Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

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This profile originally appeared in the 2020-21 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.

CPAWS is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of public land, ocean and freshwater, and ensuring Canada’s parks and protected areas are managed to protect the nature within them.

CPAWS works collaboratively with all levels of governments, Indigenous peoples, industry and other environmental groups to develop innovative, science-based conservation solutions. We strive to engage Canadians in speaking up for nature conservation through our outreach, advocacy and education programs. And we champion the implementation of nature-based climate solutions to stem the impact of climate change and curb biodiversity loss.

CPAWS has helped to protect over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and ocean in a framework of reconciliation – for the benefit of both wildlife and humans.

Banff, Alberta. Photo by Jamie Harmsen.

At a glance

Year founded: 1963

Geographic region of focus: Headquartered in Ottawa, with 13 regional chapters across Canada working locally at the grassroots level on conservation campaigns.

Total revenue for last fiscal year: $11,234,329

Top funding sources:

  • Foundation: 57%
  • Individual: 22%
  • Government: 14%
  • Corporate: 2%
  • Other: 6%

How you can help


With your help, CPAWS is able to be the voice for wilderness when decisions are being made about the use and management of Canada’s public lands and waters.

Canada has committed to protecting 25 per cent of Canada by 2025 – an ambitious yet achievable goal if we act now. Our priority at CPAWS is to leverage this opportunity. With your support, we will continue to work with our regional chapters across the country, build our capacity to deliver conservation measures on the ground, and inspire Canadians to stand together as the voice for wilderness as we combat the biodiversity and climate crises.


Help make a difference in your community by connecting with your local CPAWS chapter. With 13 regional offices across Canada and a national office in Ottawa, we are working from coast to coast to coast to protect more of Canada’s iconic land, seascapes and wildlife.

Foxy fox
Visited by a fox kit on Prince Edward Island. Photo by Scott Walsh

Events and fundraising

Giving Tuesday is Dec. 1, 2020
Giving Tuesday is an international day dedicated to giving back that follows on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and every little bit counts! For Giving Tuesday we’re asking you to #GiveALatte! If everyone in Canada donated just $5, the cost of an average latte, we could raise over $150 million. There is no better way to give back to your community than to help protect Canada’s iconic landscapes and wildlife for our collective health and enjoyment, and for generations to come. Together, we can make a big difference!

Board members and executives

Sandra and Laura
National executive director Sandra Schwartz (left); President of the national board of trustees Laura Colella

Erik Val (YT)

John Grandy (ON)

Amber Nicol (NS)
Chair, governance committee 

Richard Paisley (BC) 
Chair, litigation committee

Alex Abboud (AB)

Jim Donohue (SAB)

Bob Halfyard (NL) 

Ina Lucila (NAB)

Nikita Lopoukhine (ON)

Don McMurtry (ON)

Lavinia Mohr (ON)

Kathy Scalzo (BC)

Fundraising priorities

  • Parks and protected areas
  • Ocean and freshwater
  • Wildlife and species at risk
  • Outdoor education and outreach

Get in touch

600-100 Gloucester St.
Ottawa, Ont.
K2P 0A4

1-800-333-9453 |

Twitter: @cpaws
Facebook: /CPAWS
Instagram: @cpaws_national
LinkedIn: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)