Parks Canada

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Parks Canada
Parcs Canada
Parks Canada logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed 19 May 1911; 106 years ago (1911-05-19)
Jurisdiction Government of Canada
Headquarters Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
Employees 4,000
Annual budget $500 million
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer

Parks Canada (French: Parcs Canada), also known as the Parks Canada Agency (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. The national park service is mandated to protect and present nationally significant 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.[1] 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 407,000 km2 (157,000 sq mi) of lands and waters in national parks and national marine conservation areas has been set aside for such purposes.[2] 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 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.[3] 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[4] 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.[5] 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.[5] Starting in the 1960s, Parks Canada has also moved to decentralize its operations.[5]

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[6][7] As of 2004, the annual budget for Parks Canada is approximately $500 million, and the agency has 4,000 employees.[1]

Name Term
Daniel Watson 2015–present
Alan Latourelle 2002–2015
Tom Lee 1993-2002
A. Lefebvre-Anglin 1990-1993
J. D. Collinson 1985-1990
Al Davidson 1978-1985
Jack Nicol 1968-1978
J. K. B. Coleman 1957-1968
J. A. Hutchison 1953-1957
James Smart 1941-1953
Frank Williamson 1936-1941
J. B. Harkin 1911-1936

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]


Parka, a female beaver, is PC's mascot.[17] 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. ^ a b "Parks Canada Agency Annual Report, 2003–2004". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved July 18, 2006. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Irish, Paul (May 13, 2011). "Parks Canada celebrates a century of discovery". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Free Parks Canada passes costing $5.7 million". Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Hildebrandt, Walter (1995). "Historical Analysis of Parks Canada and Banff National Park, 1968–1995". Banff-Bow Valley Study. 
  6. ^ "Prime Minister announces changes in the senior ranks of the Public Service". Office of the Prime Minister. May 15, 2007. 
  7. ^ "CEO's Message". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2006. 
  8. ^ full text of "Parks Canada Agency Act"
  9. ^ full text of the "Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act" (S.C. 2008, c. 16)
  10. ^ full text of "Historic Sites and Monuments Act" (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
  11. ^ "Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act" (R.S.C., 1985, c. 52 (4th Supp.))
  12. ^ full text of "Historic Canals Regulations" (SOR/93-220)
  13. ^ Jobs at Parks Canada Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ National park wardens to get sidearms in 2009 Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Wardens may extend expertise outside parks - Local News - Rocky Mountain Outlook". 
  16. ^
  17. ^


  • Campbell, Claire Elizabeth, ed. Century of Parks Canada, 1911–2011 (University of Calgary Press, 2011), 447pp; essays by experts that trace the history of the agency
  • Hildebrandt, Walter. Historical Analysis of Parks Canada and Banff National Park, 1968–1995 (1995)
  • List of legislation for which Parks Canada is responsible
  • Lothian, W.F. "A History of Canada's National Parks" Volumes I-IV (Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1976-1986)
  • Lothian, W.F. "A Brief History of Canada's National Parks" (Ottawa: Environment Canada, 1987)
  • Lothian, W.F. "Histoire des parcs nationaux du Canada" Volumes I-IV (Ottawa: Parcs Canada, 1977-1983)
  • Lothian, W.F. "Petite histoire des parcs nationaux du Canada" (Ottawa: Environment Canada, 1987)

External links

  • Official website
  • Parks Canada's channel on YouTube
  • Park Information about Canada's ecozones
  • National Park Warden Association
  • Parks Canada Players
  • 100 Years of Parks Canada, National Film Board of Canada website
  • Claire Campbell, ed., A Century of Parks Canada, 1911–2011, Free eBook
  • Parks Canada article in the Canadian Encyclopedia
  • National Parks of Canada Electronic Library

Coordinates: 45°25′32″N 75°43′14″W / 45.425503°N 75.720423°W / 45.425503; -75.720423

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