Protecting Ontario's Northern Boreal Forest

Area One-And-A-Half Times The Size Of The Maritimes Set Aside For Permanent Protection


Ontario will protect at least 225,000 square kilometres of the Far North Boreal region under its Far North Planning initiative.

Scientists, First Nation and Métis communities will collaborate to map and permanently protect an interconnected network of conservation lands across the Far North. The McGuinty government will work with all northern communities and resource industries to create a broad plan for sustainable development. 

As well, local plans will be developed in agreement with First Nations. And new mining development in the Far North would require early consultation and accommodation with local Aboriginal communities.

Ontario's Northern Boreal region is one of the last truly wild spaces on the planet. It is home to over 200 sensitive species of animals — such as polar bears, wolverines, and caribou — many of which are threatened or endangered. Preserving these spaces will help ensure Ontario's biodiversity.

Permanently protecting these lands will also help a world wrestling with the effects of climate change, as they are a globally significant carbon sink. Protecting this region is a key part of the Ontario government's plan to fight climate change.


“Although the Northern Boreal region has remained virtually undisturbed since the retreat of the glaciers, change is inevitably coming to these lands. We need to prepare for development and plan for it. It's our responsibility as global citizens to get this right, and to act now,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. 


  • The Northern Boreal region is 43 per cent of Ontario's land mass.
  • It is home to 24,000 people living in 36 communities.
  • The region absorbs approximately 12.5 million tonnes of CO2 from our atmosphere each year. 

Read more about Ontario's boreal forests.