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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007 - 2009

Background and Context

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is defined as “ development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable development is a way of thinking and acting, a way of ensuring that social, economic, and environmental considerations are integrated into our decisions and our actions. Sustainable development is about ensuring that the choices we make as citizens, consumers, producers, and investors are compatible with an excellent quality of life for all Canadians and the global community, now and in the future. Canada has many strengths – vigorous democratic institutions, educated citizens, extensive natural resources, innovative businesses and vibrant communities. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to use our strengths in securing healthy natural and planned environments, a dynamic and just society, and a thriving economy.

For many communities across Canada – rural, remote and urban alike – sustainable development is recognized as integral to maintaining their way of life. Leading municipalities are incorporating sustainable land-use planning, clean-air initiatives, and energy –efficiency commitments in their day-to-day operations. Likewise, forward-looking Canadian companies are proving that sustainable business is good business – in terms of profitability, accountability to stakeholders, exposure to new markets and long-term economic health. Innovation and investment guided by sustainable development principles is improving the efficiency and competitiveness of Canadian industries in to-day’s global marketplace.

Our international credibility as a leader in sustainable development is a credit to all Canadians, and demands that we continue to work hard to minimize our impact on the environment, and to address pressing global issues, such as health, poverty, air and water quality.

Government of Canada Context

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians continue to prosper in a free, equitable, and healthy society. To guide this commitment and communicate some of the ways in which the Government fulfills it, sustainable development strategies are submitted to Parliament every three years by federal departments and agencies.

The Parks Canada sustainable development strategy (SDS) outlines how the Agency will systematically integrate the principles of sustainable development into its policies, programs, legislation and operations. Through these strategies, the Parks Canada Agency is accountable to Canadians for its decisions and actions.

“With respect to (its) Parks, it is essential that each country keep part of its natural heritage untouched, as a record for the future, a baseline to measure change, so people can see the splendor of their past, before the land was degraded. If we destroy the parks, they’re gone forever.”
- George Schaller, Biologist

Parks Canada Context

Canada’s national historic sites and canals, national parks and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians. They are powerful symbols of our identity, and represent the vitality of our culture and the wonders of our natural environment. They are there for present and future generations of Canadians to experience, appreciate and understand.

“Parks nourish the human spirit, help sustain the planet and reflect the ideals of the societies that protect them. Landscape and memory combine to tell us that certain places are special, sanctified by their extraordinary natural merits and by social consensus. We call these places parks and we take them for granted.” –
Chris Johns, Editor, National Geographic magazine

The Parks Canada Agency protects and preserves special heritage places and by providing meaningful visitor and educational experiences to its millions of visitors, encourages Canadians to adopt a culture of conservation. Parks Canada is in the business of sustainable development.