We are pleased to share the Framework for History and Commemoration: National Historic Sites System Plan 2019. This framework provides strategic direction for Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) in their work to recognize and share our country’s rich and complex history and engage Canadians in their past.

The Framework for History and Commemoration outlines a new, comprehensive, and engaging approach to sharing the stories of Canada’s history through diverse and wide-ranging perspectives, including the challenging and difficult periods of our past. In particular, it will ensure that the history and voices of Indigenous peoples are incorporated at Parks Canada’s heritage places.

Commemoration is not celebration

Commemoration is not celebration — it is recognition and acknowledgement of some of the controversial, tragic, and difficult chapters of the history that has shaped Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to providing a comprehensive and balanced overview of Canada’s history to ensure that Canadians have opportunities to engage with the full scope of our history, including controversial aspects of our past.

Parks Canada’s Framework for History and Commemoration aims at just that, by providing guidance through principles for addressing controversial designations. These principles highlight public involvement and the importance of reflecting a range of perspectives when we present history to Canadians now and into the future. In addition, Parks Canada recognizes the need to ensure that the National Program of Historical Commemoration better reflects the diversity that has made Canada what it is today. There should be opportunities for everyone to see themselves and their communities reflected through the designation of persons, places and events of national significance.

For the work of the HSMBC, this plan identifies strategic priorities that will encourage new and diverse types of public nominations for persons, places, and events of national historic significance. It also outlines a process for the careful review of existing designations and acknowledges the need to adapt the policies and practices of the Board.