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|Protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.|
An assessment of the progress the Agency made towards its strategic outcome and the performance status related to planned results/priorities was presented in Section 1. This section will focus on the performance status of program activities’ performance expectations.
There are two parts to this section. First, performance expectations and their status, including planned and actual expenditures, revenues and human resources (i.e., FTEs), are provided in Figure 1 by program activity, followed by detailed analysis of nine performance expectations.
Parks Canada’s performance has been assessed based on the following four ratings:
On Target means that the Agency has met the target levels and is usually applied in situations where the performance has been achieved within the reporting year;
Reasonable Progress means that progress (in areas over which the Agency has control or direct influence) toward a multi-year goal is reasonable, and if continued is likely to lead to achievement of the long-term target;
Caution means that either short-term goals are not being met, or that progress toward longer-term goals is below expectations; and
Insufficient Information means that there is not enough information to make a determination of progress.
Program Activity 1: Establish Heritage Places
Program Activity 2: Conserve Heritage Resources
Program Activity 3: Promote Public Appreciation and Understanding
Program Activity 4: Enhance Visitor Experience
Program Activity 5: Townsite Management
Program Activity 6: Throughway Management
Performance expectations reported in Part II were selected amongst all performance expectations shown in Figure 1 because:
The National Parks System Plan (1997) (www.pc.gc.ca) divides Canada into 39 distinct natural terrestrial regions, with the goal of representing each of these regions with at least one national park. Park establishment begins with the identification of areas representative of a natural region followed by the selection of a potential park proposal; conducting a feasibility study, including consultations, on the park proposal; negotiating park agreements; and formally protecting a park under the Canada National Parks Act.
Performance ExpectationIncrease the number of represented terrestrial regions from 25 in March 2003 to 30 of 39 by March 2008.
As of March 31, 2008, 28 out of 39 terrestrial regions were represented. No new parks have been established in the period covered by this report.
From March 2003 to March 2008, three unrepresented natural terrestrial regions have been represented in the national parks system – making the goal 60% achieved (three out of five regions represented). A Canada-British Columbia agreement was signed for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in 2003, an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Ukkusiksalik National Park in 2003, and an agreement and formal establishment under the Canada National Parks Act for Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve in 2005 resulting in the addition of over 30,000 km2 of protected land added to the national parks system. Figure 2 illustrates the number of represented regions and operational parks, and total size of the national parks system.
|As of March 31st|
|# of 39 natural terrestrial regions represented in system||28||28||28||27||27||25|
|# of operational national parks||42||42||42||41||41||39|
|Km² of operational national parks||276,240||276,240||276,240||265,000||265,000||244,540|
|Source: Table and Map on Growth of the System of National Parks and National Park Reserves of Canada.
Note: A region may be represented by a national park or national park reserve (i.e., a reserve is an area managed as a national park, but where the lands are subject to one or more land claims by Aboriginal people that have been accepted for negotiation by Canada). And a region is considered represented when a national park or park reserve is operational (i.e., when a park establishment agreement has been signed by the Minister, with Cabinet approval; when the land has been transferred to Canada, and when the authority to operate has been established under various provincial, territorial and/or federal regulations).
Progress is being made on four other proposals. Feasibility studies for the Mealy Mountains and South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen proposals are in their final stages. Aboriginal support is being sought for the Bathurst Island proposal to proceed to negotiating a park agreement. The proposal for the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, also at a feasibility study stage, took a major step forward this year with Minister of Environment’s announcement of a land withdrawal from new mineral development while discussions continue.
Of the five steps in the establishment process, the feasibility study (step 3) in particular takes time because Parks Canada works in a complex external environment. The feasibility work is about advancing an important federal conservation program within a context of federal–provincial relations, Aboriginal rights and claims, and the commitment to consult in a meaningful way. The Agency is making long-term and enduring investments in the future during these studies and it takes time to get it right. The planning process must also ensure that an integrated approach to the mandate is considered, requiring natural and social science research and developing an understanding of the regional context. Relationship building and collaboration are critical aspects of reaching a successful outcome, in the form of public support for a proposed park to move on to the next stage of negotiating an agreement.
Results achievement could be delayed by policy challenges related to land use and jurisdictional priorities, by shifting provincial expectations, by the need to build support, by other department priorities, and by the impact of court decisions. For example, no progress was made on the Wolf Lake proposal this past year. As such, Parks Canada may need to explore opportunities to identify alternate candidate areas in the Northern Interior Plateaux and Mountains. In response to a request from First Nations, Parks Canada has adopted a measured pace on the Manitoba Lowlands proposal to ensure that the First Nations have sufficient support and time to actively engage community members. The Mealy Mountains feasibility study is nearly complete, pending provincial deliberations on the proposed boundary.
For all of the above reasons, the date for achieving representation of five unrepresented regions has been extended to 2010 in the 2008-2009 Corporate Plan. Representing two additional regions by 2010 is reasonable although it remains a challenge.
A National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan, (1995) titled Sea to Sea to Sea, (www.pc.gc.ca) divides Canada’s oceanic waters and Great Lakes into 29 natural marine regions. The long-term goal is to represent each of these regions with at least one national marine conservation area (NMCA). National marine conservation areas are managed for sustainable use, and include highly protected zones surrounded by multiple-use areas where fishing, aquaculture and marine transportation are permitted.
Performance ExpectationIncrease the number of represented marine regions from two in March 2003 to four of 29 by March 2008.
As of March 31, 2008, three out of 29 marine regions were represented. During this reporting period, an agreement for Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area was signed. The goal of representing two additional marine regions has been 50% achieved.
The Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of the Environment announced an agreement with the government of Ontario to establish a national marine conservation area in Northern Lake Superior. A memorandum of understanding with the Northern Superior First Nations was signed at the same time, and will lead to their active engagement in the management and stewardship of the national marine conservation area. This immense and magnificent area of about 10,000 km2 – a stunning seascape featuring a diversity of plant and animal life – is the largest freshwater protected area in the entire world.
Significant progress has been made towards a Canada/Haida collaborative management agreement for the proposed Gwaii Haanas NMCA Reserve, which will represent two additional marine regions when established. A feasibility study for a proposed Southern Strait of Georgia NMCA is well advanced and one is in an early stage for a proposal in the marine waters around les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Preliminary consultations have begun for a proposal in Lancaster Sound, with feasibility funding announced as part of Health of Oceans funding in the 2007 Federal Government Budget.
While the factors outlined for national park establishment also apply to proposed national marine conservation areas, these projects are made even more complex due to the various resource activities such as fishing, shipping, and aquaculture and other jurisdictions that need to be considered since ecologically sustainable use is an important part of managing a national marine conservation area.
For national marine conservation areas, there is one additional step in the establishment process. Before formal establishment under the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act can take place, the legislation requires that an interim management plan be submitted to Parliament, with public input. These plans have begun to be developed for the proposed Gwaii Haanas NMCA and Lake Superior NMCA, with the first step being to set up advisory/collaborative management groups.
For the various reasons described above, the date for achieving four represented marine regions has been extended to 2010 in the 2008-2009 Corporate Plan.
National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan (2000) (www.pc.gc.ca) presents a strategy to commemorate places, persons, and events of national historic significance. Implementation of the plan is the responsibility of several different stakeholders; the public, who makes most of the nominations for designation; the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), which reviews all submissions and recommends the designation of places, persons and events that represent nationally significant aspects of Canadian history; and the Minister of the Environment, who makes the final designations. Parks Canada’s role involves publicizing the process, receiving and screening designations, preparing background papers for the HSMBC, acting as secretariat for the HSMBC, and preparing submissions, based on HSMBC recommendations, for the Minister. Additional information on the HSMBC is available on the Parks Canada website (www.pc.gc.ca).
Performance ExpectationDesignate, on average, 24 new places, persons and events per year.
In 2007-2008, on an average over three years, 28 designations of new places, persons and events were made per year as shown in Figure 3.
To reach that result, the Minister of the Environment made 45 new designations in 2007-2008. This number is attributed in large measure to the Minister’s approval of outstanding recommendations of the HSMBC arising from its meetings in December 2005 (18) and June 2006 (23); other recommendations (4) arose from 2007-2008 meetings.
|Balance as of April 1
|Balance as of March 31||1,942||1,897||1,875|
|Average over 3 years||28||16||16|
|Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Secretariat database and Directory of Federal Heritage Designation
Adjustments to the number of designations result from the destruction of the listed asset, discovery of double-counted or uncounted previous designations, or reassessment of the status of a listed site.
As of March 31, 2008, Canada’s System of National Historic Sites includes 935 national historic sites. Of these, 158 are administered by Parks Canada. The system also includes 612 national historic persons and 395 national historic events as shown in Figure 4.
Parks Canada will continue to strengthen and expand partnerships with diverse communities and national associations to encourage nominations to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
The Canada National Parks Act defines ecological integrity as:
“A condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic (devoid of life) components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of changes and supporting processes”.
Performance ExpectationDevelop fully functioning ecological integrity monitoring and reporting systems for all national parks by March 2008.
Thirty-two (32) national parks representing 76% of Canada’s 42 national parks have met the initial conditions for a functioning ecological integrity monitoring and reporting system as shown in Figure 5. This represents a significant achievement over the last five years and specifically an improvement of 71% in this reporting period alone. The remaining parks (Torngat Mountains, Quttinirpaaq, Sirmilik, Auyuittuq, Ukkusiksalik, Aulavik, Tuktut Nogait, Ivvavik, Elk Island, Riding Mountain), especially those in the far north, are the least advanced. However, half of the conditions have been met on their respective ecological integrity monitoring and reporting systems.
The 32 parks, having a functioning ecological integrity monitoring system, met the most challenging condition of “Ecologically Comprehensive”; an increase of 12 parks from the previous year as shown in Figure 5. This condition is the most challenging because it requires the capacity of comprehension and evaluation of the entire monitoring program including park conservation priorities, consideration of all park ecosystems as well as the monitoring framework of biodiversity, function and stressors. Twenty-six (26) new parks met the “Clear Questions” condition in this reporting cycle, an increase of 62%. Finally, all 42 parks have recorded results in the Information Centre on Ecosystems thereby meeting the condition of “Information Recorded”, an increase of 24 parks (57%) from 2006-2007.
Northern parks present the biggest challenges for developing a functioning ecological monitoring system. High staff turnover is the largest challenge for planning a program representative of the major northern ecosystem. Furthermore, the large geographic area of most of these parks presents logistical monitoring challenges. Nonetheless, four of the 12 northern parks (Kluane, Vuntut, Nahanni, Wapusk) have already managed to overcome these challenges in the development of their systems. The ten parks, which did not meet initial conditions, are engaged in revising their monitoring and reporting work plans by the end of the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
The progress made in the establishment of an ecological integrity monitoring and reporting system in 2007-2008 for communicating to Canadians the condition of, and improvements to, the state of ecological integrity in Canada’s national parks represents a significant accomplishment for the Agency. The ecological integrity monitoring system provides the baseline information for on-going reporting on the state of ecological integrity in Canada’s national parks. It is also the basis for the Agency’s State of the Park Report, Performance Report and State of Protected Heritage Areas Report and is linked to the park management planning cycle.
Performance ExpectationImprove aspects of the state of ecological integrity in each of Canada’s 42 national parks by March 2014.
Over the last five years, the Agency has implemented a significant number of initiatives in the area of active management and restoration. To date, over 70 active management and restoration projects have been implemented in 37 national parks, with over 200 specific ecological integrity measures identified to assess improvements in ecological integrity. All of these ecological integrity innovation and species at risk recovery projects are tracked through a project tracking system, and specific short-term targets have been identified for achieving improvements in ecological integrity by March 2014. There is currently incomplete information to assess the impact of these projects.
During this reporting period, Parks Canada led the development of the Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Natural Areas, the first-ever Canada-wide guidance for ecological restoration practices.This document has been endorsed by all Ministers responsible for national, provincial and territorial parks in Canada, as well as by the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, and provides a tool for the Parks Canada Agency and its partners to maintain and improve healthy natural ecosystems, with the meaningful engagement of Canadians in the process.
The ecological integrity of many national parks is being degraded as a result of habitat fragmentation, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, invasive alien species, wildlife disease and incompatible land uses. Active management and restoration offers tools to help halt or reverse this degradation. The three following examples are typical of the type of results the Agency has obtained in maintaining and improving ecological integrity of the ecosystems found in national parks.
Example #1: Fire Management: Fires Bring New Life
Fire has always had a significant role in the maintenance of healthy natural ecosystems; fire recycles nutrients in the soil, helps encourage new plant growth, controls invasive alien species, and creates important habitat for birds and animals. Parks Canada seeks to reduce wildfire risk and approximate the ecological effects of the long-term historical fire regime that is characteristic of each park and site.
Approximately 60% of parks are actively managing fire, 41% of parks/sites with fire dependent/fire prone vegetation have clear fire/vegetation management objectives in their management plans (up from 24% in 2006-2007), and 20 fire plans (prescribed burns) covering 18,529 hectares were approved in 2007-2008.
In 2007-2008, 14 prescribed burns covering 2,082 hectares were ignited. This number is below the eight-year moving average of 15 prescribed burns covering 8,024 hectares. In 2007-2008, Parks Canada responded to 181 wildfires, which resulted in 223,115 hectares burned. This is well above the eight-year average of 76 wildfires, and above the annual average area burned. In all, 11 of the 27 parks actively managing fire have restored this process to a level of at least 20% of the annual average area that historically burned in the region. The program’s short-term target is to attain this level in 14 parks (50%).
Fires, whether set under controlled conditions or managed wildfires, contribute to healthy ecosystems and, along with other factors, may result in changes to the stressor rating of individual parks. Proper use of fire in our national parks has improved the ecological integrity of these special places.
Example #2: Species at Risk Recovery Actions and Public Engagement, Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site
Under the Species at Risk Act, Parks Canada is responsible for the protection and recovery of listed species at risk and their habitats found in national parks, national marine conservation areas, national historic sites and other protected heritage areas administered by Parks Canada.
Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site and its surrounding ecosystem are Atlantic Canada’s hot spot for species at risk. Fourteen (14) species in the area are listed under the federal Species at Risk Act, and the park is leading recovery efforts for three species: the Blanding’s turtle, eastern ribbonsnake and water-pennywort. Although results have been achieved this year for protecting eastern ribbonsnake and the water-pennywort, this report highlights the results for recovery of the Blanding’s turtles, reflecting the Agency’s understanding of this species habitat and recovery needs.
Recovery efforts require many years of sustained effort. The Kejimkujik project is primarily focused on enhancing critically small populations of Blanding’s turtles to remove them from imminent risk of extinction while defining and addressing the root causes of their decline. Park managers have established a very strong volunteer stewardship program to involve park visitors, neighbouring communities, and local Mi’kmaq in recovery activities.
Example #3: Amphibian Tunnels in Waterton Lakes National Parks
A unique approach to ecological restoration is underway in Waterton Lakes National Park. Long-toed salamanders suffer 10-40% annual mortality, crossing a busy road that separates the wetland, where the species breeds, from the rest of its habitat. While much still needs to be researched regarding the lifecycle of this species, recent studies suggest a steep decline in the population. Road mortality also affects other amphibians and reptiles attracted to the wetland.
Specially designed culverts will be installed to allow the animals to pass safely under the road. The targets for this project are to reduce the mortality rate related to the road crossing and to increase the population from its most recent low of 289 individuals.
Though considerable success has been achieved in communicating the value of the project to local and national media and in establishing a university partnership to study the effects of the tunnels, the project has experienced delays. The baseline study of salamander crossing before installation had to be postponed by one year to ensure that the spring migration was recorded. Challenges in procurement of the tunnels resulted in a missed opportunity to install them in the fall of 2007. Parks Canada is committed to developing a new long-term funding process that is aligned with the park’s annual business planning cycle and that will allow plenty of lead time to implement priority projects such as these in the future.
Finally, this performance expectation has been modified as part of the strategic outcome and program activity architecture review to allow for clearer reporting at a corporate level. Parks Canada published in its 2008-2009 Corporate Plan the performance expectation as being: 90% of national parks have at least one improved ecological integrity indicator from March 2008 to March 2013. With an ecological integrity monitoring system in place, with national principles and guidelines for ecological restoration in place, Parks Canada will be in a better position to report on ecological integrity improvements as a result of active management restoration projects.
Parks Canada administers 158 national historic sites located throughout the country. Each of these sites commemorates a significant example of Canada’s history and their commemorative integrity is achieved when:
Following designation, each national historic site is responsible to develop a commemorative integrity statement (please consult the Parks Canada website at www.pc.gc.ca for more information on this process). Once a commemorative integrity statement has been completed, the Agency conducts an evaluation to determine the site’s current state of commemorative integrity. The commemorative integrity evaluation rates three elements, resource condition (RC), effectiveness of communications (EC) and selected management practices (MP) on a good, fair and poor scale.
As of March 31, 2008, 119 out of 138 national historic sites having a commemorative integrity statement have been evaluated. The results of these evaluations can be found in Figure 6. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of all the ratings for the 119 national historic sites are good or fair.
|Source: Commemorative Integrity database
Sites selected for evaluation each year represent a mix of size and location and differ in their complexity of operation and themes. New sites are selected for evaluation each year and no site has been evaluated more than once. It cannot be assumed that the sites nor the commemorative integrity ratings of the specific sites are representative of other national historic sites administered by Parks Canada.
Each national historic site with poor ratings on one or more elements of commemorative integrity is reassessed five years after the original commemorative integrity evaluation to determine whether actions have been taken to improve these elements and whether improvements occurred. In 2007-2008, Parks Canada reviewed its reassessment methodology to align it with the formal commemorative integrity evaluation methodology for enhanced reliability. These reassessments are conducted by Parks Canada staff and include representatives from national office, field units, service centres and the national historic site being reassessed.
Sites originally evaluated six years ago were reassessed in this reporting period in comparison to baseline data from the initiation of the commemorative integrity evaluation program in 2001-2002. In order to move to a five-year cycle, reassessments will be accelerated in 2008-2009 to include those national historic sites originally evaluated in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.
Performance ExpectationImprove 75% of the elements of commemorative integrity rated as poor to at least fair condition, within five years of the original assessment.
Seven elements rated as poor in 2001-2002 (highlighted in Figure 6) were reassessed in 2007-2008. Four of them have been improved to at least fair within six years of the original assessment. Parks Canada achieved a 57 % improvement as shown in Figure 7.
|National Historic Site||Initial Commemorative Integrity ratings
|Resource Condition||Effectiveness of
|Selected Management Practices|
|Butler’s Barracks (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)||POOR||POOR|
|Cape Spear (Cape Spear, NL)||POOR||POOR|
|Jasper Park Information Centre (Jasper, AB)||POOR||POOR||POOR (EC)
|Gitwangak Battle Hill (Kitwanga, BC)||POOR||GOOD|
|Riel House (Winnipeg, MB)||POOR||GOOD|
|S.S. Keno (Dawson, YT)||POOR||GOOD|
|% of Poor Ratings Improved||100%||40%||100%||57%|
|Source: Parks Canada’s Reassessment of Sites With Poor Ratings|
Detailed information regarding the specific actions undertaken at the sites referred to in Figure 7 to improve elements of commemorative integrity rated as poor is provided below.
Butler’s Barracks – This site is making progress towards improving its rating for Effectiveness of Communications. Information on the Parks Canada website about this site has been improved since 2002. As well, new interpretive panels have been installed on-site and provide information about the history of the site but do not effectively convey the reasons for national significance.
Cape Spear – This site is also making progress towards improving its rating for Effectiveness of Communications. Since 2001, there have been modest improvements in the communication program at this site. As a result of changes to the staff training program, message delivery by staff during the operational season has improved with a stronger focus on providing messages related to the reasons for designation of the site. Key site messages, however, are not yet delivered to the majority of visitors.
Jasper Park Information Centre – This site has shown significant improvement in its rating for Resource Condition. Structural elements of the building at the Jasper Information Centre have been upgraded and enhanced. Many attributes of the historic value, previously hidden, have been revealed and can now be more easily communicated to visitors. Since 2002, information on the Parks Canada website about this site has been enhanced to improve the Effectiveness of Communications element, however, further work to convey the reasons for designation and other related messages has not yet been implemented.
Gitwangak Battle Hill (formerly Kitwanga Fort) – This site has shown significant improvement in its rating for Selected Management Practices. Improvements have been made to the inventory and evaluation of archaeological sites and objects, especially the oral history tapes that are currently being transcribed to preserve them for the future. Cultural resource management practices are being incorporated at the site and a conservation plan is now in place.
Riel House – This site has shown significant improvement in its rating for Effectiveness of Communications through numerous additions to their programming, including updated interpretive media, enhanced site tours and new education initiatives. This site is operated by a third party and guides are provided with extensive training which includes references to the Cultural Resource Management Policy, as well as the Parks Canada Charter and the process for designation. Staff are able to place and present Riel House in its context and within the Parks Canada system.
S.S. Keno – This site has shown significant improvement in its rating for Effectiveness of Communications. Since 2001, a new exhibit kiosk has been installed adjacent to the site and conveys a number of messages identified in the site’s Commemorative Integrity Statement. The freight deck of the vessel is now open for public tours and effectively incorporates the messages related to the reasons for designation.
Overall, these reassessed sites have taken steps to improve their ratings, some with great success and others requiring further work to ensure their commemorative integrity. For 2008-2009, the performance expectations related to commemorative integrity are set as follow: 70% of the condition of cultural resources and management practices and 75% of the communication element rated as poor are improved within five years. The targets for the condition of cultural resources and management practices have been reduced to allow greater emphasis to be placed on the communication element which has been identified as a priority within the Agency. Budget Plan 2005 established long-term funding to assist in the protection of cultural heritage assets and Parks Canada continues to work towards improving the state of commemorative integrity at its national historic sites.
Performance ExpectationDevelop indicators, expectations and protocols for measuring public appreciation and understanding of Canadians and stakeholders by May 2007.
As stated in Section 1, Parks Canada is implementing, through its 2008-2009 Corporate Plan, a revised strategic outcome and program activity architecture. As part of this exercise, this program activity was further analysed and refined, and constitutes the basis for a new assessment of results for this performance expectation.
Public appreciation and understanding aims to reach Canadians, particularly youth and urban audiences, at home, at leisure, at school and in their communities through effective and relevant learning opportunities designed to increase understanding, appreciation, support and engagement towards natural and historic heritage places. To accomplish this, Parks Canada is collaborating with audiences and strategic partners within formal, informal and non-formal learning contexts.
Using a diversity of carefully targeted outreach education approaches, such as the Parks Canada website, broadcasting and new media, integration into urban venues and introduction of content into school curricula, the Agency helps build a connection to place essential to achieving its mandate. Parks Canada also intends to broaden its base of support by involving its many stakeholders, and encouraging shared leadership in the development and implementation of the Agency’s future direction.
Expected results, indicators and performance expectations for measuring public appreciation and understanding of Canadians and stakeholders were established during 2007-2008 as presented in Figure 8. No other tools were developed or procedures for measurement and analysis undertaken during this reporting period.
|Program Activity Level||Public Appreciation and Understanding|
|Expected Result||Indicator||Performance Expectation|
|Canadians appreciate the significance of heritage places administered by Parks Canada and understand the importance of protecting and presenting them.||Canadians appreciate the significance of heritage places administered by Parks Canada.||Establish a baseline by March 2009 for the percentage of Canadians that appreciate the significance of heritage places administered by Parks Canada.|
|Canadians understand the importance of protecting and presenting heritage places administered by Parks Canada.||Establish a baseline by March 2009 for the percentage of Canadians that understand the importance of protecting and presenting heritage places administered by Parks Canada.|
Parks Canada aims to ensure that Canadians appreciate the significance of its heritage places by communicating that these places were established because they are representative of Canada's natural and historical heritage. The Agency also aims to ensure that Canadians understand the importance of protecting and presenting these heritage places so that they are enjoyed in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations.
At the broadest spectrum, Parks Canada communicates and has relationships with all Canadians. However, most communications are more targeted to ensure economy and effectiveness. Parks Canada selects the most relevant target audiences based on available information and emerging trends; current targets comprise urban Canadians, youth and ethnocultural groups. Parks Canada’s stakeholders and partners are broadly based, representing individuals, groups and organizations that maintain a vested interest in the Agency’s activities. They include Canada’s organized natural and historical heritage non-governmental organizations, business associations and partners, foundations and other public sector organizations.
In order for Parks Canada to ensure effective and relevant learning opportunities a baseline measurement for the indicators must be established. In 2008-2009, quantitative measurement tools will be developed and/or revised (e.g., Parks Canada’s national survey of Canadians) and research will be conducted to set these baseline values by March 2009. Measurement protocols such as frequency and timing of measurement, alignment of tools with other reporting programs, sampling methods for target groups, and analytical approaches for individual performance expectations will also be established.
The Visitor Information Program (VIP) uses a standard visitor questionnaire to provide information to managers of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas about their visitors, including their use of products and services, satisfaction with products and services, and other aspects of their visit. Selection of individual protected areas to participate in the VIP each year is aligned, as much as possible, with the timing of management planning and reporting requirements. The results from an individual VIP questionnaire do not apply to all visitors throughout the year at a particular national park, national historic site or national marine conservation area, nor to visitors who did not visit the surveyed location, nor to other national parks, national historic sites or national marine conservation areas in the system that did not field the questionnaire. The national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas that participate in the VIP program over a five-year cycle account for 98% of the total recorded visits to Parks Canada administered heritage places.
For this reporting period, VIP results were received from three national parks (St. Lawrence Islands, Bruce Peninsula and Prince Albert) and 16 national historic sites (Grand Pré, Fort Beauséjour, Signal Hill, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Coteau-du-Lac, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, The Fur Trade at Lachine, Artillery Park, Lévis Forts, Trent-Severn Waterway, Hamilton Discovery Centre, Fort Wellington, Laurier House, Chilkoot Trail, Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Fort Rodd Hill/Fisgard Lighthouse). No national marine conservation areas were surveyed.
Performance Expectation50% of visitors to national parks and national marine conservation areas and 80% of visitors to national historic sites will participate in learning experiences at all surveyed sites.
On the VIP questionnaire, visitors are asked to identify themselves as users/participants of specific learning products or services prior to rating level of satisfaction with the individual products/services.12 On average 72% of the visitors at the three participating national parks in 2007-2008 used at least one heritage presentation product or service. On average 91% of visitors to the 16 surveyed historic sites in 2007-2008 reported they used at least one heritage presentation product or service.
The level of participation in heritage presentation programs and activities is usually higher for national historic sites/canals than national parks. One key reason for the difference in participation between parks and historic sites is that heritage presentation is a core element of the visitor experience at historic sites, while many visitors to national parks come primarily for recreational purposes.
Performance Expectation85% of visitors are satisfied, and 50% are very satisfied, with their experience at all surveyed sites.
On the VIP questionnaire, visitors are asked to rate their satisfaction with several aspects of their visit13 and their overall satisfaction, on a five-point scale ranging from five (very satisfied) to one (not at all satisfied). Results for the last five years are shown in Figures 9 and 10. At all locations surveyed this past year, the visitor satisfaction targets were met or exceeded.
|# of Sites Surveyed||3||3||9||1||1|
|85% of Visitors Satisfied||met||met||met||met||met|
|50% of Visitors Very Satisfied||met||met||met||met||met|
|Source: Parks Canada Visitor Information Program|
|# of Sites Surveyed||16||11||13||8||6|
|85% of Visitors Satisfied||met||met||met||met||met|
|50% of Visitors Very Satisfied||met||met||met||met||met|
|Source: Parks Canada Visitor Information Program|
There were 1.8 million visitors to the 19 surveyed locations during the peak survey period of June to September 2007.
For the three national parks surveyed, 5,241 visitors were asked to participate – 3,629 of those agreed to participate and 1,345 questionnaires were completed and returned. For the 16 national historic sites surveyed, 10,630 visitors were asked to participate – 7,550 agreed to participate and 5,272 questionnaires were completed and returned.
The response rate (i.e., the percentage of visitors approached to participate in the survey who returned questionnaires) for heritage places surveyed in 2007-2008 was 46% (overall average). Amongst the 16 national historic sites, response rates were between 36% and 80%, which is consistent with previous years; response rates for the three national parks were 16%, 22% and 73%.