Let's Talk Parks, Canada!

Backgrounder

The Parks Canada Agency               

As the world’s first national park service, for over a century Parks Canada has been dedicated to preserving Canada’s impressive natural and cultural heritage and connecting Canadians with their country’s natural wonders and historic places.

Parks Canada’s mandate has not changed in more than 100 years:

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 their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.

Beginning in 1885 with the first national park in Banff, Alberta, the Parks Canada network of protected places now spans 46 national parks, one national urban park, 171 national historic sites (managed by Parks Canada) and four national marine conservation areas.

The Minister’s Round Table

Under the Parks Canada Agency Act, the Minister responsible for Parks Canada is required to hold a roundtable every two years to seek input from Canadians on matters for which Parks Canada is responsible. The last round table was held in June 2014.

The Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, held the broadest and most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken on the work of Parks Canada. Called Let’s Talk Parks, Canada!, the consultation ran from January 9 to 27, 2017 and invited all Canadians, along with key stakeholders, to share their views on the work of Parks Canada and the future of Canada’s national heritage places. The response was unprecedentedover 8,000 Canadians participated in the consultation online, at public events, at face-to-face workshops and in written submissions. Some 5,000 more Canadians contributed their perspectives over social media.

Contributions were received online at www.letstalkparkscanada.ca through e-workbooks and an interactive comments page. Six stakeholder engagement sessions were held in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Iqaluit, and four public engagement outreach events were held in large public venues in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax.

The Discussion  

Canada’s 150th anniversary offered the government an opportunity to hear views from all Canadians on the environmental and social changes that could affect the conservation and enjoyment of national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas and to explore ways that government, stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and all Canadians can work together to respond to these changes.

From this historic engagement, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, has put forward three priorities for Parks Canada:

To Protect and Restore our national parks and historic sites – ensuring ecological integrity is the first priority in considering all aspects of the management of national parks – through focused investments, limiting development, and by working with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories.

  1. To Protect and Restore our national parks and historic sites – ensuring ecological integrity is the first priority in considering all aspects of the management of national parks – through focused investments, limiting development, and by working with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories.

  2. Enable people to further Discover and Connect with our national parks and heritage through innovative ideas that help share these special places with all Canadians.

  3. Sustain for generations to come the incredible value – both ecological and economic – that our national parks and historic sites provide for communities. Parks Canada places play a critical role in fighting climate change and protecting species-at-risk, and they help to shape our Canadian identity, and provide jobs and economic opportunities for local communities. 

Indigenous Peoples 

No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous peoples. Parks Canada has established important relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis for the management, conservation, and use and enjoyment of national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas. Parks Canada has worked for decades to advance cooperative management of protected places with Indigenous peoples. Cooperative management helps to enrich and strengthen the planning, management and operation of protected places and advances reconciliation through dialogue and collaboration on the conservation and experiences at places used traditionally by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial.

More Information 

To find out more about Parks Canada and the Minister’s Round Table, Let’s Talk Parks, Canada! or to read the Minister’s response to the consultation, please visit www.letstalkparkscanada.ca.


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