Parks Canada

Parks Canada (French: Parcs Canada), officially called the Parks Canada Agency[1] (French: Agence Parcs Canada), is an agency of the Government of Canada run by a chief executive who answers to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Parks Canada is mandated 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 their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations".[2] Parks Canada manages 38 National Parks, three National Marine Conservation Areas, 171 National Historic Sites, one National Urban Park, and one National Landmark. The agency also administers lands and waters set aside as potential national parklands, including eight National Park Reserves and one National Marine Conservation Area Reserve. More than 450,000 km2 (170,000 sq mi) of lands and waters in national parks and national marine conservation areas has been set aside for such purposes.[3] The Canadian Register of Historic Places is supported and managed by Parks Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and other federal bodies. The agency is also the working arm of the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board, which recommends National Historic Sites, Events, and Persons.

Parks Canada
Parcs Canada
Agency overview
FormedMay 19, 1911 (1911-05-19)
JurisdictionGovernment of Canada
HeadquartersGatineau, Quebec, Canada
Annual budget$500 million
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Ron Hallman, Chief Executive Officer


Parks Canada was established on May 19, 1911, as the Dominion Parks Branch under the Department of the Interior, becoming the world's first national park service.[4] Since its creation, its name has changed, known variously as the Dominion Parks Branch, National Parks Branch, Parks Canada, Environment Canada – Parks Branch, and the Canadian Parks Service, before a return to Parks Canada in 1998. The service's activities are regulated under the provisions of the Canada National Parks Act, which was enacted in 1930, and amended in 2000.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, Parks Canada offered free passes[5] to national parks and national historic sites for the year.


The Parks Canada Agency was established as a separate service entity in 1998 and falls under the responsibility of Environment Canada. Before 2003, Parks Canada (under various names) fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Canadian Heritage, where it had been since 1994. From 1979 to 1994, Parks Canada was part of the Department of Environment, and before it was part of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (1966 to 1978), and the Department of the Interior.[6] With the organizational shifts and political leadership in Canada, the priorities of Parks Canada have shifted over the years more towards conservation and away from development.[6] Starting in the 1960s, Parks Canada has also moved to decentralize its operations.[6]

Parks Canada is currently headed by Daniel Watson, who was appointed in August 2015, following the retirement of Alan Latourelle, who had been reappointed on August 7, 2007.[7][8] As of 2004, the annual budget for Parks Canada is approximately $500 million, and the agency has 4,000 employees.[9]

J. B. Harkin1911–1936
Frank Williamson1936–1941
James Smart1941–1953
J. A. Hutchison1953–1957
J. K. B. Coleman1957–1968
Jack Nicol1968–1978
Al Davidson1978–1985
J. D. Collinson1985–1990
A. Lefebvre-Anglin1990–1993
Tom Lee1993–2002
Alan Latourelle2002–2015
Daniel Watson2015–2018

Legislation, Regulations and Boards

The Department of Canadian Heritage, which runs federal Museums and more cultural affairs, falls under the control of the Minister of Heritage.


Parks Canada employs Park Wardens to protect natural and cultural resources, conduct campground patrols and other targeted enforcement activities, and to ensure the safety of visitors in national parks and marine conservation areas.[16] They are designated under section 18 of the Canada National Parks Act and have the authority of peace officers. They carry firearms and have access to other use of force options.[17]

The Minister may also designate provincial and local enforcement officers under section 19 of the Act for the purpose of enforcing laws within the specified parks. These officers have the power of peace officers only in relation to the Act.

In May 2012, it was reported that Park Wardens may be cross designated to enforce certain wildlife acts administered by Environment Canada. Should the designations go ahead it would only be for Park Wardens that are stationed near existing migratory bird sanctuaries.[18]

Essentially the intent of the change is to allow for a faster and lower-cost response to environmental enforcement incidents, particularly in remote areas in the north where Environment Canada does not have an ongoing presence, but Parks Canada has a park warden nearby who could act on its behalf, rather than have Environment Canada responded from a farther office.[19]


Parka, a female beaver, is Parks Canada's mascot.[20] A series of animated shorts starring her are hosted on the organization's website and have also been aired on television as interstitials.

See also


  1. "Parks Canada Agency Act". Government of Canada – Justice Laws. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  2. Parks Canada Agency, Government of Canada (January 4, 2018). "The Parks Canada Mandate and Charter". Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  3. "Parks Canada celebrates 100 years of world-class conservation and further protects historic gr". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. Irish, Paul (May 13, 2011). "Parks Canada celebrates a century of discovery". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  5. "Free Parks Canada passes costing $5.7 million". Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  6. Hildebrandt, Walter (1995). "Historical Analysis of Parks Canada and Banff National Park, 1968–1995". Banff-Bow Valley Study. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. "Prime Minister announces changes in the senior ranks of the Public Service". Office of the Prime Minister. May 15, 2007.
  8. "CEO's Message". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  9. "Parks Canada Agency Annual Report, 2003–2004". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  10. "Leaders of Parks Canada". Parks Canada History. January 23, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  11. Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Parks Canada Agency Act". Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  12. Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act". Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  13. Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Historic Sites and Monuments Act". Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  14. Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act". Archived from the original on October 1, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  15. Branch, Legislative Services. "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Historic Canals Regulations". Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  16. Jobs at Parks Canada Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  17. National park wardens to get sidearms in 2009 Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. "Wardens may extend expertise outside parks – Local News – Rocky Mountain Outlook". Archived from the original on May 18, 2014.
  19. "Finance Committee on May 17th, 2012 –". Archived from the original on August 19, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  20. Canada, Parks Canada Agency, Government of. "Parka, our mascot". Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.


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