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2011-2012 Parks Canada Agency Corporate Plan

Section I - Parks Canada Agency Overview

Raison d'Être and Responsibilities


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.


Canada's treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.

Parks Canada is a separate Government of Canada Agency and derives its responsibilities from the following legislation:

  • the Parks Canada Agency Act;
  • the Canada National Parks Act;
  • the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act;
  • the Historic Sites and Monuments Act;
  • the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act;
  • the Historic Canal Regulations pursuant to the Department of Transport Act;
  • the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act; and
  • the Species at Risk Act.

Parks Canada's Chief Executive Officer reports directly to the Minister of the Environment.

Parks Canada manages national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas on behalf of Canadians. Parks Canada is a proud steward of these heritage places and protects and presents them for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians while ensuring that they remain unimpaired for present and future generations.

As the first national park service in the world, celebrating its centennial in 2011, Parks Canada has and continues to play a vital role in the development of a system of national parks representative of the diversity of natural regions and landscapes of Canada. Similarly, national marine conservation areas represent Canada's marine regions spanning its three oceans and the Great Lakes. While in national parks, Parks Canada is mandated to protect their ecological integrity, the Agency fosters the sustainable use of national marine conservation areas. In carrying out its responsibilities, Parks Canada works in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and neighbouring communities.

Each national historic site tells its own story and contributes to our understanding of Canada as a whole. They are special places where visitors can learn about the persons and events that shaped Canada as we know it today and where they can experience Canada's history. Parks Canada strives to ensure the system of national historic sites-comprised of places, persons and events of national historic significance-fully reflects the country's rich history. The system is developed in collaboration with Canadians to define important aspects of Canada's history.

Today, national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas offer to Canadians a variety of recreational activities and learning experiences as well as a unique opportunity to personally connect with these heritage places. There are more than 20 million person-visits annually to the heritage places administered by Parks Canada.

In addition, some of Parks Canada's activities are focused on formal designations by the Government of Canada and, where mandated, providing support for the conservation and presentation of designated heritage properties that are managed by others. These include national historic sites, heritage railway stations, heritage lighthouses, federal heritage buildings, archaeological sites, the gravesites of Canadian Prime Ministers and Canadian heritage rivers. Parks Canada shows leadership in the conservation of built heritage through the Parks Canada National Historic Sites of Canada Cost-Sharing Program, a contribution program for non-federally-owned national historic sites.

Parks Canada also contributes to international heritage conservation through its leadership and participation in international conventions, programs, and agreements, notably the World Heritage Convention.

Parks Canada's long-term goal is to establish at least one national park and one national marine conservation area in each of Canada's terrestrial and marine regions. The system of national parks, presented in Figure 1, represents Canada's terrestrial regions. As of March 31, 2010, there are 42 national parks representing 28 of Canada's 39 terrestrial regions, making the system over 70 percent complete and protecting 320,000 square kilometres of Canada's lands.

The system of national historic sites represents places, persons and events of national historic significance. The long-term goal is for the system to represent the breadth and diversity of Canadian history. As of March 31, 2010, Canada's system of national historic sites (including historic canals) consists of 956 places of national historic significance. Of these, 167 are administered by Parks Canada, as displayed in Figure 2. The system also includes 648 national historic persons and 417 national historic events.

The system of national marine conservation areas, as shown in Figure 3, represents Canada's marine regions spanning its three oceans and the Great Lakes. This system is in the early development stages. With the recent addition of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, five of Canada's 29 marine regions are represented making the system 17 percent complete.

More information on Parks Canada's mandate and responsibilities is available on its website at

Figure 1: The System of National Parks of Canada

Figure 1 represents the National Parks of Canada System Plan

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Figure 2: National Historic Sites of Canada administered by Parks Canada

Figure 2 presents the National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan

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Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 1. Cape Spear Lighthouse
  • 2. Signal Hill
  • 3. Hawthorne Cottage
  • 4. Castle Hill
  • 5. Ryan Premises
  • 6. L'Anse aux Meadows
  • 7. Port au Choix
  • 8. Red Bay
  • 9. Hopedale Mission

Nova Scotia

  • 10. Marconi
  • 11. Fortress of Louisbourg
  • 12. Wolfe’s Landing
  • 13. Royal Battery
  • 14. Alexander Graham Bell
  • 15. St. Peters Canal
  • 16. St. Peters
  • 17. Grassy Island Fort
  • 18. Canso Islands
  • 19. Fort McNab
  • 20. Georges Island
  • 21. Halifax Citadel
  • 22. Prince of Wales Tower
  • 23. York Redoubt
  • 24. D’Anville’s Encampment
  • 25. Fort Sainte Marie de Grace
  • 26. Fort Edward
  • 27. Grand-Pré
  • 28. Kejimkujik
  • 29. Fort Anne
  • 30. Charles Fort
  • 31. Port-Royal
  • 32. Melanson Settlement
  • 33. Bloody Creek
  • 34. Fort Lawrence
  • 35. Beaubassin

Prince Edward Island

  • 36. Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst
  • 37. Ardgowan
  • 38. Province House
  • 39. Dalvay-by-the-Sea
  • 40. L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish

New Brunswick

  • 41. Fort Gaspareaux
  • 42. Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland
  • 43. La Coupe Dry Dock
  • 44. Monument-Lefebvre
  • 45. Boishébert
  • 46. Beaubears Island Shipbuilding
  • 47. Carleton Martello Tower
  • 48. St. Andrews Blockhouse


  • 49. Battle of the Restigouche
  • 50. Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse
  • 51. Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial
  • 52. Lévis Forts
  • 53. 57-63 St. Louis Street
  • 54. Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux
  • 55. Cartier-Brébeuf
  • 56. Fortifications of Québec
  • 57. Maillou House
  • 58. Québec Garrison Club
  • 59. Montmorency Park
  • 60. Louis S. St. Laurent
  • 61. Forges du Saint-Maurice
  • 62. Saint-Ours Canal
  • 63. Chambly Canal
  • 64. Fort Chambly
  • 65. Fort Ste. Thérèse
  • 66. Fort Lennox
  • 67. The Fur Trade at Lachine
  • 68. Lachine Canal
  • 69. Louis-Joseph Papineau
  • 70. Sir George-Étienne Cartier
  • 71. Battle of the Châteauguay
  • 72. Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal
  • 73. Sir Wilfrid Laurier
  • 74. Coteau-du-Lac
  • 75. Carillon Barracks
  • 76. Carillon Canal
  • 77. Manoir Papineau
  • 78. Fort Témiscamingue


  • 79. Glengarry Cairn
  • 80. Sir John Johnson House
  • 81. Inverarden House
  • 82. Battle of the Windmill
  • 83. Fort Wellington
  • 84. Laurier House
  • 85. Rideau Canal
  • 86. Merrickville Blockhouse
  • 87. Bellevue House
  • 88. Murney Tower
  • 89. Kingston Fortifications
  • 90. Shoal Tower
  • 91. Fort Henry
  • 92. Trent–Severn Waterway
  • 93. Carrying Place of the Bay of Quinte
  • 94. Peterborough Lift Lock
  • 95. Mnjikaning Fish Weirs
  • 96. HMCS Haida
  • 97. Navy Island
  • 98. Queenston Heights
  • 99. Butler’s Barracks
  • 100. Fort George
  • 101. Fort Mississauga
  • 102. Mississauga Point Lighthouse
  • 103. Battlefield of Fort George
  • 104. Battle of Cook’s Mills
  • 105. Ridgeway Battlefield
  • 106. Bethune Memorial House
  • 107. Saint-Louis Mission
  • 108. Woodside
  • 109. Battle Hill
  • 110. Southwold Earthworks
  • 111. Point Clark Lighthouse
  • 112. Fort Malden
  • 113. Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse and Blockhouse
  • 114. Fort St. Joseph
  • 115. Sault Ste. Marie Canal


  • 116. York Factory
  • 117. Prince of Wales Fort
  • 118. Lower Fort Garry
  • 119. St. Andrew’s Rectory
  • 120. The Forks
  • 121. Riel House
  • 122. Forts Rouge, Garry and Gibraltar
  • 123. Riding Mountain Park East Gate Registration Complex
  • 124. Linear Mounds


  • 125. Fort Espérance
  • 126. Fort Pelly
  • 127. Fort Livingstone
  • 128. Motherwell Homestead
  • 129. Batoche
  • 130. Battle of Tourond’s Coulee / Fish Creek
  • 131. Fort Battleford
  • 132. Frenchman Butte
  • 133. Fort Walsh
  • 134. Cypress Hills Massacre


  • 135. Frog Lake
  • 136. First Oil Well in Western Canada
  • 137. Bar U Ranch
  • 138. Rocky Mountain House
  • 139. Skoki Ski Lodge
  • 140. Cave and Basin
  • 141. Howse Pass
  • 142. Banff Park Museum
  • 143. Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin
  • 144. Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station
  • 145. Jasper Park Information Centre
  • 146. Athabasca Pass
  • 147. Yellowhead Pass
  • 148. Jasper House

British Columbia

  • 149. Twin Falls Tea House
  • 150. Kicking Horse Pass
  • 151. Kootenae House
  • 152. Rogers Pass
  • 153. Fort Langley
  • 154. Stanley Park
  • 155. Gulf of Georgia Cannery
  • 156. Fisgard Lighthouse
  • 157. Fort Rodd Hill
  • 158. Fort St. James
  • 159. Gitwangak Battle Hill
  • 160. Nan Sdins
  • 161. Chilkoot Trail

Yukon Territory

  • 162. S.S. Klondike
  • 163. Dredge Nº. 4
  • 164. Dawson Historical Complex
  • 165. S.S. Keno
  • 166. Former Territorial Court House

Northwest Territories

  • 167. Saoyú-ʔehdacho

October 2010

Figure 3: The System of National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada

Figure 3 presents the National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada System Plan

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Contribution to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Parks Canada is a key contributor to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The FSDS represents a major step forward for the Government of Canada by including environmental sustainability and strategic environmental assessment as an integral part of its decision-making processes.

Parks Canada's contributions to the FSDS relate to Theme III - Protecting Nature and to Theme IV - Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government. These contributions are further explained in Section II and III and have been tagged for easy reference using the following symbols:

  • Theme III Icon - Protecting NatureTheme III: Protecting Nature
  • Theme IV Icon - Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with GovernmentTheme IV: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government

For additional details on Parks Canada's activities in support of sustainable development, please consult sections III and IV of this plan. For complete details on the Government of Canada's Federal Sustainable Development Strategy please visit Environment Canada's website.

Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

Figure 4, on the following page, presents Parks Canada's Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture (PAA). Revisions from the previous year include the deletion of the sub-sub-activity "Historic Places Initiative" under the Heritage Resources Conservation Program Activity, resulting from the sunsetting of the Historic Places Initiative Class Contribution Program on March 31, 2010. The title of the sub-sub-activity "Public Safety" under the Visitor Experience Program Activity was also revised to "Visitor Safety".

The following programs have been identified as contributing to the FSDS under Theme III - Protecting Nature:

  • National Park Establishment and Expansion (Sub-Activity)
  • National Marine Conservation Area Establishment (Sub-Activity)
  • Heritage Resources Conservation (Program Activity)
  • National Parks Conservation (Sub-Activity)
  • Species at Risk (Sub-Sub-Activity)
  • National Marine Conservation Areas Sustainability (Sub-Activity)
  • Public Appreciation and Understanding (Program Activity)
  • Visitor Experience (Program Activity)

Parks Canada's contribution to Greening Government Operations, which is related to Theme IV - Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government of the FSDS, has been identified under Internal Services.

Figure 4: Parks Canada Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture 2011-12

Figure 4 presents a graphic of Parks Canada’s Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

[View Larger Version]

Planning Summary

Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection, through meaningful experiences, to their national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are enjoyed in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations.
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of national parks with maintained or improved overall ecological integrity Maintain or improve the overall ecological integrity in all national parks from March 2008 to March 2013
Overall average of commemorative integrity rating of national historic sites Improve the overall average commemorative integrity rating of national historic sites from 6.0/10 in March 2008 to 6.6/10 in March 2013
Percentage of Canadians that report a personal connection to Parks Canada administered places 65% of Canadians report a personal connection to Parks Canada administered places by March 2014

Note: National marine conservation areas are in their early development stages and their performance framework is still to be developed.

Parks Canada's level of performance in relation to the priorities and expected results outlined in this plan will be assessed using the performance rating system provided by Treasury Board. It is as follows: Exceeded (more than 100%); Met all (100%); Mostly met (80% to 99%); Somewhat met (60% to 79%); or Not met (less than 60%).

Program Activity Planned Spending* ($000s) Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2013-14 2015-16
Heritage Places Establishment 22,751 21,588 21,588 21,588 21,592 A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
Heritage Resources Conservation 198,921 195,013 194,977 194,977 195,019 A clean and healthy environment
Public Appreciation and Understanding 34,155 31,610 26,954 26,449 25,602 A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
Visitor Experience 235,521 235,368 235,296 235,296 235,163 A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
Townsite and Throughway Infrastructure 122,625 77,608 62,610 57,610 57,622 A safe and secure Canada
Internal Services 81,562 81,521 81,521 81,521 81,457 -
Total Planned Spending 695,535 642,708 622,945 617,440 616,456 -
Full-Time Equivalents 4,422 4,416 4,415 4,413 4,411 -

* Planned spending is provided over a five year horizon in accordance with the Parks Canada Agency Act. Due to rounding, figures may not add up to totals shown.

Parks Canada Agency Priorities

Operational Priorities Type* Description and Contribution to Strategic Outcome
Establishing National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas Ongoing By the end of fiscal year 2013, Parks Canada will increase the terrestrial regions represented in the national park system by one. The Agency will make yearly demonstrable progress towards establishing national parks in three unrepresented terrestrial regions and towards establishing national marine conservation areas in two unrepresented marine regions. The establishment and expansion of national parks and marine conservation areas create additional opportunities for Canadians to connect with their heritage places.
Conserving Canada's
Heritage Places
Ongoing Parks Canada will continue to lead active management projects to improve key ecological integrity indicators in 20 national parks by March 2014. Actions will also continue to improve 70% of commemorative integrity elements rated as poor at Parks Canada's national historic sites, with a focus on built cultural resources. Addressing priority conservation challenges in Canada's national parks and national historic sites will help ensure that Canadians of this and future generations can continue to enjoy them.
Increasing Visitation Previously committed to Targeted Parks Canada initiatives will attract 22.4 million visits annually to national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas by March 2015 up from 20.7 million visits in 2008-09. This will be done by diversifying and renewing visitor experience opportunities and increasing the desirability of these locations as travel destinations.
Increasing Canadians' Connection with Parks Canada Places Previously committed to Parks Canada will focus on the celebration of the 100th anniversary of becoming the world's first park service to create a heightened sense of connection and pride by all Canadians in their national treasures. The Agency will undertake activities in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to increase connection to Parks Canada places in these urban areas.

Management Priorities Type* Description and Contribution to Strategic Outcome
One Team, One Vision New

Parks Canada will focus its efforts on leveraging the talent and engagement of its team of employees in the collective achievement of the Agency Vision, which focuses on creating a sense of connection to Canada's natural and cultural heritage.

Asset Management New The Agency will undertake a comprehensive review to optimize its asset and realty holdings to ensure a sustainable portfolio that is relevant to the achievement of its mandate.

* Type is defined as follows: Previously committed to - committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the plan; Ongoing - committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the plan; and New - newly committed to in the year of the plan.

Corporate Risks and Mitigation Strategies

During the period covered by this plan, Parks Canada will continue to integrate risk management in all its functions and to improve information on risk management and tools available to managers. Implementation of new Treasury Board policies related to investment planning and internal controls will also strengthen how Parks Canada manages risk.

To inform the development of this plan and support decision-making throughout the year, Parks Canada identified its corporate risks. These are events that could prevent the Agency from achieving its strategic outcome and expected results at the program activity level. The following is a summary of the Agency's four key corporate risks and their mitigation measures:

Key Corporate Risk: Competitive Position

Visitation at Canada's national parks and national historic sites is variable from year to year. Over the last five years, both national parks and national historic sites have shown a negative visitation trend of similar magnitude. Parks Canada has, therefore, recognized as one of its key corporate risks that its service offer might be less competitive with other parks and cultural attractions, and/or other leisure activities. Parks Canada is mindful of its competitive position.

To mitigate its Competitive Position risk, the Agency has reallocated resources in the field to put in place dedicated teams of external relations and visitor experience professionals. New Visitor Experience tools that will be employed include a recreational activities assessment framework, interpretive guidelines, service standards, trip planning tools, accommodation pilots and new media. Parks Canada will also mitigate this key corporate risk through proactive event and promotion planning, including celebrations to mark its centennial as the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Dominion Parks Branch, the first dedicated national park service in the world.

Key Corporate Risk: Environmental Forces

Since the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed in June 2003, the number of species listed in Schedule 1 of the Act has increased from 233 to 470. According to the World Conservation Union, invasive alien species are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss, and invasive alien species have been identified as a stressor for most national parks. These threats are exacerbated by other factors over which Parks Canada has no control, such as the emerging effects of climate change and habitat degradation outside of national parks. Parks Canada has, therefore, recognized as one of its key corporate risks that its ability to maintain or improve overall ecological integrity in national parks and meet legal requirements related to species at risk may be hindered by environmental forces, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and alien/invasive species.

To mitigate its Environmental Forces risk, Parks Canada will continue to implement Action on the Ground projects for priority ecological integrity indicators, accelerated action plans for species at risk recovery strategies, and in partnership with others, implement the ecological integrity/species at risk outreach and education strategy. In addition to this, the Agency will identify and develop new policies and guidelines in response to emerging park management issues and continue to examine opportunities to better protect, connect and restore protected area ecosystems.

Key Corporate Risk: Information Management

The ability to effectively identify, capture, manage and report pertinent data and information is critical for Parks Canada to manage all program areas and meet legal requirements. Parks Canada has, therefore, recognized Information Management as a key corporate risk.

To mitigate this risk, Parks Canada will continue to advance several key areas. In the area of resources and capacity, focus will be placed on increasing current information management capabilities throughout the Agency and better aligning resources to most pressing priorities. Parks Canada will also improve its capacity in information management through awareness training that will be available to all employees. In addition, Parks Canada will establish and implement sustainable Agency-wide approaches and processes for the consistent and effective management of information. The Agency will develop key standards, procedures and guidelines including those required for classification, retention and records disposition.

Key Corporate Risk: Asset Management

The Agency manages a large number of complex real property assets with a current replacement value of approximately $11.6 billion (March 31, 2010).1 The management of assets, both contemporary and cultural, is central to the delivery of three of the five program activities in the Agency as well as for internal services delivery. The protection of cultural assets is an end in itself, while contemporary assets are a means to achieve the Agency's mandate and program objectives. Aging infrastructure could result in failure of assets and/or significant impairment of built cultural resources, which could compromise public safety, hinder Parks Canada's ability to deliver on its mandate and damage the Agency's reputation. In the future, the Agency may be forced to close facilities for safety reasons. Parks Canada has, therefore, recognized Asset Management as a key corporate risk. To mitigate this risk, Parks Canada is putting into place a framework of policies, directives, standards and guidelines to provide consistent direction to operational units in the management of assets. The Agency will review its real property holdings to ensure that the portfolio can be sustainably managed with an emphasis on high risk assets such as canals, dams, bridges and highways.

Parks Canada Agency Funding Profile

For the 2011-12 fiscal year, Parks Canada's budget to meet the expected results of its program activities and contribute to its strategic outcome amounts to $696 million.

Figure 5 illustrates Parks Canada's funding level trend from 2008-09 to 2015-16. Three trends are represented: the Agency's core funding, the total funding excluding Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP) and the total funding including CEAP.

For the 2008-09 to 2010-11 period, the total funding includes all Parliamentary appropriation and revenue sources: Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates, Treasury Board Central Votes and revenues from user fees and rights and privileges. It also includes carry forward adjustments. For the 2011-12 to 2015-16 period, the total funding corresponds to the planned spending and revenues. Supplementary funding and carry forward adjustments are not all known at this point and are therefore not reflected.

As shown in Figure 5, since 2008-09, Parks Canada's core funding level has stabilized.

Total funding excluding CEAP is continuing to decrease over the next two years primarily due to the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park of Canada.

The significant increase in funding in years 2009-10 and 2010-11, represented by the dotted line, reflects monies received through CEAP. This included $217 million for improvements and upgrades to national historic sites and Parks Canada's visitor facilities; $130 million over five years to complete the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park of Canada to the British Columbia border; and approximately $25 million for the assessment and remediation of federal contaminated sites.

Figure 6 displays the allocation of Parks Canada funding by program activity. Parks Canada funding is primarily allocated to Program Activity 2 Heritage Resources Conservation and Program Activity 4 Visitor Experience as they relate to the operations of the heritage places administered by the Agency. It should be noted that, as per Treasury Board Secretariat's directive, the funding allocated to Internal Services is being displayed separately rather than being incorporated in program activities. Parks Canada plans to spend $81.6 million on Internal Services, which corresponds to 12 percent of its total funding.

Estimates by Vote

For information on the Agency's organizational votes and/or statutory expenditures, please see the 2011-12 Main Estimates publication. An electronic version (PDF, 1.88 Mb) of the Main Estimates is available at

Figure 5: Parks Canada Agency Funding Level Trend 2008-09 to 2015-16

Figure 5 illustrates Parks Canada's funding level trend from 2008-09 to 2015-16

Figure 6: 2011-12 Allocation of Funding by Program Activity

Figure 6 displays the allocation of Parks Canada funding by program activity for 2011-2012

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