Aviva Canada doubles down on its commitment to nature, funding crucial restoration work across the country.
Toronto, ON, May 31, 2022 – Six highly impactful restoration projects from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick are starting field season with a bang thanks to an additional $1.2 million investment by Aviva Canada in WWF-Canada’s Nature and Climate Grant Program, bringing the total investment to over $2 million.
The latest injection of funding from Aviva Canada, a leading property and casualty insurance company, allows WWF-Canada to build on the impact of the program’s pilot year, and comes at a crucial time. Habitat loss drives both the biodiversity crisis and climate change, and the window to keep warming below 1.5 degrees is closing. Alongside rapid decarbonization, nature-based solutions can deliver as much as 30 per cent of the emissions reductions needed to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement by 2030.
Megan Leslie, president and CEO, WWF-Canada says:
“Restoring ecosystems is absolutely essential to reversing wildlife loss and slowing climate change. Local and Indigenous communities are the ideal leaders for this work; they see first-hand what the region needs, and in the case of Indigenous communities, are rights holders. We are so pleased to support crucial work being done across the country for local ecosystems that also benefits the climate. Thank you to our grantees for their dedication to conservation, and to Aviva Canada, whose support enables this impactful work and whose leadership sets an example for how business can take meaningful action for nature.”
Jason Storah, CEO, Aviva Canada says:
“Every one of us has the power and influence to make changes in our lives to help fight climate change using nature. At Aviva Canada, we’ll continue to engage with and support other companies we work with to address biodiversity impacts and associated risks; and promote biodiversity through restoration and nature-based solutions, with initiatives such as the Nature and Climate Grant Program.”
The first year of this program, funded by a $1-million investment from Aviva Canada, laid a foundation for long-term impact: Seven groups collectively restored over 160 hectares of wetlands, grasslands, shorelines, agricultural areas and scrubland, from the Wolastoq/Saint John River valley in New Brunswick, through farmlands in Quebec and Ontario, to the shores of the K’ómoks First Nation territory on Vancouver Island. From coast to coast, nearly 4,000 people planted close to 90,000 trees and shrubs, which will sequester carbon as they grow and benefit more than 70 populations of species at risk. These projects also made communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, directly benefitting over 100,000 people.
This new injection of $1.2-million allows the new round of grantees to be even more ambitious and work over a two-year timeline. Three grantees returning to the program will spend the next two years building on the achievements of year one.
The projects are applying both traditional and groundbreaking conservation techniques to restore degraded lands and shorelines, rebuild habitat and capture carbon — actions that help fight biodiversity loss and climate change at the same time. The grantees for the second round of the Nature and Climate Grant Program are:
- The Clayoquot Climate Resilience and Watershed Restoration Project, led by the Redd Fish Restoration Society in partnership with the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) and hiškʷiiʔatḥ (Hesquiaht) Nations. This project is focused on restoring ecosystem resilience, rebuilding wildlife populations, and mitigating climate change in watersheds on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC.
- Kus-kus-sum, a partnership between Project Watershed, the K’ómoks First Nation, and the City of Courtenay. This program will build on its work as a year-one grantee, aiming to restore tidal marshes and riparian forest on a former sawmill site in the heart of the Comox Valley, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, BC. Restoring the natural biodiversity of the area will benefit wildlife and maintain fish stock, mitigate climate change impact (via flood attenuation, sea level rise adaptation and carbon sequestration), and restore cultural and traditional uses of the site by the K’ómoks First Nation, the traditional stewards of the landscape.
- The Carbon Capture Collective project, facilitated by the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee, and their partners, the Hammond River Angling Association and Belleisle Watershed Coalition. This project will improve site diversity and increase carbon sequestration by creating baseline carbon calculations on soils at degraded riparian areas in Sussex, NB. It aims to increase the number of tree species, floodplain functions and the area’s overall ability to sequester carbon through improved tree growth and soil health.
- ALUS Canada, an innovative community-developed and farmer-delivered program that restores, enhances, and maintains ecosystem services on agricultural lands. ALUS, which was also a year-one grantee, works collaboratively with farmers and community partners to create, enhance, conserve and manage on-the-ground habitat projects. Their project aims to integrate native habitats such as grasslands, trees and wetlands into marginal and environmentally sensitive areas of farmland in the counties of Norfolk, Elgin and Lambton in Ontario, and the regions of Montérégie and Outaouais in Quebec.
- The Friends of the Rouge Watershed project, which aims to mobilize 4,000 youth and community volunteers in Toronto to plant 20,000 native trees and 8,000 native wildflowers and shrubs — contributing to the restoration of riparian forest wetland habitat (or swamp), upland forest habitat, and wildflower meadow habitat on municipal parklands in the Rouge River Watershed near Rouge National Urban Park. It will improve overall biodiversity and habitat for dozens of at-risk species, and fight climate change and flooding by absorbing significant amounts of carbon and 14 million liters of water per year.
- This Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority with a project that engages landowners, farmers and volunteers and aims to “Take a Load Off” of watersheds north of Toronto by restoring natural infrastructures, improving habitat for biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem’s ability to sequester carbon. The work also aims to reduce flooding by increasing infiltration rate, creating floodplain capacity and protecting and increasing wetlands. Activities include wetland, river, forest and native grassland habitat restoration, and farm practices to create carbon-rich healthy soils. This will be its second round as a grantee.
The Nature and Climate Grant Program was launched in 2021 as part of WWF-Canada’s 10-year plan to Regenerate Canada, which includes a goal to restore one million hectares for biodiversity and climate by 2030. To help expand this program’s impact on nature, presenting partner Aviva Canada has contributed a total of over $2 million to fund critical conservation work.
- Learn more about the year one grantees and their impact here.
- Learn more about Regenerate Canada here.
For more information about the Nature and Climate Grant Program, or to schedule interviews with grantees or request images and b-roll, please contact:
Laurence Cayer-Desrosiers, WWF-Canada communications manager, [email protected]
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit wwf.ca.
About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country, providing home, automobile, lifestyle, and business insurance to 2.4 million customers. A subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, Aviva Canada has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. Launched in 2019, Aviva Canada is investing in safer communities through Aviva Take Back Our Roads, which uses data driven solutions and strategic collaborations to make safer roads a reality for all. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a net zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world.For more information, visit aviva.ca or Aviva Canada’s blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.