The Government of Canada’s Indigenous-Led Area-Based Conservation (ILABC) program provides funding to Indigenous Peoples to lead or co-lead the establishment and recognition of protected areas or other effective area-based conservation mechanisms (OECMs) across Canada. The program is currently is accepting Expression of Interest submissions.

Indigenous-Led Area-Based Conservation acknowledges the importance of culture, language, socio-economic factors, and traditional land use as part of conservation efforts.


All applicants must be Indigenous. This includes governments, communities, organizations, etc.

Activities can include:

  • Community and other stakeholder engagement
  • Lands definition (definition of boundaries and legal considerations)
  • Environmental (site assessments, baseline studies, monitoring)
  • Involvement in provincial or territorial land use planning
  • Land acquisition, leases or easements
  • Developing management mechanisms
  • Building infrastructure
  • Implementing legal mechanisms for protection
  • Infrastructure and equipment maintenance

This funding is focused on costs associated with establishing new Indigenous-led conservation areas and does not support the ongoing management of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.

All conservation areas must meet the criteria for a Protected Area or OECM and must be submitted to Canada’s Protected and Conserved Areas Database.

Project proposals must clearly identify:

  1. The project is Indigenous-led.
  2. Project area must be assessed for protection or conservation through interim protection, established as a protected area or recognized as an OECM by 2025 or 2030
  3. Project must have the support of the relevant provincial government, and others with interest in the land. Should the project be funded, the province and project recipient must be willing and able to report the project as a protected area or OECM or regional equivalent designation as part of Canada’s conservation targets once the project has achieved the criteria to be a protected area, OECM, or regional equivalent designation. Projects are reported by the corresponding province or territory to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database.
  4. The project has positive environmental and cultural impacts on the community, such as increasing connectivity, climate change adaptation or mitigation, and/or habitats for species at risk, language, transfer of knowledge between Elders and youth.


The Expressions of Interest submission period closes on November 14, 2022 (submission period will remain open until 1:59 am on November 15, 2022).

Application and Questions: 

To receive a Expression of Interest form and a guidelines document, to submit your application, or to ask questions, contact the Indigenous-Led Area-Based Conservation via email: [email protected].