Government of Canada launches new National Program for Ecological Corridors
Parks Canada-led program will support the identification of key ecological corridors to connect habitats and conserve biodiversity.
April 21, 2022 Laval, Québec Parks Canada Agency
Fighting biodiversity loss and climate change starts with protecting nature. That includes ensuring that our cities and infrastructure allow animals and plants to thrive, instead of cutting them off from habitat. No one wants to see wildlife unable to cross a highway to get to a wetland, or migrating birds with no trees to rest in along their flight. Ecological corridors are integral to effective nature protection because they support the movement of species between conserved areas, allowing them to interact and find habitat. They also allow other natural processes, like pollination, to occur across the broader landscape while giving people the opportunity to responsibly develop liveable communities that co-exist with nature and give it the best chance to thrive.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the launch of the National Program for Ecological Corridors. With an investment of $60.6 million over five years, the Parks Canada-led program will support and enable other jurisdictions and organizations to develop better ecological connections between protected and conserved areas, which will benefit the environment and all Canadians.
Many great examples of ecological corridors already exist across Canada. The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System provides crucial connectivity near urban centres in Ontario, and protects species such as Blanding’s turtles, monarch butterflies, and woodland voles. On the other side of the country, Kootenay Connect in British Columbia enhances and connects habitats in four biodiversity hotspots especially important for grizzly bears.
Parks Canada will collaborate with other levels of government and a wide range of partners, experts, and stakeholders to develop criteria and map areas where these corridors would have the greatest positive effects for biodiversity conservation in key areas across Canada. This will include working with Indigenous partners to ensure that the program is informed by Indigenous Knowledge and contributes to reconciliation, through land stewardship and connection opportunities.
Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors is supported by the historic $2.3 billion investment in Canada’s natural legacy announced in Budget 2021. This program will accelerate action to reduce biodiversity loss, protect ecosystems, and help Canada adapt to climate change.
“With the right planning, we can make sure that our cities, highways, and infrastructure make space for nature, instead of cutting it off. Linking conserved areas in Canada gives a huge boost to the conservation of biodiversity. The National Program for Ecological Corridors is an exciting new federal initiative because it gives diverse species the best chance to survive and thrive by applying the best Traditional Knowledge and science. We’re taking action today with Indigenous peoples, experts and stakeholders to support healthier ecosystems. It’s the key to our plan of fighting the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"The Ecological Corridors Program through Parks Canada is vitally important to protect and grow our natural heritage across the country. Canada is rich with biodiversity, but we must work hard to protect nature for generations to come. This major investment in conservation is a significant stride toward halting and reversing biodiversity loss in Canada. Today's announcement is another example of how the Government of Canada is investing in our environment, our communities and in the fight against climate change."
The Honourable Karina Gould
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“Biodiversity conservation and protecting the environment are extremely important to Canadians. By investing in this new program, the Government of Canada commits to working in close collaboration with Indigenous communities and key partners to connect our landscape in ways that benefit nature while making our communities more liveable. This exciting new work supports on-the-ground conservation initiatives and makes Canada more resilient to the changing climate for future generations.”
Member of Parliament for Toronto – Danforth and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Guided by science, Indigenous Knowledge and local perspectives, Canada is committed to conserving 25 per cent of lands, freshwater, and oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.
Protected and conserved areas must be connected to allow natural processes to flow and species to move, interact, and find habitat across large landscapes and seascapes.
Ecological corridors provide habitat connection and deliver many other benefits including climate change adaptation, reduced biodiversity loss, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, increased opportunities for people to connect with nature, and promotion of human-wildlife coexistence.
The new National Program for Ecological Corridors complements the recently announced National Urban Parks Program also led by Parks Canada.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
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