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As Canadians, finding reasons to celebrate and commemorate our shared history should come naturally. The history of our country is full of heroes and heroines, accomplishing remarkable things in exceptional places. It is a history in which dreams became reality, marked by incredible adventures and enlightening experiences, the dawning of the industrial age, and an exceptional human spirit that gave our forebears the strength to persevere.
The course of our history, and the men and women who made it, have left an indelible mark on contemporary Canada. They have enriched our everyday lives and Canadian society in a myriad of ways. Working together, we must safeguard and preserve the countless historic treasures they left us. It is the job of each and every one of us to celebrate and protect the precious legacy they forged for us through their ardour, their courage and their determination. We hold Canada's national historic sites in trust. It is our responsibility to ensure that these special places that our ancestors left us are preserved forever, so that Canadians can always experience, enjoy and learn from this rich heritage.
We Canadians are doubly blessed. If our rich history and wonderful national historic sites make us proud, we can only marvel at our country's wealth of natural treasures. National parks capture the soul and the spirit of Canada. They are places of learning, wonder and recreation. They play an important role in the environmental, economic, social and cultural life of our country – a role that benefits all Canadians. These exceptional natural areas protect a wide diversity of wildlife, sustain sources of clean water and air, and are an unparalleled repository of nature's bounty.
As Canadians, we also hold stewardship over millions of square kilometres of marine waters and coastal areas, covering three oceans and our Great Lakes.
The protection and enjoyment of this incredible natural and cultural heritage are at the heart of the vision expressed in this Corporate Plan. To bring this vision to life, we must involve all Canadians from all parts of the country and from all walks of life. Partnerships among a growing and diverse number of Canadians are the hallmark of all of Parks Canada's recent successes. Heartfelt consensus among Parliamentarians, different levels of government, local communities, Aboriginal peoples, landowners, the tourism industry, environmentalists, educators, young people and countless others has achieved some extremely positive results.
Together, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments have created and implemented the Historic Places Initiative, a powerful partnership to reverse the trend that has seen our country lose so many of its precious historic buildings in a single generation. With the private sector, governments are working to encourage the restoration of heritage properties, and to give them vibrant, new commercial lives. Rather than seeing our historic places fall to the wrecking ball, we are preserving them in ways that contribute directly to the well-being of our cities and towns, and to our understanding of Canada. Many other Canadians are spearheading efforts to commemorate the historic achievements of ethnocultural communities, women and Aboriginal peoples.
This same spirit of cooperation and collective energy, on the part of countless Canadians, played a significant part in the establishment of our beautiful Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada, which is next door to millions of urban residents. It also led to the creation of Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada and the protection of caribou, musk ox and polar bear across vast stretches of Nunavut. Breathtaking Arctic fjords in Labrador are part of the new Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada, which will open to visitors this year. We doubled the size of what was our smallest national park – St. Lawrence Islands National Park of Canada – a jewel in the heart of the Thousand Islands tourism area. In the Northwest Territories, farsighted and fair-minded people have expanded Tuktut Nogait National Park of Canada to preserve both the ancient imprint of the Sahtu Dene and Métis people, and to promote economic opportunities for their young people of today and tomorrow.
The Parks Canada Agency has its work cut out for it if it is to remain successful in the coming years. It has to encourage more and more Canadians to become involved, to become responsible and active stewards of our extraordinary natural and cultural heritage. I am very grateful to the people at Parks Canada for their dedication and their leadership in protecting Canada's special places. It is up to all of us to join them, and to do our part to protect Canada's wonderful natural and cultural heritage. I encourage you to become engaged in this work. Each local partnership can resonate with national success. Each act of care for our heritage can nurture the health and prosperity of the country, and the understanding and dynamism of Canadians. Working together, we can achieve these goals of true national significance. Working together, we will achieve these goals.
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of the Environment
I am pleased to submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006/2007–2010/2011 Report on Plans and (RPP) for Parks Canada.
This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:
Chief Executive Officer
Our success at Parks Canada in protecting and presenting Canada's cultural and natural heritage depends fundamentally on the engagement of Canadians. In every key strategy we implement, and for every national and local action we take over the years ahead, we must focus on involving and inspiring more and more partners across the broadest possible range of Canadian society. To expand our horizon, we need to think and act horizontally. In the same vein, to move forward, we need to reach outward. This is how we will fully respect our mandate to protect and present places and sites of great national significance.
We have already seen accomplishments flow from Parks Canada's partnerships with Aboriginal peoples, elected officials, community residents, environmental groups, the tourism industry, teachers, and provinces, territories and municipalities. By working in harmony with Canadians and by welcoming Canadians to be central to our decision-making, we have succeeded in designating new national historic sites, establishing new national parks, developing more effective management plans, maximizing environmental and economic benefits, and encouraging more support for the goals of Parks Canada.
Those achievements are just the beginning. We have far more work to do.
A rapidly growing number of visible minority citizens have made Canada their home. They need to see their experiences reflected in the spirit and presentation of our national historic sites. Canada is also an increasingly urban country, where most Canadians live some distance from the stunning beauty and ecological richness of our national parks.Young Canadians now live in a world of text messaging, MP3 players and advanced technological skills, and we need to reach them in ways that appeal to them. The coming retirement of the baby boom generation means we need to rethink and reshape our facilities and programs to meet the needs of more seniors. In taking all of these essential steps, we must respect the public's desire for more accountability from government agencies and more input from citizens.
As the number-one provider of Canadian tourism destinations, Parks Canada has an overarching obligation to work closely with the people and communities whose livelihood depends on spending by Canadian and foreign visitors alike. If we are to offer the right opportunities, services and programs to Canadians, we must rely on Canadians to guide us and work with us to meet their expectations.
Canadians are the guardians of many truly remarkable heritage sites. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that these places will exist for our children and grandchildren. The difficulties and pressures we face to achieve this are very real: more than 20 per cent of the country's historic places were lost over the past generation; increasing the number of national parks requires large investments and extremely complex negotiations; and the development of national marine conservation areas will be a significant challenge. But the stakes are even higher: once a heritage building is destroyed, it is gone forever; once wilderness disappears, it cannot be replicated; once marine ecosystems are impaired, they are difficult or impossible to restore.
Parks Canada, with the support of an extensive range of partners, will act to meet the challenges and expand the number of Canadian protected places.
Over the life of this Corporate Plan, the Agency will place ever more emphasis on encouraging national recognition and celebration of the historic accomplishments of Aboriginal peoples, ethnocultural communities and women.
Parks Canada will work with other levels of government and a host of stakeholders to create new national parks in unrepresented regions. The Agency is currently in the midst of a five-year plan to increase the number of Canada's 39 distinctive natural regions represented in the national parks system from 25 to 34.
Over the same period, the number of Canada's 29 marine regions represented in our new system of national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) will quadruple from two to eight. National marine conservation areas will take on increasing importance in the decades ahead. These areas are new in concept and practice, but their potential is extraordinary. There will be major issues to address in fitting NMCAs into a broader oceans strategy for Canada and we will undoubtedly face difficult sustainable use issues. That said, we are involved at the very beginning of historic measures to create potentially amazing national marine conservation areas in Canada's Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic and Great Lakes waters.
The progress we expect to achieve is considerable, viewed in the light of Canada's reality. Our Aboriginal peoples have more than 10,000 years of history. Canada is the world's second largest country geographically. The nation has the globe's longest coastline and the largest amount of fresh water of any country. Against this backdrop is the fact that we are a country of only 32 million people. Achieving our corporate goals and objectives is clearly a very big job. We must actively seek out and encourage far more Canadians to join us in the building of a national will for establishing new heritage places.
Parks Canada must be a leading edge knowledge organization. That requires targeted research, effective databases and the sharing of best practices to make the most informed decisions on conserving national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas. Given the exceptional role that Aboriginal peoples play in the establishment and management of our heritage sites, we also need to ensure that we draw on their traditional and contemporary knowledge.
Five years ago, the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks painted a troubling picture of the health of our parks. Its report was a call to action that led to both significant new funding for Parks Canada and progress on the ground. The 2005 Audit Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development pointed out the major progress that Parks Canada has made in restoring ecological integrity. Action is still taking place across the country: from the reintroduction of plains bison in Grasslands National Park to measures to protect grizzly bear habitat and enhance the heritage experiences of visitors in mountain parks, and to the restoration of bird habitat in Point Pelee, to name but a few initiatives.
The Agency has acted but we will do far more. We respect and will implement the Commissioner's call to update our national park management plans. The Agency will also introduce a system-wide ecological integrity monitoring and reporting program.
It is quite stunning to realize that Parks Canada houses over 30 million archaeological objects. On top of that, the Agency manages assets with a replacement value of over $7 billion plus cultural riches of incalculable value. Just over two years ago, the Auditor General found that two-thirds of Parks Canada's heritage assets were in fair to poor condition. We took a hard look at all our expenditures and placed priority on protecting historic resources. Given the good will and reputation built up over the years by the people of Parks Canada, we were able to work effectively with Parliamentarians to secure funds, including user fee increases, for asset reinvestment.
The next five years will require Parks Canada to address a myriad of conservation issues. We are beginning to test evaluation tools for historic sites comparable to those we use to assess ecological integrity in national parks. Interest in cost-sharing for national historic sites continues to grow, which reflects the fact that two-thirds of non-Parks Canada national historic sites have no sustainable source of support for conservation measures. The Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund, designed to encourage private sector rehabilitation of historic buildings, is up for review and reconsideration. It should also be noted that the Auditor General has expressed concern that Canada has yet to provide statutory protection for federal heritage sites. In this regard, we lag behind the provinces, territories and other G8 countries.
An extremely positive shared nationwide effort is underway to put time, energy and resources into protecting built heritage. The Historic Places Initiative (HPI) is a model of federal-provincial-territorial cooperation, common purpose and tangible results. It is also the country's most important conservation undertaking ever. HPI has received unanimous support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Caucus of Big City Mayors.
The partners in HPI have jointly established the Canadian Register of Historic Places, a rapidly expanding, online source of valuable information on historic sites. We have also agreed to comprehensive Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. This new 'building code' for the rehabilitation of historic places has already been adopted by Parks Canada as well as by all provinces and territories. We have also implemented a new certification process for heritage conservation projects. However, the Historic Places Initiative is just in its infancy.
The Parks Canada team has its work cut out on a number of fronts. We will seek to achieve appropriate measures to help Aboriginal communities celebrate their unique historic places. We will work collegially with other agencies and departments to make certain that the federal government is a model custodian of its own historic places. We will strengthen our efforts to further include the private and non-profit sectors in the Historic Places Initiative. Most importantly, we will encourage all Canadians to become champions of heritage conservation.
Every two years, the Minister's Round Table on Parks Canada brings together a wide range of Canadians with proven commitment to protecting the country's heritage areas. The 2005 Round Table placed special focus on facilitating memorable visitor experiences. We will act on the Round Table's recommendations on outreach, communications, research, improved facilities, and the extraordinary potential of Aboriginal languages and traditions to bring Canada's past to life.
Parks Canada has set educational objectives for its national heritage places. During the course of the next five years, the goal is to ensure that 80 per cent of visitors to national historic sites participate in a learning experience. We have set similar targets for visitors'appreciation of the national significance of our heritage places, the challenges facing national historic sites and national parks, and what visitors, as individuals, can contribute to the protection and presentation of Canada's cultural and natural heritage.
Both the Minister's Round Table and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development called for Parks Canada to adopt a more integrated approach to visitor experiences and public education. We have responded organizationally by creating a new Directorate of External Relations and Visitor Experience. This will help us to serve the interests of Canadians, offer opportunities for them to enjoy relevant interpretive experiences, coordinate outreach efforts more effectively, and foster personal relationships between Canadians and their heritage places.
There are a number of ways in which Parks Canada will reach out to young Canadians, new citizens and urban residents. We will work with the provinces and territories on the provision of interesting and interactive school curricula. We will advance partnerships with the tourism industry and in specialized magazines, Internet materials and television programming. Negotiations are in progress with Canadian Geographic for a hands-on learning centre in Victoria. We are pursuing a youth-based action plan to turn the e-generation into a generation of heritage advocates. Imagine an archaeologist talking from beneath the ocean off Prince Edward Island to school classes in Quebec, or a woodland caribou expert in Jasper answering questions from children at a school in Beauséjour.
The creation and management of a vast number of national historic sites, most of the emerging national marine conservation areas and the majority of national parks have depended, and will always depend, on the extraordinary sense of sharing, the pragmatic wisdom and the deeply cooperative spirit of Aboriginal peoples. In return, far more must rightly be done to meet the aspirations of Aboriginal peoples for tourism benefits, youth opportunity, and Aboriginal heritage protection and presentation.
With Aboriginal Elders and communities across the country, Parks Canada is pursuing five key objectives. First, we want to bring about a significant increase in Aboriginal interpretation and presentations at national historic sites. Second, we would like to see the building of relationships between all senior officials of Parks Canada and Aboriginal communities.Third, we need to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal young people, both regionally and nationally. Fourth, in tandem with that objective comes the need for more creativity in fostering Aboriginal economic opportunities in and in proximity to our heritage places. Finally, the system of national historic sites needs to be more representative of Aboriginal heritage.
National park communities are home to Canadians who provide a wide variety of services to visitors. These townsites are also part of our country's history – places that need to be managed in a sustainable way that ensures their unique heritage characteristics are preserved. Parks Canada and town residents will continue to work together over the next five years to meet the high performance expectations set out in community plans. There is consensus on the need for responsible environmental stewardship, heritage conservation, and efficient and affordable administration.
Sections of the highways that traverse Canada's national parks have yearly traffic volumes of over five million vehicles. That flow provides an enormous boost to the economy and the highways we manage link hundreds of rural communities with the rest of the country. Parks Canada will continue its international leadership in the management of highways within sensitive natural spaces. Such globally advanced work includes: ecological initiatives on road salt in Cape Breton Islands National Park of Canada; the construction of wildlife crossings in Banff; and innovative bridges and overpasses in eight provinces.
Canada's historic canals and waterways are famous for their locks and the opportunities they provide for pleasure boating. They also play an extremely important role in flood control, protection of wetlands and the provision of water for power generation. Parks Canada will increase its inspections and will seek additional funding for the restoration of the canals and waterways in order to enhance those important services to Canadians.
All of us at Parks Canada understand that we are responsible for preserving and building on the legacy of the Canadians who established the first national parks service in the world. We appreciate the enormous trust conferred in us by Canadians and the tremendous responsibility conferred by Parliament.
Parks Canada's success over the decades has come from the contributions of people who share a love for their work, and a willingness both to change and to lead change. Success will flow in the future from our determination to build an ever wider circle of Canadians eager to be guardians of heritage, guides to historic and natural wonders, and partners in preserving the past for the future. Parks Canada must do more and more every year to reach out and include more and more Canadians every step of the way in all of its major initiatives.
It is not about what the Government can achieve or what Parks Canada can achieve, it is about what we as Canadians can achieve. It is up to all Canadians to join in stewardship of Canada's wonderful historic and natural treasures. The responsibilities are daunting but the possibilities are nearly limitless.
Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada Agency
Planned Spending and Full Time Equivalents
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* Reflects the best forecast of total net planned spending to the end of the fiscal year.
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The Parks Canada Agency is responsible for the implementation of policies and programs that relate to Canada's national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas, other protected heritage areas, and heritage protection programs. The Agency's actions to establish, protect, and promote Canada's special heritage places flow from the System of National Historic Sites of Canada (Figure 7), the System of National Parks of Canada (Figure 5), and the System of National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada (Figure 6).
The Agency's work is guided by the Parks Canada Charter (Figure 1, inside front cover), which states the Agency's mandate and role, as well as its commitments to Canadians. Parks Canada strives to apply the Charter when carrying out its responsibilities under the program activities outlined in Figure 4.
Parks Canada derives its mandate from several pieces of legislation, notably the 1998 Parks Canada Agency Act, which established it as a separate Government of Canada Agency. Parks Canada also has responsibilities under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, the Canada National Parks Act, and the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.The Historic Sites and Monuments Act of 1953 provides for the designation of national historic sites – regardless of ownership – as well as a legislative basis for acquiring and for contributing directly to the care and preservation of these sites.The Canada National Parks Act, passed in 2000, modernized Parks Canada's historic role and affirmed ecological integrity as the Agency priority when considering all aspects of national park management.The Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, passed in 2002, provides for the creation of national marine conservation areas representative of the country's oceans and Great Lakes.
The Government announced a reorganization of the public service on December 12, 2003, that included the transfer of the Parks Canada Agency responsibility to the Minister of the Environment. Also included in this announcement were additional Parks Canada responsibilities for historic places in Canada and for the design and implementation of programs that relate to built heritage. Parks Canada will assume the lead role for developing policy and implementing the Historic Places Initiative – one of the most significant collaborative conservation efforts related to built heritage in the nation's history.
Parks Canada, together with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment, has responsibility to implement the Species at Risk Act. This Act is an important tool for the conservation of Canada's species at risk and it fulfills a major component under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Parks Canada is also responsible for administering other legislation, including the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act and the Historic Canals Regulations pursuant to the Department of Transport Act. Parks Canada is also responsible, with the Department of Transport, to jointly develop and implement Heritage Wreck Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act. For a complete list of the legislation governing the Parks Canada Agency, see Annex 4.
There were 912 sites designated as being of national historic significance as of March 31, 2005. Of these, 153 are directly administered by Parks Canada. Designations have been made for 587 persons of national historic significance and 360 historically significant events. There are 42 national parks representing 28 of Canada's 39 distinct natural regions, and there are two operating sites in the national marine conservation areas system representing two of Canada's 29 marine regions.
Parks Canada is leading programs related to the commemoration and protection of grave sites of former Prime Ministers, federal heritage buildings, heritage railway stations, heritage rivers, federal archaeology, other built heritage programs such as the Historic Places Initiative, and for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Initiative.
Parks Canada leads the implementation of Canada's obligations under the World Heritage Convention; works in cooperation with Environment Canada to help coordinate national implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Programme of Work on Protected Areas; and provides leadership on other international heritage conservation agreements.
Together, the national heritage areas under the care of Parks Canada will welcome more than 22 million visitors each year and will support some 38,000 direct jobs to Canadians in more than 460 communities. The Parks Canada Web site is visited nearly five million times each year.
The Parks Canada Agency Act requires that the Minister convene, at least every two years, a round table of persons interested in matters for which the Agency is responsible and who will advise the Minister on the performance of the Agency. The Minister's Round Table on Parks Canada brings together a wide range of people who are passionate about Canada's national heritage areas. The last Minister's Round Table took place in February 2005. Significant actions being taken on recommendations from this forum are addressed in this plan.
The 2005 Minister's Round Table focussed on two important themes: (1) Towards a Culture of Conservation; and (2) Facilitating Memorable Visitor Experiences. Participants responded with several recommendations in support of building a culture of conservation, including ones designed to strengthen education and outreach; improve communication; and make use of best practices and the traditional approaches and knowledge of Canada's indigenous peoples. Memorable Visitor experience recommendations included a call to recapitalize assets and strengthen research, as well as to improve how the Agency is organized to deliver results and enrich the visitor experience. Special focus was placed on the continued engagement of Aboriginal peoples to augment Parks Canada's ability to manage national parks and national marine conservation areas, and to support Aboriginal languages and traditions, as well as to tell the story of Canada's past. For more information please visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/agen/trm-mrt/2005/index-eng.asp
The challenges facing Parks Canada in achieving its outcomes are numerous but not impossible to overcome. This section highlights several key themes and issues important to the Agency, including: the challenges of involving a complex array of stakeholders in the establishment and protection of heritage places; opportunities found by reaching new audiences and meeting changing visitor expectations; and the ongoing challenge of protecting park ecology through the use of science, traditional knowledge and building a culture of conservation.
Parks Canada supports the commemoration of places, persons and events of national historical significance. Parks Canada cannot act unilaterally to establish heritage places, but rather facilitates public submissions to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada for its consideration and its recommendations to the Minister of the Environment. The fundamental challenge for the program is to ensure the high quality of research and analysis required to support the Board in its assessment of the national significance of subjects brought to its attention. An equally important challenge is to ensure that the national commemoration program is representative of Canada and reflective of Canadians. The National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan, released in 2000, envisions a system that mirrors the breadth and diversity of Canada's history. To this end the System Plan sets out three strategic priorities for the national commemoration program: the history of Aboriginal peoples, of ethnocultural communities and of women. Parks Canada's challenge is to work with Canadians to bring forward nominations related to these three strategic priorities to the Board. While progress towards a system that reflects Canada's diverse history is limited by the number and subject matter of the nominations, Parks Canada continues to seek opportunities to offer tools and assistance, as well as to strengthen relationships with interested parties.
Progress in establishing national parks and national marine conservation areas as directed in the 2002 Federal Action Plan, is moving ahead, but not without challenges. A complex set of factors tends to affect progress in establishing national parks and marine conservation areas. These include competing land use pressures, lack of support for feasibility studies by some territorial or provincial governments or local communities, and limited capacity of local communities to participate in a timely fashion in feasibility studies. Increased and accelerated threats to ecosystems require swift actions by all concerned in order to safeguard representative examples of Canada's natural terrestrial heritage.
National marine conservation area establishment under the Action Plan presents further challenges: there are few examples of national marine conservation areas to serve as models; the founding premise of marine conservation area sustainability is not widely understood, and capacity (complete data, knowledge and skills) remains an issue for both Parks Canada and its many collaborators. Still, once these natural marine ecosystems are impaired, it is difficult to reverse the damage and restore sustainability. It is crucial, therefore, to act decisively and collectively at this time to save what is still within reach.
However, there are also important opportunities that Parks Canada must act on in order to make progress. For example, the negotiation and settlement of Aboriginal land claims and related processes present a forum in which to advance site proposals. The recent Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement has as a central component the establishment of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada. Thus, Parks Canada seeks to advance proposals such as the Mealy Mountains through the Innu Nation land claim negotiations, and the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada through the Dehcho Process. In addition, a number of local communities have approached Parks Canada in support of new site initiatives and this support must be acted upon.
Evidence provided by the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks, (2000) and recent Parks Canada State of Protected Heritage Areas reports, demonstrates that native biodiversity and habitat are under considerable stress and have suffered progressive loss in Canada's national parks. The 2005 Audit Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development indicated, however, that Parks Canada is making progress on protecting ecological integrity in Canada's national parks. (The Audit report can be found at http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/rapports.nsf/html/c2005menu-eng.html)
The Audit went on to suggest that more could be done and added a voice of urgency to the Agency's work, as well as making specific recommendations.
Much of Canada's most ecologically sensitive area lies on privately-held lands. Parks Canada is challenged to not only protect species at risk, but also their habitats, which most often extend beyond park borders. There is ongoing opportunity for Parks Canada to promote collective action with partners to protect the ecological integrity of greater ecosystems, benefiting not only species-at-risk but many other ecosystem features.
Parks Canada legislation requires that current management plans be in place for each national historic site, national park, and national marine conservation area, outlining how goals will be achieved. Progress in having management plans developed or revised to meet the expectations set out in legislation has been slower than anticipated.
Canada's built heritage continues to be threatened. In the past 30 years, Canada has lost more than 20% of its pre-1920 heritage places to demolition. Parks Canada's own studies suggest that two-thirds of its cultural assets are in fair or poor condition. There is a continuing need to monitor the condition of these resources and implement strategies to halt deterioration. New funding received by Parks Canada for asset recapitalization in Budget 2005 will allow the Agency to partially respond to this challenge.
Budget 2005 funding will also enable Parks Canada to sustain its collaboration with provinces and territories through the Historic Places Initiative. Through this collaborative initiative much has been already achieved, but there is still an untapped opportunity to develop tools and programs to protect the historic fabric of small and large communities across Canada, to revitalize urban cores, and to show respect to Aboriginal communities by assisting them to protect historic places of significance to them. In addition, in her 2003 report, Protection of Cultural Resources in the Federal Government, the Auditor General identified the need for a legislative framework to improve overall federal stewardship of historic properties; work is also needed to put the federal house in order.
Building strong and trusting relationships with Aboriginal communities continues to be key to Parks Canada's success in achieving its mandate. The establishment and conservation of a large number of heritage areas is only possible thanks to the active leadership and partnership of Aboriginal communities. These relationships are appreciated on a daily basis by the people at Parks Canada and form an essential element of its operations. Parks Canada continues to develop opportunities to fully involve First Nations peoples: in the decision-making process as collaborators to promote the relevance of parks and sites; through the use of a holistic approach when protecting and presenting Canada's special heritage places; as sources of knowledge to strengthen the understanding of parks and sites, and cultures; and as leaders in the establishment and management of parks and cultural resources.
The Canadian population continues to evolve. Census data shows that Canada is becoming more urban and more ethnically diverse, particularly in its major cities. In addition, the overall population is getting older as the baby boom generation moves into retirement. Research shows that young people, as well as urban and new immigrants, participate only in a limited way in heritage tourism and visitation to Canada's special heritage places. Connecting with, engaging with, and responding to the needs and interests of these audiences are among the most significant challenges facing the Agency. Parks Canada continues to have a strong and immediate connection to many Canadians through its visitor base, outreach and education programs, cooperating associations, volunteer programs, and other mechanisms. It can create further opportunities to raise the awareness level and to reach out to these groups to engage their support for Canada's natural and cultural heritage. The ability of Parks Canada to reach people where they live, play and learn, both off-site and at Canada's heritage places will be essential if the agency is to be relevant to and representative of the nation's citizens.
In a world where tourism destinations and choices for leisure activities are numerous and varied, and tourists have access to highly sophisticated offers, the Agency has a challenge to come up with innovative and interactive ways to address the changing leisure patterns of Canadians and travellers, and to provide meaningful visitor experiences. Parks Canada needs to engage partners to adapt the services and experiences offer in order to facilitate meaningful and lasting visitor experiences while protecting heritage places for generations to come.
Parks Canada is an operational department with a significant non-discretionary Goods and Services budget. For the past twenty years, Parks Canada has had to absorb the loss of purchasing power due to inflation. Applied to Parks Canada's non-salary budget, inflation results in a purchasing power loss that is equivalent to a budget reduction of $6 million dollars per year compounded annually. The Agency has managed this pressure by using revenues from fee increases and selective service offer adjustments. In the future, increased revenues from fees will be directed to recapitalization of assets and, without relief in the form of inflationary protection similar to that provided to several other operational departments, Parks Canada will be forced to examine other alternatives that may include significant service reductions to Canadians.
And finally Parks Canada must demonstrate that humans are an integral part of heritage areas and that ecological and commemorative integrity, education and visitor experience are inextricably entwined and unified in nature. Programs and activities that cultivate understanding through meaningful visitor experiences and education are fundamental to maintaining and restoring ecological and commemorative integrity. The Agency will therefore continue to provide an integrated approach that encourages visitors to experience and learn from visiting Canada's special heritage places, while at the same time ensuring the long term protection of parks and sites.
Recapitalizing Parks Canada's national historic sites and visitor facilities is an important strategic and operational priority for the Agency. Budget Plan 2005 provided $209 million over five years to address the shortfall chronicled in the Agency's Long Term Capital Plan. Although 29% of assets are in good condition, 40% are only in fair condition needing to be recapitalized within five years, 29% are in poor condition needing urgent attention to eliminate risks of structural failure, and 2% have failed and have been closed.
More than 22 million people visit Canada's parks and sites. Parks Canada has a unique opportunity to demonstrate environmental leadership as it recapitalizes existing visitor services and infrastructure. Recently approved Parks Canada capital investment principles direct that investments should reduce any existing negative environmental impact and, in the case of contemporary assets, wherever possible, reduce the existing footprint. These same principles state that capital investments should exhibit cultural and environmental leadership, follow green design and operating principles, and use sustainable and environmentally sound energy sources within appropriate and affordable standards.
Parks Canada will continue to advance the Federal Action Plan announced in 2002 to establish new protected heritage areas. The Action Plan calls for the creation of ten new national parks and five new national marine conservation areas, and to expand three existing national parks, by March 2008. Work continues on assessing, selecting and negotiating sites for future national parks in unrepresented natural regions across Canada. Parks Canada is also working with First Nations and partners to establish new national marine conservation areas. Funding provided in Budget 2003 allowed significant progress toward completing the action plan but not its full completion. Once current funding has been fully expended, Parks Canada will return to the government with a proposal to complete the remainder of the action plan.
Parks Canada will continue to place emphasis on the three priority areas of the National Historic Sites System Plan; i.e., encouraging nominations of places, persons and events of national significance related to the history of Aboriginal Peoples, ethnocultural communities and women.
With the funding announced in Budget Plan 2005 of $60 million over five years, Parks Canada will accelerate its actions over the next four years to improve the ecological integrity of Canada's 42 existing national parks by implementing its Action Plan and by responding to the 2005 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Playing a leadership role in ecosystem management and encouraging Canadians to become stewards on matters of ecological integrity and cultural resources management are key themes for Parks Canada.
Establishing and protecting heritage places depends heavily on building public appreciation and understanding. The Government of Canada owns only a small number of historic places in Canada, and the national parks and national marine conservation areas administered by the Agency do not provide protection to complete ecosystems. Engaging Canadians in heritage conservation and celebration is key to creating awareness of the necessity to preserve diverse cultural and natural resources. As part of this effort to reach out to Canadians, Parks Canada is moving ahead with plans to reach urban audiences, new Canadians and Canadian youth. Parks Canada is exploring the addition of visitor facilities in urban areas to act as multimedia windows into Canada's special natural and cultural heritage places. School programs and Parks Canada curriculum material will be strengthened and Web-based learning materials will be broadened. Consistent with a recommendation made at the 2005 Minister's Round Table on Parks Canada (http://www.pc.gc.ca/agen/trm-mrt/2005/index-eng.asp), Parks Canada has created the External Relations and Visitor Experience Directorate to give focus to these priorities.
Since 2001, one of the Agency priorities has been the implementation of the Historic Places Initiative (http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/plp-hpp/plp-hpp1-eng.asp) – the most important federal initiative for built heritage in the last 50 years. While Parks Canada has been successful in moving the initiative forward, it is clear that there is much more that needs to be done to protect and celebrate Canada's wealth of historic places. One of the key areas of development is in the federal legislative regime for built heritage. At the federal level, Canada lacks the legislation to give statutory protection to its most valued built heritage and archaeological resources. This is a substantial gap, as countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and France all have heritage legislation, as do all of the Canadian provinces and territories. The Auditor General, in her 2003 Report, highlighted this lack of a legislative regime for federal built heritage. As Parks Canada works towards engaging Canadians in building a culture of heritage conservation, there is work to be done to ensure that the federal house is in order. Parks Canada will continue to develop legislative proposals to provide statutory protection to built heritage and archaeological resources in the federal domain.
Parks Canada will act to meet the needs and expectations of visitors in a changing tourism market. Focus will be placed on efforts to enhance visitor experience through investments in on-site information, services, activities, facilities and staff. Initiatives will include improvements to the Parks Canada Web site, as well as other pre-visit resources and services. Stakeholder relations at the national and local level will remain a strong priority.
The Government of Canada maps the strategic outcomes of departmental programs to the three government-wide policy areas whose aim is to provide long-term benefits to Canadians. The three policy areas are: Sustainable Economy, Canada's Social Foundations, and Canada's Place in the World. It also includes Aboriginal Peoples in a special overview of the government's efforts to support improvement in their well-being. Additional details on the strategic outcomes are outlined in Canada's Performance, the Annual Report of the President of the Treasury Board (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/govrev/05/cp-rc-eng.asp).
Parks Canada's strategic outcome is to "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 the present and future generations."Parks Canada's strategic outcome aligns with two subsets of the Sustainable Economy policy area, by contributing to sustainable economic growth and a clean and healthy environment, as well as with two subsets of the Canada's Social Foundations policy area, by encouraging an inclusive society that promotes linguistic duality and diversity, together with a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage.
The following descriptions of Parks Canada's program activities (PA) further illustrate how the Agency provides benefits for Canadians.
Canada's national parks and national marine conservation areas, as well as the persons, places and events of national historic significance to Canada, are symbols to the world and are part of what we stand for as a country. Designation of persons, places and events of national significance under the National Historic Sites System Plan safeguards and chronicles the determination and ingenuity of Canadians and the contributions they have made. Recognition of all historic places in Canada through the Canadian Register of Historic Places enables Canadians to appreciate the full range of historic places that are significant locally, provincially and nationally. Protection of areas under the national parks and national marine conservation areas ensure that many of Canada's most special natural heritage areas will not be lost. Current and future generations will enjoy a system of protected heritage areas that represent the full mosaic of diverse natural and cultural assets.
Ecological integrity is the cornerstone underlying the management of national parks and the long-term preservation of biodiversity and harmonious biological dynamics. Commemorative integrity of national historic sites aims at conserving the national and historic significance of these places by maintaining their lasting contribution to our collective memories, which are at the foundation of our national identity. Environmental sustainability is key to national marine conservation areas and requires that renewable resources be managed without compromising the ecosystems with which they are associated. Parks Canada protects nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage so that citizens of today and tomorrow can experience and be inspired by the special places and rich stories of our nation. From our special heritage places, Canadians draw a shared understanding of our national identity that promotes a sense of belonging – a fundamental element of social cohesion.
Parks Canada builds knowledge, appreciation and support of Canada's rich natural and cultural heritage through evocative learning experiences, dissemination of information to the public and close engagement of stakeholders and partners. By way of these education and outreach activities, Canadians will gain a greater connection to their history and develop a culture of conservation. This appreciation benefit Canadians and empowers them to become supporters in the protection and presentation of our nation's special heritage places.
Canadians are offered opportunities to enjoy and appreciate Canada's natural and cultural heritage through the protection or conservation of natural and cultural heritage of national significance as well as the provision of services, facilities and programs provided by Parks Canada. The Agency stages meaningful experiences that help to promote healthy lifestyle and foster a shared sense of responsibility for environmentally and culturally appreciative activities. Experiences gained through visits to well-conserved and accessible national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas leave visitors with a clear and strong sense of connection to nature and history, adding to the well-being and health of Canadians.
Parks Canada's townsites facilitate visitation, as well as preserve and protect built heritage and archaeological resources. Considered premium visitor destinations by the traveling public, the townsites contribute considerable economic benefits to Canada. Through growth management strategies, the Agency demonstrates sustainable forms of development to Canadians. Townsites provide excellent case studies in conservation and education, and cultivate national park model communities where stewardship, sustainability and best practices are encouraged and rewarded.
The highways and waterways maintained under the responsibility of Parks Canada are of great benefit to Canadians. Highways and bridges remain open and continue to provide reliable, safe through-transit in a manner that reduces wildlife-traffic conflicts and minimizes ecological impacts as well as providing vital access to many parks facilities and associated visitor experience opportunities. Waterways remain open and provide reliable, safe through-transit and recreation, contributing to the efficient movement of people and commercial goods, while water levels and watersheds are managed in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and contribute to community and industrial water supplies.
Informed management decisions respect public service values, reflect probity and focus on accountability for achieving relevant results for Canadians. Through strategic decision-making, Parks Canada maximizes the resources devoted directly to program activities, in order to provide value for money and demonstrate clear stewardship. The Agency is working to maintain a workforce that reflects the mosaic of Canadian society. For Canadians to be able to judge its performance, public reporting will be balanced, transparent and easy to understand. It will demonstrate to Canadians that it is well managed and can deliver on defined commitments by having in place appropriate mechanisms to handle everyday operations and long-term strategic plans to fulfill its mandate.
Parks Canada delivers its mandate through a Program Activity Architecture (PAA) composed of eight program activities (see Figure 4 for details).The PAA is an authoritative list of program activities on which the Agency bases its reporting to Parliament and to Canadians.The PAA reflects how accountabilities are managed, as well as defining how program activities contribute to government-wide strategic outcomes. The core programs are delivered through the first four program activities: Establish Heritage Places, Conserve Heritage Resources, Promote Public Appreciation and Understanding, and Enhance Visitor Experience.The four activities are linked by many interconnected priorities and expected results; as such, they constitute the platform on which Parks Canada defines its contribution to federal strategic outcomes for Canadians. (See Canada's Performance Report at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/govrev/05/cp-rc-eng.asp.)
The establishment of heritage places and their conservation are addressed in the first two program activities. Program Activity 2 also includes other conservation plans, including work to protect cultural resources administered by Parks Canada, as well as by other jurisdictions and non-governmental bodies. The ecological integrity of Canada's national parks and sustainable management of national marine conservation areas are also addressed in Program Activity 2.
Program Activities 3 and 4 address the promotion of Public Appreciation and Understanding, together with Enhancing Visitor Experience. Program Activities 5 and 6 relate to infrastructure, transportation and townsites management.Visitors rely on townsites as staging areas to prepare for a national park experience, while at the same time visitors and local residents depend on Parks Canada to keep highways safe and canal operations functioning for watercraft transportation and water management issues.
Management planning at the individual park or site level integrates and translates these closely related and mutually supportive programs, as well as corporate service program activities, into action. Each national historic site, national park and national marine conservation area management plan implements the direction set out by the Corporate Plan for all program activities and sets out strategies and targets to deliver results and achieve outcomes.
The Parks Canada Agency is committed to fully engage and involve its partners, stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples in the future of Canada's national heritage places.This input is reflected in the management plans prepared for each national park, national historic site, and national marine conservation area.These plans are key accountability documents and inform the public about how Parks Canada carries out its mandate. See also PA 2 for additional information on management planning at Parks Canada.
Parks Canada with its partners will offer a range of activities and services to Canadians to enhance their enjoyment and help them benefit from these special places. Specific programs that promote appreciation and understanding respond to Parks Canada's desire to present Canada's heritage in ways that respond to the needs and expectations of Canadians.Together, they allow Parks Canada to provide visitors with the opportunities for meaningful experiences in national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.This also leads to an understanding of the values of these areas and the need to protect them.
In keeping with the government priority of establishing the components for good management, a series of tools, good practices and management requirements has been developed. The purpose is to ensure that departments and agencies have an integrated management, resources, and results structure that is current and consistent with the way they manage programs and related activities, as well as allocate resources to achieve expected results with associated performance measures. Parks Canada is refining its management practices by integrating innovative tools and training. Accurate and comparable financial and non-financial information enable Parks Canada to link expenditure and program performance information to priorities for more effective planning, monitoring and reporting. Parks Canada's management structure focuses on the achievement of results, and on reporting them in simple and understandable ways to elected officials and to Canadians based on credible, reliable and balanced information.
Parks Canada's Executive Board, comprised of the Chief Executive Officer and other senior managers depicted in the following Organization Chart set the priorities for the organization.
Program delivery is the responsibility of Parks Canada's 32 field units. Field units are groupings of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. There are four service centres, which support the organization in a variety of professional and technical disciplines, such as biology and history.
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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 the present and future generations.
|Program Activity*||Description||Planned Results/Priority||Priority Status Planned results||Performance Expectation|
|1. Establish Heritage Places
|The establishment of heritage places covers systems planning; negotiating with stakeholders for inclusion in the national systems, obtaining ministerial approval and establishing national parks, and national marine conservation areas of Canada, and establishing national historic sites, and other heritage places.||1. Create national parks and national marine conservation areas in unrepresented regions.||X||1. Increase the number of represented terrestrial regions from 25 in March 2003 to 34 of 39 by March 2008, and increase the number of represented marine regions from two in March 2003 to eight of 29 by March 2008.|
|2. Complete or expand some existing parks.||X||2. Expand three national parks by March 2008 and increase the targeted land holdings in three unfinished national parks.|
|3. Designate and commemorate places, persons and events of national historic significance, particularly in under-represented priority areas.||X||3. Designate, on average, 24 new place persons and events per year, of which, on average, 33% relate to at
least one of the strategic priorities (i.e., Aboriginal people, ethnocultural communities and women)
4. On average, 30 commemorative plaques placed annually.
|4. Designate other heritage places (e.g., Historic Places Initiative, programs related to Federal Heritage Buildings, Heritage Rivers, Railway Stations, Prime Minister Grave Sites,World Heritage Sites, Man and Biosphere).||X||5. List 10,000 designated historic places on the Canadian Register of Historic Places by March 2009, and
17,500 by 2014.
6. Designate in partnership with others, historic places (Federal Heritage Buildings, Heritage Rivers, Heritage Railway Stations, Prime Minister Grave Sites), nominate World Heritage Sites, and support nomination of Man and Biosphere Reserves, as opportunity permits.
|2. Conserve Heritage Resources
|Conserving heritage resources activities include the maintenance or improvement of ecological integrity in national parks; the sustainable use of national marine conservation areas and the protection of unique marine ecosystems; the maintenance and improvement of commemorative integrity in national historic sites managed or influenced by Parks Canada; and the protection and management of cultural resources under the administration of Parks Canada that are not associated with national historic sites.||5. Maintain or improve the ecological integrity of national parks and the sustainability of national marine conservation areas||X||7. National park and NMCA management plans will be on schedule and consistent with management plan guidelines
by March 2010.
8. Develop fully functioning EI monitoring and reporting systems for all national parks by March 2008
9. Develop selected indicators and protocols for measuring NMCA ecological sustainability by March 2009
10. Improve aspects of the state of EI in each of Canada's 42 national parks by March 2014.
11. Meet targets for five measures of environmental impacts of Parks Canada's operations:greenhouse gas emissions, petroleum storage tanks, contaminated sites, halocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
|6. Maintain or improve the commemorative integrity of national historic sites; maintain or improve the state of other cultural resources administered by Parks Canada.||X||12. Complete NHS management plans, consistent with management plan guidelines, by December 2006.
13. Improve 80% of the elements of commemorative integrity rated as poor to at least fair condition within five years of the original assessment.
14. Improve the state of other cultural resources managed by Parks Canada by March 2014.
|7. Support and encourage commemorative integrity of national historic sites; contribute to maintaining and improving the state of heritage resources not administered by Parks Canada.||X||15 Other owners of national historic sites are aware of CI and have access to information on best practices
in maintaining CI.
16. Provide advice, recommendations or certification of interventions to built cultural heritage consistent with The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada as opportunity permits.
|3. Promote Public Appreciation and Understanding
|Promotion of public appreciation and understanding involves programs and activities that are aimed at reaching Canadians in their communities where they live, work and learn and inviting them to become more involved in the protection and presentation of the nation's natural and cultural heritage.||8. Encourage the support and involvement of Canadians and stakeholders and their knowledge and appreciation of Canada's heritage places.||X||17. Develop indicators, expectations and protocols for measuring public appreciation and understanding of Canadians and stakeholders by March 2007.|
|4. Enhance Visitor Experience
|Enhanced visitors experiences are sought by setting the stage for visitors to enjoy meaningful, high-quality experiences through the provision of information, infrastructure, facilities, programs, services and personnel. This includes pre and onsite trip planning information, reception and orientation services, interpretation programming, campgrounds, hiking trails and other recreational services, visitor safety programs, and ongoing post visit information.||9. Encourage experiences and emotional connections, meet visitor expectations and facilitate learning opportunities.||X||18. 10% increase in the number of visits to targeted national historic sites by March 2008.
19. 50% of visitors to national parks and national marine conservation areas and 80% of visitors to national historic sites participate in learning experiences.
20. 85% of visitors are satisfied, and 50% are very satisfied with their experience at national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites.
|5. Townsite Management
|Townsite management activities and operations of communities within Canada's national parks provide municipal service such as drinking water, snow removal, garbage pick-up and disposal, sewage treatment, road and street maintenance, and fire services to support visitors and residents.||10. Provide responsible environmental stewardship, heritage conservation, and efficient and affordable administration.||X||21. Meet targets for sewage effluent quality, water conservation, solid waste diversion, management of
contaminated sites and legislated limits to growth.
22. Develop inventory of heritage assets, condition ratings and performance targets by March 2007.
23. 100% cost recovery of municipal utility services (water, sewer and garbage collection).
24. Establish targets for efficient administration by March 2007 based on standard municipal models.
|6. Throughway Management
|Throughway management activities include the operation, maintenance and repair of roads, bridges, provincial and interprovincial highways and waterways that connect communities and pass through national parks and national historic sites. Parks Canada is also responsible for nine national historic canals/waterways including the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau, Lachine and Chambly canals.||11. Provide safe highways, open to through traffic and minimize their environmental impacts||
|25. Highways are open to through traffic.
26. Maintain highways in a condition that minimizes risk to users.
27. Minimize environmental impacts of highways.
|12. Maintain condition of waterways with water control functions and meet water level obligations.||X||28. 75% of waterway assets are maintained in at least fair condition.
29. Develop inventory of water control obligations, targets and protocols for measuring compliance by March 2007.
7. Management of Parks Canada
8. People Management
|Corporate services include budgeting and programming; financial investment and administrative management; real property and asset management; the development of legislation and policy; and senior management. It also includes the Human Resource management areas of: labour relations, collective bargaining, compensation, occupational safety and health, classification, human resourcing strategies, programs and systems, internal communications and administration.||13. Demonstrate accountability and effective decision-making and deliver timely, accessible and reliable management services.||X||30. Auditor General audits of financial and performance information find no material concerns.
31. Corporate service expenditures will not exceed 12% of total operating budget.
|14. A diverse and capable workforce, working in a positive and enabling environment.||X||32. Five year Independent Report on the Agency's Human Resource Regime to show a significant consistency
between the Agency's HR Values and Principles and the HR regime.
33. A workforce that is representative of the Canadian population as measured by regional labour force availability.
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Figure 7: National Historic Sites of Canada administered by Parks Canada (cont'd)
National Historic Sites of Canada Administered by Parks Canada
Newfoundland and Labrador