A mined landscape in Hunker Creek Valley, southeast of Dawson City., WCS Canada
A mined landscape in Hunker Creek Valley, southeast of Dawson City. © WCS Canada

Natural resource development

From the start of European colonization, Canada’s economy has been focused on natural resource extraction.

It’s long been assumed that any negative impacts could be managed, and that public land could serve many users at once. Climate change adds to these impacts, putting more stress on wild species and ecosystems. This results in cumulative impacts managed by a fragmented policy framework.

Our solutions


  • We’re advocating for a more holistic approach to determining when and where mining for minerals may be appropriate; and how Canada can ensure greater long-term benefits for people - particularly the Indigenous communities whose homelands will be most affected.

  • We’ve created a tool to help Indigenous communities in northern Ontario find and respond to the mineral claims that affect them, along with a dedicated website for information on the Ring of Fire region.

  • We are lending our expertise to review project-level impact assessments and permitting, and providing technical support to mining project restoration and assessment.


  • We’re contributing our expertise to improve forestry laws and policies, from local to national.

  • We’re advocating for better management of beetle-killed and burned forests. These areas are home to a surprising diversity of birds, bats and insects.


  • We’re suggesting several ways to reduce the impact of growing ship traffic on whales and seals, before the Arctic Ocean becomes a busy shipping shortcut.

Hydro development

  • With Moose Cree First Nation, we’re looking at the combined impact of hydropower dams and drier conditions on river levels for lake sturgeon.

  • We assessed the potential impacts and risks of proposed hydroelectric dams in Yukon on fish and their habitats.

Cumulative impacts

  • We provide technical support, new modeling, and information on managing cumulative impacts of development and road access in formal land use planning processes.


Learning from Lake Sturgeon

Learning from Lake Sturgeon

Big fish need healthy rivers.

Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

More than minerals at stake

Documenting the impacts of underwater noise

Documenting the impacts of underwater noise

Addressing impacts from shipping and climate change in the western Arctic


Stories and op-eds

Public Policy Developments WCS Canada is watching in 2024

Public Policy Developments WCS Canada is watching in 2024

In this rundown of upcoming initiatives, we look ahead at some of the big public policy decisions expected in 2024 and explain what outcomes we will be pressing for from each. 
More than minerals at stake in Ontario’s claim-staking boom

More than minerals at stake in Ontario’s claim-staking boom

With a click of a mouse, mining interests have laid claim to more than 72,000 square kilometres of land in northern Ontario over the last five years.
Constance O'Connor
Making a Home in a Disturbed Landscape

Making a Home in a Disturbed Landscape

Which species are winners or losers when mining stops?

Media coverage

Monitoring birds in reclaimed placer mine sites in the Yukon

A research project in the Yukon is using birds to signal health returning to reclaimed mine sites. Morgan Brown with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada and the University of Alberta explains.
2024-04-03 | CBC

How much disturbance is too much?

Justina Ray, President and Senior Scientist at Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, talks all things caribou on The Clear Cut podcast.
2024-02-15 | Wildlands League

Area covered by mining claims in Ontario’s ‘Ring of Fire’ increased by 30 per cent in one year

“I’m worried the increase in mining claims will lead to more exploration activities within the region and that those exploration activities, which are largely unchecked, will lead to irreversible damage to the peatlands within the region,” says Lorna Harris.
2023-12-04 | Global News