Ontario – A partnership of Indigenous and environmental groups are commending Canada’s Federal Government for tabling “the best federal budget for biodiversity conservation” in decades.
The budget creates hope that Canada will meet its commitment to protect at least 17 percent of lands and inland waters by 2020.
With the greatest single investment ever made to protect Canada’s land, freshwater and oceans, the federal government is following the will of Canadians – 87 percent of whom support the commitment to increase protection up to 17 percent. However, many groups focused on Ontario want to make sure those gains are replicated in the country’s largest province as well.
“This money is essential for protecting natural areas identified by Indigenous communities, provinces, territories, municipalities and private land conservancy organizations across Canada,” says Ontario Nature Executive Director Caroline Schultz. “It’s now high time for the Government of Ontario to do its part to protect the places that we all love.”
The federal investment of $1.3 billion over five years will support biodiversity and protect species at risk, including $500 million to create a new $1 billion Nature Fund to secure private land, support provincial and territorial species protection efforts, and build Indigenous capacity to conserve land and species.
“This budget has the potential to share our Ways of Knowing through achieving international treaty-based targets for biodiversity and climate change and even more importantly, to restore our relationships with the rest of the web of life,” says Larry McDermott, Executive Director of Plenty Canada, a non-profit that shares resources with Indigenous peoples and other community groups in support of the environment.
All levels of government are responsible for protecting Canada’s at-risk wildlife and its spectacular natural areas for generations to come.