Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR)

The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR), established in 2004-2005, supports the development of Aboriginal capacity to participate actively in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The protection of species at risk in Canada depends upon a meaningful collaboration with Aboriginal people and organizations. The Act recognizes the important role that Aboriginal peoples play in wildlife conservation and the need to consider Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) in the assessment of which species may be at risk, as well as in the development and implementation of protection and recovery measures.  In 2014, AFSAR was strengthened such that funding became available to support projects that will proactively prevent species, other than species at risk, from becoming a conservation concern, in addition to expanding the funding for species at risk.  The AFSAR program allocates approximately $4.7 million a year to projects that both conserve and protect species at risk and their habitats on Aboriginal lands and waters to those that prevent other species from becoming a conservation concern.

Funding under AFSAR is separated into two streams:

  • The AFSAR Species at Risk Stream focuses on projects addressing the recovery of species at risk listed on Schedule 1 of SARA; and
  • The AFSAR Prevention Stream focuses on projects addressing other species, beyond those listed on SARA, to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern.

AFSAR is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and co-managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency with the support of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the guidance of National Aboriginal organizations. AFSAR is one of the three main federal funding programs that focus on the protection and recovery of species at risk. The two other funds are the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and the Interdepartmental Recovery Fund.

Overview

The AFSAR Species at Risk Stream helps Aboriginal organizations and communities across Canada build capacity to enable them to participate actively in the conservation and recovery of species protected under SARA. Capacity building includes skill development (education, training, learning), tool development (systems or mechanisms), and information management (data) to enable Aboriginal organizations and communities to acquire, develop, and use knowledge and skills so that they can play an active role in the implementation of SARA. Capacity building projects could occur on or outside reserves.  The program also supports projects that protect and recover species at risk and their habitats on Aboriginal lands.  Habitat protection can take place on reserves, lands set apart for the use and benefit of Aboriginal People under the Indian Act, other lands directly controlled by Aboriginal people, lands and waters where traditional activities are carried out and on federal waters.

The AFSAR Prevention Stream focuses on keeping healthy species healthy with special attention to those that are of cultural significance to Aboriginal people. This stream funds the same activities as the Species at Risk Stream; however, the goal is to conserve aquatic and terrestrial species that are not at risk, to prevent them from becoming a conservation concern.

To guide the effective use of limited resources, national and regional planning partners establish the overall priorities annually, and then specific projects are developed. Activities that respond to regional priorities are reviewed and recommended for funding by five Regional Management Teams: Pacific and Yukon, Prairie and Northern, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic. The members of these teams represent the three responsible departments, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as well as Aboriginal, provincial, territorial, conservation and other stakeholder interests.

Since its inception in 2004-05, AFSAR has supported Aboriginal involvement in the conservation and recovery of species at risk across the country. Between 2004 and the end of March 2015, AFSAR invested over $29.4 million in 790 Species at Risk projects. The projects involved more than 200 communities, and benefited more than 280 species that are listed under SARA, through increased Aboriginal awareness of species at risk and through the development of strategies, guidelines and practices, or the completion of monitoring, surveying and inventorying studies. Additionally, during its first year of operation, the Prevention Stream invested more than $635,000 in 23 conservation projects.

Program Goals and Expected Results

Protecting aquatic and terrestrial habitat and contributing to the recovery of species at risk, as well as preventing other species from becoming a conservation concern, are AFSAR's main goals.

The Species at Risk Stream focuses on results in four main areas:

  • Strengthen capacity in Aboriginal communities for SARA implementation.
  • Mitigate threats to species at risk, be they individuals or populations.
  • Protect, improve or manage critical and important habitatFootnote 1 of species at risk.
  • Document and conserve Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge on species at risk and, where appropriate, help ensure their use in the development of recovery objectives.

The Prevention Stream focuses on the same results as the Species at Risk Stream but with a focus on species beyond those listed on Schedule 1 of SARA.

In addition to the above expected program results, the program requires a minimum of 1 : 0.20 leveraging on funds that it invests so that, for every $1 provided by AFSAR, at least $0.20 is raised by project recipients. This leveraging can take in the form of either financial or in-kind resources (volunteered labour, products or services). Partner funding and other support broaden the scope of projects, improve on-the-ground results, and strengthen the public and private collaboration that is essential to involving all Canadians in stewardship activities for all species.

Who can apply to AFSAR?

Communities and organizations actively involved in the management of Aboriginal lands are eligible for funding, including:

  • Aboriginal associations/organizations
  • Territorially based Aboriginal groups
  • District councils / Chief and council
  • Traditional appointed advisory committees
  • Aboriginal corporations
  • Tribal councils
  • Aboriginal partnerships and groups
  • Aboriginal school authorities
  • Aboriginal cultural education centres
  • Aboriginal land/resource management authorities
  • Aboriginal co-operatives
  • Aboriginal societies
  • Aboriginal boards and commissions, and
  • Other organizations (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) if mandated by eligible recipients.

How to Apply and Program Contacts

Information on procedures to follow in order to apply to AFSAR is available through regional offices listed below.

For general Environment and Climate Change Canada or Canadian Wildlife Service inquiries, please contact 1-800-668-6767 or send an email. For general Department of Fisheries and Oceans inquiries, please contact DFO by email.

The annual call for proposals takes place in the fall.

Email: AFSAR

Terrestrial Projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on terrestrial species.

  • Atlantic Region
    Tel.: (709) 896-6166
  • Quebec Region
    Tel.: (418) 648-5226
  • Ontario Region
    Tel.: (416) 739-4100
  • Prairie and Northern Region
    Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

    Tel.: (780) 951-8672
  • Northwest Territories
    Tel.: (867) 669-4783
  • Nunavut
    Tel.: (867) 975-4638
  • Pacific and Yukon Region
    Tel.: (604) 664-9044

Aquatic Projects

Regional contacts for general administration of projects and technical support on aquatic species.

  • Pacific
    Tel.: (604) 666-4565
  • Central and Arctic
    Tel.: (204) 983-5137
  • Quebec
    Tel.: (418) 648-7761
  • Ontario
    Tel.: (905) 336-4907
  • Gulf
    Tel.: (506) 851-7290
  • Maritimes
    Tel.: (902) 426-6036
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
    Tel.: (709) 772-3732

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The program defines “important habitat” for the SAR Stream as habitat that is considered as candidate for Critical Habitat or habitat that is important for the species but that is not actually identified in a recovery strategy/action plan/management plan.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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