 percent of Canada’s land and fresh water.

In August 2019, Minister McKenna announced the first of 67 Challenge projects, including the establishment of up to 27 Indigenous protected and conserved areas. Further details about these projects are being announced as agreements with local partners are finalized.

Natural Heritage Conservation Program

This program is being funded by the Canada Nature Fund to enable a coordinated pan-Canadian approach to private land and private interest in land acquisition for purposes of establishing new protected and conserved areas.

In April 2019, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced the approval of the project submitted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and many regional and local land trusts represented by the Canadian Land Trusts Working Group. The Government of Canada is investing $100 million over four years in the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023) as part of Budget 2018’s Nature Legacy initiative.

Quick Start 

These projects were selected to quickly add to Canada’s protected and conserved areas. 

For more information, check out our map of Quick Start projects.

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 will help 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 nine provinces and territories, in areas of high biodiversity that have the potential to benefit a large number of species at risk. For more information on the projects, please consult the news release.

The Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk

This program supports projects with a focus on seven priority freshwater places and two priority marine threats. These investments support aquatic conservation and biodiversity across the country.

For more information, visit Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk.

Related funding initiatives

Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program

This program gives Indigenous peoples greater opportunities to exercise responsibility in on-the-ground 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

These programs allocate 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 Funds for Terrestrial and Aquatic Species at Risk

Supporting 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 funding programs

The Government of Canada offers several other environmental funding programs.

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