Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks

Part 1

Progress Toward Implementing The Action Plan And Next Steps

Making Ecological Integrity Central in Legislation and Policy

Legislation and policy provide the mandate and direction for park management. Legislation and policy must, and do, underscore the primacy of maintaining and restoring the ecological integrity in national parks.

The emphasis since release of the Action Plan has been on the Canada National Parks Act, the new legislation that will govern the national parks, as well as on the Parks Canada Agency Charter, and wilderness area designations.

"We will move ahead with parliamentary consideration of the proposed Canada National Parks Act, introduced on March 1st, to reconfirm that maintaining ecological integrity is the first priority." (Action Plan)

Progress to Date

  • The new Canada National Parks Act was proclaimed on February 19, 2001.
  • The new Canada National Parks Act strengthens the ecological integrity clause that was in the former National Parks Act. It now states that "maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks."
  • In consideration of the Panel's recommendation, the new Act defines for the first time in legislation the term "ecological integrity": "ecological integrity means, with respect to a park, a condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes."
  • Also in consideration of the Panel's recommendation, the new Act sets new standards for park management plans with respect to ecological integrity: "The Minister shall, within five years after a park is established, prepare a management plan for the park containing a long-term ecological vision for the park, a set of ecological integrity objectives and indicators and provisions for resource protection and restoration, zoning, visitor use, public awareness and performance evaluation, which shall be tabled in each House of Parliament."