Government of Canada supports continued delivery of Action Plan to ensure the ongoing protection of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site

News release

December 21, 2020                                      Ottawa, Ontario                                            Parks Canada Agency

To date, 20 of the most cherished heritage sites in Canada have met the requirements to be inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and represent some of humanity's most outstanding achievements and nature's most inspiring creations. The Government of Canada recognizes the Outstanding Universal Value of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada and is committed to protecting them for future generations.

That’s why today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced a Government of Canada investment of $59.9 million over 3 years to continue implementing federal commitments under the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site Action Plan.

Funding announced today builds on the Government of Canada’s initial investment of $27.5 million through Budget 2018 for work to date on the Action Plan. It will support the delivery of remaining Action Plan initiatives including strengthening park management in collaboration with Indigenous partners, enhancing research, monitoring and management of the Peace-Athabasca Delta using science and Indigenous knowledge, and establishing new mechanisms to support improved water management in the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

At the request of the World Heritage Committee, the Government of Canada led a collaborative effort with the Governments of Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories, and with Indigenous partners, to develop an Action Plan to address concerns regarding the world heritage values of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site. The development of the Action Plan was informed by and reflects Indigenous perspectives, values, and knowledge and collaborative leadership with Indigenous partners is playing a key role in its implementation.

Notable progress has been made on the Action Plan to date, with more than half of the identified actions completed or underway. Despite the challenges imposed this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada continues to work together with partners to deliver on all of the measures outlined in the Action Plan.

Parks Canada is the lead agency for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Canada due to its longstanding experience and depth of expertise in the conservation of both natural and cultural places. Twelve of Canada’s twenty World Heritage sites are areas managed in part or in whole by Parks Canada.


“The Government of Canada will ensure that Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site remains a treasured place for present and future generations in collaboration with our Indigenous, provincial, and territorial partners. That is why we are making a substantial new investment of $59.9 million in order to continue to deliver on the implementation of the Wood Buffalo Action Plan. Canada is recognized internationally for the effective stewardship of its natural and cultural heritage and we will continue to manage Canada’s World Heritage sites to the highest standard while contributing to conservation globally.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“The federal government is taking another important step today to continue protecting Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site. By strengthening park management, enhancing research using science and Indigenous knowledge and improving water management, we are working with our partners to protect this culturally and ecologically important site for future generations.”

Michael McLeod,
Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories 

Quick facts

  • Wood Buffalo National Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 in recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value – including one of the largest free-roaming, self-regulating Wood Bison herds in the world, great concentrations of migratory wildlife, the only remaining nesting ground of the endangered Whooping Crane, the biologically rich Peace-Athabasca Delta, extensive salt plains unique in Canada, and some of the finest examples of gypsum karst topography in North America.

  • Wood Buffalo National Park is located on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples. Parks Canada is working with the 11 Indigenous communities who have been stewards of the lands and waters of this region since time immemorial through a co‑operative management committee that strives to respect both the mandate of Parks Canada and the cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples in the management of Wood Buffalo National Park.

  • In 2019, the World Heritage Committee commended Canada’s Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site and recognized the significant effort and investment that Canada and its partners have made to strengthen the protection and management of the site.

  • A State of Conservation report for Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site was submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on December 21, 2020. The report will be posted on the UNESCO World Heritage Centre website and considered at its next annual meeting, currently set to take place in Fuzhou, China, in the summer of 2021.

Associated links


Moira Kelly
Press Secretary      
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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