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2014-15 Report on Plans and Priorities

Parks Canada Agency's 2014-15 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy

1. Overview of the Federal Government's Approach to Sustainable Development

The 2013-16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), tabled on November 4, 2013, guides the Government of Canada's 2013-2016 sustainable development activities. The FSDS articulates Canada's federal sustainable development priorities for a period of three years, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA). The purpose of the FSDA is to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. Parks Canada supports the implementation of the FSDS through the activities found in this Agency strategy.

2. Sustainable Development Management System

Parks Canada's Mandate

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.

Parks Canada's Vision

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 Sustainable Development Vision

The Federal Sustainable Development Act defines sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It states that the Government of Canada "acknowledges the need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government."

Sustainable development is central to Parks Canada's mandate and vision. It is ingrained in all aspects of the Agency's activities from establishing and conserving national parks and national marine conservation areas to designating and commemorating national historic sites. Parks Canada is committed to ensuring that Canada's treasured natural and historic places remain unimpaired for the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Parks Canada activities also contribute to the Canadian economy. The combined annual expenditures of Parks Canada and its millions of visitors make a substantial and widespread contribution to the Canadian economy, both directly through its facilities, locations and services, and indirectly in the surrounding communities through spending on accommodations, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses. Parks Canada places contribute $3.3 billion annually to the Canadian economy, sustaining more than 41,000 jobs in hundreds of communities across the country.

Managing Sustainable Development

Sustainable development involves the consideration of environmental, economic and social objectives in the development and implementation of public policies and programs. The needs of the present as well as the needs of future generations are also taken into consideration. Integrated decision-making and a long-term approach to planning are defining characteristics of sustainable development.

Parks Canada takes an integrated approach in managing its heritage places. For example, Parks Canada carries out active management and restoration projects in national parks. These projects are designed in a manner that ensures the conservation of natural resources, while engaging key audiences and enhancing visitor experiences. This integrated approach to the delivery of Parks Canada's mandate has strengthened the Agency's contribution to all aspects of sustainable development – environmental, social and economic.

Parks Canada's decision-making and sustainable development practices include collaborating with groups that share its values and have an interest in its work. The establishment of national parks and national marine conservation areas, for example, requires a high level of engagement on the part of provincial governments and Aboriginal peoples. The designation and commemoration of persons, places and events of historic significance equally demands the active participation of stakeholders, partners and community groups. The Agency recognizes that building and maintaining these collaborative relationships is essential to achieving its mandate of protecting and presenting Canada's natural and cultural heritage.

Moreover, Parks Canada promotes sustainable development practices by encouraging the use of analytical techniques that compare and integrate environmental, social, and economic objectives and that address multi-year or long-term concerns. For example, the Agency uses social science analytical and performance measurement tools to understand and engage Canadians, particularly certain segments of the population (e.g. urban, youth, new Canadians), in meaningful ways to ensure that its heritage places remain relevant for present and future generations.

Finally the Agency is engaged in several interdepartmental initiatives related to sustainable development, such as the Clean Air Agenda, Species at Risk, Federal Contaminated Sites, and Greening Government Operations.

3. Strategic Environmental Assessment

Parks Canada ensures that its decision-making process includes a consideration of the FSDS goals and targets through the strategic environmental assessment (SEA). A SEA for policy, plan or program proposals includes an analysis of the impacts of the proposal on the environment, including on the FSDS goals and targets. The results of SEAs are made public when an initiative is announced or approved, demonstrating that environmental factors were integrated into the decision-making process.

4. Parks Canada Led Targets Parks

Canada contributes to Theme I – Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality; Theme III – Protecting Nature and Canadians; and Theme IV – Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government.

These contributions are components of the following Programs and Sub-Programs and are further explained in Section 5:

  • Program 1.1: Heritage Places Establishment;
  • Sub-Program 1.1.1: National Park Establishment and Expansion;
  • Sub-Program 1.1.2: National Marine Conservation Area Establishment;
  • Program 1.2: Heritage Places Conservation;
  • Sub-Program 1.2.1: National Park Conservation;
  • Program 1.3: Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support;
  • Sub-Program 1.3.2: Partnering and Participation;
  • Program 1.4: Visitor Experience; and
  • Internal Services.
Parks Canada is the lead for target 4.4 under Theme III – Protecting Nature and Canadians
FSDS Goal FSDS Target Performance Indicator
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come. Target 4.4: Improving the Health of National Parks – Improve the condition of at least one ecological integrity indicator in 20 national parks by 2015. Ecological integrity of national parks

5. Information on Parks Canada Implementation Strategies in Themes I-III of the FSDS 2013-16

Clean Air Agenda

Implementation Strategy
1.2.9. Improve understanding climate-driven ecological change in Canada's North by using a combination of remote sensing techniques and working with park cooperative management boards to assess how ecological integrity and traditional land use may be affected by climate-driven changes in northern national parks.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme I: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality
Goal 1: Climate Change – In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emission levels and adapt to unavoidable impacts.
Target 1.2: Climate Change Adaptation – Facilitate reduced vulnerability of individuals, communities, regions and economic sectors to the impacts of climate change through the development and provisions of information and tools.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.2: Heritage Places Conservation
Sub Program 1.2.1: National Park Conservation
Description of the Implementation Strategy
Parks Canada contributes to the understanding of climate-driven ecological change in Canada's North by consulting with park co-operative management boards, conducting process-based ecosystem mapping, and completing scenarios modeling and reporting to help communities understand the risks to important country food, recognize the need for adaptation, and discuss options for action. Parks Canada also links key drivers to changing ecosystem composition and structure and discusses how these changes might impact other ecosystem components (such as caribou and other species) and the ecological integrity of parks. This activity supports communities in assessing the risks as well as opportunities arising from climate change, and provides them with options for adapting.
Expected Result
The expected outcome for the program is that potential impacts of climate-driven ecological change on park ecological integrity and traditional lifestyles are reduced because co-operative management boards for all Arctic national parks will have a knowledge system in place that will provide relevant and timely information on park ecological change to facilitate proactive decision making.
Performance Indicator
Ecotype mapping for Vuntut, Tuktut Nogait and Auyuittuq National Parks is completed.
Planned Spending for 2014-15
Total of planned spending for 2014-15: $450,000

Species at Risk

Implementation Strategy
4.1.9 Develop action plans for all protected heritage areas with five or more species at risk by March 2016.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.1: Species at Risk – By 2020, populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.2: Heritage Places Conservation
Sub Program 1.2.1: National Park Conservation
Description of the Implementation Strategy
Over half of Canada's endangered and threatened species can be found in the protected heritage areas administered by Parks Canada. Parks Canada will protect these species and their critical habitat in the Agency's heritage areas, and will support their recovery by leading the development and implementation of recovery strategies and action plans, monitoring species status, and conducting public awareness and engagement activities. Recovery planning is an obligation under the Species at Risk Act.
Expected Result
National park conservation is improved.
Performance Indicator
Number of action plans for national parks with 5 or more species at risk.

National Parks Establishment and Expansion

Implementation Strategy
4.3.13 Make demonstrable progress on a yearly basis towards establishing national parks in one unrepresented region
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.3: Terrestrial Ecosystem and Habitat Stewardship – Contribute to the proposed national target that by 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.1: Heritage Places Establishment
Sub Program 1.1.1: National Park Establishment and Expansion
Description of the Implementation Strategy
This strategy entails the establishment of at least one national park in each of Canada's 39 natural regions, in accordance with the National Parks System Plan. The completion of the system will protect representative examples of Canada's natural diversity, and provide opportunities for Canadians to experience, understand and appreciate these places. Five steps are involved in the process to establish a national park: identify areas representative of a natural region; select an optimum national park candidate from the list of representative areas; assess the feasibility of establishing the proposed park through studies and consultations; negotiate new park agreements, including any that may be required with Aboriginal peoples or organizations; and formally establish the national park in legislation.
Expected Result
National parks are created in unrepresented regions and some existing national parks are completed or expanded.
Performance Indicator
Number of unrepresented regions with demonstrable progress in advancing through steps towards establishing national parks.

Heritage Places Establishment

Implementation Strategy
4.3.14 Increase the number of represented terrestrial natural regions from 28 in March 2012 to 30 of 39 by March 2015.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.3: Terrestrial Ecosystem and Habitat Stewardship – Contribute to the proposed national target that by 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.1: Heritage Places Establishment
Description of the Implementation Strategy
This strategy aims to establish national parks in order to conserve Canada's natural and cultural heritage and make it available to Canadians for their benefit and enjoyment, thus fostering a strong sense of connection to our natural heritage. This strategy also supports Canada's involvement in the internationally shared objective of protecting the best of the world's natural heritage. By establishing national parks in each of Canada's natural terrestrial regions, this strategy ensures the protection of representative examples of Canada's natural diversity. Establishment is achieved through feasibility studies, research, consulting with Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the general public, negotiating with other governments and Aboriginal organizations, and fulfilling legislative requirements.
Expected Result
The system of National Parks is representative of Canada's natural terrestrial regions.
Performance Indicator
Number of represented terrestrial natural regions in the system of national parks.

National Parks Conservation

Implementation Strategy
4.4.1 80% of active management targets to improve ecological integrity are met by March 2015
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.4: Improving the Health of National Parks – Improve the condition of at least one ecological integrity indicator in 20 national parks by 2015.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.2: Heritage Places Conservation
Sub Program 1.2.1: National Park Conservation
Description of the Implementation Strategy
This strategy aims to maintain or restore ecological integrity in national parks through protection, conservation, restoration or mitigation activities, as mandated under the Canada National Parks Act. To implement this strategy, Parks Canada carries out applied science, monitoring and reporting, ecological restoration, species recovery, environmental assessment, fire management and compliance activities. Some of these activities are done in collaboration with the general public, stakeholders, partners, local and Aboriginal communities. This strategy also includes fulfilling legal responsibilities assigned to Parks Canada by the Species at Risk Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Expected Result
National park conservation is improved.
Performance Indicator
Percentage of active management targets to improve ecological integrity that are met.

National Marine Conservation Area Establishment

Implementation Strategy
4.5.6 Make demonstrable progress on a yearly basis towards establishing national marine conservation areas in two unrepresented regions.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.5: Marine Ecosystems – By 2012, 10% of coastal and marine areas are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.1: Heritage Places Establishment
Sub Program 1.1.2: National Marine Conservation Area Establishment
Description of the Implementation Strategy
This strategy aims to establish at least one national marine conservation area in each of Canada's 29 marine regions, in accordance with the National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan. The expansion and completion of the system will conserve representative examples of the diversity of Canada's oceans and Great Lakes, and provide opportunities for Canadians to experience, understand and appreciate these places. Five steps are involved in the process to establish a national marine conservation area: identify areas representative of a marine region; select an optimum national marine conservation area candidate from the list of representative areas; assess the feasibility of establishing the proposed marine conservation area through studies and consultations; negotiate new national marine conservation area agreements, including any that may be required with Aboriginal peoples or organizations; and formally establish the national marine conservation area in legislation.
Expected Result
National marine conservation areas are created in unrepresented regions.
Performance Indicator
Number of unrepresented regions with demonstrable progress in advancing through steps towards establishing national marine conservation areas.

Environmental Emergencies

Implementation Strategy
4.7.4. In accordance with mandated responsibilities, provide environmental and/or other information to reduce the risk of, and advice in response to, the occurrence of events such as polluting incidents, wildlife disease events or severe weather and other significant hydro-meteorological events as applicable.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.7: Environmental Disasters, Incidents and Emergencies – Environmental disasters, incidents and emergencies are prevented or their impacts mitigated.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program: Internal Services
Description of the Implementation Strategy
Provide equipment and human resources to assist in the response to environmental emergencies.

Note: PC shares responsibility for this implementation strategy with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Environment Canada (EC), Health Canada (HC), Industry Canada (IC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and Transport Canada (TC).

Contaminated Sites

Implementation Strategy
4.8.1. Implement the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan and complete remediation and risk management activities at known high priority federal contaminated sites.
Link to FSDS 2013-16 Goals and Targets
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Goal 4: Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems, Wildlife and Habitat, and Protecting Canadians – Resilient ecosystems with healthy wildlife populations so Canadians can enjoy benefits from natural spaces, resources and ecological services for generations to come.
Target 4.8: Chemicals Management – Reduce risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment and human health posed by releases of harmful substances.
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.2: Heritage Places Conservation
Description of the Implementation Strategy
Parks Canada is responsible for 473 sites registered in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory as of March 31, 2013. With funding from the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, the Agency undertakes risk reduction activities (through remediation and/or risk management) at its high-priority contaminated sites.
Expected Result
Mitigate risks to the environment and human health as well as reduce financial liability.

Note: PC shares responsibility for this implementation strategy with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), DND, Environment Canada (EC), Health Canada (HC), Industry Canada (IC), National Research Council (NRC), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Transport Canada (TC).

6. Additional Parks Canada Sustainable Development Activities and Initiatives

In addition to its core implementation strategies, Parks Canada contributes to sustainable development through additional activities such as the engagement of Canadians through stakeholder and partner relationships and visitor experiences.

Partnering and Participation

Activity
Parks Canada will provide increased opportunities for Canadians to be involved with Parks Canada places in activities they consider meaningful and relevant.
Link to FSDS Themes
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.3: Heritage Places Promotion and Public Support
Sub Program 1.3.2: Partnering and Participation
Description of the Program
This program encourages the participation of partners and stakeholders and leads to new or expanded opportunities for Canadians to discover and develop a sense of connection to their protected heritage places. Partnering arrangements advance shared or complimentary goals and objectives, and result in a wide range of collaborative activities including program delivery, promotional campaigns, contests, scientific and academic research, learning tools and new products. Partners include private sector organizations as well as other government departments, NGO's, academic institutions, and Aboriginal peoples, who in a number of places co-manage national heritage places. Stakeholders engage with Parks Canada through a wide variety of activities such as the Minister's Round Table, formal and informal consultation processes, and the national volunteer program. Stakeholders include individuals, groups and organizations that have an interest in Parks Canada and ensure that Canadians' needs and priorities are clearly expressed and inform Parks Canada's actions and direction.
Expected Result
Stakeholders and partners are engaged in the protection and presentation of Parks Canada's administered places.
Performance Indicator
  • Number of Parks Canada volunteers
  • Number of collaborative initiatives with five strategic corporate partners

Visitor Experience

Activity
Parks Canada will facilitate a diverse range of opportunities in Parks Canada's protected heritage places for visitors to learn about, experience, and enjoy the spirit, wonder, and awe of Canada's network of heritage places.
Link to FSDS Themes
Theme III: Protecting Nature and Canadians
Link to Parks Canada Program Alignment Architecture
Strategic Outcome: Canadians have a strong sense of connection to their national parks, national historic sites, heritage canals and national marine conservation areas and these protected places are experienced in ways that leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Program 1.4: Visitor Experience
Description of the Program
This program fosters opportunities for Canadians and international visitors to discover, experience, enjoy and develop a sense of personal connection to Canada's national urban park, national parks, national historic sites administered by Parks Canada, national marine conservation areas, and heritage canals. This program includes a range of activities, services and products associated with pre-visit planning, the on-site visit, and post visit communications. It includes tourism marketing, trip planning information, reception, orientation, interpretation, recreation, special events, merchandise, compliance and visitor safety services, and visitor facilities. The program is supported by market and visitor analytics, trend analysis, and performance measurement.
Expected Result
Visitors at surveyed locations feel a sense of personal connection to the places visited.
Performance Indicator
  • Number of visits at Parks Canada administered places
  • Average percentage of visitors that consider the place is meaningful to them
  • Average percentage of visitors that are satisfied/very satisfied with their visit

7. Hyperlink to Greening Government Operations (GGO) Supplementary Table

For information on Parks Canada's contribution to the FSDS Theme IV – Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government, please refer to the 2014-15 Report on Plans and Priorities GGO Supplementary Table.