Table of contents

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is responsible for the Parks Canada Agency. Parks Canada protects and presents nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and fosters public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations. Canada’s national urban park, national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas, of which Parks Canada is the proud steward, offer Canadians opportunities to visit, experience and personally connect with Canada’s rich natural and cultural heritage in ways that are meaningful to them. In carrying out its responsibilities, Parks Canada works in collaboration with the public, other federal departments, provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders.

Mandate and role

On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.

For more information on the Agency’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letteri.


i The Minister’s mandate letter, https://pm.gc.ca/eng/mandate-letters.


Operating context and key risks

Operating context

An overview of Parks Canada’s network

  • 46 national parks
  • 4 national marine conservation areas
  • 1 national urban park
  • 171 national historic sites
  • 7 townsite communities in national parks

Parks Canada has operations across Canada. With responsibility for the management and administration of 46 national parks, Rouge National Urban Park, four national marine conservation areas and 171 national historic sites, including nine historic canals, Parks Canada employees and resources are active in hundreds of communities and remote locations from coast to coast to coast.

National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas represent the very best of Canada, including the history, culture and living legacy of Indigenous peoples. The Government of Canada is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed, nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Parks Canada demonstrates leadership both nationally and internationally in its relations with Indigenous partners, working with hundreds of Indigenous communities across the country in the management of Parks Canada’s heritage places. There are currently over 30 formal collaborative arrangements between Parks Canada and Indigenous partners. Of those places, 19 have cooperative management structures where Indigenous peoples influence decision-making. The Agency is committed to reconciliation and will continue to engage and consult with Indigenous partners to ensure a greater number of places have arrangements where Indigenous partners have a decision-making role in the management of heritage places.

A Nature Legacy for Canada

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada made an historic investment of $1.3 billion in nature conservation, known as A Nature Legacy for Canada.

Through this significant investment Parks Canada received $221 million over 5 years to support the implementation of Nature Legacy. Allocated funds are being used to accelerate the modernization of Parks Canada’s approach to conservation.

The support and collaboration of Indigenous governments, organizations and communities, as well as provincial and territorial governments are essential to Parks Canada’s ability to establish or expand national parks and national marine conservation areas. The requirement to balance protection and ecologically sustainable use of national marine conservation areas involves a much broader stakeholder perspective to consider. Bringing all of these elements together and moving forward in a harmonious and positive way requires time and respectful discourse.

Climate change and other environmental forces challenge the integrity of ecosystems and the condition of Parks Canada’s cultural resources and contemporary infrastructure. Shoreline erosion at national historic sites, the arrival of invasive species at national parks, impacts on biodiversity and the shrinking populations of species unable to adapt to variations in the ecosystems are a few examples of the effects of climate change. The increasing severity and frequency of disturbances such as storms, floods and avalanches also impact Parks Canada infrastructure, such as highways and bridges.

Environmental forces

Parks Canada’s heritage places may be vulnerable to environmental forces including changes to:

  • climate (e.g., increasing temperatures, changing precipitations, extreme weather events)
  • physical environment (e.g., air quality, water quality, ocean acidification, sea level rise, glacier retreat, habitat loss and fragmentation)
  • biodiversity (e.g., ecosystem processes, increased number of species at risk, hyper abundant species and invasive species)

Parks Canada must protect its natural and cultural heritage places while encouraging visitation to ensure that these special places remain relevant in the hearts and minds of Canadians. Overcrowding at popular heritage places could have impacts on natural and cultural resources. As a world leader in conservation and in preserving the ecological integrity and cultural resources of its places for future generations, Parks Canada works to better manage visitation at locations that experience higher visitation rates, while continuing to ensure high quality visitor experiences. To lessen impact, Parks Canada encourages visitors to seek out lesser-known parks and historic sites, enjoy little known hidden gems and explore shoulder season experiences in spring and fall.

Tourism is an important economic generator for Canada. Parks Canada is the guardian of some of Canada’s most iconic natural and cultural treasures and contributes to the country’s world-class tourism offer. With Indigenous partners, the Agency offers authentic Indigenous tourism experiences which enable visitors to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cultural connection Indigenous peoples have to these places.

Using technology to improve visitor services

Parks Canada uses technology in a variety of ways to improve visitor services:

  • reaching Canadians where they live and work through digital channels (web, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter);
  • ensuring digital services for trip planning, purchasing admission and reserving accommodation; and,
  • influencing visitation patterns: sharing visitor safety information and trail maps, promoting Canada’s heritage and conservation at the right time and with the right message.

Since 2012, visitation to Parks Canada places has rebounded following a decade of decline. Leading up to and during this period of growth, the Agency made a significant investment to attract larger and more diverse audiences. With free admission offered during the Canada 150 celebrations, visitation reached a record high in 2017–18 with 27.2 million visitors. As a result visitation continues to increase compared to its baseline level of 24.7 million visitors in 2016–17 having reached 25.1 million visitors in 2018–19. Since 2017, marketing and outreach initiatives have been leveraged through a variety of communication channels, including a hidden gems campaign, to influence visitation patterns, to promote less-frequented destinations and to help better distribute visitation across the Parks Canada network.

There are seven townsite communities in national parks, all located in western Canada. These townsites represent unique opportunities to demonstrate the overriding values of ecological integrity, environmental citizenship and sustainable development. They provide visitors with opportunities to learn and develop personal connections to natural and cultural heritage from the comfort of a community, and provide a launching pad for deeper ventures into national parks. They support ecological integrity by consolidating use and development to relatively small areas. National park townsite communities manage development in accordance with community plans and legislation; respecting their cultural and historical aspects and the ecological integrity of the surrounding park. In Banff and Jasper, commercial development limits are also used to manage growth along with eligible residency and fixed boundaries.

Canada’s population is evolving. It is expected to become more culturally diverse over the next two decades as Canada continues to rely increasingly on immigration to support population growth and to offset natural declines.

Demographic shifts

Demographic shifts have generated new audiences that require placing greater emphasis on:

  • reaching Canadians where they live and work;
  • integrating diverse cultures and histories into historical content; and,
  • ensuring the Parks Canada service offer is inclusive and accessible for all Canadians.

With demographic changes and the rise of digital communications, the ways in which we tell stories and absorb information are being transformed. In the coming years, Parks Canada’s service offer will continue to be influenced by an increasingly diverse population with varying needs and interests. As well, new national accessibility legislation, which aims to promote equality and participation for people of varying abilities, will also influence Parks Canada’s programs and services.

As the federal lead for cultural heritage places conservation, Parks Canada administers federal heritage designation and built heritage conservation programs on behalf of the Government of Canada. Federal custodian departments, Crown corporations, provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, and the broader heritage community play a major role in preserving Canada’s heritage places. The protection of cultural heritage places by the federal government is a complex endeavour that requires a coherent and robust system for the identification and conservation of Canada’s nationally significant heritage places.

Both the November 2018 Auditor General’s report and the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s December 2017 report highlighted the need to better protect federal heritage properties and to strengthen heritage conservation and protection across Canada. The recommendations include the integration of Indigenous perspectives, better policy and legislative measures, and financial incentives. Parks Canada is working towards addressing the findings from these reports.

Tracking the portfolio of built assets

  • Parks Canada continues to make progress on improving its infrastructure. In 2019, its annual Asset Report Card indicated that by current replacement value 61% of the Agency’s built assets are in good to fair condition, compared to 60% the previous year.
  • Annual variations in the total built asset inventory are influenced by factors such as the establishment of new parks and sites (e.g., Rouge National Urban Park resulted in the addition of 375 assets)

Parks Canada manages a complex portfolio of assets valued at approximately $25.8 billion. Highways maintained by Parks Canada serve as critical socio-economic corridors enabling the flow of people and commercial goods. Along with heritage canals, highways additionally serve as vital links connecting Canadian communities. Ensuring the long-term sustainability of Parks Canada’s asset portfolio is essential to the delivery of the Agency’s mandate and to ensure that Parks Canada can meet its custodial responsibilities on behalf of the Government of Canada. The November 2018 report by the Auditor General cited the need for Parks Canada to do more to conserve the physical condition and heritage value of federal heritage properties. The uncertainty of predictable long-term funding to maintain its built asset portfolio is creating risk to the Agency of not being able to deliver its mandate and of losing significant and irreplaceable examples of Canada’s cultural and built heritage.

Parks Canada’s commitment to address government priorities for ensuring the accessibility and inclusiveness of its places for visitors, and for supporting the resiliency of its asset portfolio against the effects of climate change, places additional strain on existing resources and the Agency’s capacity to deliver and evolve Parks Canada’s programs and services. Efforts to make a long-term business case for on-going funding remain a central priority for the Agency.


Key risks

Parks Canada has identified five risks in relation to its core responsibility that could impact delivery of programs and services. Associated mitigation strategies have been developed to minimize the overall likelihood and impact. These risks and associated mitigation strategies are described in the tables below.

Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness

Relevance

There is a risk that Parks Canada’s programs and services may not be relevant to the needs or expectations of Canadians.

In 2018–19, the Agency:

  • continued to leverage a robust market research program to ensure Parks Canada programs and services remained relevant in the hearts and minds of all Canadians and continued to meet the changing demands of society while supporting demographic shifts
  • used a multi-channel promotional strategy to shape destinations chosen by visitors as well as to promote lesser known and less-visited Parks Canada places (hidden gems) and off-peak visitation (mid-week and shoulder season)
  • used various marketing channels to engage with target audiences at the right place and at the right time and enabled Canadians to interact with Parks Canada via their preferred channel. Examples include:
    • campaigns to help visitors plan their stay with Parks Canada and how to be safe in natural areas contributed to better distribution of visitation throughout the year and more sustainable behaviours.
    • campaigns to invite visitors to use public transit and shuttles in the mountain parks contributed to lowering the number of vehicles in Parks Canada places
    • key messages across digital and social media channels informing visitors to manage their expectations, help them with trip planning, promote early reservations and encourage appropriate and safe behaviours.
    • enhancements to the mobile app and mobile-friendly website with the addition of trip planning tools
  • continued to make significant investments across the country in renewing visitor infrastructure to support quality visitor experiences such as campground, trail and visitor access improvements and renewal of visitor centres.
  • continued to make targeted investments with unique accommodations, experiences and services.
  • continued to work with the travel trade and with other organizations such as Destination Canada and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to support and promote market-ready tourism experiences.
  • continued to deliver Quality Visitor Experience training to equip staff with the knowledge and understanding of quality service delivery, safety protocols and appropriate communications.
  • continued to enhance storytelling in places, programs and events through a more inclusive approach, incorporating diverse and Indigenous perspectives.

Relationships

There is a risk that Parks Canada will not succeed in aligning the interests of third parties with those of the Agency to achieve results.

In 2018–19, the Agency:

  • collaborated throughout the year with Indigenous organizations on the preparation of proposal for the establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas which were part of submissions to the Nature Fund.
  • supported building the capacity of Indigenous groups to participate in engagement on the establishment and conservation of natural heritage, through contribution agreements to Indigenous groups for Tallurutiup Imanga, Thaidene Nene, South Okanagan – Similkameen, Southern Strait of Georgia and for Hog Island – Barrier Islands.

Environmental forces adaptation and response

The magnitude and rapid pace of environmental changes, including climate change may affect Parks Canada's ability to maintain the integrity of its ecosystems, cultural resources and infrastructure.

In 2018–19, the Agency:

  • undertook applicable assessment, planning and monitoring to identify potential threats to or at heritage, and taking action to mitigate those impacts, where possible such as; undertaking risk assessments; developing a preventative conservation strategy to identify and reduce potential hazards to cultural resources; and conducting climate change adaptation workshops
  • developed and shared best practices for monitoring the condition of heritage resources in all protected heritage places such as: the development of best practices for accessibility upgrades at heritage buildings; and community of practice calls for protecting heritage assets

    For more information on work Parks Canada is doing to respond to this risk, please consult the Agency’s Sustainable Development Strategy Results on this webpage.

Built asset condition and long-term sustainability

There is a risk that a sustainable asset portfolio will not be maintained to support the delivery of Parks Canada's mandate.

In 2018–19, the Agency:

  • continued to develop longer-term investment and management plans and strategies for the sustainability of Parks Canada’s assets based on current asset portfolio information and valuations, integrating measures for addressing life-cycle asset management, as well as policy objectives for improving accessibility, greening government, and addressing the impacts of climate change.
  • continued to improve asset data integrity through data validation exercises that ultimately enable enhanced decision making and accuracy of annual reports.
  • engaged the asset community through regularly scheduled workshops to inform ongoing improvements to the Agency’s asset information management system (Maximo) focusing on asset inspections, testing, maintenance and reporting.

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

There is a risk that Parks Canada's actions towards reconciliation may not fully satisfy both the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples and other Canadians

In 2018–19, the Agency:

  • advanced formal agreements at several protected heritage places that will facilitate Indigenous connections with traditionally used lands and water.
  • worked to negotiate agreements that will create new or enhance existing cooperative management structures at select protected heritage places.
  • expanded presentation and commemoration of Indigenous histories and cultures in Parks Canada’s heritage places and programs by developing criteria and identifying sites to receive Stories of Canada initiative funding to support engagement and co-development with Indigenous groups and to implement a new approach to history presentation and key practices.


Supplementary Information Tables


Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

Section 1. Context for the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

The 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS):

  • sets out the Government of Canada’s sustainable development priorities
  • establishes goals and targets
  • identifies actions to achieve them, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA).

In keeping with the objectives of the Act to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Parks Canada supports reporting on the implementation of the FSDS and its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy through the activities described in this supplementary information table.


Section 2. Sustainable Development in Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada’s Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy for 2017 to 2020 describes the department’s actions in support of achieving:

FSDS Goal 2: Achieving Low Carbon Government;

FSDS Goal 6: Healthy Coasts and Oceans;

FSDS Goal 8: Sustainable Managed Lands and Forests;

FSDS Goal 9: Healthy Wildlife Populations;

FSDS Goal 12: Connecting Canadians to Nature, and

FSDS Goal 13: Safe and Healthy Communities.

This supplementary information table presents available results for the departmental actions pertinent to these goals. Last year’s supplementary information table is posted on the department's website. This year, Parks Canada is also noting which UN Sustainable Development Goal target each departmental action contributes to achieving.


Section 3. Departmental performance by FSDS goal

The following tables provide performance information on departmental actions in support of the FSDS goals listed in section 2.


Logo with building and leaf


FSDS Goal 2: Achieving Low-Carbon Government

Parks Canada is developing a Real Property Resiliency and Sustainability Standard and Guideline to provide strategic direction to ensure sustainable workplace operations that contribute to a low-carbon government.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025 Improve the energy efficiency of our buildings/operations In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Reduce GHG emissions from its facilities and fleet by 2% below 2005 levels, with facilities contributing 1.4%.
  • Validate facilities portfolios for GHG reporting with regards to fuel, electricity and non-energy sources.
  • Promote Energy Performance Contracts (EPC) for its facilities to include high-performance green building standards for new constructions or major renovations.
13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13
Starting Points:
  • Total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year): [40.2] ktCO2e.
  • Total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet in fiscal year 2018–19: [38.4] ktCO2e
  • GHG emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year): [28.8] ktCO2e
  • GHG emissions from facilities in fiscal year 2018–19 [23.6] ktCO2e
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage change in total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet since 2005–06 levels.
  • Percentage change in GHG emissions from facilities relative to combined total (facilities and fleet) Agency 2005–06 levels.
  • Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet were reduced 4.7% from the 2005–06 baseline levels.
  • Agency GHG emissions from facilities relative to combined total (facilities and fleet) were reduced by 22% from 2005–06 levels.
Modernize our fleet In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Reduce GHG emissions from its facilities and fleet by 2% below 2005 levels, with the fleet contributing to a 0.6% reduction.
  • Purchase 75% of its light fleet vehicles from more energy efficient vehicles on the Agency’s Preauthorized Vehicle List (PVL).
  • Promote the development of 5-year replacement plans for heavy-duty fleet vehicles by moving to vehicles with greater efficiency and lower emissions.
  • Promote right-size and low-carbon intensity fleet-vehicles.
13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13
Starting Points:
  • Total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year): [40.2] ktCO2e
  • Total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet in fiscal year 2018–19: [38.4] ktCO2e
  • GHG emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2005–06 (base year): [11.4] ktCO2e
  • GHG emissions from fleet in fiscal year 2018–19 [14.8] ktCO2e
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage change in total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet relative to 2005–06 levels.
  • Percentage change in GHG emissions from fleet relative to combined total (facilities and fleet) Agency 2005–06 levels.
  • Total Agency GHG emissions from facilities and fleet were reduced by 4.7% from 2005–06 baseline levels.
  • Agency GHG emissions from fleet relative to combined total (facilities and fleet) have increased by 23% over 2005 levels.
Support the transition to a low-carbon economy through green procurement In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Integrate sustainability into common-use procurement instruments, processes and controls.
  • Require key procurement officials to support and promote green procurement.
  • Provide green procurement awareness and training for staff involved in procurement.
  • Set Agency targets to reduce the environmental impact of specific goods and services (e.g. IM/IT equipment, light fleet, heavy fleet).
12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12
Starting Points:
  • Number of key procurement officials that have facilitated green procurement through various activities and/or tools. in 2016–17 (base year): [7]
  • Number of key procurement officials that have facilitated green procurement through various activities and/or tools in 2018–19: [9]
  • Total number of procurement decision makers in 2018–19: [38]
  • Number of procurement decision makers that have completed training on green procurement in 2018–19: [37]
  • Number of goods and services categories with specific green procurement targets in 2016–17 (base year): [3]
  • Number of goods and services categories with specific green procurement targets in 2018–19: [3]
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage of key procurement officials that have facilitated green procurement through various activities and/or tools.
  • Percentage of procurement decision makers that have completed training on green procurement.
  • Percentage change in the number of goods and services with specific green procurement targets.
  • 100% of key procurement officials have facilitated green procurement through various activities and/or tools.
  • 97% of procurement decision makers that have completed training on green procurement.
  • The number of goods and services with specific green procurement targets has not changed in this reporting period.
Demonstrate innovative technologies In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Partner with Canadian environmental businesses to test on the Agency’s sites new clean technology developments through the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP). For example, the Agency will use innovative technology to analyse in real time the amount of petroleum contamination in soil samples.
12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12
Starting point:
  • Number of BCIP-funded clean environmental technologies tested across Agency facilities in 2016–17 (base year): [2]
  • Number of BCIP-funded clean environmental technologies tested across Agency facilities in 2018–19: [4]
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage change in the number of BCIP-sponsored clean environmental technologies tested.
  • The number of BCIP-sponsored clean environmental technologies tested increased by 100% over the 2016–17 base year.
Promote sustainable travel practices In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Continue to apply its Travel Directive and related policies to ensure the most efficient travel practices are pursued.
  • Promote green meeting practices by increasing videoconferencing facilities by 15% by March 2019 relative to March 2016 level.
  • Promote the creation of voluntary workplace Green Teams that will steward sustainable commuting and resource use.
12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12
Starting Points:
  • Number of videoconferencing facilities in fiscal year 2016–17 (base year): [72]
  • Number of videoconferencing facilities in fiscal year 2018–19: [116]
  • Number of voluntary workplace Green Teams in fiscal year 2016–17 (base year): [2]
  • Number of voluntary workplace Green Teams in fiscal year 2018–19: [5]
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage change in videoconferencing facilities.
  • Percentage change in the number of voluntary workplace Green Teams.
  • Videoconferencing facilities have risen by 61% over the 2016–17 base year.
  • The number of voluntary workplace Green Teams has increased by 150% over 2016–17.
Understand climate change impacts and build resilience. In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Continue to identify, assess, prioritize and take action to address climate change risks across the Agency’s areas of responsibility.
  • Work with partner organizations and specialists to refine tools and approaches, including an adaptation framework, regional reports and workshops, to better understand and support climate change adaptation in parks and protected areas in Canada.
13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13
Starting point:
  • A draft Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Agency has been developed to identify climate change risks 2016–17 (base year).
  • Progress in drafting Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and identification of climate change risks for the Agency in 2018–19.
  • Number of Parks Canada heritage sites that have been subject to Parks Canada site-specific climate change adaptation planning exercise in 2016–17 (base year): [0]
  • Number of Parks Canada heritage sites that have been subject to Parks Canada site-specific climate change adaptation planning exercise in 2018–19: [12] (out of 171)
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percent completion of a comprehensive assessment of climate change risks and mitigation measures
    Target: 100% completion (by Fall 2019).


  • Percentage of targeted PCA heritage sites which developed climate change adaptation plans
    Target: 75% (by 2020)
  • A comprehensive assessment of climate change risks and mitigation measures is 60% complete.
  • 7% of targeted Parks Canada heritage sites have developed climate change adaptation plans.
Improve transparency and accountability Share annual energy and GHG emissions data with the Centre for Greening Government (CGG). Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Develop policy for low-carbon government Align its greening operations policy suite with the federal Greening Government Framework (GGF). Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable

Logo with fish tail

FSDS Goal 6: Healthy Coasts and Oceans

Parliament mandated, through the Parks Canada Agency Act and the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, that Parks Canada establish a system of national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) representative of the diversity of Canada’s 29 oceanic and Great Lakes marine regions. Parks Canada’s role is to ensure the protection and ecological sustainability of these NMCAs, facilitate unique experiences and an appreciation of marine heritage, and engage Canadians in the management of NMCAs.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
By 2020, 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures Protect and manage marine and coastal areas In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Conclude negotiations of an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association for Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (in Lancaster Sound in Nunavut).
  • Launch a feasibility assessment for a national marine conservation area in Arctic Basin in Nunavut (Last Ice).
  • Conclude existing and ongoing feasibility assessments for proposed national marine conservation areas in the Southern Strait of Georgia area of British Columbia and the Îles de la Madeleine located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • Conclude feasibility assessments and determine final boundaries for new proposals of national marine conservation areas in unrepresented marine regions including a site in eastern James Bay, that both Parks Canada and the Cree Nation Government agree would represent this region and form the basis of a cooperative management arrangement, and for a site in western Hudson Bay. Work with the Nunatsiavut Government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on the Imappivut (Our Water) initiative regarding oceans management in northern Labrador within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. As Parks Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government have identified a potential national marine conservation area offshore of Torngat Mountains National Park, working on Imappivut may offer a means to initiate work on this marine proposal.
14.2: By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg14
Starting point:
  • As of March 31, 2016, the national marine conservation area system was 17 percent complete. The system includes four areas representing five of the 29 marine regions.
Performance indicator(s)
  • Number of unrepresented regions with demonstrable progress towards establishing national marine conservation areas.
    Target: 2 (Annually)
Parks Canada made demonstrable progress towards establishing national marine conservation areas in 5 unrepresented regions in 2018–19:
  • Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (marine region 10): Significant progress was achieved in negotiations for the required Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement and on an interim management plan. The agreement-in-principle states that both the Government of Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association intend to work with the Government of Nunavut to initiate feasibility assessments for new protected areas in the High Arctic Basin, part of the "Last Ice Area."
  • Arctic Basin (marine regions 6 and 8): An agreement in principle was signed between the Government of Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) in October 2018 to consider protecting the High Arctic Basin (or Tuvaijuittuq). The Government of Nunavut, QIA, Minister Wilkinson and Minister McKenna signed an MOU in March 2019 to initiate a feasibility assessment, including consultations, for marine protected areas, including a national marine conservation area, in the High Arctic Basin area.
  • Îles de la Madeleine (marine region 20): Work continued towards launching a feasibility assessment on the proposed national marine conservation area in the Îles de la Madeleine, located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The feasibility assessment stage is expected to begin in 2019–20.
  • Southern Strait of Georgia (marine region 5): Parks Canada continued to work with the Government of British Columbia on the feasibility assessment for a national marine conservation area reserve in the southern Strait of Georgia. Consultations have focused on respectfully engaging the 19 First Nations potentially impacted by the proposal. The feasibility assessment process also included dialogue with various key stakeholder groups, including industry representatives, local municipalities, and environmental non-governmental organizations. A decision on the feasibility assessment is dependent on conducting respectful consultations with First Nations.
  • Eastern James Bay (marine region 14): Parks Canada actively negotiated on the development of a memorandum of understanding with the Cree Nation Government to launch a feasibility assessment for a national marine conservation area site in eastern James Bay.

At the end of 2018–19, 17% of Canada’s marine regions were represented in the national marine conservation area system.

Build our knowledge of coastal ecosystems, MPAs and fisheries. In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Continue to work with other federal departments, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders to advance policy and management tools to ensure the effective conservation and management of national marine conservation areas.
  • Continue to implement a pilot monitoring program enabling the Agency to better understand the state of the national marine conservation area system and more effectively manage these areas.
14.A: Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg14
Starting point:
  • National marine conservation area monitoring plans are being implemented to help operating sites inform decision making and contribute condition assessments to future State of Canada’s Natural and Historic Places Reports.
Performance indicator(s)
  • Number of operating sites that contribute condition assessments to the State of Canada’s Natural and Historic Places Report

    Target(s): 4 by March 2021
In 2018–19:
  • Parks Canada is on-track to having all 4 operating sites contribute to state of marine protected areas reporting by 2021.
  • Parks Canada’s operational National Marine Conservation Areas are implementing their monitoring programs by developing long term indicators. This has involved developing partnerships with other federal departments and Indigenous partners to develop monitoring data collection protocols and analyses for key marine habitats and species, as well as indicators of environmental quality (e.g., ocean condition, acoustic).

Logo with tree


FSDS Goal 8: Sustainable Managed Lands and Forests

Parks Canada has been entrusted to protect an increasing number of natural areas within a system of national parks that represents each of Canada’s 39 natural terrestrial regions. Once national parks are established, Parks Canada’s role is to manage them in a manner that ensures their ecological integrity for present and future generations.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures Conserve natural spaces. In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Confirm a final boundary, conclude negotiation of establishment agreements with the Government of the Northwest Territories and Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation, and an Impact and Benefit Agreement with the Northwest Territories Métis Nation, and draft legislation to formerly protect the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve (located in the East Arm of the Great Slave Lake of the Northwest Territories) area under the Canada National Parks Act.
  • Confirm a final boundary and governance approach for a national park reserve in the South Okanagan Similkameen (Interior Dry Plateau natural region) in collaboration with the British Columbia government and local First Nations, followed by negotiation of the relevant establishment agreement(s).
  • Conclude the ongoing feasibility assessment for a proposed national park in the Interlake region of the Manitoba Lowlands.
  • Continue to play an important role as the national lead for the Programme of Work on Protected Areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity in the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative.
  • Support the recognition and implementation of a spectrum of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg15
Starting point:
  • Currently, 30 of 39 of Canada’s natural regions are represented by 46 national parks and national park reserves.
Performance indicator(s):
  • Number of unrepresented regions with demonstrable progress towards establishing national parks.
    Target: 2 (Annually)
The Agency made demonstrable progress towards establishing national parks and national park reserves in 2 unrepresented regions in 2018–19:
  • Thaidene Nene national park reserve (natural region 17): Negotiations with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Lutsël K’e Dene First Nation and Northwest Territory Métis Nation continued in 2018–19 and are expected to be completed in the coming year. Budget 2019 announced that the Government proposed to introduce amendments to the Canada National Parks Act to take steps to legally establish the Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve.
  • South Okanagan – Similkameen (natural region 3): Parks Canada launched a consultation process in December 2018 for the purpose of securing public comment on a proposed boundary for the national park reserve and to identify issues and concerns relevant to the proposal. Parks Canada worked with the Government of British Columbia and the Syilx / Okanagan Nations to advance the development of a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Hog Island – Barrier Islands (addition to region 32): Parks Canada continued to work with the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Miq’maw Confederacy to launch a feasibility assessment for a national park reserve on the north shore of Prince Edward Island. This proposal would add additional representation to region 32, which is already represented by Prince Edward Island National Park..
By 2019, the condition of 90% of ecological integrity indicators in national parks is maintained or improved Conserve natural spaces. In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Reprioritize the Conservation and Restoration Program to fund projects that focus on ecosystems that can be restored or stabilized as early as 2018–19. This program funds prescribed fire, species recovery and other types of restoration initiatives to make park ecosystems healthier. A science-based ecological integrity monitoring program is used to prioritize ecosystems to restore.
  • Develop an action plan for Wood Buffalo National Park guided by the World Heritage Committee’s recommendations in collaboration with Indigenous partners, other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders. This unified approach will make use of the best available science and Indigenous traditional knowledge―ensuring the future of Wood Buffalo National Park remains a treasured place with Outstanding Universal Value for generations to come.
15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg15
Starting point:
  • As of March 2016, the condition of 90% of national park ecosystems was maintained or improved from 2011.
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage of national park ecosystems where ecological integrity is maintained or improved.
    Target: 90% (Annually)
By the end of 2018–19:
  • Ecological integrity was maintained or improved in 82% of national park ecosystems – eight percent away from achieving the Agency’s target of 90%.
    This drop can reasonably be attributed to a variety of factors, some are unknown and some of which are known (e.g fire, overgrazing, natural fluctuations of populations). Expanding on conversation projects underway, Parks Canada will continue to investigate the causes and develop and implement new conservation projects to maintain or improve ecological integrity.

Logo with bird

FSDS Goal 9: Healthy Wildlife Populations

Parks Canada has a legal obligation to maintain or improve ecological integrity of national park ecosystems, while providing benefit and enjoyment to Canadians and international visitors. The Agency uses indicators to summarize and assess the ecological condition of the main ecosystems in each national park, i.e. forests, tundra, wetlands or freshwater. Using this information, Parks Canada identifies and conducts priority restoration initiatives for impaired ecosystems.

Parks Canada is committed to the protection and recovery of species at risk, many of which can be found within Parks Canada lands and waters. Parks Canada works to protect species at risk, along with their residences and habitat, and also supports and undertakes recovery activities to maintain or improve their conservation status.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
By 2020, species that are secure remain secure, and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans Use legislation and regulations to protect species at risk and migratory birds In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Recover species at risk on a priority basis through the Conservation and Restoration Program.
  • Support the development of site-based action plans for species at risk in compliance with the Species at Risk Act and demonstrate federal leadership for land use management and species recovery through an active program of implementation and restoration.
15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg15
Starting point:
  • As of 2016, Parks Canada had completed seven multi-species action plans for parks with five or more species at risk. With the completion of that target, the current focus is on parks with three or more species at risk.
Performance indicator(s):
  • Number of action plans for national parks with 3 or more species at risk.
    Target: 24 by March 2020
By 2018–19, Parks Canada:
  • Completed 21 of 24 multi-species action plans for Parks Canada places and three new action plans are in development. The 21 multi-species action plans are available on the species at risk public registry.

Logo with twig in hand

FSDS Goal 12: Connecting Canadians with Nature

Parks Canada builds public awareness of and connection to the protected heritage places that it administers, as well as the natural and cultural resources in them. Through relevant and effective promotion and engagement initiatives, Parks Canada is working to strengthen Canadians’ awareness and appreciation of their national protected heritage places and Parks Canada’s important mandate to protect and present these places. By encouraging Canadians to visit these places, and in providing them with the information and means to enjoy them, Parks Canada allows more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our heritage. These experiences can also lead to learning, personal growth and mental and physical health benefits. By strengthening the connection Canadians feel to their national heritage places, Parks Canada is helping to foster enthusiasm for Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and create a culture of stewardship and care for these places and the environment more broadly.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
By 2020, maintain or increase the number of Canadians that get out into nature – for example, by visiting parks and green space – and increase participation in biodiversity conservation activities relative to a 2010 baseline Promote public participation In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Reach more Canadians through digital channels (web, social media) to foster public understanding and encourage support for the Agency’s role in protecting and presenting Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.
  • Continuously improve and enhance web presence to make it easier for visitors to interact with online content, plan their visit and learn about Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.
  • Launch a national advertising campaign to diversify and maintain visitation and stimulate national pride in and protection of Canada’s heritage places.
  • Working with partners, leverage the Government of Canada milestone anniversaries, such as the commemorations of the World Wars, the centennial anniversary of women’s federal suffrage, and the second annual Canada Historic Places Day, as a means to attract new audiences and to enhance Canadians connection to and understanding of Canada’s heritage.
  • Starting in 2018 and beyond, provide free admission for children under 18 to Parks Canada places―helping to create a future generation of stewards for Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.
  • Work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to raise awareness of Parks Canada’s places to better connect new citizens with Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. In 2018, the Agency will host more than 20 citizenship ceremonies in national parks and national historic sites and continue to offer free admission for one year to new Canadian citizens through the Cultural Access Pass program.
11.4: Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg11
Starting point:
  • 628,203 visits by new Canadians and young adults (2016–17) (10%).
Performance indicator(s):
  • Percentage of visitors to Parks Canada places that are new Canadians and young adults.

    Target: >10%


  • Count of personal and non-personal contacts obtained through multimedia and outreach initiatives.
    Target: 100 million contacts (by March 2019)
In 2018–19:
  • 731,410 visits were made by new Canadians and young adults (12%)
    Note: 729,897 (11%) revised baseline
  • The Agency made 217.7 million contacts.
Enhance programs and services for visitors In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Continue to innovate, expand and diversify the range of programs and services available at Parks Canada heritage places to encourage more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our history.
  • Expand the popular Learn-to Camp program. The Agency will host 30 Learn-to Camp events as well as outreach events in urban centres to better equip Canadians with the tools to connect and explore the outdoors.
  • Diversify accommodation and interpretive offer to encourage exploration and learning at heritage places. Building on the success of 2017 and visitor feedback, online planning tools and reservation capabilities to support trip planning will be improved.
  • Work with Indigenous partners on a national and local scale to advance Indigenous tourism in Canada. This will both increase visitor knowledge and appreciation of Indigenous cultures, and contribute to economic prosperity.
  • Continue to share the compelling stories of the Franklin expedition with Canadians and the world. As one of the most important underwater archeological undertakings in Canadian history, there are many stories to be told including encounters between Inuit and European explorers and the important role the Inuit played in the discovery of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
  • Continue to implement a new approach to history presentation at Parks Canada places under the new historical commemoration framework. This approach is audience focused and multi-vocal, ensuring Indigenous perspectives and contributions to Canada's history are present and acknowledged.
  • Continue to renew contemporary infrastructure that facilitates visitor access and use of heritage places to ensure quality and reliability of visitor offers and respond to changing demand and needs of Canadians. Projects include improvements to camping facilities in Pacific Rim National Park and Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, improvements to visitor facilities in Lachine Canal National Historic Site and Nahanni National Park Reserve, and improvements to infrastructure that support visitor access in Jasper and Gros Morne national parks.
11.4: Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg11
Starting point:
  • In 2016, there were 24.7 million visits to Parks Canada administered places.
Performance indicator(s):
  • Maintain or increase in the number of visits at Parks Canada administered places.

    Target(s): ≥ 24.7 million (Annually)
In 2018–19, there were 25.1 million visits to Parks Canada administered places.

Logo with three people under roof


FSDS Goal 13: Safe and Healthy Communities

Parks Canada is responsible for 485 sites registered in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory as of March 31, 2019. With funding from the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, the Agency undertakes risk reduction activities (through remediation and/or risk management) at federal contaminated sites under its responsibility. Efforts at remediating contaminated sites serves to protect the health of Canadians as well as the environment.

FSDS target(s) FSDS contributing action(s) Corresponding departmental action(s) Support for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) target Starting point(s), target(s) and performance indicator(s) for departmental actions Results achieved
By 2020, address the 4,300 substances identified as priorities for action under the Chemicals Management Plan Demonstrate leadership on assessing and remediating contaminated sites In 2018–19, Parks Canada will:
  • Contribute to the delivery of Phase III of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) to reduce potential environmental and human health risks and related financial liabilities.
  • Assess 38 FCSAP-funded federal contaminated sites.
  • Remediate or risk-manage 49 high-priority federal contaminated sites.
12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

Source: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12
Starting Points:
  • Number of FCSAP-funded sites where assessment activities have been completed by 2016–17 (base year): [4]
  • Cumulative number of FCSAP-funded sites where assessment activities have been completed by 2018–19: [7]
  • Number of FCSAP-funded high-priority sites where FCSAP-funded risk reduction activities have been completed by 2016–17 (base year): [2]
  • Cumulative number of FCSAP-funded high-priority sites where FCSAPfunded risk reduction activities have been completed by 2018–19: [4]
Performance indicator(s) / Target:
  • Change in the number of FCSAP-funded sites where assessment activities have been completed.
  • Change in the number of FCSAP-funded high-priority sites where FCSAP-funded risk reduction activities have been completed.
In 2018–19, Parks Canada:
  • Completed one assessment activity in FCSAP-funded sites.
  • Completed two FCSAP-funded risk reduction activities in FCSAP-funded high-priority sites.

Section 4. Report on integrating sustainable development

During the 2018–19 reporting cycle, Parks Canada considered the environmental effects of 10 proposals subject to the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, as part of its decision-making processes. Through the Strategic Environmental Assessment process, none of these Agency proposals were found to have negative effects on progress toward achieving the 2016–2019 FSDS goals and targets. For example, The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Ukkusiksalik National Park Management Plan found that the plan supported the 2016–2019 FSDS goals of Healthy Coasts and Oceans, Pristine Lakes and Rivers, Sustainably Managed Lakes and Forests, Healthy Wildlife Populations, and Connecting Canadians with Nature.

Additional information on the results of the Strategic Environmental Assessments is available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/eie-eia/itm3.


Details on transfer payment programs of $5 million or more

General information

Name of transfer payment program: General Class Contribution Program Voted

Start date: 1995–96

End date: Ongoing

Type of transfer payment: Contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2017–18

Link to department’s Program Inventory:

  • Program 1.1 Heritage Places Establishment
  • Program 1.2 Heritage Places Conservation
  • Program 1.3 Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support
  • Program 1.4 Visitor Experience
  • Program 1.5 Heritage Canals, Highways and Townsites Management

Description: The objective of the program is to assist recipients in conducting activities and delivering projects that will support the Agency in fulfilling its mandate to preserve and protect nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage and present and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.

Results achieved: Projects under the General Class Contribution Program achieved one or more of the following results:

  • Canadians recognize, appreciate and are engaged in the values of natural and cultural conservation.
  • Stakeholders are engaged in terms of interest and involvement of common objectives towards ecological or cultural integrity.
  • Parks Canada managers, partners and stakeholders have access to a better knowledge base for informed decision-making and dialogue on commercial, ecological or indigenous issues of mutual interest.

Findings of audits completed in 2018–19: Not applicable

Findings of evaluations completed in 2018–19: Not applicable

Engagement of applicants and recipients: Not applicable

Performance information (dollars)
Type of transfer payment 2016–17 Actual spending 2017–18 Actual spending 2018–19 Planned spending 2018–19 Total authorities available for use 2018–19 Actual spending (authorities used) Variance (2018–19 actual minus 2018–19 planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 4,477,298 6,223,024 5,639,324 13,801,436 13,096,516 7,457,192
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total program 4,477,298 6,223,024 5,639,324 13,801,436 13,096,516 7,457,192
Explanation of variances: The variance in actual spending is the result of additional contributions sourced from operating funding. Planned spending is based on a preliminary annual forecast. Total authorities are based on actual approvals.

General information

Name of transfer payment program: Support to The Great Trail Voted

Start date: 2018–19

End date: 2021–22

Type of transfer payment: Contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2018–19

Link to department’s Program Inventory: Program 1.4: Visitor Experience

Description: The contribution is to enhance, maintain and improve the Great Trail, a national network of multi-use recreational trails that links 15,000 communities and spans 24,400 kilometres. The emphasis is on optimizing user experience and accessibility, and ensuring long-term sustainability.

Results achieved:

  • Improvements were made to the Great Trail in the following priority areas: conversion of interim road routes into greenway; engagement and inclusion of Indigenous communities; accessibility for individuals with limited mobility; creation of links with major trail networks; and repairs needed to maintain connection.
  • Damaged sections of the trail were repaired to ensure user safety.
  • Awareness of the Great Trail was increased through a strong digital and social media presence and through partnerships with the tourism industry.

Findings of audits completed in 2018–19: Not applicable

Findings of evaluations completed in 2018–19: Not applicable

Engagement of applicants and recipients: Not applicable

Performance information (dollars)
Type of transfer payment 2016–17 Actual spending 2017–18 Actual spending 2018–19 Planned spending 2018–19 Total authorities available for use 2018–19 Actual spending (authorities used) Variance (2018–19 actual minus 2018–19 planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 0 0 0 7,500,000 7,500,000 7,500,000
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total program 0 0 0 7,500,000 7,500,000 7,500,000
Explanation of variances: This contribution was only approved during 2018–19 and therefore had not been included in the 2018–19 Departmental Plan.

Gender-based analysis plus

General information
Governance structures Parks Canada has employed the concepts of GBA+ in the development and implementation of Parks Canada programs and in the preparation of Cabinet documents. Formal governance is anticipated in 2019–20 based on the analysis conducted during 2018–19.
Human resources In 2018–19 a Task Force was created from staff across the Agency. In early 2019–20 one FTE was dedicated to GBA+.
Major initiatives: results achieved In 2018–19 a Task Force was created from staff across the Agency to review the current state of GBA+. This Task Force presented a report on GBA+ implementation at Parks Canada to senior management who identified FTE support and a structure to develop a GBA+ Action Plan and recommend a governance structure in 2019–20.
Reporting capacity and data Parks Canada takes social circumstances (diversity, socio-economic circumstances, geography et al) into account in many of its programs (products, services, outreach, marketing) to understand markets and audiences (aggregated patterns). Census and psychographic segmentation systems (integrate census information) are critical aggregated data tools. However, Parks Canada did not use disaggregated data as a normal practice. Strengthening GBA+ reporting and broadening Parks Canada’s access to relevant data about GBA+ are two key objectives of Parks Canada GBA+ Action Plan 2019–2021.

Summary of response to audit conducted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

In 2018–19, the Office of the Commissioner for Official Languages (OCOL) performed a follow-up audit of its 2012 Audit of Parks Canada. This audit followed up on the nine recommendations from 2012.

The 2016 report identified that two of the nine recommendations (Recommendations 1 and 6) were implemented and further work was required on the remaining seven.

In July 2018 the OCOL reported the main actions Parks Canada had taken to address the remaining seven recommendations contained in the Audit in order to meet its official languages obligations. In light of this post follow-up exercise, OCOL concluded that Parks Canada’s efforts would improve the availability and quality of services to the public. These actions were:

Recommendation 2:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada establish and implement a new official languages action plan that includes specific measures regarding its visitor communications activities so that it can ensure services of equal quality in English and French. This plan must include timeframes, performance indicators and an accountability mechanism. Parks Canada must also establish and implement a monitoring mechanism for the official languages action plan.


To address this recommendation Parks Canada appointed a new official languages Champion and Co-Champion and started working on developing an Official Languages Strategy for the Agency.

Recommendation 3:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada develop an official languages policy that takes its activities and programs into account and includes all of the components of Part IV of the Official Languages Act. This policy must reflect the Agency’s new structure in terms of the visitor experience and refer to the DesRochers decision, particularly the principles related to equal access and services of equal quality. Parks Canada must also develop a communications strategy to effectively communicate the policy to all employees.


To address this recommendation Parks Canada started working on developing an Official Languages directive that respects the recommendations' requirements.

Recommendation 4:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada amend its performance management procedures by including a provision on the implementation of Part IV of the Official Languages Act in the performance evaluations of managers, team leaders and any other employees who are required to communicate with the public in both official languages and who negotiate service agreements with third parties.


To address this recommendation Parks Canada took a number of actions that included adding official languages to performance management discussions when performance pay was admissible and requiring that candidates meet the language profile of the position prior to applying to PCX-4, PCX-5 and PCX-6 (i.e. Parks Canada senior executive levels) competitive staffing processes. The Agency also developed official languages tools for all team members providing service to the public and included official languages-specific narrative statements in internal guidance documents.

Recommendation 5:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada include in its new service agreements, as well as in those that are being renewed, specific language clauses that reflect the provisions of Part IV in order to fully comply with the Official Languages Act.


To address this recommendation, Parks Canada has ensured that the specific language clauses were included in service agreements, which included testing samples of different types of service agreement instruments, which demonstrated the OL clauses were included.

Recommendation 7:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada ensure that employees who are required to communicate with the public have language skills that reflect the realities and requirements of their positions in terms of the Agency’s official languages operational obligations. Moreover, the Agency must conduct an in-depth review of the bilingual skills of all of its employees to verify that there is sufficient capacity to provide services of equal quality in English and French.


To address this recommendation, Parks Canada conducted a risk analysis to identify key issues and areas of concern and formalised the talent management process for Parks Canada’s executive cadre using the public service's executive talent management system (ETMS). The Agency has now also included a description of the official languages bilingual skill obligations of employees serving the public in Parks Canada’s Official Languages Directive.

Recommendation 8:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada develop a mechanism for regular and formal consultations of national, provincial and regional representatives of official language communities. He also recommends that Parks Canada take the specific needs of these communities into account when developing its activities, programs and services for visitors.


To address this recommendation, Parks Canada's has added a section on Official Languages Minority Communities (OLMC) in the Agency's guidelines for planning and reporting management and added OLMCs as stakeholders in the Agency's stakeholder and partner engagement registry. Parks Canada also communicated the Agency's obligations toward OLMCs to Agency staff.

Recommendation 9:

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that Parks Canada establish an evaluation framework for the implementation of Part IV of the Official Languages Act, implement an appropriate monitoring mechanism and evaluate all of its services related to bilingual service delivery as well as those offered by third parties. The Agency must take necessary measures in the event of non-compliance.


To address this recommendation Parks Canada took action to implement a performance measurement monitoring framework as part of its official languages strategy and has undertaken monitoring activities that includes “secret shopper” exercises and carrying out reviews of the Agency's internet content.

Parks Canada is committed to further reporting on the ongoing implementation of these recommendations in the Agency’s 2019–20 Departmental Results Report.


Summary of response to audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada

The 2018 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada on Conserving Federal Heritage Properties focused on whether Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Department of National Defence worked to conserve the heritage value and extend the life of federal heritage properties for present and future generations of Canadians to enjoy. The audit focused on national historic sites and heritage buildings, including heritage lighthouses.

Overall, the Audit reported that Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Department of National Defence did not do enough to conserve the physical condition and heritage value of federal heritage properties. The three audited organizations either did not know how many heritage buildings they had or did not know what condition the buildings were in. Also, the heritage property information the organizations provided to Parliament and the public was inadequate. The audit also noted that designation as a heritage property does not include additional funding for conservation work and that this led to the three organizations prioritizing the heritage buildings to conserve on the basis of available resources and operational requirements, rather than heritage considerations.

In its response, the Government shared the Auditor General’s concerns on the need to better protect federal heritage properties. Following the release of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s December 2017 report on the preservation and protection of Canada’s historic places, the Government has been reviewing recommended legislative measures, financial tools, and best practices to strengthen heritage conservation and protection across Canada.

Parks Canada has also reviewed its national asset management databases, and will continue to do so on an ongoing basis, to ensure that they contain complete and accurate information on the condition of its respective heritage properties. The Agency will complete the identification of the federal heritage properties under its responsibility and will indicate the condition of these properties in the appropriate asset or land management system. This will allow for the up-to-date accounting and reporting of the heritage assets under Parks Canada’s responsibility. In the spirit of openness and transparency, Parks Canada will also work to further improve public access to this information.

The Agency is making substantial investments to protect and preserve Canada’s treasured places, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector. Commencing in 2014, Parks Canada has been investing the $3.5 billion provided to rehabilitate infrastructure for heritage, visitor, waterway, and highway assets across Canada. Over one-third of this funding is being invested in preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring heritage assets.

Parks Canada continues to work with other custodian departments to review the approach for designating federal heritage buildings and establish a consistent standard of heritage conservation across the federal government.

The Government’s full response can be viewed here.


Parks Canada program achievement details

The 2018–19 Parks Canada Departmental Results Report (DRR) outlines actual results achieved against the Parks Canada Departmental Results Framework (DRF). Each year Parks Canada undertakes projects and programs that contribute to the actual results achieved in the DRR; this webpage provides additional information regarding program achievement details.

The sections are as follows:

For more information on Parks Canada’s reports and plans, please visit the About Parks Canada section at the bottom of any Parks Canada webpage.


Natural heritage establishment

In 2018–19, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, Parks Canada made significant advances in the establishment of national parks and national marine conservation areas in unrepresented regions:

Facilitating Indigenous Leadership in Heritage Places Establishment

Parks Canada played a key leadership role in supporting the Indigenous Circle of Experts, whose final report, We Rise Together, developed a definition and criteria to support the recognition and implementation of a spectrum of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.

  • High Arctic Basin (Tuvaijuittuq in Inuktut, meaning the place where the ice never melts): an Agreement in-Principle was signed between the Government of Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) in October 2018 to consider protecting Tuvaijuittuq. In March 2019, the Governments of Nunavut and Canada and the QIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to initiate a feasibility assessment and consultations for marine protected areas, including a national marine conservation area, in the Tuvaijuittuq region.
  • Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area: significant progress was made during the reporting period, culminating in the signing of the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA) in August 2019.
  • Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve: 2018–19 negotiations and consultations with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Lutsël K’e Dene First Nation and Northwest Territory Métis Nation culminated in August 2019, with the formal establishment of Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve.
  • South Okanagan – Similkameen: a public consultation process launched in December 2018 on a proposed boundary for the future national park reserve and to identify issues and concerns on the proposal. Significant progress was made during the reporting period to advance the development of a memorandum of understanding with the Government of British Columbia and the Syilx/Okanagan Nations, culminating in July 2019 with the signing of the MOU.
  • Hog Island – Barrier Islands: 2018–19 negotiations with the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy led to the August 2019 announcement launching a feasibility assessment for a national park reserve in the Hog Island Sandhills chain in northwestern Prince Edward Island. This proposal would add additional representation to Region 32 and it demonstrates Parks Canada's commitment to working with its Indigenous partners in delivering on the Government of Canada’s work to advance reconciliation.
  • Îles de la Madeleine: Work continued towards launching a feasibility assessment on the proposed national marine conservation area in the Îles de la Madeleine, located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The feasibility assessment stage is expected to begin in 2019–20.
  • Southern Strait of Georgia: Parks Canada continued to work with the Government of British Columbia on the feasibility assessment for a national marine conservation area reserve in the southern Strait of Georgia. Consultations have focused on respectfully engaging the 19 First Nations potentially impacted by the proposal. The feasibility assessment process also included dialogue with various key stakeholder groups, including industry representatives, local municipalities, and environmental non-governmental organizations.
  • Eastern James Bay: Parks Canada negotiated with the Cree Nation Government on the development of a memorandum of understanding to launch a feasibility assessment for a national marine conservation area in eastern James Bay.

Through its work on the Federal-Provincial-Territorial-Indigenous (FPTI) Pathway National Steering Committee and its Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Working Group, Parks Canada supports the recognition and implementation of IPCAs.


Natural heritage conservation

Conservation and Restoration Program

Parks Canada’s Conservation and Restoration Program (CoRe) funds projects that restore ecological integrity, recover species at risk, and enhance the health of marine and Great Lakes environments. Specific project achievements include:

  • More than 3,000 adult Atlantic salmon returned to the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park as part of the Fundy Salmon Recovery project. This 29-year high was achieved by working in partnership with universities, Indigenous peoples, government and private industry, is working together to raise and release hundreds of wild endangered inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon.
  • Aquatic ecosystems were restored in La Mauricie National Park by removing non-native fish from 12 lakes and 98,000 logs from 18 lakes.
  • Reptiles and amphibians made more than 900 safe road crossings using ‘ecopassages’ at Bruce Peninsula National Park;
  • The re-introduced Northern Leopard Frog bred for the first time since the 1970s at Waterton Lakes National Park; and
  • 135 metres of clam garden wall was restored at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in partnership with Hul’q’umi’num and WSÁNEĆ Nations to cultivate intertidal ecosystems and rejuvenate the ancient traditional practices of the Coast Salish peoples.

Species at risk

Parks Canada uses a site-based, multi-species approach to implement species conservation and recovery. Recovery actions were taken through CoRe projects, and an additional two million dollars of Nature Legacy funds were allocated in 2018–19 for 55 recovery activities in 26 parks, for example:

  • Parks Canada’s 21st action plan, the Multi-species Action Plan for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada, outlines actions to support the conservation and recovery of 30 different species in this unique Parks Canada place, including 16 extirpated, endangered, and threatened species.
  • Critical habitat for 17 species at risk was legally protected, including Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales, Red Knot rufa subspecies and Wild Hyacinth.
  • Seaside surveys for at-risk lichens were completed at Kejimkujik National Park, resulting in the identification of more than 300 at-risk lichen occurrences
  • Banff National Park helped the recovery of threatened trout species at Hidden Lake by removing a non-native fish species, and
  • Thousand Islands National Park implemented the RARE program (Reptile and Amphibian Recovery and Education), increasing herptile outreach capacity, awareness, and partnership building, through activities such as a turtle nest protection box lending program, and a new herptile education and awareness section in the visitor center.

Managing human-wildlife interactions and hyperabundant and non-native species

Throughout Parks Canada places, appropriate actions are taken to ensure the safety of humans and wildlife. In 2018–19 a national strategy was developed and implemented to support and educate the public, to reduce and avoid conflict, and to monitor and analyse trends.

Unusually high numbers of wildlife can negatively affect ecological integrity and species at risk. Building on a decade of experience, Parks Canada is producing evidence-based policies and guidelines and is actively managing hyperabundant wildlife. For example, in Newfoundland, moose densities were among the highest in Canada and they were preventing the regeneration of the boreal forest. Collaborations with Indigenous partners and the provincial government have reduced the population, and trees are again growing in Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks.

Non-native species can also affect ecological integrity and species at risk. Parks Canada continued to focus on prevention and early detection, and the management and prevention of specific forest pests, such as emerald ash borer. For example, Kouchibouguac National Park successfully prevented the spread of Brown Longhorn Spruce Beetle by combining early detection, rapid intervention, education of visitors, and a firewood importation ban.

Reuniting Fire and the Landscape

  • Fire management is an integral part of Parks Canada’s work, balancing fire’s destructive forces with its essential role in nature.
  • In 2018–19, Parks Canada reduced wildfire risk in 14 national parks and two national historic sites through mechanical vegetation management and the use of prescribed fire.
  • Controlled burns were also used to help restore ecological integrity in nine national parks.

Fire management

The 2018 wildfire season was the second consecutive high-intensity fire season that began earlier than normal and lasted until autumn. In addition to responding to wildfires in national parks, in 2018–19 the Agency contributed personnel to other fire management jurisdictions including the Provinces of Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Parks Canada worked to reduce wildfire-risks to people, infrastructure, and assets in nine national parks and two national historic sites in 2018-19. In addition, Parks Canada promoted Fire Smart programs that further reduced risk to visitors and neighbouring communities.

In 2018-19, Parks Canada provided wildfire-related emergency response and Incident Command System training to over 300 employees. That training has reduced risk by improving the Agency’s ability to respond to wildfire emergencies.

Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program

Implementation of the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program became a key priority for the Environment Portfolio in 2018–19. Parks Canada contributed to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s implementation of the program with the establishment of a national process to support Indigenous nations and communities in exercising their responsibilities within their traditional territories while continuing to work with existing guardian programs in Parks Canada places, such as the First Nation Guardians of the West Coast Trail.

Marine Policy

Parks Canada worked with federal partners in preparation for a “Let’s talk NMCAs” (National Marine Conservation Areas) public consultation which launched in May 2019 to engage individuals and stakeholders, including federal/provincial/territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, youth, coastal communities and all Canadians, in NMCA policy development.

Climate Change

In 2018–19, Parks Canada continued its efforts to plan and adapt for the potential impacts of climate change through four initiatives:

  1. The Agency continued to expand on its series of regional and site-specific reports summarizing the evolution of climate conditions at heritage places and the potential impacts that forecasted changes may cause.
  2. Parks Canada led three Climate Change Adaptation workshops to identify adaptation options for three heritage places experiencing or most vulnerable to impacts of climate change.
  3. Agency experts are leading two working groups to develop and share knowledge and best practices for heritage place stewardship in the context of climate change, which involve federal, provincial and territorial managers, as well as Indigenous, industry and academic partners. In 2018–19, this work yielded an important collaborative report summarizing the issues and concerns pertaining to climate change and biodiversity in Canada, as well as possible adaptation actions and priorities.
  4. Parks Canada also continued to co-lead tri-national Canada—Mexico—United States projects, including the development of tools to help marine protected areas adapt to climate change.

In addition to these initiatives, a set of tools, including an adaptation framework and workshop approach, was finalized and a series of regional and site-specific summaries of climate trends and projections was expanded to better understand and support climate change adaptation in parks and protected areas in Canada.


Cultural heritage designation, commemoration and conservation

Piloting Collection Consolidation

  • In 2018 a pilot project in Cornwall was initiated as part of the consolidation of the collection
  • Will result in the move of more than 17,000 historical objects and 2,400 boxes of archaeological objects and related documentation.
  • Move will improve environmental storage conditions and improve collections management.
  • Pilot project helped establish efficient and cost-effective practices while ensuring proper care for the objects for the larger move.

Parks Canada supports the designation and commemoration of cultural heritage through formal recognition programs at the national level. Including designations of people, places and events of national historic significance, heritage railway stations, heritage lighthouses, Prime Minister’s Gravesites, Canadian World Heritage Sites, Federal Heritage buildings and Canadian Heritage Rivers. The participation of Canadians in the identification of places, persons and events of national historic significance and in their commemoration is a key element of these programs.

To contribute to future gains in this area, in 2018–19 significant design milestones were met for the new purpose-built collection facility in Gatineau, Quebec, which will allow for the protection and conservation of the collection and include spaces for Indigenous peoples, researchers, institutions, and community groups to access and use the collection.

Engagement with Indigenous partners on increased access to collections has been ongoing since 2017. To the end of this reporting period more than 100 groups were proactively provided with information about the project and nearly 40 groups engaged with Parks Canada to indicate their expressed interest in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. The Agency is now in the process of proactively engaging Indigenous groups in the Prairies and Alberta.

Cultural built assets

In support of the Government of Canada’s priority to develop Park Canada’s programs and services, the Agency began investing approximately $3.6 billion starting in 2014–15 to improve the condition of its contemporary assets, heritage buildings and structures. Investments related to this program are helping to address the loss of irreplaceable built heritage of national historic significance administered by Parks Canada.

In 2018–19, conservation and stabilization work was undertaken at various heritage places administered by Parks Canada with a focus on resources of national historic significance. Some examples of significant projects undertaken in 2018–19 include:

  • significant masonry repairs, repointing, and grouting were undertaken to reverse severe scouring and stone loss on the overflow dam at Edmonds Weir on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site in Ontario;
  • restoration work was conducted on several heritage buildings found within Forillon National Park in Quebec; and
  • the dome structure at Cape Spear Lighthouse in Newfoundland was removed for rehabilitation work while the lighthouse tower and related wooden components were repaired to address structural degradation.

In this reporting period, Parks Canada’s Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office continued to support the conservation of heritage buildings under the responsibility of the Government of Canada through reviews of intervention, formal committee work and building evaluations.

In 2018–19 the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office supported other government departments in their national Federal Infrastructure projects by providing conservation advice and guidance. The Agency also worked to elaborate direction on the sustainable protection of built heritage, including work on the impact of climate change or interventions related to accessibility.

In November 2018 the Government of Canada issued a response to the autumn 2018 Auditor General Report Conserving Federal Heritage Properties reaffirming that Parks Canada will continue to support the Government of Canada in the formal recognition of federal built heritage through the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office. As per the recommendation from the Auditor General, the Agency is working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Department of National Defense, and other custodian departments to review the approach for designating federal heritage buildings and to establish a consistent standard of heritage conservation across the federal government.

Commemorating designations

Plaques Unveiled in 2018

Examples of plaques unveiled in 2018 include:

National historic sites:
  • Beinn Bhreagh Hall National Historic Site (Baddeck, Nova Scotia)
  • Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site (Hay River Nation, Northwest Territories)
National historic events:
  • The Birth of the Dionne Quintuplets National Historic Event (North Bay, Ontario)
  • Nlaka'pamux Basket-Making National Historic Event (Lytton, British Columbia)
National historic persons:
  • Agathe de Saint-Père-de-Repentigny National Historic Person (Montreal, Quebec)
  • Tommy Douglas National Historic Person (Regina, Saskatchewan)

In 2018–19, the Agency continued its ambitious undertaking of accelerating the commemoration of national historic designations, with 55 commemorative plaques unveiled through ceremonies or social media.

While the target of carrying out 80 commemorative plaque unveiling ceremonies during the 2018–19 year was not met, the number of commemorations achieved represents demonstrable progress in the ambitious undertaking of reducing the number of unplaqued designations.

The number achieved in 2018 represents a more sustainable yearly target in terms of Agency capacity to deliver plaque unveilings going forward, given the significant research, collaboration, consultation and other elements involved in the development and approval of plaque texts, as well as the Stories of Canada initiative to review existing plaque texts. As such, the program has revised its target to 50 commemorative plaque unveilings for the 2019–20 year.

Conservation of historical and archaeological objects

Parks Canada aims to achieve its target to ensure that 90% of its managed cultural resources are safeguarded by 2024 through its work to advance consolidating the collection of historical and archaeological objects – one of the largest in North America – to a new purpose built collection facility in Gatineau, Quebec and by implementing a preventative conservation strategy. This new facility will allow for the protection and conservation of the collection and include spaces for Indigenous peoples, researchers, institutions, and community groups to access and use the collection. In 2018–19, 63% of the total number of historical and archaeological objects, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes managed by Parks Canada were determined to be safeguarded. As well, to date 40% of historical objects and 40% of archaeological objects are stored in an environmentally controlled, secure conditions and are appropriately monitored.

Engagement with Indigenous partners on increased access to collections has been ongoing since 2017. To the end of this reporting period more than 100 groups were proactively provided with information about the project and nearly 40 groups engaged with Parks Canada to indicate their expressed interest in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. The Agency is now in the process of proactively engaging Indigenous groups in the Prairies and Alberta.

Protecting archaeological sites and cultural landscapes

Archaeology in a Burned Landscape

  • 2017 Kenow Wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park presented a unique opportunity for archaeological research in the park.
  • Archaeological record in Waterton dates back over 10,000 years.
  • 70 new archaeological sites were added to the archaeological inventory in 2018, making 406 sites in total.
  • First stage in a five-year plan to delve into the archaeology of Waterton

Parks Canada continues to work to safeguard archaeological sites and cultural landscapes. To date 80% of archaeological sites and 91% of cultural landscapes have been formally inventoried.

In 2018–19 Parks Canada started its final phases of testing and deployment of the Cultural Resource Information Management System. This database will consolidate critical information from multiple sources related to cultural resources to facilitate evidence-based decision making, reporting and presentation. The system is anticipated for roll-out in fall of 2019.

The archaeology program performed a number of key projects during this reporting period, including:

  • worked in partnership with Jasper National Park to collect information and data on natural and cultural resources related to the melting of ice patches as part of gathering information to inform the mitigation of this impact;
  • assessed the potential impacts of interventions for work being completed as part of the Federal Infrastructure investments; and,
  • contributed work toward restoration efforts following the aftermath of the 2017 Kenow Wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Exploring and protecting the wrecks of Erebus and Terror

Franklin Oral History Project

  • Inuit communities in Gjoa Haven are being engaged to gather Inuit oral histories surrounding the 1845 Franklin Expedition.
  • Will raise awareness of the significant contributions of Inuit to the discovery of the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and document Inuit Interactions with Sir John Franklin and his crew.
  • Inuit, including youth and elders, will be key participants in this project, which will result in a book and content for future exhibits.
  • The project’s proposed completion is December 2019.

In 2018, Parks Canada deployed a new marine research vessel, the David Thompson, to support underwater and terrestrial archaeology, ecological and climate change research in Canada’s coastal sites including HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The David Thompson experienced logistical complexities due to the impact of the summer ice conditions. Despite challenging conditions, the David Thompson, working closely with the Canadian Coast Guard and other departments, was one of few vessels to reach the Artic during the summer months.

The vessel was used in the survey and excavation of HMS Erebus. It was at the site in early September for nearly two weeks. During that time Parks Canada carried out diving logistical steps, site inspection dives, artefact recovery and the completion of two out of four permanent mooring sites.

Parks Canada has also been working with the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee to develop an Inuit Guardians Program for the two vessels. Guardians will be posted at both wreck sites throughout the open-water period to monitor the sites, report any unauthorized vessel traffic, and help Parks Canada ensure the protection of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

In April 2018, the wrecks and all as-yet-undiscovered artifacts to Canada. Artifacts are now jointly owned by Canada and Inuit, through Parks Canada and the Inuit Heritage Trust.


Connecting with Canadians

Visitation

2018–19 Visitation increases

Increases in visitation from the 2016–2017 baseline level:

National parks:
  • Kouchibouguac – 44%
  • Forillon – 6%
  • Grasslands – 17%
  • Pacific Rim – 9%
  • Kluane – 16%
  • Wood Buffalo – 17%
National historic sites:
  • Castle Hill – 53%
  • Halifax Citadel – 15%
  • Green Gables House – 6%
  • Fort Chambly – 4%
  • Fort Wellington – 22%
  • Riel House – 266%
  • Banff Park Museum – 40%
  • Klondike National Historic Sites – 27%

Visiting a Parks Canada place is one of the most effective ways of connecting Canadians to their culture and heritage and ensuring support for Parks Canada’s mandate. The Agency successfully maintained pre-2017–18 visitation levels following the highly successful Canada 150 celebrations, which provided free admission to Parks Canada places. As well, starting in 2018, free admission for youth 17 and under at national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas was announced.


Enhancing visitor experience

Learn-to camp

Parks surpassed its target of hosting at least 30 overnight events with more than 40 overnight events taking place. With the creation of hubs in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax in 2017–18, the Learn-to Camp Program continued to expand in 2018–19, far surpassing targets. In terms of both day and overnight events, participation increased from 75,000 participants at 500 events in 2017–18 to 96,000 participants at 650 events in 2018–19, an approximately 30% increase in both participants and total events.

Expanding the program and offering a broader range of activities helped to remove barriers for more people to enjoy the outdoors. Going forward, the Agency will build on these successful learn-to camp events that are reaching of tens of thousands of Canadians, with an increased focus on longer and more immersive interactions.


Events and celebrations

Events and celebrations

  • Free Admission Days
  • Canada Historic Places Day
  • Indigenous Day Live
  • 75th Anniversaries: Battles of the Atlantic and the Saint Lawrence
  • World War Commemorations: Hometown Heroes and Home Port Heroes
  • Women and the War Efforts
  • Road to Peace
  • Armistice 100
A person in regalia addressing a group of veterans

In 2018–19 the Agency continued to leverage milestone anniversaries including Indigenous commemorations, the World Wars and other significant occasions to attract new audiences and to enhance Canadians’ connections to, and understanding of, Canada’s heritage. Much of this work was performed in collaboration with partners, including a number of new partners, such as the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride, in special events and celebrations.

Canada Historic Places Day, for example, was officially designated as the first Saturday in July after Canada Day by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for culture, with its first celebration on July 8, 2017. In 2018–19, Parks Canada expanded on the success of the first year of celebration of Canada Historic Places Day promoting the event, in collaboration with the National Trust of Canada, via a dedicated website, video, posters, print ads, earned media and social media. More than 1 million Canadians were reached though social media channels. The number of participating historic sites doubled from 2017.

In other areas of outreach around major celebrations and milestones, nearly a dozen events were produced with major support from the Royal Canadian Navy highlighting a number of Hometown Heroes and Home Port Heroes, recognizing individuals in their home communities who came from all walks of life and made unique contributions to the war effort.

The ceremonial commissioning of HMCS Haida as flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), was conducted with the participation of four Indigenous Chiefs, including two Hereditary Chiefs of the Haida Nation who attended the ceremony. This marked the first time the Haida people had had a direct contact with the ship bearing their name, a nationally significant gesture of reconciliation that earned commendations from the Commander of the RCN. Engaging Indigenous persons and communities to participate in commemorations and celebrations is a continuing focus.


Innovating and diversifying programs and services

Programs and services

New accommodation added in 2018–19:

  • 11 oTENTiks added in Riding Mountain and Pukaskwa National Parks for a total of 417 across several locations
  • 5 Ôasis added in Terra Nova National Park
A hard-walled prospector style tent

Programs to encourage youth and families continue to have a wide appeal:

  • 146,850 club parka participant families
  • 295,950 Xplorers participant families

Parks Canada continued to innovate and diversify the range of programs and services available at heritage places such as new accommodations, app features, new campsites and campgrounds being added to the online reservation service, and parking reservations at Bruce Peninsula National Park.

With a focus on youth and families, the Xplorers and Club Parka programs continued to offer a series of activities to encourage kids to explore, discover, learn and have fun while creating a long-term relationship Parks Canada’s youngest visitors.


Making trip planning easier

Throughout 2018–19, Parks Canada’s tools to support trip planning were enhanced. Visitor guides were expanded to include itineraries and staff picks, a series of digital articles on how to plan ahead, discover hidden gems, and alternatives to most popular parks, etc. The national Parks Canada app continued to be improved with many new features and functionalities added such as Learn-to Camp content, trail maps, the ability to create personalised itineraries, information on hidden gems and the introduction of fun new photo features.

In 2018–19, Parks Canada’s Reservation System (PCRS) also continued to be expanded and improved to meet the expectations of Canadians, based on visitor feedback. The PCRS is a single interface to provide visitors with a consistent experience when reserving at Parks Canada places.

Since 2004, the number of reservations processed on PCRS has quadrupled.


Volunteer program

Parks Canada reservation system continues to grow

Reservation system at a glance
  • 127 campgrounds comprising 10,667 sites across 28 national parks, 7 national historic sites and 1 national marine conservation area, with new locations being added annually
  • 89% online reservations, 11% via call centre and 0.6% at gate
  • 385,000+ reservations made
Piloting parking reservations
  • In 2018, Bruce Peninsula piloted online Grotto parking reservations on the Parks Canada Reservation System for 2018:
  • 97.5% of parking spots during July and August were reserved
  • 35,000 reservations processed

Parks Canada and volunteers share ideas, knowledge, talent and skills to build a legacy for Canada’s natural and historic treasures. In 2018–19, Parks Canada coordinated the work of over 8,700 volunteers who contributed over 137,000 hours participating in activities such as BioBlitz events and other citizen science projects, shoreline cleanups, and species at risk projects. Volunteer opportunities create countless opportunities for Canadians, especially young adults, to connect with Park Canada places. To encourage the stewards of tomorrow, a network of over 40 campus clubs has been established that spans all provinces. This network aims to mobilize young adults to play a role in supporting and protecting Canada’s natural and cultural heritage through various volunteer activities.


Citizenship ceremony

Since 2007, Parks Canada has been hosting enhanced citizenship ceremonies with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in national parks and historic sites. In 2018–19, the Agency hosted more than 16 citizenship ceremonies, including enhanced roundtable citizenship ceremonies, in national parks and national historic sites, which welcomed almost 900 new citizens. This initiative provides new Canadians with memorable experiences as part of their citizenship process. It is also a way to increase appreciation for and connection with Canada’s natural and cultural heritage among one of Parks Canada’s target audiences. Parks Canada continues to offer free admission for one year to new Canadian citizens through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Cultural Access Pass Program.

Storytelling

The stories of the Franklin expedition were shared through a comprehensive web presence that includes artifact photo gallery, detailed accounts of the finding of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and the vessels, and a detailed overview of the vessels, including their dimensions, displacement, and armaments.

A total of 32 artifacts are presented which includes a wide range of clothing, dishes, rigging and tools, a cannon, a ship’s bell, and part of a ship’s wheel. For each artifact, detailed photos and information on where was the artifact found, what it was made of and what it was used for are included. The section received over 135,000 views.


Canada-China Year of Tourism

This year Parks Canada continued to collaborate with federal partners to welcome growing numbers of Chinese visitors at many Parks Canada places. In celebration of the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism, Parks Canada prepared Chinese-language information to welcome visitors from China and took steps to provide exceptional service to this market. Quality Visitor Experience trainers in field units across the country were advised of programs and services developed specifically for visitors from China. Services and programs were adapted to facilitate positive experiences based on an understanding of travel preferences and cultural norms. Connecting with Canadians innovations included an app in simplified Chinese for visitors to the Rouge National Urban Park.


Supporting Canada’s Tourism Vision

In 2018–19, Parks Canada continued to support the whole-of-government vision to grow Canada’s economy through international tourism. Through the refinement of Parks Canada’s international target markets and strategies to reach them, product development to establish an inventory of export-ready experiences (more than 80 in all), and ongoing marketing efforts in collaboration with travel media and the travel trade, Parks Canada continued to raise its profile with international visitors.

This year the Agency also started to review its transactional practices with the travel trade and established a new streamlined approach to selling Discovery Passes to this important client base.


Strategic partnerships

Partnering and collaborating with others is key to delivering the Parks Canada mandate. Parks works with several types of organizations nationally, regionally and locally. More recently, to offer more environmentally friendly and affordable options for city dwellers to experience Parks Canada places, in 2018–19 the Agency grew its relationship with Parkbus to offer fully-subsidised shuttle bus runs to transport visitors from downtown Toronto to Rouge National Urban Park, and from Edmonton to Elk Island National Park. Other examples include collaborating with the Trans Canada Trail on the improvement of sustainable multiple-use trail planning, development and management and partnering with Mountain Equipment Co-op to deliver the Learn-to Camp national program.

Outreach, promotion and engagement

Parks Canada makes use of its website, social media channels, in person targeted activities and coherent messaging campaigns in its outreach, promotion and engagement activities. Its work in this area in 2018–19 expanded the Agency’s profile and reached Canadians where they live, and work.

An integrated marketing approach was used to build connections across all channels (website, social media, media, advertising and promotion, outreach, merchandise, and partnerships). The strategy was complemented by place-based and regional approaches, focused on showcasing local conservation initiatives.

As part of the campaign, a number of short Parks Insider videos were produced featuring Parks Canada’s conservation efforts, stories and topics ranging from “How a canoe trip changed my life” (an interview with Parks Canada’s Climate Change Advisor Elizabeth Nelson) to “Canada’s national parks hold a dark secret” (Dark Sky Preserves1). Others showed the bison reintroduction in Banff National Park, road crossings for wildlife and many more stories. Tailored specifically for Facebook, some videos in the series combined animation with live footage, while others used snippets of on-screen text in place of narration. The response to the videos was overwhelmingly successful.

Several of the Parks Insider videos, along with new web stories on science and conservation, were brought together in Parks Canada’s first-ever story map. This interactive online map combined images, text and video to take users on a virtual trip across Canada, with stops at sixteen different story locales. The Parks Insider videos and the science and conservation story map featured many of Parks Canada’s conservation successes. A complementary social media campaign, #ScienceWithAView, brought awareness to Parks Canada’s use of science to protect some of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders and fascinating historic treasures.

Other strategies used to build awareness and understanding included enhancements to the Science and Conservation section on parkscanada.ca, the launch of and enhancements to a Parks 101 “Science” section on the Mobile App, including the integration of iNaturalist, the largest online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists. This enabled Canadians and visitors from around the world to engage in citizen science in Parks Canada’s places. As well, Parks Canada continues to play a leadership role in further developing and implementing #NatureForAll — a global movement to inspire love of nature. “Protecting Wildlife” merchandise was also created and sold online at parkscanadashop.ca and in more than 65 gift shops across the country.

1 A Dark Sky Preserve is an area in which no artificial lighting is visible and active measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution to the public and nearby municipalities. Dark-Sky Preserves are designated by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.


Marketing campaigns

2018 Memories Campaign

450 000 km2 of memories – Text Version Campaign results awareness and support

Objectives

  • Maintain or increase Parks Canada awareness levels from pre-to-post-campaign
  • Maintain high levels of support for Parks Canada from pre-to-post-campaign

Status

  • Unaided awareness grew amongst all target segments (4% to 8% points), including Millenials and those not born in Canada

Unaided awareness score of 54%, high levels of support maintained at 94%. Impressions: 500 M, Reach 30 M people.

Website events

Objectives

  • Increase website sessions during the campaign by 2.5% compared to the same period in 2015-16.

Status

  • Objective surpassed with month-to-month increase ranging from 17% to 72% for the first 6 months of the calendar year
  • In May and June 2018, website sessions were equal to the exceptionally high levels of 2017 (Canada 150)

Parks Canada has aligned its marketing efforts to ensure the Agency delivers consistent and targeted messages through concerted efforts to increase awareness and to improve Canadians’ connection to our country’s cultural and natural treasures. More than ever, content is being integrated across all communication channels: website, mobile app, social media, and print media. A series of 30 articles and stories showcasing hidden gems, conservation activities, winter getaways, new and innovative experiences, wildlife awareness, and trip planning tips and tools were promoted online and integrated across all channels. Throughout the 2018 visitor season, #ParksStories national social media campaign was launched, leveraging user-generated content and engagement to share important trip planning information and influence visitor behaviour. Parks Canada social media channels have reached collectively over 1.5 million followers

#ParksLife / #ParcsÀVie is Parks Canada’s online collective specifically aimed at Canada’s youth with approximately 80,000 followers in both official languages on Facebook and Twitter. #ParksLife contributes to sharing stories about the important conservation and commemorative work Parks Canada does; it also features Parks Canada employment and volunteer opportunities, events, travel tips and partner content. Most of the content is developed by youth, for youth! It is through the #ParksLife Facebook page that Parks Canada’s Youth Ambassadors reach most of their audience.

In 2018 Parks Canada also launched the second edition of the Discover Canada Contest, in collaboration with partners, which ran from February until September 2018. More than 275,000 individuals entered for a chance to win an incredible 7-day trip to Parks Canada places in Coastal BC, resulting in over 165,000 opt-ins for the Agency’s electronic newsletter. The contest remains the best tool to grow Parks Canada's mailing list, which now sits at approximately 2.4 million subscribers. Approximately five electronic newsletters are sent to this subscriber list annually.


National advertising campaign – 450 000 km2 of memories

To maintain the momentum and the positive profile achieved following Canada 150 celebrations and free admission in 2017, Parks Canada continued to implement the "450 000 km2 of memories" campaign – a two-year national awareness campaign targeting families and young adults. The campaign aimed to promote visitation across the network of places, as well as stimulate pride in and protection of Canada’s heritage places including the role of Indigenous peoples as it pertains to these places.

The new 60-second video resulted in over 8.5 million views as a result of strategic placement through social media and other communication channels.

Overall, the campaign successfully achieved its objectives, had sustained presence and helped to maintain Canadians’ support of Parks Canada’s mandate. The post-study revealed that almost one in three Canadians (29%) reported having seen the ads and that two-thirds of Canadians (66%) agreed that the ads invited people to visit Parks Canada locations and presented the importance of their protection. The campaign reached over 30 million Canadians, contributing to record awareness and support levels, as well as a successful 2018 visitation season.

Contemporary infrastructure

Visitor infrastructure improvements

  • Campground improvement – Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Trail improvements – Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
  • Day Use Area improvements – Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Rehabilitation of Discovery Centre Building – Gros Morne National Park
  • Visitor Access improvements – Grasslands National Park
  • Visitor Reception Centre Recapitalization – Elk Island National Park
  • Outlying campground roads improvements – Jasper National Park

With 2018–19 investments of $553.0 million in contemporary assets, 47% (1,519) of the overall target of 3,216 contemporary assets have improved to fair or good.

In 2018–19, visitor facility infrastructure projects focused on the renewal of contemporary infrastructure that facilitates visitor access and use of heritage places. Improvements were made to visitor centres, campgrounds, trails, access roads, highways, waterways and townsite infrastructure. These investments ensure the quality and reliability of visitor offers while responding to the changing needs and expectations of Canadians.

A number of highway-related improvements were undertaken including paving and slope stabilization on the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, paving and guardrail replacement on Highway 16 in Jasper National Park and shoreline protection on Highway 114 in Fundy National Park. Improvements were also made to contemporary assets on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site including the replacement of the upper and lower wharves at Black Rapids and Lower Nicholsons Lock Stations, as well as the rehabilitation of concrete retaining walls for the Smiths Falls basin.