Intergovernmental communication and partnership

As protected areas must have conservation outcomes as their primary objective, many 'unconventional' mechanisms that are creating conservation outcomes have historically been overlooked. In 2019, when Canada embraced the concept of OECMs, efforts that are creating positive biodiversity outcomes, regardless of their primary goal, began to be actively discussed. Canadian Forces Base Shilo was one such site.


Even thought the Department of National Defence has specific, secondary objectives for its sites focused on the conservation of biodiversity, it has rarely received public recognition for its conservation successes.


Creating this recognition required collaboration between the provincial (sub-national) government of Manitoba and the federal Department of National Defence to foster a broader understanding of OECMs and their value as well as to highlight the outcomes of the sound management of Canadian Forces Base Shilo. This is the first Canadian military base to receive this recognition; opening the door for additional, future collaboration.

Conservation targets

In 2015, Canada released a suite of biodiversity targets. Target 1 set out the need to conserve 17% land and freshwater area and 10% of marine area – this led to the creation of a federal, provincial, territorial, Indigenous and municipal collaborative initiative, where topics such as OECMs received much attention.


Pan-Canadian definition for OECMs

In 2019, Canadian governments embraced the international OECM definition. This helped create a common understanding of the OECM concept between governments and generated discussion on the topic.

Across Canada there is a strong desire to ensure that nature is conserved for future generations. This desire, if acted upon, has the potential to make substantial positive change. Recognizing efforts that are already creating positive outcomes creates the conditions for this good work to continue.