Parks Canada announces new Framework for History and Commemoration 

News release

June 19, 2019                                    Ottawa, ON                                 Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada places reflect the diverse heritage of the nation and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our rich and varied history, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced Parks Canada’s new Framework for History and Commemoration: National Historic Sites System Plan 2019.

In its role as a national storyteller, Parks Canada has an obligation to provide a balanced and comprehensive overview of Canada’s history. But for too long, too much of the country’s history has been told from a single static perspective, which does not reflect the full breadth and diversity of Canada's history. As times have changed, the way history is understood has too. Canadians are increasingly curious about the diverse array of perspectives into Canada’s past.

Parks Canada has been working to tell more diverse and inclusive stories at the heritage places it manages. The Framework for History and Commemoration outlines a new approach for sharing the stories of Canada through wide-ranging, and sometimes complex perspectives, including the difficult periods of its past. In particular, the Framework will ensure that the history and voices of Indigenous peoples are incorporated at heritage places managed by Parks Canada.

The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and working in partnership with Indigenous organizations, communities, and individuals to recognize the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history. In response to Call to Action #79, the Government of Canada is investing $23.9 million through Budget 2018 to recognize and integrate Indigenous peoples’ histories, voices, and perspectives at heritage places administered by Parks Canada.

The Framework also provides direction for Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada (HSMBC) on the designation of persons, places, and events of national historic significance based on four new strategic priorities:

·        History of Indigenous peoples;

·        Environmental History;

·        Diversity; and

·        Canada and the World.

In addition, the Framework outlines an approach for the HSMBC to review existing national historic designations and their associated plaque texts. In cases where there is controversy or new research findings, the review could result in the addition of new plaque text, changing the reasons for designation, or adjustments to the name of a designation.

Through the implementation of this Framework and continued collaboration with Indigenous groups, heritage organizations, partners, and other stakeholders, Parks Canada will ensure that the stories shared at national heritage places explore all facets of our country’s history, and will give Canadians a better understanding of history. 


“We believe it is essential that Canadians have opportunities to access the full scope of our history — the complexities, the controversies, the achievements, the failures, and the tragedies of the past. By sharing the diverse stories of people across our country, Canadians can better understand our rich and wide ranging culture, complex history, and at times difficult parts of our past. This Framework represents a new way of sharing the stories of Canada - one where all perspectives are represented. I encourage all Canadians to visit Parks Canada’s network of heritage places to explore our country’s rich history. ”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna,  

Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick facts

  • The Framework replaces Parks Canada’s previous National Historic Sites System Plan, which was implemented in 2000.

  • In drafting the Framework, Parks Canada consulted numerous organizations and individuals within the heritage community, including historians, archaeologists, and Indigenous cultural experts, and conducted a public consultation to solicit feedback from Canadians. Parks Canada would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation.

  • The Framework represents a first step in revising the policies, criteria and practices of the national approach to history and commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices, as recommended in Call to Action #79 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

  • Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world. The system protects a vast network of natural and heritage places that include 46 national parks, 171 national historic sites, four national marine conservation areas, and one national urban park.

  • Created in 1919, the HSMBC advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have contributed to Canada’s history. Together with Parks Canada, the Board ensures that subjects of national historic significance are recognized and these important stories are shared with Canadians.

  • The HSMBC is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. 

Associated links


Sabrina Kim
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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