Research and Collection Permit System
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I require a permit even if I am only carrying out an observational research project that involves no collection or manipulation of resources?
Yes. Parks Canada's research and collection permit system serves a number of purposes. First and foremost, it places controls on research that has the potential of affecting Heritage Area resources or interfering in the enjoyment of other visitors. Second, the permit system enables the Agency to track and catalogue the research being conducted in Heritage Areas. This adds to the overall usable knowledge base for the Heritage Area and provides a means for informing the public on what research has or is occurring in Heritage Areas.
How do I determine what research topics are important to Parks Canada?
Each National Park publishes annually on the web site, a list of its research priorities. For each item listed, a contact name is provided, from whom a prospective applicant may obtain more information. For research priorities in other Heritage Areas please contact the appropriate research coordinator.
How can I find out what topics have been investigated in the past?
I don't want to waste my time applying to duplicate work that has already
The Agency maintains a database of permits issued in the past or that are currently active. Some Heritage Areas maintains a web page listing on-going and previously conducted research. Some of these pages are still being developed and may not yet be online. In such cases, a research coordinator can search the database and provide you with results.
I want to carry out some historical research in a Heritage Area; do I need a permit?
No. You do not need a permit; however, most Heritage Areas have extensive libraries and other sources of information that may be accessible to you. You should contact the Heritage Area early in your project planning to determine what is available and any restrictions that may exist. In addition, Parks Canada has a large number of historians who may be of some assistance. Heritage Area staff can direct you to these people.
If I wish to conduct an archaeological investigation in a Heritage Area, how do I obtain a permit?
A valid archaeological research permit is needed to conduct archaeological
research on lands and in waters under the administration of Parks Canada. You
can apply for an archaeological research permit using the online system.
Are there any special requirements I must meet if I wish to conduct social science research in a Heritage Area?
Generally most social science research falls under Federal public opinion research rules and regulations. Contact the research coordinator who can assist you in fulfilling any unique requirements under these rules.
Can I apply for funding from Parks Canada?
You should contact the research coordinator directly for any information on available funding and the procedures for making application.
Can I obtain a permit covering more than one year?
Multi-year permits can be issued for natural and social science research.
Depending on the study, a Heritage Area may issue a single permit that does not
need renewing for up to three years. You should be aware, however, that should
you plan to change the project, such as expand or alter the study area or
methodology, you are required to notify the Heritage Area. Depending on the
nature of the change, the Heritage Area may wish to review the change and
reissue the permit.
For archaeological research, even though a project may be multi-year, the archaeological permit is issued annually once all terms and conditions from the previous year have been met.
Will I be expected to carry a copy of my permit in the field?
Yes. You and your co-investigators are required to carry copies of the
permit. This is proof that you have been authorized to carry out the project
and/or have access to otherwise restricted areas. Should your project involve
interaction with visitors (e.g., a visitor use study), the copy of the permit
can serve as an introduction when contacting Heritage Area visitors.
Can I appeal a decision of a Heritage Area to refuse to issue a permit for my study?
Yes. You may contact the superintendent directly. Before doing so, however, we encourage you to contact the research coordinator and discuss concerns that may have resulted in the decision to deny the permit. It may be that by modifying some aspect of your proposal, these concerns can be overcome.
Can I apply to conduct the same study in more than one Heritage Area?
Yes. When you complete the online application, there are boxes where you can select other Heritage Areas. When you save the application in the system, it will be sent automatically to all Heritage Areas that you have selected. Different Heritage Areas within the Parks Canada system have different resources and other factors that will affect approval of each request to conduct a scientific study. In some cases, Heritage Areas adjacent to one another geographically, or managing similar resources may agree to approve a single permit covering field activities at more than one Heritage Area. If this occurs, one Heritage Area will normally take the lead responsibility for processing the permit application and ensuring staff at the other Heritage Area(s) are aware of the activities and involved in the analysis of the study proposal. It is your responsibility as the applicant to review the Heritage Area -specific conditions stipulated by each Heritage Area before applying for a permit again if permission is granted.
Is there a fee for obtaining a Research and Collection Permit?
No. There are no fees for a permit. As with any user of a Heritage Area,
however, you are normally expected to pay Heritage Area user (e.g., gate,
camping) fees.I am planning to conduct research in a Heritage Area that may be
covered by a land claim or a cooperative management agreement. What are the
additional permits or reviews of which I must be aware?
There are Heritage Areas covered by Aboriginal final comprehensive land claim or co-operative management agreements. For Heritage Areas covered by such agreements, Parks Canada will coordinate any requirement related to permits and consultations. In many cases Parks Canada may not have the unilateral right to issue a research and collection permit. For example, in Gwaii Haanas, a Haida Board member must sign the approval and the Board has the prerogative to add further conditions to the permit. For the Heritage Areas in the Northwest, Nunavut and Yukon Territories, there are unique review requirements. These can involve a number of territorial and Aboriginal organizations. You should contact the Heritage Area's research coordinator early in your project planning to ensure that you have considered all review requirements.
Do I need to inform the Heritage Area(s) research coordinator(s) that I have submitted an application in this system?
No. When you submit a new application in this system, an electronic message will automatically be sent to the research coordinator at the Heritage Area(s) you selected. The message notifies the research coordinator that a new application has been submitted and that the research review process should begin. If the application remains in the system longer than 15 days without being placed "under review", a message will automatically be sent to the Heritage Area manager suggesting there may be a problem.
Should I notify Parks Canada staff that a correction is needed in a previously submitted Investigator's Annual Report?
Yes. Please contact the appropriate research
coordinator and explain the change that is needed.
Once I receive the approval for the permit, do I have to check in at the Heritage Area office before going into the field?
Yes. Here is a brief description of the process involved in issuing the
If your permit request is approved, you will receive an e-mail message that includes a copy of the permit together with the applicable terms and conditions. You will be asked to respond to an e-mail statement with the following text " I acknowledge, understand and agree to the research and collection permit terms and conditions". Once you have provided this response, the permit will be approved and you will be notified accordingly. Unless otherwise agreed with the research coordinator, you will be expected to visit the Heritage Area office in person before entering the field, where you will sign a printed version of the permit. Only the signed permit is valid. If you cannot arrange to visit the Heritage Area office prior to your fieldwork, please inform your research coordinator so that arrangements can be made (either through mail or facsimile) to ensure you have a valid permit prior to commencing your research. You are responsible for ensuring that all of your co-investigators or field assistants also understand the terms and conditions of the permit and carry a copy of the valid permit with them.
We realize that it is often difficult for a researcher to check in before entering the field, particularly if the researcher is gaining access to the Heritage Area at a location remote from any administration office or entrance. Having said that, Parks Canada asks all researchers to check in with the research coordinator, at a minimum, by telephone before starting their work. By doing so, Heritage Area staff have an opportunity to provide up-to-date information that may affect field work activities or the safety of the research group (weather warnings, road hazards, wildlife warnings, area closures, etc.). Researchers should also ensure that any requirement to be involved in information programs are understood. It is best to coordinate this at the beginning of the work.
Must I check out with Heritage Area staff when I leave the Heritage Area following completion of my work?
No, not normally. The exception to this is if you have collected sample material as part of your field investigations. Samples must be checked by the Heritage Area staff before you leave. If the samples will be leaving the country, you require the specific written authorization of the superintendent. This is for your own protection, as you may be questioned by Customs and Immigration upon leaving Canada or entering another country with the samples in your possession.
How will Parks Canada track my permit applications, permits, and research project accomplishments?
When you submit your application, it will be assigned a unique reference number for each new scientific study approved by the Heritage Area. All permits and annual reports related to the study will be linked to the reference number over the life of the study. You should quote that reference number in any correspondence with the Heritage Area.
Must I notify Parks Canada if there is a change in my work location or in my methods?
Yes. You must notify the research coordinator of any changes from your original application and request a permit amendment. This can be done by sending a written or e-mail request for an amendment to the Heritage Area with the information outlined under Permit Amendments. Be sure to note your permit number and reference number. Changes in work location, significant change in methods, amount of sampling anticipated, etc. are all important for the Heritage Area to know. The coordinator will determine if a review of the permit is needed and an amendment issued. You should discuss the changes with the research coordinator. The research coordinator may be able to expedite an amendment over the telephone.
How do I obtain Technical Assistance in the use of the system?
For technical assistance with this system, click on the Technical Help link on the main page in order to send an e-mail to a technical support representative.
Why is the information in my application and subsequent permit not kept confidential?
There are many reasons for this. Parks Canada has a need to distribute the information, internally and, when necessary, externally in order to fulfill its review obligations. Some permits are subject to review under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This Act imposes an obligation of public disclosure of decisions to grant permits along with the basis for the decision. If a permit is issued for research that affects a species at risk, the reasons for issuing the permit must be posted on the web-based Public Registry created under the Species at Risk Act. Canadians have a right to know what activities are occurring in their Heritage Areas. Finally, as part of Parks Canada's effort to encourage appropriate research in nationally protected areas, it wishes to provide as much information as possible to the research community on investigations occurring in Heritage Areas. This, it would eventually do by publishing the Investigator's Annual Reports. We believe it is to everyone's advantage, including prospective researchers to understand the type of research activities that are taking place.
What happens if I do not want the information in my Investigator Annual Report (IAR) disclosed?
Submitting the IARs is a condition of all permits. We believe that the limitations imposed by the space available on the IAR form, would mean only a brief summary of the work would be disclosed and that this would not preclude opportunities for the investigator to publish the research results. Initially, Parks Canada will not be posting IARs on a publicly searchable database; however, this is eventually planned. If this level of disclosure is not acceptable to an applicant, other venues for the research should be considered.
Is an additional permit needed for work on species at risk or work affecting species at risk?
If your work is taking place on lands administered by Parks Canada, a separate permit is not needed. The research and collection permit system takes into consideration the obligations of the new Species at Risk Act (SARA). These considerations are incorporated in the evaluation criteria used to assess applications.
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