National marine conservation areas policy and regulations

National Marine Conservation Areas Policy

Parks Canada’s recently updated NMCA Policy (2022) provides national direction on the establishment and management of NMCAs. This renewed policy:

  • Aligns with the Canada National Marine Conservation Area Act (2002),
  • Builds on over 30 years of experience collaboratively managing and operating NMCAs,
  • Reflects Government of Canada commitments to Indigenous reconciliation, protecting biodiversity and the reciprocal relationships between people and nature, and
  • Strengthens Canada’s commitment to the effective and equitable management of protected areas, in support of international marine conservation targets.

National Marine Conservation Areas Regulations

Regulations are important management tools for NMCAs.

No regulations exist under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. Regulations under other laws are used to manage activities like shipping and fishing within NMCAs, but regulatory gaps have been identified.

Parks Canada has begun the process to develop general regulations under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.

Let’s talk NMCAs

In 2019, Parks Canada consulted with stakeholders and Canadians on proposed NMCA policy and regulatory changes. Parks Canada is continuing to engage with government and Indigenous organizations to finalize the policy.

Further opportunities to provide feedback on NMCA regulations will be provided through the regulatory development process.

Consultation documents
  • What we heard July 2020
    A summary of the feedback received through the 2019 consultation process.
  • Discussion paper May 2019
    Describes the proposed changes to the NMCA policy and potential areas for new regulations for Parks Canada’s NMCA program.

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