Protecting the health and well-being of Canadians by promoting a safe and clean environment is a Government priority. Since 2006, the Government has taken significant action to protect our natural areas, including taking steps to add more than 160,000 square kilometres to the Canadian federal parks and marine conservation system—a more than 58-per-cent increase—and securing almost 4,000 square kilometres of ecologically sensitive private lands. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide over $400 million on a cash basis for measures to protect and preserve Canada’s rich natural heritage by making improvements to Canada’s national parks, conserving recreational fisheries, encouraging additional donations under Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, expanding recreational trails, supporting family-oriented conservation and expanding tax support for clean energy generation.
The 2013 Speech from the Throne announced that the Government would act to protect Canada’s rich natural heritage through a new National Conservation Plan to further increase protected areas, focusing on stronger marine and coastal conservation. Details regarding the Plan, which will build on the measures proposed in Economic Action Plan 2014, will be announced in the coming months.
The Government is committed to the preservation of Canada’s natural heritage. Since 2006, significant resources have been allocated to conserve Canada’s iconic landscapes, seascapes and species for future generations, including:
- Nearly $600 million for initiatives to preserve and restore Canada’s waters, including oceans and lakes.
- Over $500 million to protect Canada’s diverse species and help secure the necessary conditions for their recovery through implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
- $245 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to conserve ecologically sensitive land under the Natural Areas Conservation Program.
- $140 million over 10 years and over $7.5 million per year ongoing to create Canada’s first national near-urban park in the Rouge Valley in Ontario.
- $5.5 million over five years to establish the Mealy Mountains National Park in Labrador, which represents a key habitat for a threatened caribou herd.
- Establishing the Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories to protect the spectacular landscapes of the upper reaches of the world-famous South Nahanni River and to serve as a launching area for visitors to this Northern wilderness.
- Expanding the Nahanni National Park Reserve located in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories by six times.
- Establishing the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area to create the largest freshwater protected area in the world.
- Establishing the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve next to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. The area embodies the rugged beauty and rich ecology of this remote Pacific Coastal region, which includes Giant Sitka spruce, breeching humpback whales and waters teeming with salmon and herring.