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Protected Places

Learn about places that people want to protect across Ontario.

Quetico Provincial Park © Noah Cole

The Issue

In 2020, as part of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, Canada committed to protecting 25 percent of its lands and waters by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. These new targets reflect the urgent need to make peace with nature and stem the accelerating loss of biodiversity worldwide.

While the Government of Ontario announced in April 2021 its intention to expand the province’s protected areas, it was silent on the new collective targets. Currently, less than 11 percent of Ontario is protected. We can and must do better.

We are calling on all political leaders to embrace the new targets and commit to working together to protect our lands and waters for generations to come, in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

Sydenham River Nature Reserve © David Coulson

“We share the same canoe, and it’s time for the paddles to hit the water. We are in fast water now, and we need all the wisdom we have to guide us through.”
– Rick Beaver

Why It Matters

Protected places provide safe havens for wildlife, increase our resilience to climate change, can sustain and strengthen Indigenous knowledge and value systems and much more.

Watch our videos: Indigenous Perspectives on Protected Areas, Transforming Conservation: Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in Ontario and Protected Areas and Climate Action in Ontario: A Cross Cultural dialogue

Featured are highlights from three gatherings with members of Indigenous communities, researchers, and representatives of conservation organizations and government agencies. These people came together to explore approaches to decolonizing conservation and establishing protected areas that honour Indigenous responsibilities, rights and interests.

Nottawasaga River, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park © Noah Cole

What We Are Doing

Ontario Nature has a long record of getting millions of hectares of wild spaces protected throughout the province. We aim to ensure that Ontario meets the 2025 and 2030 targets. There is no time to waste.

That’s why we’re working to build strong alliances with our Nature Network member groups, Indigenous partners, industry leaders, and conservation organizations across the country. Together we are forging promising paths forward.

We are also managing our 26 nature reserves to a high standard so that they count towards Canada’s protected areas target.

Mer Bleue Conservation Area © Robbie

What You Can Do

Caroline Schultz's Protected Places Campaign Presentation © Noah Cole


Protecting the Places We Love

Explore a map of candidate sites for protection across Ontario.

The Protected Places Campaign is generously supported by:

Ontari o Greenbelt logo
Government of Canada logo