About the consultations

Parks Canada is undertaking an assessment of its various regulations and internal policies related to planning permits. This process will result in new regulations, tentatively titled Land Use Management Regulations, as well as updated policies and operating procedures for compliance.

Parks Canada’s current development, building and occupancy permit review process is divided among several statutes, regulations and local policies.  The regulations concerning permitting for construction and renovation projects need to be updated to reflect current national standards and to ensure consistency with municipal and provincial/territorial approaches from across Canada.

A best practices analysis was conducted to determine a potential model for planning permit review with an improved three-stage process involving development, building and occupancy permits. Considerations are also given to processes of public notification, consultation, and appeals, among others. Parks Canada is seeking public input on the steps and considerations to be taken to ensure that the updated process reflects modern planning principles and meets the highest standards of scrutiny, reflective of the places Parks Canada is mandated to protect. As set out in legislation, The maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity is the first priority in decision-making by Parks Canada. A modernized planning permit process will continue to reflect this priority.


Questions and answers

What is Parks Canada Agency seeking to do?

Parks Canada is seeking public input on establishing a streamlined framework for planning permits that provides a consistent, transparent, and rigorous review process for any request for development in Parks Canada managed places.

Why is Parks Canada undertaking this review?

Parks Canada is undertaking an assessment of its building, cottage, and sign regulations. All Parks Canada regulations concerning permitting for construction and renovation need to be updated to reflect current national codes (e.g. National Building, Plumbing, and Fire Codes) and to ensure consistency with municipal and provincial/territorial standards, where beneficial.

Parks Canada is undertaking this review to ensure that its regulations and polices reflect modern planning principles and that projects receive the highest standard of scrutiny throughout the planning permit process. The commitment to review Parks Canada’s current regulations related to planning permits is identified in the Agency’s Forward Regulatory Plan. In Let’s Talk Parks, Canada! Minister McKenna committed to undertake a review of development and land use management decision-making tools to ensure a consistent and transparent process for development decisions at Parks Canada places. By undertaking these consultations, the Agency is taking its first step towards meeting these commitments.

What does Parks Canada hope to achieve?

Parks Canada is seeking public input on how best to establish a single, modern, streamlined framework for permitting that provides a consistent, transparent and predictable review process of applications for construction and renovation projects. The maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity as the first priority in decision making, as set out in the Canada National Parks Act, will also be applied to new regulations.

Parks Canada is consulting with Indigenous groups, stakeholders and the public to understand and identify key issues and improvements to be made to the current permit application processes. Public input will help to inform the creation of a new national planning permit process to ensure the continued protection and presentation of Parks Canada places.

New regulations will be drafted to set out permitting requirements and required steps in the review of permit applications. Supporting land use policies (i.e.: architectural guidelines, local zoning, setbacks, etc.) will be revised as needed, once updated regulations have been established.

Will this encourage more development in protected areas?

Parks Canada is undertaking an assessment of its building, cottage, and sign regulations. All Parks Canada regulations concerning permitting for construction and renovation need to be updated to reflect current national codes (e.g. National Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes) and to ensure consistency with municipal and provincial/territorial standards, where beneficial. A modernized planning permit process will ensure that ecological integrity is the primary consideration in Parks Canada's assessment of any construction or renovation project application.

New regulations and policies will ensure a consistent Agency decision-making process for planning permit applications. It will not change existing commercial caps, townsite boundaries, or amount of land currently zoned for development, etc. – those are long-term planning decisions made through legislation, management plans, community plans, site guidelines, and related documents.

This updated process will provide clear decision-making on an application for redevelopment of particular lots that are already zoned for commercial, private accommodation or visitor services purposes through existing management and systems plans. It will not be possible to seek a permit for an area not already identified for these purposes.

How long is the consultation period?

Public consultations will begin in July 2018 and conclude by the end of October 2018. A What We Heard Report will be published summarizing the input we have received after the comment period closes.

Where will the public consultations be held?

Parks Canada will be scheduling open houses in the following park communities receive comments and suggestions from local leaseholders in:

  • Jasper, Alberta (Jasper National Park)
  • Waskesiu , Saskatchewan (Prince Albert National Park)
  • Wasagaming, Manitoba (Riding Mountain National Park)
  • Field, British Columbia (Yoho National Park)
  • Lake Louise, Alberta (Banff National Park)
  • Waterton, Alberta (Waterton Lakes National Park)

Dates and locations of these meetings will be made public in local media before the event takes place. Participants are invited to consult the resource materials available in anticipation of these public discussions.

Other engagement activities will be scheduled to seek input from specific stakeholder groups in national parks and other Parks Canada places as the consultation process advances. In addition, any interested party is invited to submit written suggestions through our website.

When will a draft of the new regulations be ready?

Draft regulations are expected to be pre-published in the Canada Gazette by spring 2019. There will be an opportunity for the public to provide further comments on the draft regulations at that time.


How to participate

Parks Canada is conducting consultations based on the following broad questions:

  • What principles should be followed when evaluating permit applications?
  • How can Parks Canada better help applicants through the permit process?
  • What are the barriers to applying for construction permits from Parks Canada?
  • Are there existing best practices in land use planning that could be successfully implemented in the Parks Canada context?

Additional information and detailed questions have been developed and presented in the Discussion Paper for consideration and comment. Please consult the list of resources below for more information.

Parks Canada will seek input from interested Canadians on the proposed planning permit process both in person and online. In-person consultations will include public open houses and meetings with key stakeholder groups in park communities. Dates and locations of these open houses will be published through local media when available.

For those unable to attend the in-person consultations, we’ll be happy to accept any comments you may have on how we can improve our planning permit process: permis-permits@pc.gc.ca

Timeline

Activity Dates
Public meetings and online comment period July to October 2018
What We Heard Report finalized Fall 2018
Regulatory drafting Winter to Spring 2019
Draft regulation and the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) posted online for public comment
  • Canada Gazette, Part I
Spring 2019
Refinement of the draft regulations based on feedback received Fall 2019
Finalized regulations posted online
  • Canada Gazette, Part II
Winter 2020
Coming into force of the regulations To be determined

Resources available

Current regulations

Parks Canada Agency contact:

Daniel Mercer
Manager, Planning Policy
Policy, Legislative and Cabinet Affairs Branch