Table of contents

Five images: Two Parks Canada staff at a burn site. Three polar bears. Three people handling artifacts. A group of people with hand drums. An urban forest. A green rectangle with white text that says: Parks Canada Agency Key Messages, Stakeholders and Media Links August 2019.
 

Parks Canada - Key messages

General

  • Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of natural and cultural heritage places in the world.
  • Parks Canada protects a vast network of natural and cultural heritage places, which includes 47 national parks, 171 national historic sites, four national marine conservation areas and one national urban park.
  • Parks Canada is responsible for protecting nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places with Canadians.
  • Parks Canada places belong to all Canadians.
  • National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the histories, cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
  • Through national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas, Canadians can discover nature and connect with history.
  • In managing national parks, Parks Canada maintains or restores ecological integrity and provides Canadians with opportunities to discover and enjoy them.
  • Canada’s national parks and national marine conservation areas are gateways to discovering and connecting with nature.
  • Our national historic sites reflect the rich and varied heritage of our nation and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.
  • From lighthouses to battlefields, historic neighbourhoods to cultural landscapes, there is an amazing array of places and stories to discover.
  • Parks Canada’s network of protected areas is a gateway to nature, history and 450 000 km2 of memories from coast to coast to coast.
  • Parks Canada protects and restores our national parks and national historic sites; enables people to discover and connect with nature and history; and helps sustain the economic value of these places for local and regional communities.

Indigenous Peoples

  • The Government is committed to reconciliation and renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
  • Working together with more than 300 Indigenous groups across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places.
  • Many Parks Canada places have seen a transition over time from a past where Indigenous peoples were separated from their traditional lands and waters. Today, Parks Canada is committed to ensuring Indigenous connections are honoured and Indigenous rights are respected.
  • Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with traditional lands and waters.
  • Parks Canada collaborates with Indigenous communities and organizations in various on-the-ground conservation activities, such as species recovery and habitat restoration, often through the use of traditional knowledge.
  • Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples work together to develop interpretive materials and activities at national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas, with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ cultures and traditions.

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

  • Indigenous languages are a part of the shared history and heritage of all Canadians. They hold the keys to irreplaceable culture, knowledgeable worldviews and intimate understandings about the environment, intergenerational knowledge and the history of the landscape we know as Canada.
  • Preserving, promoting and revitalizing Indigenous languages is a critical part of recognizing Indigenous identity and strengthening Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada has an important role to play in supporting the revitalization of Indigenous languages in Canada.
  • In celebration of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Canadians are encouraged to help support the revitalization of Indigenous languages and are invited to visit Parks Canada places to learn about Indigenous languages, knowledge, cultures and traditions.

Historical designations/site names

  • Parks Canada is a leader in protecting Canada’s cultural heritage and fostering public understanding. One of our roles is to tell the story of Canada’s history.
  • Parks Canada is committed to working respectfully with Indigenous peoples and honouring their contributions to our shared heritage and history.
  • Parks Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians have opportunities to learn about the full scope of our history, including the difficult periods that are part of our past. At Parks Canada places, we strive to provide a comprehensive and balanced overview of Canada’s history.
  • Commemoration is not celebration. National historic sites and designations commemorate all aspects of Canada's history, both positive and negative.
  • Designations can recall moments of greatness and triumph or cause us to contemplate the complex and challenging moments that helped define the Canada of today. By sharing these stories with Canadians, we hope to foster better understanding and open discussions on the histories, cultures and realities of Canada’s history.

Federal infrastructure investment

  • Parks Canada is investing an unprecedented $3 billion to support infrastructure work to heritage, visitor, waterway and highway assets within national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across Canada. These investments represent the largest federal infrastructure plan in the history of Parks Canada.
  • Through infrastructure investments, Parks Canada is protecting and conserving our national treasures, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector.
  • Investments in heritage, visitor, waterway and highway infrastructure ensure safe, high-quality and meaningful experiences for visitors, enabling Canadians to discover nature and connect with history.
  • Investments in visitor infrastructure—such as trails, visitor centres and campgrounds, as well as highways and bridges—will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and continue to allow Canadians to connect with nature.
  • These investments give our past a future.
  • Investments in the preservation and restoration of our national historic sites will protect Canada’s rich heritage for future generations.

Visitor experience

  • Parks Canada is the country’s largest tourism provider, and we are committed to providing visitors with high-quality and meaningful experiences.
  • Developing new and innovative programs and services enables more Canadians, including youth and newcomers, to experience the outdoors and learn about our environment and history.
  • By encouraging Canadians to visit their national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas and providing them with the information and means to enjoy them, Parks Canada enables more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our heritage.
  • Parks Canada continues to invest in frontcountry facilities to ensure the best possible visitor experience at our places. This includes significant investments in visitor facilities, campgrounds and day-use areas, as well as the addition of oTENTik accommodations across the country.
  • To make the most of their Parks Canada experience, visitors are encouraged to plan their trip in advance. Visit the Parks Canada website, sign up for the e-newsletter, download Parks Canada’s mobile application and follow us on social media for inspiration on places to visit and to help plan the perfect visit.

Free admission for youth 17 and under and new Canadians

  • Admission is free for youth aged 17 and under to all Parks Canada places. Parks Canada places are a great way for youth to experience the outdoors and learn more about our environment and history.
  • By encouraging young people to discover and connect with Canada’s incredible nature and fascinating history, Parks Canada can inspire the next generation of stewards for our national treasures.
  • In celebration of families and diversity, Parks Canada offers free admission to new Canadian citizens for one year through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Canoo mobile application.

Tourism

  • As Canada’s largest provider of natural and cultural tourism, Parks Canada places are cornerstones of Canada’s local, regional and national tourism industry.
  • Parks Canada places are an important part of local economies, helping to generate billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of people.
  • Parks Canada works with nearby communities to help grow local tourism and create jobs.

Human-wildlife coexistence

  • Keeping wildlife wild is a shared responsibility – we all have a role to play.
  • Human and wildlife safety is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada. Parks Canada takes action to promote coexistence between people and wildlife.
  • Parks Canada is focusing on communications, compliance and enforcement to ensure wildlife in the park do not become food-conditioned. We need the support of all visitors to ensure that wildlife attractants and human food do not get to wildlife.
  • Observing wildlife in their natural habitat is a privilege that comes with a responsibility to treat wildlife with the respect they deserve and need.
  • Together, we can contribute to the successful coexistence of people and wildlife.

Visitor safety

  • Visitor safety is of the utmost importance for Parks Canada.
  • As the country’s largest tourism provider, Parks Canada is committed to providing visitors with safe, meaningful and enjoyable experiences at our places.
  • Safety is a shared responsibility. Parks Canada reminds visitors that anyone travelling into the backcountry is responsible for their own safety.
  • Parks Canada works with other organizations to ensure that backcountry users have access to the most up-to-date information on backcountry conditions, so that they can make informed decisions.
  • Information on mountain safety, coastal safety and human wildlife safety is available on the Parks Canada website. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, Parks Canada also strongly recommends visiting the website of the national park, national historic site or national marine conservation area that you are visiting for location-specific information.

Development

  • Canada’s national parks integrate environmental protection with visitor experiences. The Agency is committed to protecting ecological integrity within national parks while providing high-quality and meaningful experiences to visitors.
  • Strict development limits are in place to protect the ecological integrity of national parks. Parks Canada has a rigorous development review and environmental assessment process that ensures all development proposals comply with these limits and healthy ecosystems are maintained.
  • Canada has a robust framework in place for environmental assessment of project proposals, which may have an impact on national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
  • It is important to note that visitation does not equate to development. Strict development limits are in place to protect the ecological integrity of national parks.
  • It is important to invest in new visitor infrastructure and innovative programs and services, so that Canadians, including youth and newcomers, can experience the outdoors and learn about our environment. By building connections to these places, we can foster the stewards of tomorrow—people who know and care about these treasures.

Visitation

  • In managing national parks, Parks Canada is mandated to maintain or restore ecological integrity and provide Canadians with opportunities to discover and enjoy them.
  • The Agency has been successfully managing this integrated mandate by ensuring that ecological integrity is the first priority in decision making.
  • Parks Canada is pleased that visitation is strong, and we look forward to continuing to welcome visitors from Canada and around the world to Parks Canada places.
  • Parks Canada has many tools at its disposal to effectively manage visitation, including trip planning and promoting shoulder seasons and less sensitive areas of our parks and is committed to working with partners to develop new and innovative ways to continue to do so.
  • Parks Canada takes proactive steps to help preserve our national parks, such as public awareness campaigns to educate visitors about appropriate behaviour in natural space and ways to avoid human-wildlife conflict.
  • To ensure the best possible experience, visitors are encouraged to plan their visit ahead of time through the Parks Canada website or download the Parks Canada mobile application and make sure that they have a camping reservation.
  • We continue to invest in front country facilities to ensure the best possible visitor experience for people coming to our places. This includes significant investments in visitor facilities, campgrounds and day-use areas, as well as the addition of oTENTik accommodations across the country.
  • It is important to note that visitation does not equate to development. Strict development limits are in place to protect the ecological integrity of national parks.

Fire management

  • Parks Canada is a leader in fire management with more than 30 years of experience in using fire to naturally restore and maintain the ecological integrity of national parks and national historic sites.
  • The safety of the public, our crews, park infrastructure and neighbouring lands is always our number one priority.
  • Through safe and effective fire management, Parks Canada is reducing the danger of wildfire to the public, infrastructure and neighbouring lands, while improving the ecological health of our forests and grasslands.
  • Parks Canada takes wildfire preparedness, including risk reduction activities, very seriously.
  • Prescribed fires are controlled, intentionally lit fires that are only conducted under exacting conditions (e.g. weather, moisture, wind direction, supporting resources, etc.). Prescribed fire reduce fuel to lessen the severity of wildfires, release nutrients and allow for a mosaic of ecosystems that support diverse plants and wildlife.
  • Parks Canada recognizes the importance of involving Indigenous peoples and using traditional knowledge in our fire management program.

Conservation and species at risk

  • Canada is committed to protecting biodiversity and conserving at least 17 percent of land and inland waters and 10 percent of coastal and marine waters by 2020.
  • Canada’s network of protected areas plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.
  • Parks Canada is a recognized leader in conservation and takes actions to preserve national parks and national marine conservation areas and contribute to the recovery of species at risk.
  • Under the Species at Risk Act, Parks Canada is responsible for the protection and recovery of listed species found in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
  • Parks Canada takes its mandate to protect ecological integrity very seriously and has the only national parks system in the world that has fully implemented a system-wide ecological integrity monitoring and reporting program, consisting of more than 700 independent scientific measures that inform park-specific priorities and guide investments in conservation.
  • Parks Canada works with Indigenous communities across the country as partners in conserving Canada’s natural heritage and collaborates extensively with academic and scientific institutions on ecological monitoring projects.

Nature Legacy

  • The Nature Legacy supports the protection of Canada’s nature, parks and wild spaces and contributes to meeting international commitments for biodiversity and climate change.
  • Through the Nature Legacy, Parks Canada is working with partners to ensure that Canada’s protected areas are better connected, providing safe havens for wildlife and helping respond to the impacts of climate change.
  • As part of the Nature Legacy, Parks Canada is enhancing the way that science and Indigenous knowledge work together to conserve Canada’s natural heritage.
  • Parks Canada is working with Indigenous partners to enhance their role in the stewardship of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.

Climate change

  • Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation – we must act collectively and act now.
  • Canada’s network of protected areas plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.
  • In collaboration with Indigenous peoples and academics, Parks Canada is conducting important research within our protected areas that contributes to our understanding of climate change.

National marine conservation areas

  • National marine conservation areas divide the country’s oceans and the Great Lakes into 29 marine regions, each one unique and encompassing a combination of submerged and coastal lands, the water and the species found there.
  • There are currently four national marine conservation areas – Fathom Five National Marine Park, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area and Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.
  • In support of Canada’s biodiversity, Canada is taking action to conserve 10 percent of marine and coastal waters by 2020 in collaboration with the provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and other key partners.

Accessibility in Parks Canada places

  • Through its infrastructure and services and the use of technology, Parks Canada strives to make national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservations areas accessible to as many Canadians as possible.
  • Parks Canada works on an ongoing basis to improve the accessibility of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas by incorporating universal access principles and practices when existing infrastructure is upgraded or when new infrastructure is added.
  • Parks Canada team members are always available to provide information and support visitors that want to explore nature. Parks Canada team members can help visitors find the best way for them to experience our national treasures.

External engagement and collaboration with stakeholders and partners

Parks Canada works with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to deliver the Agency’s mandate. Partnerships and collaborative arrangements have been used to facilitate the Agency’s work in virtually every area of its activities.

In recent years, Parks Canada has made great strides in growing and diversifying these collaborations. By working in collaboration, the Agency and its partners can leverage one another’s expertise and resources in order to achieve outcomes more efficiently and effectively that serve the interests of Parks Canada, partners and all Canadians.

Non-governmental organizations

  • Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
  • A for Adventure
  • Association for Mountain Park Protection and Enjoyment
  • Canadian Avalanche Association
  • Avalanche Canada
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
  • Canadian Wildlife Federation
  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • Historica
  • Institute for Canadian Citizenship
  • National Trust for Canada
  • Nature Canada
  • Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Royal Canadian Geographical Society
  • Royal Canadian Legion
  • Students on Ice
  • The Great Trail
  • TripAdvisor
  • Museums and Science Centres
  • Vancouver Aquarium/Ocean Wise
  • World Wildlife Fund Canada
  • Canadian History Museums Network
  • Museum of Nature Canada
  • National Geographic Society
  • Canadian Parks Council and its member organizations
  • Universities and colleges
  • Recreational organizations – biking, hiking, etc.
  • Wilderness and conservation organizations
  • Volunteer organizations – Friends of Parks Canada places

Indigenous organizations

  • Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
  • National, regional local Indigenous organizations and business development corporations
  • Cooperative management boards established to support Parks Canada places

Business interests and industry associations

  • Travel and tourism companies
  • Lease and business licence holders
  • BC Ferries
  • Air Canada
  • Google Inc.
  • Mars Canada
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Parkbus
  • Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Federal/provincial/territorial/municipal organizations

  • Provincial/territorial government departments
  • Three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Municipal governments, including municipalities and towns within national parks
  • Improvement districts
  • Ontario waterway conservation authorities
  • Provincial/territorial/municipal heritage trusts
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • National Capital Commission
  • Destination Canada
  • Provincial and destination tourism marketing associations

New media links

General overview

This selection of videos represents a snapshot of Parks Canada’s video presence. From major marketing campaigns to stories of science and conservation and Indigenous connections, our projects promote the entirety of the Agency’s mandate. To watch more of our content, please visit the official Parks Canada Youtube Channel.

YouTube videos