Good morning. It's a pleasure to be with you again this morning.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about private sector partnerships with not-for-profit organizations to undertake local environmental initiatives. My comments today will focus on wildlife and habitat conservation and stewardship, as an issue that falls under the mandate of Environment Canada.
Conserving biodiversity is a collaborative effort and a responsibility that is shared among all Canadians—from all levels of government and industry to not-for-profit organizations, private landowners, and individual citizens. We must all be active partners.
Federal and provincial protected areas—like national and provincial parks and national wildlife areas—as well as private conservation lands, are all essential for long-term conservation of biodiversity. But conservation also depends on actions within the broader landscape where a significant portion of all natural areas are found. Careful stewardship of the broader landscape is key, and therefore private sector-not-for profit partnerships can play an important role.
Many people have an influence on these working landscapes. Collaborative conservation planning at the landscape level and complementary coordinated action help ensure the best possible outcomes. Stakeholders will each bring different influences and different contributions to the table. The biggest successes are often rooted in strong partnerships. We achieve more together than we can apart.
The impact and reach of the private sector in these efforts cannot be underestimated. There are many ways in which Canada's private sector is engaging with not-for-profit organizations to undertake conservation and stewardship initiatives that have a real impact in communities across the country. These efforts complement the role of governments and other partners—another spoke in the wheel of Canada's conservation and stewardship movement. These partnerships provide mutual benefits that allow initiatives to proceed and succeed. Resources, expertise, and information can be shared and leveraged to better manage land and resources for conservation outcomes. For example, companies can find data and information from on-the-ground conservation organizations about where best to work and what kinds of activities are needed on the landscape, including best management practices. These can allow them to focus their conservation and stewardship efforts where and how they are most needed. Non-profit organizations may get the financial resources they need to advance a particular project.
For the private sector, these efforts not only contribute to a company's public image as a good corporate citizen but are also good for the bottom line. This is evident in particular for natural resource companies, where a sustainably managed resource helps to ensure the long-term viability of the business. It applies across all industry sectors. Examples from these joint private sector and non-government organization efforts take many different forms, such as direct funding for NGO-led environmental initiatives, working together to move towards common environmental objectives, and cooperating in on-the-ground projects.
Indeed, under such federal funding programs as the habitat stewardship program, the aboriginal fund for species at risk, and the national wetland conservation fund, there are several examples of private sector and NGO partnerships for environmental initiatives.
Under the habitat stewardship program, in 2014-15 the Fraser Valley Conservancy received almost $10,000 of in-kind support from Lafarge for a project on the recovery of the western painted turtle and associated species at risk in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, to address threats of habitat loss and degradation from residential and commercial developments, road mortality, disease transmission from invasive species, human disturbance, low reproductive success, and wetland loss and degradation.
For the aboriginal fund for species at risk, in 2014-15 the West Moberly First Nations received $2,500 of in-kind support from Canfor for a project to enhance caribou calf survival and to help avert extirpation of the Klinse-Za caribou herd, which had been reduced to only 16 individuals. The project was located in the caribou's calving range, in the Klinse-Za first nation traditional territory in northeastern British Columbia. The project protected pregnant cows and their calves from predators during the calving season by using a penned and supervised facility.
In the wetlands fund, in 2015-16 the Norfolk Land Stewardship Council received $4,000 cash from the TD Canada friends of environment fund for a project to enhance and restore the wetland complex at the tip of Long Point in Ontario through phragmites management. The phragmites invasive plant species was identified as the nation's worst by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada back in 2005.
My final example relates to the Earth Rangers. Through the national conservation plan, the Earth Rangers received $3 million over three years to expand its existing family-oriented conservation and biodiversity programming. Since you do have a witness this morning from Earth Rangers, I won't say anything more about that particular partnership.
In closing, private and not-for-profit partnerships are important to conservation and sustainable development in Canada. Whether it's NGOs providing expertise or undertaking conservation on private lands, or whether it's private sector companies assisting NGOs financially or through other means, these partnerships are important to achieving environmental objectives locally. They do make a difference, and they merit the attention that your committee is giving them.