United Nations
Protecting Canada's Marine and Coastal Environment: A collaborative plan towards meeting and exceeding 10% protection by 2020
by Ecology Action Centre (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
As of 2017, Canada has protected 0.9% of its coastal and marine areas, however in November 2015 the federal government committed to protecting at least 10% of its marine environment by 2020, in accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11. In order to be successful, and protect at least an additional 9.1% of our ocean, an all hands on deck approach is needed as processes for identification and protection must proceed at a significantly faster pace than in the past. This is a critical part of the SDG 14 Plan of Action.

Canada has three oceans, with vastly different cultures and users groups in each. We also have made a commitment nationally towards reconciliation with our Indigenous Peoples which means a new approach to co-governance and nation to nation decision making. As conservation organizations with experience and relationships that are crucial to achieving the 2020 target in a manner that is respectful to stakeholders but ultimately puts our marine biodiversity first, we commit to the following actions:

- Meaningful engagement with our federal government to ensure that protection benefits Canada’s marine biodiversity.
- Raising awareness and building support of the Canadian public for marine protection.
- Setting the stage for further protection by supporting science based decision making for areas selected for protection.
- Advocating for reform of Canada’s Oceans Act to improve efficiency of implementation
- Working together with Indigenous Peoples to support the appropriate recognition of Indigenous Protected Areas.
- Engaging with ocean users to ensure that biodiversity protection is not compromised by the idea of future economic gain, and ensuring minimum standards for protection are upheld.

Our goal is to support Canada in becoming a leader in ocean conservation and management, particularly when it is so desperately needed as oceans are threatened by climate change, land based pollution and overfishing. We envision a Canada that protects its oceans, and Canadian citizens fully embrace their role as an ocean nation, and are proud of protections that are in place.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
  • Other (please specify): Indigenous Protected Areas/ Tribal Parks
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Activities to raise awareness of the comprehensive legal and policy framework for the sustainable development of oceans and seas, in particular UNCLOS, its Implementing Agreements and other relevant ocean-related instruments and promote their effective im
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
December 2017
Work with government and other stakeholders to establish criteria for effective MPAs
December 2020
Build an enhance level of awareness and public support for marine conservation in Canada through public events, media opportunities and focus groups where needed
December 2020
Communicating to and improving government relations, both federally and provinically, in order to reach 5% marine protection by 2017 and 10% marine protection by 2020
December 2020
Strategic collaboration between Canadian and where relevant, international ENGOs with shared messaging where ever possible to ensure Canada reaches its marine conservation targets
In-kind contribution
Communications and stakeholder outreach
Staff / Technical expertise
Provisions of scientific and legal expertise for individual areas slated for protection
Basic information
Time-frame: 2017 January - 2020 December
1. Ecology Action Centre (NGO) 2. David Suzuki Foundation (NGO) 3. West Coast Environmental Law (NGO) 4. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Quebec Chapters (NGO) 5. Conservation Council of New Brunswick (NGO) 6. Canadian Government (Government)
Ocean Basins
  • Arctic Ocean
  • North Atlantic
  • North Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Travis Aten, Marine Conservation Officer, taten@ecologyaction.ca, 1(902)446.4840
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Other SDGs
United Nations