Canada Target 16

By 2020, Canada has a comprehensive inventory of Goal Cprotected spaces that includes private conservation areas.


  • The establishment of a centralized comprehensive inventory
  • The number and/or nature of new elements and/or methods that are incorporated into Canada's protected spaces tracking and reporting system

About the Target

Across Canada there are thousands of protected areas managed by government agencies at various levels, co-managed protected areas, private protected areas, protected areas managed by non-governmental conservation organizations, and Indigenous and local community conserved areas. Canada tracks and reports on the number and total area of federal, provincial and territorial protected areas, and on the number and extent of some co-managed and privately conserved areas through the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database . Areas reported in the database meet the International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria for protected areas, however, this does not completely reflect the broader diversity of conservation areas that exist across the country and that complement the role of protected areas in conserving nature. Integrating data on all of Canada's protected spaces, including publicly and privately owned protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures on land and at sea is a key to understanding and sharing information on Canada's progress.

Canada Target 16 is linked with the following global Aichi targets under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020:

  • Aichi Target 11 - By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
  • Aichi Target 19 - By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and applied.


2018 Interim Progress Assessment

On track to meeting target at an insufficient rate iconCanada is making progress, but at an insufficient rate to meet this target by 2020. Significant progress is expected to be made by 2020 to have more comprehensive inventory of protected and other effective area-based conservation measures, however it is unlikely that all privately protected and conserved areas will be accounted for by then. This process will continue beyond 2020.

The Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database is a national database containing details on protected areas from federal, provincial, and territorial protected area agencies. This database uses the International Union for Conservation of Nature system of protected areas definitions, management categories, and governance types, which facilitates comparisons between national systems as well as national-level reporting and mapping.

Efforts to continually improve Canada’s ability to report on protected and other conserved areas have resulted in new methodologies being incorporated into the system over the last several years. For example, methodological improvements to Canada’s database include 2014 updates to Canada’s ecological framework (which divides Canada into ecological zones), based on new information about the boundaries between ecosystems. This updated framework enables better analysis and reporting of the percent of each ecozone that is protected.

In addition, the official area of Canada’s ocean estate was updated in 2015. This revision has resulted in a better estimate of the percent of Canada’s coastal and marine areas conserved and more accurate reporting on Canada’s progress toward its 10% coastal and marine target.

The database and associated procedures for reporting to it have been updated, both to allow for more accurate reporting and to prepare for anticipated changes in how protected and other conserved areas are recognized in Canada. New information that will be tracked as a result of these changes include other effective area-based conservation measures, management regimes, and the status of sub-surface rights. Once completed, this information will form the basis of annual updates on Canada’s conserved areas as well as the Canadian Protected Areas Status Report, which is published once every five years.

Furthermore, as part of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative (see Canada Target 1), a joint working group including Indigenous organizations, land trust organizations, and municipalities is examining Canada’s approach to recognizing protected and other conserved areas. This includes exploring ways that Canada can accurately report on privately conserved areas and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas as well as other effective area-based conservation measures.


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