2010-2011 Parks Canada Agency Corporate Plan
Minister’s Round Table Response
The Minister responsible for Parks Canada is required by the Parks Canada Agency Act to convene a round table of persons interested in matters for which the Agency is responsible once every two years. This round table is a primary mechanism for the Minister Responsible for Parks Canada to receive input from Canadians on the recent performance of the Agency and its future direction. The Minister is required to respond to recommendations made at the round table within 180 days.
The most recent Minister’s Round Table (MRT) on Parks Canada was held on November 20, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario. Thirty-seven stakeholders were in attendance at MRT 2009 representing the broad spectrum of Canadian society. The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, chaired the Round Table, and Parks Canada was represented by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alan Latourelle, and other Agency officials.
MRT 2009 was focused around the discussion of two primary themes:
Theme 1: Inspiring all Canadians to connect with nature and history.
Theme 2: Mobilizing Canadians to support the conservation of our national treasures.
The discussion on both questions highlighted three areas of action: Marketing, Partnering, and Volunteerism:
Marketing: Parks Canada needs to emphasize marketing as a discipline integral to its operations. The marketing of Parks Canada and its system of heritage places needs to position Parks Canada as a passionate organization with an important mission – the protection and presentation of our shared national heritage. Furthermore, marketing efforts need to focus on building a sense of personal relevance to and connection with Canadians. Parks Canada has to engage all Canadians, especially youth, where they are, thus taking meaningful heritage experiences to the large urban centres.
Partnering: Parks Canada cannot carry the torch of Canada’s heritage alone. The Agency needs to build new relationships with nature-oriented and cultural organizations in the non-profit sector, other levels of government, and private enterprises to advance the cause of protecting Canada’s heritage. Furthermore, Aboriginal communities and organizations were identified as often being ideally situated for collaborations to attain common goals.
Volunteerism: Parks Canada’s potential for engaging volunteers is immense. Youth and retirees, particularly in urban settings, are both seen as demographic groups with the potential to be sources of volunteers. Building a sense of ownership would be a first priority in order to motivate people to become stewards of the system.
Response to Canadians
Given the input received from Canadians through the 2009 Minister’s Round Table, the following is the response from the Honourable Minister Jim Prentice:
The future of Parks Canada lies in being relevant and connected to Canadians, and the Agency needs
- To capture the attention of young people
- To connect with new Canadians and inspire all Canadians to seek out their own Canadian experience and identities
Parks Canada can leverage greater action through partnerships and volunteers; there cannot be excellence in public policy without interaction and input from the public.
The Parks Canada priorities and program activities planning highlights, identified in Section II of this document, reflect the recommendations. Below are some of the highlights that illustrate the actions that Parks Canada will undertake to increase Canadians’ connection with heritage places administered by Parks Canada:
- Engaging Canadians through mass media, Parks Canada will build on its strategic communications approach, focused on proactive media relations targeting travel, science, history and cultural publishers and audiences.
- Canadians will be made increasingly aware of Parks Canada’s heritage places through a clear brand identity, collaborative promotional programs with industry partners and focused communications to target markets, such as youth, especially in the metropolitan areas of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
- Through the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Canada’s first national park, and through the centennial of becoming the world’s first National Parks Service, Parks Canada will launch a series of activities to increase the relevance of Parks Canada to Canadians. In doing so, it will also provide opportunities for stakeholders and partners to build deeper relationships with Parks Canada.
- Parks Canada will continue to work with a broad range of partners in support of the establishment of new protected heritage places.
- Parks Canada will support the conservation of historic places that it does not administer through continued collaboration with provincial and territorial governments.
- Parks Canada will build upon the successes of existing collaborations and pursue new partnering opportunities to support efforts to recover endangered and threatened species and the conservation of ecosystems.
- Canadians will have increased opportunities to be involved with Parks Canada in activities they consider meaningful and relevant through stakeholder consultations and partnering opportunities.
- In collaboration with a broad range of partners, an increased number of new and repeat visits will be generated through improved and diversified accommodation offers, recreational activities, and an expanded number of interpretive products.
- Parks Canada will work with Aboriginal peoples to further engage them in the planning and management of heritage places that the Agency administers.
- Canadians will have increased opportunities to be involved with Parks Canada in activities they consider meaningful and relevant through volunteer experiences.
- Parks Canada will expand the breadth of opportunities for community involvement and volunteering in support of local conservation initiatives in national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites, including ecological monitoring initiatives and the development of an enhanced citizen science program.
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