Under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), Canada is committed to protecting biodiversity and conserving at least 17 per cent of land and inland waters, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine waters by 2020, in collaboration with Indigenous partners, stakeholders and other levels of government.

To measure progress on meeting this commitment, Canada must report the number and size of protected areas and ‘’other effective area-based conservation measures’’ that contribute to these targets.


Aerial view of fort walls with a lighthouse beyond.

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites

Protected areas = Geographic spaces recognized, dedicated and managed to achieve long-term conservation of nature. National parks and national marine conservation areas are examples of protected areas.

Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM) = Geographic spaces governed and managed in ways that achieve sustained results for the conservation of nature even if their primary purpose is not nature conservation.

OECM is not an official designation and does not result in changes in the management of the site. It is rather a reflection of the conservation benefits of the sites under their current management regime. Some of Canada’s national historic sites and historic canals could be examples of OECMs.

Parks Canada and other effective area-based conservation measures


Aerial view of forested island with quay.

Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

Parks Canada is assessing several national historic sites and canals to determine whether they may qualify as OECMs, and therefore contribute to the conservation targets.

Although their designation as historic sites would not change, these sites could also be internationally recognized for protecting biological diversity within their boundaries.

For more information on other effective area-based conservation measures, including some that have been identified by jurisdictions across Canada, visit: