Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Conservation, Nature-based Solutions

Canada continues to lose more critical land, freshwater and oceanic habitats than it conserves every year. Habitat loss problematically increases ecosystem GHG emissions through the release of ecosystem carbon, reductions in the carbon storage capacity of our landscapes, and the loss of critical climate adaptation and resilience services.[1] Canada’s response to the biodiversity crisis is being significantly limited by these feedback loops. These impacts are also limiting Canada's ability to leverage nature-based solutions to help meet our climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.

At the same time, ongoing colonialism continues to override Indigenous rights and land stewardship. We see this evidenced across the country as Indigenous land-defenders stand on the frontlines, confronting destructive projects that are backed by industry and government. Ongoing environmental racism also shows in high pollution rates, as seen in Grassy Narrows and Canada’s Chemical Valley.

Systems that perpetuate harm need to be called out and ended at the same time investments in programs like Indigenous Land Guardians, projects like those highlighted in Power to the People and support for non-market mechanisms that ensure biodiversity protection increase. As noted in the Indigenous Leadership Initiative blogpost, UN Biodiversity Report Calls for Greater Role for Indigenous Peoples, “If Canada places Indigenous-led conservation at the core of its biodiversity approach, we can sustain even more lands and waters.” [2]

Here is a version of our budget submission part 5 of 7, with some simple calls to action that you can take added in.

To quote Mary Wikler from the article Indigenous Stewardship is true Conservation: We Need to Move Beyond Eco-Colonialism, “Environmentalism and Indigenous rights must go hand in hand. Those who have stewarded these lands for thousands of years hold the knowledge and relationships key to carrying forward the legacy of thriving ecosystems.” “....sovereignty claims are inextricably linked to the health and sustainability of the lands and waters they care for.”[3]

Habitat, freshwater and ocean restoration and preservation projects are effective at generating jobs and economic stimulus.[4] In response to the 2008 financial crisis, investment in habitat restoration projects resulted, on average, in 15 jobs per $1 million invested in restoration projects, and 30 jobs per $1 million invested in labour intensive restoration projects. While investment in oil and gas developed created only 8.9 for every $1 million invested.

Quick Facts

See [4], [5], [6]

Some Recommendations below! See more in our full budget submission.

  • Deliver on commitment to protect 25% of Canada’s land and freshwater by 2025
  • Deliver needed investments to support ongoing management of existing protected areas, prioritizing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas
  • Establish a Canadian Youth Green Team creating 5,000 $30,000/year jobs by 2022 in climate, ecological restoration and environment. [Guy Dauncey]
  • Significantly improve marine monitoring, research, compliance and enforcement infrastructure and capacity. [GBC]


Take Action!

Support ongoing Indigenous frontline initiatives: 



Six Nations

Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Canada's toxic Chemical Valley 

Grassy Narrows and Mercury Poisoning, Clear-Cut Logging


[1]  “Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050” International Renewable Energy Alliance (2018) 

[2] "UN Biodiversity Report Calls For Greater Role For Indigenous Peoples," Indigenous Leadership Initiative blog.

[3]  "Indigenous Stewardship is true Conservation: We Need to Move Beyond Eco-Colonialism" - Maia Wikler, October 30, 2020,

[4]  O’Connor and McLaughlin, “Economic Benefits of Remediating Contaminated Sediments at Hamilton Harbour’s Randle Reef” (2019)  

[5]  “Global Assessment Report of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” IPBES (2019) 

[6] Indigenous Climate Action blog "ICA Youth Delegation Demand Non-Market Climate Solutions and Indigenous Rights in Article 6." 

References for Recommendations:

Green Budget Coalition, “Preliminary Recovery Budget Actions for 2020-2021” (2020).

Alternative Federal Budget Recovery Plan,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, (July 21, 2020).

Guy Dauncey, “Climate Emergency: 26 Week Transition Program for Canada” The Practical Utopian (January 5, 2020)