Poll shows Canadians want more and faster government action on land and ocean protection

Over 80% support protecting more land and sea; 75% support more funding

October 19, 2022, traditional unceded Algonquin Territory/Ottawa, Ontario – A new poll commissioned by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) shows that a strong majority of Canadians support the commitment to protect more land and sea in Canada, and consider land and sea protection to be a critical issue.

Key findings of the poll include:

  • A strong majority of Canadians (over 80%) support further government commitments to protecting land and sea in Canada, including increasing protection to at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.
  • A strong majority of Canadians (over 75%)  support increasing spending to meet these commitments.
  • Close to 60% of Canadians say the likelihood of supporting a federal party would be increased if it proposed providing more funding to create new parks and protected areas on land and sea.
  • The majority of Canadians feel that over half of Canada’s sea areas and nearly half of land in Canada should be protected.
  • Over 80% of Canadians support the creation of more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in Canada as a means of protecting more land and sea. Residents of the territories demonstrated a higher rate of support (90%) compared to the rest of Canada.
  • Close to 80% of Canadians say it is important for Canada and the provinces and territories to speed up progress and make strong commitments to protecting nature, and just over half believe that Canada should aim to be ahead of other major economies in this respect.
  • 90% of Canadians believe protected areas play an important role in addressing climate change, help prevent biodiversity loss, support a healthy sustainable economy and support human well-being.

This poll demonstrates that Canadians want more action from their governments when it comes to protecting Canada’s land and ocean,” says Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director. “Canadians see the biodiversity loss and climate change crises as critical issues, and these results set a high bar for federal, provincial, and territorial governments to prioritize addressing these issues.”

In 2021, Canada’s federal government joined other G7 countries in committing to protect 30% of its land and ocean by 2030. The recent poll shows that a majority of Canadians would be more likely to support a provincial or territorial government if it set out a big and important nature conservation goal such as the 30X30 target, but Schwartz says Canada is nowhere near where it needs to be with respect to the provinces and territories having the political will to meet the federal goal.

“Some provinces and territories have made significant gains, but in most areas we haven’t seen progress at the scale necessary to halt and reverse biodiversity loss,” she says. “Our Roadmap to 2030 shows where Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments currently stand on their land and ocean protection obligations, and offers detailed recommendations to achieve 30% protection of land and ocean in Canada by 2030.

The polling comes ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The Nature COP takes place in Montreal in December 2022, and will be a pivotal moment for global efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and an opportunity for Canada to demonstrate leadership in ensuring a future for biodiversity.

Polling was conducted by Nanos through an online representative survey and a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 2133 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between September 23 and October 5, 2022.

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The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only charity dedicated to the protection of public land, freshwater and ocean with a strong national and regional presence across the country. Working in a way that respects the sovereignty and leadership of Indigenous nations, we are focused on conserving nature to respond to the dual crises of accelerated biodiversity loss and climate change. Our vision is that at least half of land, freshwater and ocean in Canada is permanently protected to sustain nature and people for current and future generations. For more information about CPAWS and the work we do to safeguard Canada’s natural heritage, visit cpaws.org. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Donate today. Take action.

For more information, please contact:

Tracy Walden
National Director, Communications and Development, CPAWS
[email protected]

Kate Toogood
We Can’t Wait Media Relations