Protected areas refer to areas where no industrial development is permitted. In Québec, there are many different types of protected areas, such as National Parks, Biodiversity Reserves and Aquatic Reserves. Many federal departments promote the protection of the environment and wildlife through various legislations. For example, the Crees have been exploring the National Marine Conservation Area designation under Parks Canada for the offshore area of Wemindji. Other federal tools that may be of importance are: National Parks, Marine Protected Areas, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, National Historic parks and others.
Non-legislated conservation areas are identified for their importance, but are not protected under government law. Such mechanisms are recognized and implemented on a national or international scale. Although they may not be protected from development under legislation, having an area designated in such a way can build awareness of the importance of an area. Examples of existing non-legislated conservation tools are: Canadian Heritage Rivers, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, and Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs).