Canada closer to meeting international standards for protecting and restoring nature

OTTAWA — A historic investment of $1.3 billion over five years in today’s federal budget to protect and restore nature will help Canada meet its international commitment to protect a minimum of 10 per cent of its oceans and 17 per cent of its land and freshwater by 2020. This is urgently needed to address Canada’s biodiversity crisis.

“It’s great to see money for protected areas and species at risk,” David Suzuki Foundation CEO Steve Cornish said. “We hope it results in more protected habitats, which is what these species need to survive and recover.”

The game-changer in today’s announcement is the commitment to enable collaborative action on protected areas by provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments alongside the federal government. The David Suzuki Foundation encourages the federal government to support Indigenous protected areas and co-governance as important steps in the right direction for conservation and reconciliation in Canada.

“This budget recognizes that nature is an important part of the Canadian identity,” Cornish said. “This sends a strong signal about the importance of safeguarding the natural environment that we depend on for our well-being. But the clock is ticking. We encourage the government to move quickly and expand Canada’s network of ocean- and land-based protected areas, reflecting a balance of high standards for ecosystem protection and accommodation of the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples.”

Other Budget 2018 highlights for the environment include:

  • $20 million over five years to assess the effectiveness of measures under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and identify best practices.
  • $1 billion over five years to implement proposed changes to Canada’s environmental assessment laws.
  • $167.4 million over five years to better protect, preserve and recover endangered whale species in Canada.
  • $22 million to renew the Sustainable Aquaculture Program for two years in support of an improved regulatory system. Renewal of this program must include a focus on the environmental performance of Canada’s aquaculture sector.
  • Significant investments in scientific research.

“Strong science should be at the heart of government decision-making processes,” Cornish said.

Meanwhile, the Foundation had hoped to see additional priority given to the following area:

  • The government has committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, but Budget 2018 makes no progress toward this goal.

The David Suzuki Foundation is a member of the Green Budget Coalition. For more information, please visit the coalition’s complete 2018 Budget recommendations.

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation,, 613-914-0747 (on-site at budget lockup)

Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation (English),, 604-356-8829

Diego Creimer, Fondation David Suzuki (French),, 514-999-6743