Call on Canada to pass a strong nature protection law

© Joshua Woroniecki – Pexels

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault must pass legislation that safeguards biodiversity, respects Indigenous rights, and restores our connection to nature.

The current legal landscape in Canada allows governments to consistently prioritize corporations over Indigenous rights and a healthy environment.

We need a strong Biodiversity Act that protects nature right across the country, created in deep partnership with Indigenous peoples. Together, let’s pressure Minister Guilbeault to pass one!

The problem

Canada has long been a country that views nature as an object to be excessively exploited rather than a being to be respected

This mentality of take-take-take is devastating salmon populations, destroying the last slivers of old growth forests in BC, and increasing Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

But viewing nature as something separate from ourselves that can be continuously pillaged for profit is a devastating mistake. The forests, rivers, and oceans that sustain Canada’s biodiversity are essential for us, too. They filter the water we drink, suck carbon out of the air, and nurture pollinators that help crops grow. 

These ecosystems are also the territories of Indigenous Peoples, who have kept them healthy since time immemorial and who are, far too often, criminalized for defending them. Respecting Indigenous rights and protecting biodiversity are two sides of the same coin

Meanwhile, the federal government has failed to deliver on its commitment to protect 17% of Canada’s lands and freshwaters under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Powerful industry lobbies deny there’s a problem in order to delay action. And what little biodiversity policy does exist in Canada is a fragmented mess of provincial, federal, and territorial legislation that is plagued by endless delays.

This legal landscape means that governments consistently prioritize big corporations over Indigenous rights and a healthy environment, which in turn accelerates climate change and the further loss of biodiversity on a massive scale.

The solution

Canada needs a strong Biodiversity Act that protects nature right across the country — from the biggest forests to the smallest blades of seagrass — because every single part of a natural system contributes to the smooth functioning of the whole.

This Act should be created in deep partnership with Indigenous Peoples, whose rights and knowledge are key to the regeneration and responsible stewardship of stolen lands. It should shift power away from big corporations to the communities most impacted by environmental degradation. And it should establish firm biodiversity protection targets that include annual reports to the public to ensure transparency and accountability. 

Finally, while targets and reports are important, the Biodiversity Act must trigger a value shift within our governments, in which the ecological crisis, Indigenous knowledge, and the restoration of our connection with Nature are embedded in all levels of decision-making.

Support a strong Biodiversity Act in Canada

Tell Environment Minister Guilbeault to pass a federal law that respects Indigenous sovereignty and establishes firm nature protection targets.

Protect biodiversity in Canada

Tell Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault we need a law to respect nature

As you read this, the last slivers of old growth forests in BC are being logged, northern boreal forests are being doused with poisonous pesticides, and salmon populations are imperilled on both coasts. [1]  

Science tells us that we must protect nature to limit global warming [2], yet exploitative industries continue to destroy it with zero regard for Indigenous sovereignty. 

Corporations get away with this appalling behaviour because Canadian policy protects the polluter. As long as this remains the case, Canadian law is broken. 

To fix it, we need a new Biodiversity Act that protects the rich ecosystems of Canada. This law must respect Indigenous sovereignty, hold corporations accountable, and establish firm nature protection targets. 

Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, has the power to make this happen. Together, let’s show him that we are fed up with the prioritization of profit-driven corporations over Indigenous rights and the environment. We are not apart from the natural world — we are a part of it. It’s far time we heal our relationship with Nature and recognize the value of all life on Earth.

Tell Steven Guilbeault to commit to passing a strong Biodiversity Act that respects Indigenous rights and protects biodiversity. 


[1] New research suggests 70% decline in diversity of BC sockeye salmon stock in past century

[2] Interview: Save nature to protect people on fast-heating planet, IPCC scientist urges

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