The Cirque in South East Mealy Mountains © Parks Canada/ G. Pittman
National Parks System Plan© Parks Canada
Parks Canada works with provinces and territories, Aboriginal people, local communities, stakeholders and Canadians to establish new national parks to represent the diversity of Canada's landscapes for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.
Currently, 28 of Canada's 39 natural regions are represented by one or more national parks or national park reserves.
National park establishment is guided by the National Parks System Plan.
Parks Canada's Corporate Plan recognizes that establishing national parks and national marine conservation areas contributes to one of the Agency's main objectives:
Canadians have a strong sense of connection, trough 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 generation
The five step establishment process for new national parks is described in Parks Canada's Guiding Principles and Operating Policies
- Step 1: Identify representative areas
- Step 2: Select a potential candidate area
- Step 3: Assess the feasibility of the proposed candidate area
- Step 4: Negotiate and sign agreement(s)
- Step 5: Protect the area under the Canada National Parks Act
A description of each step and its criteria is provided in the National Parks System Plan.
Discovery of the Cave and Basin, which led to the creation of Banff National Park
© Parks Canada
Since the initial protection of 26 km2 at Banff National Park in 1885, Parks Canada's system has grown to over 320,000 km2 of protected lands and waters. In the past five years alone, the Government of Canada has added 45,000 km2 to Canada's system of protected areas, and our efforts continue. In collaboration with partners and Aboriginal groups, Parks Canada is currently working to protect an additional 89,000 km2 of vast boreal forest, clean clear water, rich marine habitats, grasslands and arctic tundra as far as the eye can see.
Areas Formally Established
- Saoyú-?ehdacho NHS (established - 2006)
- Lake Superior NMCA (agreement - 2007)
- Expansion of Nahanni (established in law - 2009)
- Gwaii Haanas (established in law - 2010)
Areas Where a Feasibility Assessment is Underway
- Naats'ihch'oh (Northwest Territories)
- Thaidene (Northwest Territories)
- Mealy Mountains (Newfoundland and Labrador)
- Sable Island (Nova Scotia)
- Lancaster Sound (Nunavut)
These efforts to create new protected areas earned Parks Canada the "A Gift to the Earth" award, WWF-International's highest accolade for conservation work of outstanding global merit. This award also recognized Parks Canada's conservation work and species recovery efforts like reintroducing the Plains Bison and Black-footed Ferret, recovering the Blanding's Turtle at Kejimkujik National Park, Recovering Garry Oak Ecosystems at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and much more!
Learn more about park establishment initiatives.