Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas, along with its first urban national park, are cherished jewels of Canada’s collective identity. Parks Canada protects and presents these places because they tell the stories of who we are, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples. These natural and cultural treasures constitute an enduring legacy and a source of pride for Canadians. They offer Canadians and visitors from around the world unparalleled opportunities to connect, experience and learn about our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. As the honoured steward of these national treasures, the Parks Canada Agency understands the importance of evaluating the state of heritage places to support and inform decision-making and secure the future of these places for present and future generations.

The present Report, covering the period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2016, fulfils the obligation under the Parks Canada Agency Act to provide a report to the Minister, to be tabled in each House of Parliament, on the state of Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas and on other protected heritage areas and heritage protection programs, and on the Agency’s performance in carrying out its responsibilities.

The 2016 Report is divided into two parts. The first provides a summary of the state of natural heritage place establishment and the state of cultural heritage programs since 2011.

The second part of the Report presents a snapshot of the state of our natural and cultural heritage places. Parks Canada uses a suite of indicators to measure and communicate the state of heritage places under its administration. The full assessment process runs every ten years, in alignment with the ten-year management planning cycle. This part of the Report is organized around several areas assessed as follows: cultural resources, ecological integrity, species at risk, protection and ecologically sustainable use of national marine conservation areas, asset management, visitor experience, and public appreciation and support. For each category, the Report provides a context, summarizes the current state and trend of associated indicators, highlights the actions taken over the last few years to improve or maintain the state, and analyzes relevant issues.

Overall, this Report provides a basis for collective understanding among parliamentarians, decision-­makers, stakeholders, partners, and the general public, of the state of heritage places under Parks Canada stewardship.