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Protected Places

Sign the declaration to show you care
about protected places.

Quetico Provincial Park © Noah Cole

The Issue

In 2010, Canada endorsed the United Nations target to protect at least 17 percent of the planet’s land and inland waters by 2020. This national commitment was then adopted in the Ontario Biodiversity Strategy (target 13), opening the door to a new and welcome opportunity to protect the places we love.

Currently, less than 11 percent of Ontario is protected. We need to work together to make sure the next three years count so that wild species and wild spaces are protected for generations to come.

“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

Sydenham River Nature Reserve © David Coulson

Protected Places Declaration

We, the Signatories, urge governments, civil society and business leaders across Canada to:

  • Develop, initiate and invest in action plans to protect at least 17 percent of our lands and inland waters and 10 percent of our coastal and marine areas by 2020;
  • Ensure that these action plans are designed and implemented to achieve ecologically representative, well-connected protected areas networks in every province and territory, based on both Indigenous knowledge systems and science; and
  • Ensure protected areas identification and management decisions respect the right of Indigenous People to free, prior and informed consent.

Read the full declaration.

Canada warbler © Jeff Nadler

Protect the Places You Love

Sign the declaration to show you care about protected places and ask the governments of Ontario and Canada to meet the commitment to protect at least 17 percent of lands and inland waters by 2020.

Bon Echo Provincial Park © Ryan McGilchrist

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 of members of Indigenous communities, researchers and representatives of conservation organizations who came together to discuss approaches to 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 its commitment to protect at least 17 percent of our lands and waters. Achieving the target will not be easy, and there’s 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.

Mer Bleue Conservation Area © Robbie

What You Can Do

Caroline Schultz's Protected Places Campaign Presentation © Noah Cole

Endorse or Become a Partner

Would your organization endorse the Protected Places Declaration or become a full campaign partner?

Sleeping giant, Thunder Bay © Calypso Orchid


The Protected Places Campaign is generously supported by: