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 two 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:

  • Achieving Canada’s goal of of conserving 25 percent of Canada’s lands, inland waters, and oceans, respectively, by 2025, and working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.
  • Enhancing the integrity and connectivity of Canada’s protected and conserved areas network.
  • Establishing new Indigenous protected and conserved areas to support Indigenous engagement in conservation.

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

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 acquisitions to establish new protected and conserved areas.

In April 2019, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that the Natural Heritage Conservation Program would be administered 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.

Under the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, annual funding for the land -trust portion of the program is available through a call for proposals for the Land Trust Conservation Fund, administered by Wildlife Habitat Canada. More information is available on the Wildlife Habitat Canada website.

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 five 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 nine 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

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

This programs 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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