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B.C.’s Environmental Milestones of 2023

Indigenous-led Conservation, 30% Protection by 2030, and Support for First Nations Stewardship

British Columbia (B.C.) is experiencing a wave of positive developments in the environmental sector. Recent initiatives are paving the way for a more sustainable future, with a focus on Indigenous-led conservation and protecting natural resources. Here are some key highlights:

“Polluter Pays” Principle: Revised legislation aims to protect B.C.’s natural environment

The Province is proposing amendments to make owners of high-risk industrial projects fully responsible for environmental cleanup costs upon project abandonment. These changes empower the government to establish regulations mandating companies to plan and secure funding for decommissioning. The legislation prioritizes high-risk industries, aiming to enforce the “polluter pays” principle and strengthen environmental accountability, following consultations with Indigenous Peoples, industry, local governments, and non-profit organizations. If approved, it will enhance First Nations relationships, build investor confidence, and contribute to a climate-resilient province, with regulations allowing a transition period for industry adaptation.
To follow the progress of this bill through the legislature, visit:
To learn more about the Public Interest Bonding Strategy, visit:

Province launches made-in-B.C. conservation tool, takes further action on old-growth forest:

Aiming to protect biodiversity and aid nature’s recovery by 2050, a $300 million fund, with equal contributions from the provincial government and private philanthropy, is managed by the BC Parks Foundation. Emphasizing First Nation leadership for reconciliation and Indigenous rights, the fund supports creating protected areas, guided by a committee of First Nation representatives, conservation experts, and government officials. Aligned with the province’s commitment to safeguard 30% of lands by 2030, this initiative precedes the Tripartite Framework Agreement for Nature Conservation, signaling a significant investment in nature conservation in the province.

Government of Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council sign a historic tripartite nature conservation framework agreement

The historic Tripartate Framework Agreement for Nature Conservation, with a total contribution exceeding $1 billion ($500 million from the federal government and an equivalent sum from the BC government), aims to combat the biodiversity crisis in British Columbia. With a goal to safeguard 30% of lands and waters by 2030, the agreement features a dedicated fund for old-growth forests, highlights collaboration with First Nations, and is seen as a vital move to empower Indigenous communities, foster sustainable economic growth, and address the rapid loss of biodiversity in the province.

B.C. confirms progress toward climate goals in latest accountability report

The latest Accountability report affirms that current and proposed policies position British Columbia at a commendable 96% progress towards its 2030 climate target. The report emphasizes the Province’s commitment to transparency and accountability in climate action, urging swift and effective implementation of these policies for both environmental impact and to foster clean growth and job creation. British Columbia’s proactive approach to adopting cost-effective climate policies and its pioneering role in climate accountability legislation sets an example for other provinces. The report stresses the ongoing need for ambitious climate efforts, with a call to accelerate key policies, such as a robust cap on oil and gas emissions, to ensure the province achieves its 2030 target and promotes sustainable economic growth.

Better water management practices coming to B.C.

New regulations in British Columbia aim to safeguard water resources for people, wildlife, and communities by enforcing compliance with water management best practices. The government has introduced penalties under the Water Sustainability Act, replacing smaller fines with more substantial financial consequences for moderate to serious violations.  Modelled after fines in the natural resource sector, this approach enhances enforcement capabilities to encourage adherence to the act. The move is part of the province’s broader commitment to water stewardship, including the establishment of the Ministry of Water, Land, and Resource Stewardship, collaborative initiatives with First Nations, agricultural water programs, and investments in watershed and salmon restoration.

B.C. supports collaborative marine conservation, economic development on North Coast

Allocated under the Project Funding for Permanence, the funding will support existing initiatives like the Great Bear Sea Marine Protected Area Network, a collaboration among Indigenous Nations, BC, and Canada. Aligned with public sentiment favouring marine protected areas, this investment is anticipated to advance the Marine Protected Area Network Action Plan, fostering marine conservation, ecosystem recovery, and sustainable economic development in the Great Bear Sea region.

B.C. is leading the way in environmental stewardship by prioritizing Indigenous-led conservation and expanding protected areas. This model of sustainable practices sets the stage for a brighter and more sustainable future.