Nature Canada

Nature Canada Responds to the Federal Budget

Three new national protected areas are funded in Budget 2024 — a good start on the pathway to 30x30.

Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, ON — 17 April 2024

“Nature Canada welcomes the commitments the federal government makes in its 2024 budget to increase care for our natural spaces, and in particular, to expand our protected areas,” said Akaash Maharaj, Nature Canada’s Director of Policy. “It’s a good step along the path of achieving our goal of protecting 30% of Canada’s lands, waters and oceans.”

The federal budget pledges $156.7 million over five years to the Parks Canada Agency, for capital investments in Canada’s national parks, national marine conservation areas, and historic sites. “We were very pleased to see funding for three hugely important new national protected areas: Central Coast National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in BC; Ojibway National Urban Park in Ontario; and Pituamkek National Park Reserve in PEI,” said Maharaj.

These are significant victories for our country’s natural spaces, which Canadians everywhere can celebrate. We commend the federal government, and congratulate Canada’s community of naturalists and environmental organizations, such as the Green Budget Coalition, whose hard work made this day possible, as well as the First Nations who provide incredible leadership.

Funding for Pituamkek National Park Reserve in Prince Edward Island is wonderful and congratulations to Lennox Island First Nation who advocated for this critical natural area for many years.

Central Coast National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in British Columbia (otherwise known as the Great Bear Sea) will also move forward thanks to funding in the budget. We give thanks for the leadership of the Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Kitasoo, Xai’xais, Gitga’at, and Gitxaala Nations in ensuring this biodiversity hotspot will now be protected in perpetuity.

Ojibway National Urban Park in Windsor, Ontario, is a very exciting project, with leadership from the City of Windsor, the Walpole Island and Caldwell First Nations.

Though we are happy to see Finance Canada’s commitment to publish a plan to fulfil the longstanding promise to end nature-harming corporate welfare to fossil fuel companies, we are still waiting for concrete steps.

“Of course, with the federal government’s promise to protect 30% of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030, we were hoping to see more funding to get us there. We look forward to a renewal of key nature programs in 2025, which will be necessary to meet the 30×30 target,” said Maharaj.

“Canadians are struggling with inflation for the basic necessities of life. And all too often, our natural heritage is being pillaged for the benefit of the few, rather than being preserved as the birthright of the many. Nature Canada is glad the 2024 Budget recognizes that we must solve these twin crises together, if we are to solve either at all,” said Maharaj.

Nature Canada also welcomes the $150.7 million earmarked for Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS). “Our excellent program Work to Grow is a part of YESS and creates a head start for many young people looking to start a career in a nature-related field. It is critical that we continue to support youth who want nature to be a part of their working life,” adds Maharaj.

Nature Canada is Canada’s voice for nature. For 85 years, Nature Canada has helped protect nearly 144 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 250,000 members and supporters and more than 1,200 nature organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Akaash Maharaj
Director of Policy, Nature Canada | (416) 995-3275

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