Research and Collection Permit System

Researcher's Guide

This Researcher’s Guide outlines the main permit and collection requirements of which all researchers must be aware, for all phases of the permitting process in the Research and Collection Permit System.

It includes the following sections: Definitions; Policy and General Requirements; When is a Permit Required; Multi-Heritage Area Permits; Multi-Year Permits; Additional Permits, Reviews, Approvals or Agreements Required; Who May Apply; When to Apply; How and Where to Apply; Review of Proposals; Impact Assessment; Species at Risk; Specific Requirements for Heritage Areas; Data Management and Data Sharing; Facilitating a Favourable Decision; Favourable Factors; Permit Response and Issuance Process; Permit Amendments; Parks Canada Metadata Requirements; Policy on Intellectual Property Rights; Research Products and Deliverables; Other Products; Access to Information Policy; National General Conditions; Restrictions; Other Acts and Regulations; Principal Investigator Responsibilities; General Conditions Governing Natural Science Research; General Conditions Governing Archaeological Research; Archaeological Objects; Human Remains


First, a few definitions are in order to aid in understanding the terms used in this guide.

For the purpose of this guide, the word "research" encompasses both invasive and non-invasive research, such as experimental development, monitoring, surveys, public opinion and related scientific activities.

Archaeological Collection: Archaeological Objects, Samples, and Archaeological Records.

Archaeological Conservation: For the purpose of this document, archaeological conservation means all actions or processes that are aimed at safeguarding the elements of a cultural resource so as to retain its historic value and extend its physical life.

Archaeological Object: An artifact, sample, or any material of archaeological interest.

Archaeological Records: Any written, graphic, visual and electronic record that is prepared and assembled that relates to the identification, evaluation, documentation, study, preservation, or excavation of an archaeological site or resource, and is vital to understanding the context and significance of archaeological resources.

Archaeological Research: Excavations, surveys, or inventories conducted where tangible evidence or potential tangible evidence of past human activities is located. Archaeological research also includes the collection of archaeological objects and any intrusive and non-intrusive activities conducted at an archaeological site, feature or structure.

Archaeological Research Permit: A document authorizing the conduct of archaeological research on lands and lands under water, under agreed upon terms and conditions.

Archaeological Resource: Any tangible evidence of human activity of historical, cultural or scientific interest, such as a feature, structure or Archaeological Object, located at or from an archaeological site or recorded as an isolated archaeological find.

Cultural Resource: A human work, or a place that gives evidence of human activity or has spiritual or cultural meaning, and that has been determined to be of historic value.
Collection Activity: Any activity that involves the capture, picking or removal of biotic or abiotic material (including parts or derivatives), or that involves the removal of cultural and archaeological resources (in their entirety or in part).
Critical habitat: In the context of the Species at Risk Act, the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species' critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in the action plan for the species.

Heritage Area: Federal land administered by the Parks Canada Agency, that is:

  • National Parks of Canada (including National Park Reserves of Canada);
  • National Historic Sites of Canada administered by Parks Canada (including historic canals);
  • National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada (including Saguenay -St. Lawrence Marine Park);
  • Any other federal lands administered by Parks Canada (including Pingo Canadian Landmark, and lands under water)

Invasive (Intrusive) Research: Includes any form of manipulation of natural objects, organisms or natural processes, and archaeological resources. It includes introduction of substances into the environment, the handling, tagging or collaring of animals, harvesting of materials, the experimental disruption or alteration of ecological processes, and the disturbance of cultural or archaeological resources.

Minister: The Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency.

Natural Science Research: Systematic information, collection and analysis activities in relation to the description, understanding, behaviour and relationship within components of the natural environment including historical and present human impacts on the environment.

Natural Object: Refers to any abiotic (soil, sand, fossils, water, ice, etc.) or biotic (fauna or flora) material including part(s) thereof.

Public Opinion Research: The planned gathering, by or for a government institution, of opinions, attitudes, perceptions, judgments, feelings, ideas, reactions, or views that are intended to be used for any government purpose, whether that information is collected from persons (including employees of government institutions), businesses, institutions or other entities, through quantitative or qualitative methods, irrespective of size or cost.
Principal Investigator: The individual to whom the research permit is issued and who is accountable for compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit. The term is used interchangeably with “applicant”, “researcher”, and “permit holder”.
Research Coordinator: Is Parks Canada's primary contact for researchers in a Heritage Area. A Research Coordinator is responsible for administering and managing the research and collection permit process in an interdisciplinary and consultative framework, for both internal and external research.

Research and Experimental Development: Creative work undertaken on a systematic basis to increase scientific and technical knowledge, or to use such knowledge in new applications.

Residence: In the context of the Species at Risk Act, means a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating.

Social Science Research: Systematic information collection and analysis of activities in relation to human behaviour, values, attitudes of members of the public and representatives of business or non-government organizations on matters relating to parks operations, development, management or policy; or social and economic costs, benefits and impacts of the development and operation of Heritage Areas.

Species at Risk: An extirpated, endangered or threatened species as identified in the Species at Risk Act.

Superintendent: An officer appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act who holds the office of superintendent of a Heritage Area(s), and includes any person appointed under that Act who is authorized by such an officer to act on the officer’s behalf.

Policy and General Requirements

Parks Canada requires research and monitoring information to make responsible decisions in its management, planning and operating practices, as well as to broaden scientific understanding of our natural and cultural heritage.

Parks Canada is responsible for protecting and presenting these Heritage Areas for present and future generations. These responsibilities are discharged using various policy and legal instruments such as Parks Canada’s Guiding Principles and Operational Policies, the Canada National Parks Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act, and the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

Maintaining and/or restoring ecological and commemorative integrity of our Heritage Areas, protecting cultural and natural resources, and providing appropriate visitor experiences through education and awareness requires a full understanding of the natural and cultural elements, their interrelationships, the natural processes, and visitor interests and activities.

Heritage Areas act as long-term ecological research sites, serving as ecological benchmarks for the study of natural environments and their components in a relatively undisturbed state. Scientific studies in these natural areas are seen as increasingly important because they help reveal changes occurring in ecosystems that result from human intervention or nature. Furthermore, Parks Canada is one of the principle cultural resource management organizations in Canada. It is responsible for a vast array of cultural resources in public settings at Heritage Areas, including cultural landscapes and landscape features, archaeological sites, structures, engineering works, artifacts, and associated records. Research contributes to Parks Canada’s efforts to protect and present these cultural resources for public benefit, and represent part of the on-going efforts to protect, understand and appreciate our human heritage.
Heritage Area managers increasingly recognize that timely and reliable information, to which research information is seen as integral, is essential for sound decisions and high quality visitor experiences. Parks Canada welcomes proposals for scientific studies that are consistent with its mandate.

Furthermore, Parks Canada encourages communication of research findings to the public in for a such as peer reviewed scientific journals, various media and public programs held in Heritage Areas and adjacent communities. As a permit holder, you may be asked to participate in Heritage Area events designed to inform the public of the research you conducted.

When is a Permit Required?

Research activities are managed in such a way as to minimize impact on ecological and commemorative integrity, cultural resources, visitor experience and Heritage Area operations.
A research and collection permit, issued by the superintendent, is required for all archaeological, natural, and social science research that involves fieldwork, natural object and archaeological object collection, and/or has the potential to disturb ecological or cultural resources or visitors. Research permits are issued pursuant to various pieces of legislation, regulations and policies.
Permits must comply with SARA requirements if the research activity affects a species listed under the SARA as extirpated, endangered or threatened, its critical habitat, or its residences in any Heritage Area that is federal land.

Multi-Heritage Area Permits

Archaeological, natural or social science research proposed to be conducted in more than one Heritage Area may be conducted under the authority of a single permit; however, the applicant must address issues or concerns that may be unique to each Heritage Area affected by the research. In these circumstances, you only need to submit an application once to the electronic system. Your application will be sent, automatically, to the Heritage Areas you select when completing the application. The affected Heritage Areas will coordinate their reviews.

Multi-Year Permits

For natural or social science research, permits may be issued for a period of up to three years provided that all conditions of the permit are honoured. Should, during the course of the research work, the study location or methods change, Parks Canada will require a permit amendment.
For archaeological research, multi-year projects are acceptable; however, archaeological permits are issued annually.

Additional Permits, Reviews, Approvals or Agreements Required

In some cases, other federal, provincial or territorial agency, or Aboriginal organization approvals may be required before Parks Canada can process an application for a research and collection permit.
Where the Heritage Area lies within a comprehensive claim or treaty area, and where a final comprehensive land claim agreement is settled and in effect, Parks Canada may have legal obligations pursuant to the agreement. There may be provisions with respect to environmental assessment, impact assessment, archaeology and/or other research. There may be a review or consultative process to which Parks Canada is obligated to follow before it can approve and issue a permit. Furthermore, aside from comprehensive land claim agreements, Parks Canada may have contractual agreements (e.g., cooperative management agreements), with Aboriginal groups, where there may be review or consultation process. In addition, there are limited circumstances in which an environmental impact assessment is required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for research activities in Heritage Areas. Parks Canada will ensure all required approvals and consultations are complete prior to issuing a permit. Applicants should contact the appropriate Research Coordinator to determine if additional permits or approvals, outside of Parks Canada, may be required in conjunction with a proposed study.
Research proposals that involve Public Opinion Research may require further review by other federal government departments in accordance with the federal policy on Public Opinion Research. Parks Canada will determine the need for and coordinate such reviews.

Who May Apply

Any individual may apply if they can demonstrate qualifications and experience to conduct scientific studies and have the support of a reputable scientific or educational institution and/or a federal, provincial, territorial or Aboriginal organization or agency.

When to Apply

The sooner one applies, the better. It is always a good idea to contact the appropriate Research Coordinator for the Heritage Area in which you propose to conduct research early in your project planning to ensure, at least in principle, your research has the support of the Heritage Area. This is particularly important if your project requires Parks Canada assistance.
For research projects using conventional methods and where no assistance is requested from Parks Canada, applicants should submit their application for a permit a minimum of 60 days from the date the researcher wishes to start fieldwork. This is to allow sufficient time for evaluation of the proposal and appropriate dialogue with the proponent.

For complex research projects such as those that propose more invasive methods, may affect species at risk, have additional environmental assessment requirements, and/or are likely to cause public concern, considerably more time may be needed to review the project. We recommend that you consult with the appropriate Research Coordinator, as soon as possible, to determine the amount of time required for approval.

For projects that require other agency, department, or other government approval(s), Parks Canada cannot approve a permit until it has received such approvals. This process is potentially lengthy and could delay permit approval. It is recommended, therefore, that the Principal Investigator allow for such time.

Researchers who are applying for external funding (e.g., through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) or Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)) are encouraged to submit their research permit application to Parks Canada at the time they apply to the funding agency. This will provide the Agency advance warning and, therefore, additional time to work with the applicant and complete the review in a timely manner.

Where Heritage Areas are within a comprehensive land claim area, a longer review time may be required. This is to allow the Heritage Area to meet obligations pursuant to the final comprehensive land claim. For example, researchers wishing to work in northern parks should contact the Research Coordinator early in their project planning to determine application deadlines.

How and Where to Apply

All applications, whether for archaeological, natural, or social science research, must be submitted using Parks Canada’s online research and collection permit system.

All relevant information items found in the Guidelines for Research and Collection Permit Applications must be submitted. Very often, information in your application to a funding agency will satisfy our requirements and you may simply have to copy and paste the information into our application form. Once the application form is completed and submitted, it will automatically be sent to the appropriate Research Coordinator(s). You will be notified that your application has been received, and will be assigned an application reference number and the name of the Research Coordinator – who will be your primary contact. If you do not receive this notification, you should contact the appropriate Research Coordinator. If you have additional information that you wish to accompany the application you will find the instructions on how to send electronic attachments within the e-mail confirming your application. Documents that cannot be sent because of electronic incompatibilities can always be sent to the Research Coordinator by surface mail or facsimile.

It is strongly recommended that applicants use a word processing program to draft their application and then copy and paste their final information as unformatted text into the appropriate permit application form fields. (Note the character length of each field to avoid submission failure.) Applicants do not have the option to save their work in the permit application system and resume the process at a later date. Exiting mid-way through the application will result in loss of data entered into the system and the applicant will have to begin a new. It is also recommended that the applicants save their word processing file at least until they receive confirmation that their application has been received.
Contact your Research Coordinator if you experience any difficulties or require technical assistance in filling out or submitting your application.

Review of Proposals

Parks Canada’s review may vary depending on the nature of the research. Each proposal will first be reviewed for compliance with applicable legislation, regulations, and policies. Any concerns at this stage must be resolved before the application will enter the technical review stage. Subsequent to this, technical reviews are conducted by appropriate professional staff or other subject matter experts.

In all cases, researchers are expected to demonstrate their credentials as part of any application. Your educational qualifications, evidence of having successfully conducted such research in the past, and at least two references with up-to-date contact information will suffice.

Where the proposal includes the handling or manipulation of animals, the proponent must submit the proposal for review by an institutional animal care committee and demonstrate how the concerns and recommendations of the committee will be addressed. Where the proposal has not been reviewed by an institutional animal care committee, the proponent will be expected to answer a number of questions that will allow Parks Canada’s animal care specialists to evaluate the proposal.

In some locations, Parks Canada may be legally bound by certain provisions in final comprehensive land claim or other contractual agreements with Aboriginal groups or organizations. There may be review or consultation processes outlined or established in these agreements to which Parks Canada is obligated to follow. Moreover, a proposed activity that might impact on a potential Aboriginal or treaty right may trigger a common law duty for Parks Canada to consult with Aboriginal group(s). In these cases, Parks Canada will include consultation in the review process. Where there is a need for consultation, it may result in a longer review process – the applicant should allow for consultation time in his/her schedule. The Principal Investigator should be aware of the requirements to which they may be obligated pursuant to final comprehensive land claims or other contractual agreements. Note also that through consultation, there may be a requirement for the project to be revised.
Projects that require other agency, department, or other government approval(s) or review(s) will need more processing time by Parks Canada. Applicants should coordinate with their respective Research Coordinator.

Impact Assessment

Parks Canada must conduct its business in a manner that gives full consideration to the impacts of its decisions on natural and cultural resources. It has both legal and policy obligations in this regard. Depending on the nature and location of the proposed research activities, impact assessments may be required.

Research or collection permit applications, whether related to an internal or external proponent, that require an environmental assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), another Act of Parliament, or another regime created by final comprehensive land claim agreement(s), will have an EA completed and taken into account as part of the permit decision. Where the provisions of the CEAA, another Act of Parliament, and final comprehensive land claim agreement(s) do not apply, and where there is potential for adverse impact from the project, an impact assessment may be conducted in compliance with Parks Canada’s policy.

Parks Canada is responsible for determining whether a research application requires an impact assessment. You should contact the Research Coordinator who will make this decision.

Species at Risk

Proposals for research that may affect species at risk, their critical habitat, or their residences must address the pre-conditions set out in the Species at Risk Act:

  1. All reasonable alternatives that would reduce the impact on the species have been considered and the best solution has been adopted;
  2. All feasible measures will be taken to minimize the impact of the activity on the species or its critical habitat or the residences of its individuals; and
  3. The activity will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species.

A list of extirpated, endangered or threatened species can be found in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. This information can be found at

Specific Requirements for Heritage Areas

Some Heritage Areas have specific requirements such as access permits for aircraft landings, off-road travel, camping, and other activities. Please see the section on Heritage Area-specific requirements or contact the appropriate Research Coordinator.

Data Management

At the very least, your research data should comply with Parks Canada’s data and metadata requirements. You are encouraged to contact the appropriate Research Coordinator for the most current data management requirements.

Data Sharing

Completion of a data catalogue questionnaire, provided by the Heritage Area, and a data dictionary may be a condition of the research permit depending on the requirement of the Heritage Area. Data submitted to the Heritage Area as part of the research program may be incorporated into the Heritage Area’s database.
Parks Canada is prepared to share its data with researchers; however, this will only be done under the terms of a data sharing agreement that is agreed to by the researcher. Data sharing agreements are developed by the Heritage Area and, if applicable, you should contact the Research Coordinator to discuss this matter.

Parks Canada Metadata Requirements

Parks Canada has metadata requirements that should be met when submitting any data. The core metadata represents a set of metadata elements that apply equally to all of Parks Canada’s information resources regardless of discipline or resource type. This set contains descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata that is valuable for the following purposes:

  1. Describing information resources created in the undertaking of Parks Canada’s activities;
  2. Sharing information;
  3. Improving search and retrieval functions related to information resources;
  4. Managing external and internal linkages between information resources;
  5. Controlling short and long-term access to the resources; and
  6. Maintaining information resources in the context of their creation and use.

All research data submitted to Parks Canada should comply with the Agency’s data and metadata requirements. You should contact the appropriate Research Coordinator for the latest versions.

Policy on Intellectual Property Rights

Unless otherwise agreed in writing the following applies regarding intellectual property rights.

Principal Investigator under Contract with Parks Canada – Copyright, patents and all other intellectual property rights in anything first conceived, developed or reduced to practice by the Principal Investigator under contract in the performance of the work under contract shall vest in the Principal Investigator. The Principal Investigator will grant to Canada a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world wide, and royalty-free license to use, copy or translate the work for government purposes. Copyright in any translation of the work made by Canada shall vest in Canada.

External Principal Investigator - Intellectual property rights for original, value-added or derived data vests in the Principal Investigator. The Principal Investigator will grant to Canada a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world wide, and royalty-free license to use, copy or translate original, value-added or derived data for government purposes. Copyright in any translation of the work made by Canada shall vest in Canada.

Internal (Parks Canada) Principal Investigator - Intellectual property rights for the work and original, value-added or derived data vests in Parks Canada if research is conducted in the course of the employee's duties. If research is conducted as part of an educational or other leave program whether fully or partially funded by Parks Canada, the intellectual property rights vests in the Principal Investigator and, in these instances, the Principal Investigator will grant to Canada a non-exclusive, irrevocable, world wide, and royalty-free license to use, copy or translate original, value-added or derived data for government purposes. Copyright in any translation of the work made by Canada shall vest in Canada.

Access to Information Policy

The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens and people present in Canada, a limited right of access to information in federal government records. The Privacy Act gives these same individuals a limited right of access to personal information about themselves held in government records and sets out rules and fair practices for the management of personal information by federal institutions. All information collected by the Parks Canada Agency is subject to these laws.
Once again, it is important for you to understand that the information you submit in your application and in your Investigator's Annual Report is not confidential and will be in the public record.

The Parks Canada Agency uses this information or makes it accessible in the following ways.

  • Information in applications is distributed to other Parks Canada Agency staff as part of the evaluation and decision process.
  • As part of the peer review process, applications are disclosed to internal or external referees including other government departments or agencies, or to members of ad hoc review committees for review. All participants in these review activities are advised of the Parks Canada Agency's expectations with regard to the confidentiality and protection of the information entrusted to them. The substance of expert reviews and selection committee comments about a proposal are accessible to co-applicants.
  • Information on applications and permits issued is maintained in a Parks Canada Agency database that is accessible to a variety of Parks Canada Agency employees.
  • Some applications are reviewed under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). These applications may be sent to other Federal departments or may be requested by any member of the public as part of this review. Specific project information will be posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry maintained on the internet by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
    Information on permits issued for research that affect species listed as extirpated, endangered, or threatened under SARA must be included in a web-based SARA Public Registry.

Facilitating a Favourable Decision

The superintendent makes a decision to approve an application based on an evaluation of favourable and unfavourable factors and on an assessment of perceived risks and benefits to the Heritage Area. While Research Coordinators will work with applicants to arrive at a mutually acceptable research design, there may be activities where no acceptable mitigating measures are possible and the application may be denied.

Some of the predisposing factors that influence permitting decisions are outlined below.

Favourable Factors

The proposed research:

  • Is consistent with Parks Canada’s policy and/or legislation;
  • Contributes information useful to an increased understanding of Heritage Area resources, and thereby contributes to effective management and/or interpretation;
  • Provides for sharing of information with Parks Canada staff, including any manuscripts, publications, maps, databases, etc.;
  • Addresses problems or questions of importance to science or society and shows promise of making an important contribution to humankind's knowledge of the subject matter;
  • Involves a Principal Investigator and support team with a record of accomplishments in the proposed field of investigation and with a demonstrated ability to work cooperatively and safely to accomplish the desired tasks within a reasonable time frame;
  • Includes communicating results to the scientific community through peer reviewed literature;
  • Provides for the investigator(s) to prepare occasional summaries of findings for public use, such as Heritage Area or community seminars and literature;
  • Where applicable, has undergone an impact assessment;
  • Where applicable, satisfies the three preconditions under the SARA;
  • Minimizes disruption to the Heritage Area's natural and cultural resources, visitors, and operations;
  • Where applicable, has undergone an animal care review and has addressed concerns raised by the review;
  • Discusses plans for the cataloguing, conservation and care of collected natural or archaeological objects, and their disposition in a recognized institution;
  • Clearly anticipates logistical needs and provides detail about provisions for meeting those needs;
  • Accounts for the cost to Parks Canada for the management and maintenance of resulting archaeological or natural object collections;
  • Does not require substantial logistical, administrative, curatorial, or project monitoring support by Parks Canada staff;
  • Has identified potential health and safety issues; has proposed measures to mitigate risks; includes emergency contingency plans;
  • Is supported academically and financially, making it highly likely that all fieldwork, analyses, and reporting will be completed within a reasonable time frame;
  • Has a detailed, realistic project budget;
  • Where applicable, is supported by the land claim environmental impact screening board or wildlife co-operative management board of jurisdiction, etc.;
  • To the greatest extent possible, will have Aboriginal involvement;
  • Provides sufficient lead time to allow necessary review and consultation.

Permit Response and Issuance Process

The Principal Investigator can expect to receive notice of the approval or rejection of the application in about 60 days. In many circumstances this response period may be expedited if elements of the proposal are worked out prior to application online. As a result, you are encouraged to contact the appropriate Research Coordinator well in advance of applying online. The Research Coordinator can inform you of any special requirements or notices for a Heritage Area.
If modifications or changes to a study proposal, initially deemed unacceptable, would make the proposal acceptable, the Research Coordinator may contact the Principal Investigator to discuss changes. In conjunction with the Research Coordinator, applicants have the ability to modify the relevant sections of their online application to resolve any concerns. This will eliminate the need for the applicant to resubmit the entire application. If the application is rejected, the applicant will be informed of the rationale for permit denial.

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 terms and conditions specified in the research and collection permit.” 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.
National general and discipline-specific terms and conditions will be attached to all Research and Collection Permits issued. Additional Heritage Area-specific conditions may also be included that address unique circumstances or activities. These conditions must be honoured by all permit holders.

A permit is valid only for the activities authorized in the permit. You and members of your field team must carry a copy of the valid permit at all times while performing your research or collecting in the Heritage Area. In the field, Parks Canada staff may ask to see the permit.

Permit Amendments

Occasionally it may be necessary for the researcher to change some aspect of the research. Significant changes such as change of location of the fieldwork, collection activities, methods, etc., will require that the permit be amended. Principal Investigators are asked to notify the Research Coordinator of any proposed change in the project. The Research Coordinator may require that you submit a formal amendment. This can be done electronically. Requests for significant changes such as these may require a more extensive re-evaluation of the permit conditions or development of a revised proposal. If the changes are minor, or you are in the field and unable to submit a formal request, you may be able to discuss the change by telephone with the Research Coordinator and agree on any changes. The Research Coordinator can modify the permit as agreed and issue an amended permit. Note, however, that a request for amendment may result in the need for additional specialist reviews (e.g., impact assessment, Species at Risk) where such reviews were not previously required.

Principal Investigators needing to amend their permit should submit the following information to the Research Coordinator.

  1. Permit No.
  2. Reference No.
  3. Date
  4. Name of Heritage Area(s)
  5. Name of Principal Investigator
  6. Nature and Scope of the Amendment(s) Requested
  7. Rationale for Request
  8. Effects of Approval or Rejection of Amendment Request on Project
  9. Impact of amendment request on natural and cultural resources or visitor/residents

You should not implement the changes until you have received approval from the Research Coordinator.

Research Products and Deliverables

Parks Canada is committed to keeping the public and the research community informed of research being conducted in Heritage Areas. Researchers working in a Heritage Area are required, as a condition of their permit, to submit:

  • A progress/interim report sixty (60) days following the completion of the field season, unless otherwise agreed with the Research Coordinator;
  • A final report (in electronic and hard copy form) no later than eight (8) months following the completion of the field season, unless otherwise agreed with the Research Coordinator;
  • An online Investigator's Annual Report (IAR) within one year of signing the permit. In the case of a multi-year permit, the Principal Investigator will submit an IAR for each year of the research.

A researcher under contract to Parks Canada is still expected to fulfil any reporting requirements defined in the terms of the contract.

Parks Canada maintains a system enabling researchers to use the Internet to complete and submit the Investigator's Annual Reports (IAR). IARs are used to document, in a consistent manner, results, or accomplishments of research conducted in Heritage Areas. Principal Investigators are responsible for the content of their reports. Research Coordinator staff will not modify reports received unless requested to do so by the Principal Investigator responsible for the report.

Other Products

Depending on the type of research and conditions of the permit, Research Coordinators may request copies of field notes, data, reports, publications and/or other materials resulting from studies conducted in Heritage Areas. Additional deliverables may be required of studies involving Parks Canada funding or participation.

The information you submit in your Investigator's Annual Report will be used by Heritage Area managers to inform resource management decision-makers, Heritage Area visitors, the public, and other researchers about the objectives and progress results of your research.

National General Conditions

Failure to comply with applicable Heritage Area regulations or the conditions of the permit may constitute grounds to cancel or suspend the permit, refuse to issue future permits, and may be considered as grounds for prosecution under the applicable Act(s) or Regulation(s).


1. All permit holders must be in possession of a valid permit before the fieldwork commences and at other periods as stated on the permit.

2. Permits are not transferable and each member of the field work team must have a copy of the valid permit in their possession.

3. The permit is valid only for the geographic location, the time period, the activities, and under the terms and conditions described on the permit, unless amended and revalidated by the Superintendent.


4. The Superintendent may suspend, cancel, or restrict the scope of the permit.

5. The permit shall cease to be valid if the fieldwork is not started within six months of the date of issue.

Other Acts and Regulations

6. The Principal Investigator must abide by applicable regulations and all other federal, provincial, territorial or municipal regulations applying to the Heritage Area.

7. If requested by the Superintendent, an authorized Heritage Area staff member, or police constable, the Principal Investigator or any team member will identify themselves and show the permit.

Principal Investigator Responsibilities

8. Any damage resulting from a Principal Investigator’s activities shall be reported promptly to the Superintendent. Principal Investigators will be financially responsible for any damage resulting from their activities or those of their work team.

9. A site, or site component(s) that has been excavated or disturbed shall be restored or conserved by the Principal Investigator to the satisfaction of the Superintendent.

10. The Principal Investigator must advise the Research Coordinator of any adjustments in work location, research plan and methodology, implementation schedule, or main personnel, etc., during the course of the research.

11. Unless otherwise negotiated, Researchers working in a Heritage Area are required, as a condition of their permit, to submit:

  • A report of progress sixty (60) days following the completion of the field season, unless otherwise agreed with the Research Coordinator;
  • A final report (in electronic and hard copy form) no later than eight (8) months following the completion of the field season, unless otherwise agreed with the Research Coordinator;
  • Submission of an online Investigator’s Annual Report (IAR) within one year of signing the permit. In the case of a multi-year permits, the Principal Investigator will submit an IAR for each year of the research.

12. The reporting requirements in condition 12 do not replace any reporting requirements set out in any contract between Parks Canada and the Principal Investigator.

13. The Principal Investigator will be responsible for all members of their party. All field assistants must observe any general or specific conditions of the permit.

14. The Principal Investigator shall at all times indemnify and save harmless the Crown from and against all claims, demands, loss, costs, damages, actions, suits, or other proceedings, by whosoever made, sustained, brought or prosecuted, in any manner based upon, occasioned by, or attributable to, anything done or omitted by the Principal Investigator or the project personnel in the fulfillment or purported fulfillment of any of the conditions of the Permit.

General Conditions Governing Natural Science Research

15. Any natural objects collected under authority of this permit remain the property of the Crown (Canada) and are considered on loan to the permit holder. Final disposition of natural objects must be as shown in the project proposal unless amended by the Superintendent. Export of objects or specimens require approval by the Superintendent and is subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and the Export and Import Permits Act. Intention to export specimens must be indicated in the project proposal.

16. Only the natural objects or categories of natural objects indicated on the permit may be collected.

17. A detailed inventory of material collected will be provided to the Heritage Area prior to its removal by the researcher.

18. When fossils or evidence of previous human occupation are found, they should be reported to the Superintendent and must be left undisturbed until inspected by a Parks Canada palaeontologist or archaeologist.

General Conditions Governing Archaeological Research

19. The Principal Investigator must participate in or directly supervise a minimum of 75% of the archaeological research project’s field operations.

20. The Principal Investigator must ensure that the latest Parks Canada archaeological site and object numbers are used for recording purposes, as specified in the Parks Canada Archaeological Recording Manual: Excavations and Surveys.

21. The Principal Investigator shall use archival quality recording materials (e.g., paper, ink, pencil, film) for all field recording.

22. In addition to reports set out in section 12 under “Principal Investigator’s Responsibilities”, the Principal Investigator will submit two additional hard copies of the final report.

23. Following completion of the archaeological research project, the Principal Investigator must submit to the Superintendent:

  • The originals of all Archaeological Records: Any written, graphic, visual and electronic record that is prepared and assembled that relates to the identification, evaluation, documentation, study, preservation, or excavation of an archaeological site or resource.
  • Moreover, all data submitted must comply with Parks Canada’s archaeological data and metadata requirements.

Archaeological Objects

24. All Archaeological Objects:

  • Remain the property of the Crown unless specified otherwise within a final comprehensive land claim agreement;
  • Are considered to be on loan to the Principal Investigator until the research on the site assemblage and final archaeological research report(s) are completed in accordance with the allotted time period specified on the permit.;
  • While in the possession of the Principal Investigator, the archaeological objects will be made available to Parks Canada for research and display purposes; and,
  • Will be returned to Parks Canada within one year of field project completion unless otherwise negotiated with the Superintendent.

25. All excavation units, archaeological objects and records will be recorded and identified using the Parks Canada archaeological provenience system, and according to Parks Canada standards and procedures.

26. Where an Archaeological Resource requires special treatment (e.g., unique, sacred, fragile, requiring immediate conservation assistance), the Superintendent shall be immediately informed for direction on how to proceed.

27. Conditions regarding the management, conservation, and the disposition of the collections(s) into a mutually agreed upon Parks Canada repository may be changed by the Superintendent as circumstances warrant.

28. The Principal Investigator and his or her crew shall use the Parks Canada Archaeological Recording Manual: Excavations and Surveys in the conducting of archaeological research activities.

Human Remains

29. Where human remains and/or funerary objects are accidentally encountered, the activities in progress at the site must be suspended immediately and the Superintendent notified. The Principal Investigator will await further direction from the Superintendent.

31. Human remains and funerary objects recovered from an archaeological context should be treated separately from archaeological objects. Human remains cannot be the subject of property. When human remains are found on federal Crown land administered by Parks Canada, the Agency has a custodial responsibility. The human remains are in the care and custody of the Crown.

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