Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs)

Many Indigenous people throughout Canada still live on and off the land. 

Most of these lands are in the pristine Northern parts of Canada. Many are in the Boreal shield – one of the most integral ecosystems on earth.

Target 1 Challenge – Preliminary

Environment Canada and Climate Change Canada Nature Fund – Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs)

Many Indigenous people throughout Canada still live on and off the land.  Land involves the waterways that feed into and surround these lands. 

Métis people have been harvesting plants and animals as a means of survival for hundreds of years and are rooted in traditional belief systems. Métis harvesters maintain a fine balance between meeting the needs of their people and protecting wildlife and their habitats.

IPCAs, a federal initiative, originated from policy implemented by the Province of British Columbia which sought to protect vast amounts of land through conservation. It began because of huge national protests to stop old growth logging in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia.  Most of the land is on traditional, unceded Indigenous land throughout the province of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most vast and rugged, home to many different Indigenous peoples. 

IPCAs focus on protecting and conserving ecosystems through indigenous laws, governance, and knowledge systems. Indigenous communities in these areas take on the responsibility of protecting and conserving ecosystems. While the individual conservation objectives of each IPCA will differ, all of them endeavor to elevate Indigenous rights and responsibilities, by affirming the validity of Indigenous legal traditions, customary and cultural practices as well as their abilities to help conserve biodiversity in Canada.

IPCAs present a unique opportunity to heal both the land and the people who inhabit it by moving towards true reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and settler societies. Things once withheld or unavailable to these communities may be developed through these areas, such as a stable foundation for local Indigenous economies, opportunities for Indigenous peoples to reconnect with the land and the revitalization of indigenous languages. The promoting of respect for the knowledge systems, protocols and ceremonies of Indigenous peoples provide an opportunity for Canadians to formulate a greater understanding of Indigenous cultures.[1][2]

There are 37 IPCA projects in Canada.  Two-thirds of the projects are expected to establish a protected or conserved area soon. (establishment projects).  One-third of the projects are capacity-building projects, focused on preliminary work for protected and conserved areas of the longer term (5 to 10 years).  These projects help to improve connectivity, advance Indigenous-led conservation and reconciliation, and have co-benefits for species at risk or carbon storage.  The Sakitawak Conservation Area Project is a Preliminary work project. 

To see a complete list of IPCAs in Canada visit:


[2] ibid

Learn More