Parks Canada staff look on as Catherine McKenna, Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announces highlights from the Minister’s Round Table on Parks at Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa May 7. (Photo: Alexandra Pope/Canadian Geographic)
“Ecological integrity” and science-based decision making are major themes running through the report, a fact welcomed by Éric Hébert-Daly, National Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), which advocates for the protection of Canada’s lands and waters in parks.
“To us, [ecological integrity] was the missing piece along the way,” he said. “It’s been in legislation before, but it’s not always been respected. We think it bodes well for the kinds of decisions the Minister is going to have to make over the next couple of months.”
Here are more highlights from the report on the Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada:
Under the International Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada has pledged to protect 17 per cent of its land and 10 per cent of its oceans and coastal areas by 2020. Parks Canada will work with provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous peoples to finalize the creation of currently proposed parks and marine protected areas (MPAs), including Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), Thaidene Nëné, and a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Along with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Parks Canada will also explore options for protective measures in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River basin and the Lake Winnipeg basin.
Working closely with ECCC, Parks Canada will conduct research into the impacts of climate change within national parks, protect and restore critical habitat for species at risk, improve ecological connectivity within and around parks, and ensure that conservation science informs decision-making in parks and marine protected areas. Every five years, Parks Canada will be required to produce a publicly-accessible State of the Park report for each park.
Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples
Parks Canada has pledged to involve Indigenous communities and groups in the management of parks, and to look for ways to restore connections between communities and their traditional lands and waters. And, building on the success of recent initiatives like the reintroduction of bison into Banff National Park, Parks Canada will ensure that traditional knowledge is taken into consideration in conservation projects.