The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)  has released a report card for all Canadian provinces and their progress on conservation goals in the last 10 years. British Columbia’s progress on conservation this past decade has earned the Province a poor C grade. Only 1 percent of British Columbia has been added to the protected area system in the last 10 years, in contrast to Quebec’s role-model A- grade, earned by using federal conservation funding and supporting Indigenous-led conservation initiatives to expand biodiversity protection across the Eastern province.

However, the CPAWS report outlines concrete steps that the Provincial government can take to improve its grade over the next 10 years and re-establish itself in the global conservation space:

  1. Prioritize nature by committing to protect 25 percent of BC by 2025. With multiple in-progress conservation initiatives such as Dene K’éh Kus?n—which totals 40,000 km2 or 4 percent of BC’s land base that could be protected—this global land protection goal is fully achievable if the BC government promises to put nature first.
  2. Support Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. In the last decade, 70 percent of BC’s new protected lands came from The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement, a collaboration between First Nations and the BC Government. Supporting Indigenous-led initiatives in the future will promote reconciliation with Indigenous communities and aid the recovery of species at risk.
  3. Don’t cut corners by counting OECMs towards protected area targets. Currently, BC reports 4 percent of its land base under Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measure (OECM) designations. While some of these areas meet agreed-upon IUCN and Canadian standards, many do not. In the future, protected areas—designations that conserve nature when well-managed and designed—should be BC’s core conservation tool when working towards protection targets.

Check out the report card executive summary here