New federal budget makes historic investment in nature

Support for species at risk past due, WWF-Canada says

Toroto, Ontario, CANADA

Ottawa, Feb. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian government took a significant step toward protecting species at risk today with a $1.3 billion budget commitment over five years. World Wildlife Fund Canada welcomes this important and historic investment in nature.


Wildlife loss is a Canadian problem outlined by WWF’s recent Living Planet Report Canada: 50 per cent of monitored vertebrate species are in decline, and the most imperiled – those listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) – are continuing to decline. Alarmed by these numbers, WWF-Canada, as part of the Green Budget Coalition, asked the government of Canada to make protected areas a priority and ensure SARA related programs were sufficiently funded.


The federal 2018 budget is an important response to these concerns, allocating dedicated funding to support land-based and marine protected areas, promising to increase federal capacity to protect species at risk, and investing in the specific protection and recovery of endangered North Atlantic right whales, southern resident killer whales, and St Lawrence estuary belugas.


These programs and commitments have the potential to support long-term conservation gains in Canada. There are many details around implementation, funding and timelines still to be worked out, and some concern that funding is spread over five years, well beyond Canada’s 2020 deadline for meeting international commitments to protecting 17 per cent of land and inland waters, but WWF looks forward to working with the federal government to ensure these programs help to reverse the decline of wildlife in Canada.


Megan Leslie, president and CEO of WWF Canada, said:

“The Canadian government is clearly concerned about wildlife and habitat loss in Canada and this budget shows good intentions to protect new habitats and help species in decline to recover. While there are still many details missing from the budget, we look forward to working with the government over the coming months to ensure strong protections and effective wildlife recovery initiatives for the future.


The dedicated funding for endangered whales is critically needed. The North Atlantic right whale has seen a tragic spike in deaths in the past year and require immediate action to stop their decline. And this is an important step.


We do have lingering questions about specific funding for the implementation of the Species at Risk Act, a program we have found to be under-resourced in the past, but this budget is a great starting point to begin the critical task of reversing the decline of wildlife.”


About World Wildlife Fund Canada

WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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