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Canada's International Commitments

Canada's International Commitments

Canada and the WorldCanada is signatory to a variety of international multi-party conventions that have implications for the conservation, management and use of its forests. Some of these conventions are binding (meaning they must be ratified by a vote in the House of Commons, wherein Canada is then legally obligated to adhere to any commitments within), while others are not.

When Canada signs on and ratifies an international agreement, it is the federal government that makes this commitment. However, similar to other natural resources, forests in Canada are primarily under provincial jurisdiction. Thus in terms of implementing the conventions, provincial governments play a very important role.

An example would be Canada's Biodiversity Strategy, required under the Convention on Biological Diversity. In Canada's system of first Ministers conferences, often the content of a national obligation becomes part of what a Ministers' council also endorses as joint policy. Each province is expected to fulfill aspects of Canada's Biodiversity Strategy for which it has authority. When there are national or federal responsibilities in development decisions, or federal law or rights are relevant in an environmental decision then the standards inherent in Canada's international obligations, conventions, or treaties often must be in place.

The Government of Canada has created a Database of Canada's International Commitments. It is not completely comprehensive; some non-binding conventions are not included.

Visit the Database of Canada's International Commitments

Some international conventions have direct implications for Canada's forests, while others indirectly impact on decisions about forests because of conservation or management objectives. Below we are providing a list of some of the international conventions that do or should have an impact on how we protect, manage and use our forests in Canada.

Convention on Biodiversity

Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles For a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of all Types of Forests

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

Agreement Between Canada and the U.S. on the Conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd

Convention Between the United Kingdom and the United States of America for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada and the United States (1916)

Protocol Between the Government of Canada and the Government of The United States of America Amending the 1916 Convention Between The United kingdom and The United States of America for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada and The United States

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)

Agreement on Environmental Co-operation between Canada and Mexico (PDF)

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR)

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