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2012-2013 Parks Canada Agency Corporate Plan

Section IV - Other Items of Interest

Update to Parks Canada Long-Term Capital Plan

Strategies and Priorities

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 often an end in itself, while contemporary assets are primarily a means to achieve the Agency’s mandate and program objectives.

During 2011-12, the Agency continued its transition to the Government of Canada’s Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services (2007). This will effectively replace the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) Long Term Capital Plan / Process with a new five year Investment Plan / Process during the period covered by this plan. The Parks Canada Investment Plan defines the direction, capacity and commitments of Parks Canada with respect to long term investments in assets and acquired services. The Investment Plan aims to inform the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Treasury Board Ministers of investment priorities and strategies for the five-year period (2011-12 to 2015-16) within available resources. It provides a description of high-profile complex and high risk investments, as well as a summary for all other investments.

The Parks Canada Project Management Standard will ensure a consistent approach to project management across the Agency; serve as evidence of a consistent project management approach in the Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment (OPMCA) and support a capacity rating commensurate with the complexity of the Agency’s projects; and facilitate prompt and consistent responses to increased reporting requirements (e.g. MAF, OAG), demonstrating due diligence and probity.

During the planning period, Park Canada will continue the development and implementation of information management systems and tools for asset management and realty holdings. The Agency will also continue to improve its asset management policy framework in order to provide nationally consistent direction and tools for the management of assets as well as the prioritization of its capital investments.


As one of the largest federal custodians, Parks Canada manages a diverse and widespread portfolio of assets with a current replacement value of more than $11 billion. The variety of fixed assets included in the Agency’s inventory range from modern buildings to fortifications, to dams and weirs constructed in the 19th century, to highways and bridges cut through the Rockies. The Agency also manages assets such as wildlife overpasses, underpasses, fencing and jumpouts designed specifically to support ecological integrity and ecosystem protection objectives. Parks Canada’s assets are found, literally, from sea to sea to sea. A highly diverse range of skills and resources is required to manage this varied portfolio.

Parks Canada also welcomes more than 20 million visitors each year, which poses the unusual challenge of managing these assets in ways that facilitate visitor experience while ensuring the protection and presentation of the heritage places it administers.

Parks Canada’s assets are divided into four groups that present unique management challenges. Cultural assets are core to Parks Canada’s mandate; visitor facility assets are required to enable the visitor experience; townsite and throughway infrastructure assets administered on behalf of the Federal Government by virtue of their location within national parks or national historic sites; and, supporting assets that support service delivery of Parks Canada’s programs and services.

Cultural Assets (23% of total asset portfolio)

Cultural assets are core to Parks Canada’s mandate, primarily for Heritage Resources Conservation (Program Activity 2), Public Appreciation and Understanding (Program Activity 3), and Visitor Experience (Program Activity 4).

Cultural resources, found in 167 Parks Canada administered national historic sites and 43 national parks, include historic and archaeological resources that are nationally significant and have historic value. Cultural resources are irreplaceable and require a high level of management expertise distinct from that required for contemporary assets. The consequence of not making timely capital interventions is the permanent loss of Canada’s heritage fabric since the average year of construction of these assets is: 1902 for buildings; 1879 for marine works; and 1844 for fortifications.

Visitor Facility Assets (44% of total asset portfolio)

Visitor facilities provide opportunities for Canadians to access, learn about and experience their natural and historical heritage and are the mainstay of Parks Canada’s Visitor Experience Program (Program Activity 4). Visitor facilities include reception and interpretive centres, trails, campgrounds and day-use areas, as well as related assets such as access roads, parking lots and water and wastewater systems.

Generating more than $100 million in revenue, these assets rank among the principal assets of Canada’s tourism industry, contributing $3 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product and the equivalent of 41,700 full-time jobs.

Townsite and Throughway Infrastructure Assets (26% of total asset portfolio)

Townsite and Throughway Infrastructure Assets include highways, contemporary bridges and dams on historic canals and municipal structures in national park townsites. Parks Canada is responsible for approximately 1,000 kilometres of highways which form part of the Trans-Canada Highway and various provincial highways. Parks Canada is also responsible for: waterway management infrastructure, including over 200 dams and 115 bridges; municipal infrastructure including roads and bridges, and; water and wastewater treatment systems within national park townsites. This group of assets is associated with Townsite and Throughway Infrastructure (Program Activity 5).

Supporting assets (7% of total asset portfolio)

Supporting assets include assets such as maintenance compounds and administration centres which are associated with a wide variety of Internal Services and support the delivery of Parks Canada’s various programs.

Materiel Management Framework

The Parks Canada Asset Management Directive provides the overall direction for the management of Agency assets. In addition, specific directives, guidelines and tools are in place to guide the management of materiel such as fleet vehicles, vessels, historic objects and information technology assets. A number of national management systems and databases are used to track inventories and other pertinent data to inform decision-making.

Capital Asset Management Strategy

Aging infrastructure and inadequate level of recapitalization and maintenance 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. Given the current levels of capital funding, the Agency will continue to focus its efforts on high-risk categories of assets such as dams, bridges and highways. Strategic investments are being made to inspect and maintain these assets in a manner that ensures public safety as well as promotes visitor enjoyment and socio-economic benefits.

To effectively manage its capital program and continue meeting its asset custodial obligations, Parks Canada has increased its asset management capacity. This includes ensuring the recruitment of asset management professionals, delivering project management training programs consistent with the Policy on the Management of Projects to asset managers as well as the refinement of investment priorities and the associated asset /risk management frameworks to better achieve outcomes.

The Agency will continue implementing new Treasury Board policies in the areas of investment planning and the management of projects which includes improving access to reliable information to better support strategic decision-making. The new five year Investment Plan, when approved by Treasury Board, will include a listing of significant capital investments, and will be guided by the Policy on the Management of Projects, the Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity, and the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk. The Parks Canada Project Management Standard will ensure a consistent approach to project management across the Agency.

Parks Canada’s planned capital spending for the next five years is presented in the table Summary of Capital Spending by Program Activity, which can be found on the Treasury Board Secretariat’s website at

Details on Project Spending

(in millions of dollars)
Total Authorities Current Estimated Total Cost Forecast Spending to 31-Mar-12 Planned Spending 2012-13 Planned Spending 2013-14 Planned Spending 2014-15 Future Years Spending
Trent Severn Waterway - Bolsover Dam at Lock 37 34.7 34.7 1.5 1.5 24.7 7.0 0.0
Riding Mountain National Park of Canada - Wasagaming Waste Water Treatment Plant 18.0 12.7 12.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Banff National Park of Canada - Cave and Basin Redevelopment 13.9 13.8 4.2 9.6 0.0 0.0 0.0
Banff National Park of Canada - Trans-Canada Highway Twinning (Gateway and Borders Crossing Fund) 100.0 91.4 76.5 14.9 0.0 0.0 0.0
Banff National Park of Canada - Trans-Canada Highway Twinning (Budget 09/Canada’s Economic Action Plan) 130.0 130.0 68.4 36.1 25.5 0.0 0.0

Note: The purpose of this table is to report on projects underway during the reporting period that exceed the Agency’s delegated project approval level.

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