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Canada and Nova Scotia chart new path with Agreement to help protect and conserve nature

Press Release

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

October 10, 2023 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Protecting and conserving habitat and species calls for transformative change and innovation across all sectors—it requires collaboration with Indigenous peoples, all governments, industry, and community stakeholders. To this end, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia are working together to protect and conserve biodiversity, habitat, and species at risk in Nova Scotia.

Today, Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Honourable Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change for Nova Scotia, announced the Canada–Nova Scotia Nature Agreement to advance nature conservation and protection across the province.

Representatives of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia also attended the announcement. This unique collaboration will support the implementation of the Nature Agreement and all partners will work toward its target outcomes, including support for Mi’kmaq-led nature priorities and initiatives.

The Government of Canada will invest up to $28.5 million over three years to implement the Agreement and help protect nature. This will support the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia’s leadership in conservation, increase protection of sensitive habitats and recovery actions for species at risk and migratory birds, and protect and conserve new Crown and private land in Nova Scotia. With the support of this Agreement, Nova Scotia aims to increase the amount of protected and conserved areas within the province by 82,500 hectares by March 2026.

Together, Canada and Nova Scotia will seek to accelerate the conservation of at least 20 percent of the total land and water mass in the province by 2030 to help achieve Canada’s goal of protecting 30 percent of its land and inland water by 2030.

It will take collective ambition to restore, conserve, and protect the natural safety net granted by biodiversity. Through this Agreement, Nova Scotia will work to support Canada’s domestic and international biodiversity commitments, including the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.


“Nova Scotia’s iconic landscapes and coastlines help define what it means to be Nova Scotian and are an integral part of the Canadian fabric. The Government of Canada is taking action to protect nature—our best ally in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Together with the Government of Nova Scotia, we’re protecting more sensitive habitats, supporting the recovery of species at risk, and restoring ecosystems across the province. Moving forward, the Canada–Nova Scotia Nature Agreement will guide our actions, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, to conserve and protect nature in Nova Scotia.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“My constituents care deeply about preserving our natural environment and halting the loss of precious biodiversity. The Canada–Nova Scotia Nature Agreement is a culmination of our collective efforts to do just that. Together with the province of Nova Scotia and Mi’kmaq partners, we are going to do even more to protect land, water, and species at risk. This Agreement will serve as our roadmap.”
– Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West

“Getting out in nature is vital for our physical and mental health, and protecting habitat for species at risk and other wildlife has never been more important, as we continue working to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The Canada–Nova Scotia Nature Agreement solidifies the ongoing commitment to conservation in Nova Scotia, and it will have lasting benefits for the flora, fauna, and people who live here.”
– Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax

“On behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, I want to thank Environment and Climate Change Canada for this funding and their ongoing partnership—together we are protecting more of our land and water which will benefit Nova Scotians today, and for generations to come. This Nature Agreement will help continue Nova Scotia’s national leadership in conservation by protecting nature and strengthening biodiversity and carbon capture and storage. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, land trusts, communities, and the federal government to achieve our shared vision and goals.”
– The Honourable Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change for Nova Scotia

“Nova Scotia is a small province with a lot of competing interests for using our Crown land. Through land conservation efforts with our many partners and careful land-use planning, we can make sure plants and animals—especially species at risk—have healthy places to grow and thrive.”
– The Honourable Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables for Nova Scotia

“Today is such a momentous occasion to see our government partners affirm the commitment to nature conservation protection in Nova Scotia. We, as Mi’kmaq people, have always prided our organizational principles toward Etuaptmumk, and this Agreement brings us much closer to that by working together to protect and conserve biodiversity, habitat, and species at risk in Nova Scotia. The collective goal toward protecting and conserving our land and water reaffirms our mutually collective goal of conserving land and water for the next seven generations.”
– Angeline Gillis, Executive Director of The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

“UINR has been the voice of Mi’kmaq-led conservation in Unama’ki since 1999. Working closely with our Elders and knowledge holders, UINR’s work is guided by Two-Eyed Seeing, ensuring that it is led not only by our people’s relationship to the land, but by the land itself.

Through the Nature Agreement, we look forward to strengthening our relationship with our government partners and bringing forth new ways to weave Indigenous knowledge and wisdom into our collective efforts to protect and conserve our land and water for future generations.”
– Lisa Young, Executive Director, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources

“Reconciliation with the land is something that we have always looked at as a crucial step toward expanding biocultural diversity, which is comprised of the diversity of life in all of its manifestations—biological, cultural, and linguistic. Language sits at the core of our cultural teachings, and it is one of the ways in which we are looking at re-establishing that connection with nature. The Nature Agreement is another tool that we can utilize that would allow us to establish that connection. Creating partnerships between the various government bodies enables us to do some long-term planning, guided by Mi’kmaq principles, that will benefit all parties involved, and most importantly, biocultural diversity.”
– Thomas J Johnson, Executive Director, Eskasoni Fish & Wildlife Commission

Quick facts

  • Nova Scotia has already conserved over 13 percent of land and water in the province as of 2022, with a goal of conserving 20 percent by 2030.
  • Through the Global Biodiversity Framework, the Government of Canada has committed to conserving 30 percent of land and water in Canada by 2030.
  • The Agreement with the province of Nova Scotia will help support Mi’kmaq leadership in the conservation and care of nature, Indigenous knowledge integration, capacity building, and the identification, establishment, and recognition of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
  • Nova Scotia will work with partners to advance efforts toward the establishment of a national urban park in Halifax Regional Municipality.
  • Participants are committed to the protection, conservation, and recovery of biodiversity, habitat, species at risk, and migratory birds.

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Mikaela Etchegary
Communications and Media Relations Advisor
Communications Nova Scotia


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