Nature Conservancy of Canada accelerates conservation

Funding extension means more conservation, faster, in every province

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

MONTREAL, Dec. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) will conserve an additional 130,000 hectares of priority natural habitat over the next three years, thanks to the Natural Heritage Conservation Program’s (NHCP) extension announced today by Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s minister of Environment and Climate Change. NCC’s commitment will result in the protection of natural areas spanning roughly three times the size of Montreal.

NCC will deliver more than 70 per cent of the extended program’s total target of 180,000 hectares by 2026. Working alongside other program partners, including Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada and the country’s land trusts, NCC will build upon the success of a program that has already delivered more than $1.3 billion in critically needed conservation outcomes.

Lands protected and cared for by NCC under the extended NHCP will provide benefits for species at risk and migratory birds and ensure the health and connectedness of natural systems. They will provide opportunities for climate change mitigation and adaptation and maintain ecosystem services for neighbouring communities. These projects have the potential to capture at least 250,000 tonnes of carbon over the three-year term of the extension, equivalent to taking 52,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

Only by engaging everyone — in a whole-of-society approach — can we hope to stop and reverse the destruction of nature. NCC commits to mobilizing support across all sectors — private citizens, landowners, governments, industry — to raise more than $80 million from non-federal sources to leverage the government investment and maximize impact.

NCC will support new and innovative ways to conserve lands faster, including privately protected areas, publicly protected areas, and conservation on working landscapes. The organization will also continue to support and advance Indigenous-led conservation, including Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.

This funding announcement comes during the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal — COP15 — where NCC has joined the Canadian delegation in shaping an action plan to transform our relationship with nature. It is the most important global summit for nature in a generation.

Climate change and rapid biodiversity loss are inextricably linked crises. There is no solution to either without protecting and caring for our natural world. Having already conserved habitats that amount to an area more than 23 times the size of Banff National Park over its 60-year history, NCC is now on track to double its pace of conservation and impact by 2030. Projects conserved under the NHCP will contribute to that momentum. By accelerating conservation, NCC is advancing Canada’s goals to protect 30 per cent of our country’s lands and waters by 2030 and to ensure a nature-positive future by 2050.


“The NHCP is world-class. It’s a made-in-Canada response to a global challenge, and it bolsters our ability to deliver impactful nature conservation across the country. We are energized by the collaboration with government and partners to conserve more priority areas, faster. The NHCP encourages us all to accelerate the pace of conservation for the sake of nature and people. It is a model that allows every Canadian to take tangible action to protect and care for our lands and waters. With our network of donors and supporters, NCC is ready to meet the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change head-on, because when nature thrives, we all thrive.”

– Catherine Grenier, President and CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada  

“Achieving Canada’s 30 percent by 2030 land-conservation target will require the combined efforts of our federal government, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, business leaders, land trusts, and more. By working with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Wildlife Habitat Canada, we are helping to protect the natural environment across the country. Protecting land plays a vital role in helping to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, and contributes to the recovery of species at risk.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


  • The extension of the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a $90-million, three-year federal government commitment to support land conservation.
  • The program will invest $54 million in NCC conservation projects. NCC commits to raising an additional $81 million in non-federal funds.
  • There are NHCP projects in every province.
  • NHCP projects contribute to connectivity. Ninety-six per cent of all NHCP projects are within 25 kilometres of a provincial or national protected area.
  • More than 95 per cent of Canadians live within 100 kilometres of an NHCP project, giving people an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature.
  • The NHCP encourages people and families to entrust their lands to conservation.
  • Since 2007, the partnership has:
    • Resulted in 700,000 hectares of conserved areas. That’s over $1.3 billion in conservation outcomes;
    • Conserved habitat for more than 240 species at risk;
    • Contributed to at least 1.3 million tonnes of carbon storage (equivalent to taking 280,000 cars off the road); and
    • Supported more than 380 donations of land by conservation-minded individuals.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. To learn more, visit

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique partnership that supports the creation of protected and conserved areas through the acquisition of private land and private interest in land. To date, the Government of Canada has invested more than $440 million in the Program, which has been matched with more than $870 million in contributions raised by Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the country’s land trust community, leading to the protection and conservation of more than 700,000 hectares of ecologically sensitive lands.


Andrew Holland
Director of Media Relations
Nature Conservancy of Canada
C: 506-260-0469