Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why did Parks Canada consult on fees during a fee freeze?
The “fee freeze” will end once all approval processes for the proposed fees are complete (18 months after the fee consultation processes are complete for the travel trade). Parks Canada is consulting now so that fee proposals can be discussed and be put in place sometime in 2013.
Q2. Why did Parks Canada consult on minor fee changes?
Parks Canada is required to consult on all user fee changes that may result in an increase under the Parks Canada Agency Act and the Government of Canada User Fees Act.
Q3. Don’t Canadians already contribute to national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas through taxes?
Yes, they do. However, the funding for national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas comes from two sources: tax based appropriations and user fees. Tax dollars are used to create and preserve national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas since these special places benefit all Canadians. As visitors have the opportunity to personally benefit from the services and facilities offered, they are asked, through user fees, to help defray the costs of providing these services and facilities.
Q4. How will the Consumer Price Index fee adjustment work?
An indexing formula for ongoing price increases is proposed based on an amount up to the cumulative percentage adjustments of the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous two years. For example if the annual average CPI rate for 2013 were to be 2.7% and for 2014 were to be 2.4%, Parks Canada prices would increase by 5.1% in 2015. Once approved, future indexed price adjustments would be automatic every 2 years. Fees will be rounded up to the nearest $0.25 interval. Under exceptional circumstances such as high inflation or economic challenges, Parks Canada may increase fees at a rate that is less than the CPI.
For 2013 there will only be a one year calculation, therefore the 2013 fees will be adjusted by the 2012 average CPI rate, which is 1.5%.
Q5. Why does Parks Canada need to adjust fees?
Parks Canada's costs of providing services continue to increase as a result of higher energy costs and other inflationary impacts on operational costs.
Q6. When can we expect these new fees to be implemented?
The CPI fees adjustments and any associated new products and services fees will be implemented after all approval processes are complete, sometime in 2013. Current fees will remain in effect until that time. Seasonal lockage and seasonal mooring passes for 2013 continue to remain available for purchase at the current fee.
Q7. When did the public consultations take place?
Public consultations took place from January 11 to February 18, 2013.
Q8. How are fees approved at Parks Canada?
For fees which fall under the User Fees Act, following consultations, a user fee proposal meeting the prescriptions of the User Fee Act will be tabled to both houses of Parliament for review. Following this review and considering any recommendation of Parliament, the fees are approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada under the authority of the Parks Canada Agency Act. All non User Fees Act fees are approved directly by the Minister responsible.
Q9. How are fees established?
Fees are based on the value of the service, comparability of prices to other comparable national or international attractions with similar services and the cost of service (without exceeding the full costs of delivering it).
Q10. Will business licenses also increase?
No changes to business licences are proposed at this time.
Q11. Why are some parks and sites proposing fees that are new or adjusted beyond the Consumer Price Index?
Some local services may be currently underpriced with regard to the market or costs and need to be adjusted beyond CPI to ensure sustainability of the offer. New services are being introduced in response to visitor needs are desires and need to have pricing approved to help pay for the service.
Q12. Where does the user fee revenue go?
The user fee revenue is retained and reinvested at the national park, national historic site or national marine conservation area where it was collected to help support the visitor services and facilities on site. It is important to note that it costs more to provide high quality visitor services than the revenue that is received from user fees. Only about 30% of the cost of visitor programs is funded by these revenues.