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Section 2: Performance by Key Planned Result

The 2006-2007 Agency Corporate Plan presents one strategic outcome.


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.

The planned result and performance expectation for this strategic outcome is the sum of the performance expectations of the planned results of the individual program activities.

The key elements of the Agency mandate (indicated in bold above) are:

  • Protect;
  • Present;
  • Understanding;
  • Enjoyment;
  • Ecological integrity; and
  • Commemorative integrity.

These key elements are embodied in four Program Activities of the Agency. It is impossible to protect and present these heritage places unless they are established; they are conserved by ensuring their ecological and commemorative integrity and, in the case of marine areas, their sustainable use; public appreciation and understanding and visitor experiences are essential for Canadians to enjoy these heritage places and contribute to ensuring ecological and commemorative integrity.

The core Program Activities are the heart of what the Agency does, what is communicated to Canadians and what Canadians are most interested in.

There are 14 planned results/priorities in the Agency Strategic Planning Framework presented in the Agency Corporate Plan. Summary information relating to 12 of these planned results is contained in Figure 1. Planned and actual expenditures and revenue2, human resources (i.e., FTEs) and progress against each of the expectations for these program activities are also shown in Figure 1. The remaining two planned results related to Program Activities #7 and #8, Management of Parks Canada and People Management, are found in the Background to the Performance Report accessible on the Agency website (www.pc.gc.ca).

More detailed performance information is included for the six planned results and nine performance expectations that are most critical to the Agency for the 2006/2007 reporting period (highlighted in red in Figure 1 and listed in Figure 2). Chosen because:

  1. They relate most directly and significantly to the key elements of the Agency mandate;
  2. Together, they account for most of the Agency program spending and the lion’s share of revenue it generates (Agency spending in these core program activities has a direct and significant impact on local and regional economies; the Agency affects 469 communities and contributes an estimated $1.2 billion to the GDP);
  3. The activities support Government commitments (e.g. Government Plan to Establish New Parks), contribute to the attainment of most of the Government of Canada sustainable development goals and reflect Government of Canada international agreements and understandings; and,
  4. They include Government performance expectations that are horizontal in nature such as the Species at Risk initiative (Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency).

The information is organized according to Program Activity, planned results and performance expectations where the performance expectations are numbered consistent with their numbering in Figure 1.

Additional information relating to all planned results and performance expectations can be found in Background to the Performance Report in the library section of Parks Canada’s website at www.pc.gc.ca.

Figure 1: Summary Results by Program and Sub-Activity

Program Activity 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.


 4% of Program Expenditures
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 26,285 30,881 22,716 23,017
FTEs 150   129 131


Sub Activity National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas National System of Designations / Commemoration of Places, Persons and Events of National Historic Significance Other Designated Heritage Places
Planned Results Create national parks and national marine conservation areas in unrepresented regions. Complete or expand some existing parks. Designate and commemorate places, persons and events of national historic significance, particularly in under-represented priority areas. Designate Other Heritage Places (e.g., Historic Places Initiative, Federal Heritage Buildings, Heritage Rivers, Railway Stations, Prime Minister Grave Sites, World Heritage Sites, Man and Biosphere).
Performance Expectations
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. Expand three national parks by March 2008 and increase the targeted land holdings in three unfinished national parks.
3. Designate, on average, 24 new places, persons and events per year, of which, on average, 33% relate to at least one of the strategic priorities (i.e., Aboriginal people, ethno cultural communities and women).

4.
On average, 30 commemorative plaques placed annually.
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.
Status

1. Caution: New Parks
The Agency will not meet the target of 34/39 terrestrial regions represented by March 2008.

There are currently 28 natural regions of Canada represented by national parks.

Progress was made on several active candidate national parks including the East Arm of Great Slave Lake (NWT), the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen (BC) and Mealy Mountains (Labrador).

Funding limitations and the complicated nature of the park establishment process have resulted in a change, for the next planning period, to the performance expectation for representation of natural regions. The new target is 30 of 39 represented by March 2008.

Caution: National Marine Conservation Areas
Parks Canada will not meet its target of 8/29 marine regions represented by March 2008. Currently 2 of 29 marine regions are represented.

Capacity issues (funding) have limited progress. As a result, the goal has been reduced to 4 of 29 in the 2007/2008 Corporate Plan.

Advances have been made on Gwaii Haanas and the Southern Strait of Georgia and other proposals continue to be explored in the Magdelan Islands (QC) and the South Coast Fjords (Nfld. and Labrador).

Because the Agency does not act alone in establishing parks and marine areas and because the establishment environment is very complex, the Agency will be challenged to meet its targets.

2. Reasonable Progress: Expansion
Progress was made only on the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve.

2. Reasonable Progress: Completion
Land was added to the Bruce Peninsula (57.4 hectares) and Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (7.567 hectares). Parks Canada bought every parcel of land that was offered for sale by “willing sellers”. No land was offered for sale within the identified boundaries for Grasslands National Park of Canada.
3. Caution: In 2006/2007, 22 designations were made (12 arising from the December 2004 meeting of the HSMBC, and 10 from its June 2005 meeting). The average number of designations per year for the past 3 years is 16. The Parks Canada Agency does not have full control of or influence over the proposal submission process or the timing of designations.

4. Reasonable Progress: A total of 18 plaques were unveiled in 2006-2007. The average annual number of plaques placed, over the past three years is 28.3, slightly below the target of 30. The Parks Canada Agency does not have full control of either the timing of designations or unveiling ceremonies.

The HSMBC and Parks Canada have streamlined a number of procedures to improve efficiencies in addressing the backlog of unveiled plaques (i.e., 418 designations awaiting plaquing). Parks Canada does not have the capacity to fully address the backlog in the short term but is developing a longer-term strategy to address the backlog.
5. Reasonable Progress: As of March 2007, an additional 1,941 designated historic places were listed on the Register for a total of 5,244 (i.e., 29.5% of the 2014 target is complete).

6. Reasonable Progress:
There were no new World Heritage Sites or Man and Biosphere Reserve designations in 2006-2007. Proposals, supported by Parks Canada, for two new Biosphere Reserves (Bay of Fundy, NB and Manicouagan Uapishka, QC, and an expansion of the 1000 Islands / Frontenac Arch, ON) were prepared for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

There are 11 properties on Canada’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites to be formally nominated for consideration by UNESCO. A nomination, supported by Parks Canada, for the Joggin’s Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia was submitted to the World Heritage Committee in January 2007. The Agency is actively supporting the nomination process for Aisinai’pi (Writing-on-Stone), Alberta, Quttinrpaaq, Nunavut and Pimachiowin Aki/Wood and caribou/Accord First Nations, Manitoba.


 


Program Activity 2: Conserve Heritage Resources

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.


34% of Program Expenditures
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 218,900 225,035 207,772 185,848
FTEs 1,506   1,520 1,449


Sub
Activity
National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas National Historic Sites and Cultural Resources Other Heritage Resources
Planned Results Maintain and improve the ecological integrity of national parks and the sustainability of national marine conservation areas. Maintain or improve the commemorative integrity of national historic sites; maintain or improve the state of other cultural resources administered by Parks Canada. Support and encourage commemorative integrity of national historic sites; contribute to maintaining and improving the state of heritage resources not administered by Parks Canada.
Performance Expectations 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 use 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).
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.
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.
Status 7. Reasonable Progress: As of March 2007, 33 of 42 national parks had approved management plans consistent with the 2000 Guidelines for Management Planning. Three national parks operate under interim management guidelines and the remaining six are engaged in the planning process. In 2006-2007, one plan amendment was tabled in Parliament.

The management plan for Fathom Five Marine Park was approved in 1998. The plan review has been rescheduled for 2008. The management plan for Saguenay-St. Laurent was tabled in Parliament in 2000. The review is scheduled for 2008. The Agency treats these two protected heritage areas, established before the passage of the National Marine Conservation Areas Act, as national marine conservation areas. The management planning process for parks and national marine conservation areas can be complex and time consuming. Extensive consultation with local communities, stakeholders and aboriginal peoples is required. However, the Agency expects to meet the 2010 target.

8. Caution: Two national parks currently meet initial conditions for a fully functioning ecological integrity monitoring and reporting system with the expectation that 2/3 of the parks will do so by March 2008. The remaining 1/3 of parks will have most of the elements of an ecological monitoring and reporting system in place by March 2008. The parks in the far north are the least advanced due to access costs and staff turnover. There will still be challenges in some parks and the program will continue to develop.

9. Caution: Minimal progress was made in 2006/2007 to meet the planned result of having selected indicators and protocols for measuring national marine conservation area ecological sustainability by March 2009. Parks Canada is pursuing pilot opportunities with international partners such as the United States and Mexico. All three countries are attempting to learn how to put this concept into practice.

10. Reasonable Progress: The Agency can point to restoration project successes. It has initiated more than 70 restoration projects to improve aspects of the ecological integrity in its national parks.

11. Reasonable Progress (Contaminated Sites): The Agency is on target to meet its objectives of assessing and ranking contaminated sites in national parks or historic sites/canals and to develop remediation or risk management plans for all sites by 2009.

OnTarget (Green house Gas Emission Reduction): The Agency has met reduction targets.

Insufficient Information (Petroleum Storage Tanks): New storage tank regulations are expected in fall 2007. New targets that relate to the new storage tank regulations will be established.

Caution (PCB’s and Halocarbons): The Agency will focus on full knowledge and implementation of regulations to ensure proper service and disposal. Extensive inventories of low risk individual assets will not be maintained. In 2006/2007 preliminary work was begun on guidelines for service and disposal. Work is expected to be completed in 2007/2008.
12. Reasonable Progress: The Agency has completed management plans for 131 of 151 sites requiring plans. 17 of the remaining 20 plans relate to sites in Atlantic Canada where agreements and protocols for First Nation consultation and engagement were deemed inadequate subsequent to the Haida Nation and Taku River First Nation Cases (court decisions). The KMK, the consultation arm of the Mi’kmaq First Nation and other First Nation groups in the Atlantic provinces are working with the Agency to determine how best to proceed. The target date of December 2006 has been extended to March 2008 in the 2007/2008 Corporate Plan. The Agency does not have full control over the timing of approval and tabling of management plans.

13. Caution:  Parks Canada has achieved a self-assessed 69.5% (3-year average) rate of improving commemorative integrity elements rated poor to at least fair condition within 5 years of the original assessment.

14. Insufficient Information: Parks Canada lacks proper inventories and condition ratings for several classes of resources. For historic objects, while there is a national inventory and 76% of objects are rated in good condition, these ratings need to be updated.
15. Reasonable Progress: Parks Canada surveys other owners of national historic sites every 2-3 years. Based on the last survey in 2004-2005, 46 % of owners were aware of the term commemorative integrity and 64 % stated that they had access to information and best practices in maintaining commemorative integrity. In preparation for the next survey of other owners, Parks Canada is refining its measures and setting targets for understanding of and access to commemorative integrity advice.

16. Reasonable Progress: 18 interventions to commercial heritage properties were certified in principle, recommendations for appropriate interventions to 127 federal heritage buildings were made, and the transfer in ownership of 3 designated railway stations was approved.


 


Program Activity 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.


13% of Program Expenditures and Less Than 1% of Revenue
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 70,739 82,188 78,120 70,259
Revenue 827   785 756
FTEs 636   764 744


Planned Results Encourage the support and involvement of Canadians and stakeholders and their knowledge and appreciation of Canada’s heritage places.
Performance Expectation
17. Develop indicators, expectations and protocols for measuring public appreciation and understanding of Canadians and stakeholders by March 2007.
Status 17. Caution: As at year end proposed indicators, protocols and performance expectations were still under development.


 


Program Activity 4: Enhance Visitor Experience

Enhanced visitor 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 on-site trip planning information, reception and orientation services, interpretation programming, campgrounds, hiking trails and other recreational services, visitor safety programs and ongoing post visit information.


31% of Expenditures and 68% of Revenue
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 199,589 202,819 189,598 194,415
Revenue 71,531   73,161 66,409
FTEs 1,569   1,453 1,517


Sub Activity National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas National Historic Sites
Planned Results Encourage experiences and emotional connections, meet visitor expectations and facilitate learning opportunities.
Performance Expectations   18. 10% increase in the number of visits to targeted national historic sites by March 2008.
19. a) 50% of visitors to national parks and national marine conservation areas participate in learning experiences.
19. b) 80% of visitors to national historic sites participate in learning experiences.
20. a) 85% of visitors are satisfied, and 50% are very satisfied with their experience at national parks and national marine conservation areas.
20. b) 85% of visitors are satisfied, and 50% are very satisfied with their experience at national historic sites.
Status   18. Caution: It will be a challenge for the Agency to meet this performance expectation at all 4 sites. The Fortress of Louisbourg, that has seen a drop in visitation over the past 3 years, presents the biggest challenge. It is the most impacted by the value of the dollar, issues related to Canada-US border crossing and geographic location (at the end of the road, at the end of the country). Special periodic events such as military re-enactments present opportunities to have spikes in visitation.
19. a) On Target: Across three surveyed parks, an average of 71% of visitors used at least one heritage presentation product or service during their visit. No NMCA was surveyed in 2006/2007. 19. b) On Target: Across 11 surveyed sites, an average of 89% of visitors used at least one heritage presentation product or service during their visit. Ten of eleven surveyed national historic sites met this performance expectation.
20. a) On Target:  Three of three surveyed parks met the targets of 85% of visitors satisfied and 50% of visitors very satisfied with their overall visit. 20. b) On Target: Eleven of eleven surveyed sites met the targets of 85% of visitors satisfied and 50% very satisfied with their overall visit.


 


Program Activity 5: Townsite Management

Townsite management activities and operation 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.


2% of Expenditures and 2.5% of Revenue
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 12,853 18,568 13,503 9,802
Revenue 2,676   2,716 2,663
FTEs 51   88 94


Planned Results

Provide responsible environmental stewardship, heritage conservation and efficient and affordable administration.

Performance Expectations 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.
Status 21. Reasonable Progress (sewage effluent quality, contaminated sites and legislated limits to growth): Six of the seven communities met the Federal Wastewater Guidelines for sewage effluent quality. All of the 4 communities expected to meet the more rigorous Parks Canada Mountain Park targets met them in 2006-2007. The percentage of remediated or risk-managed contaminated sites increased from 62% (2005-2006) to 65% (2006-2007). Growth in all of the Park communities is within legislated limits with an average growth rate (excluding Banff) of 6.4% since 2005-2006.
Insufficient Information
(water conservation and solid waste diversion): Targets for water conservation and solid waste diversion have not yet been developed.

22. Caution: Although progress has been made Parks Canada did not achieve its target in this area. As of March 31, 2007, 6 of 7 communities have completed an inventory of their heritage assets, 6 of 7 communities have rated the condition of these assets while 4 of 7 communities have completed action plans, which include performance targets to address protection and presentation goals.

23. On Target: Operating costs for water, sewer and garbage collection are 100% cost recovered, where regulations permit.

24. Insufficient Information: Targets for efficient administration based on standard municipal models have not been established, as they would have been redundant with those already established for performance expectations 21, 22 and 23. This target has, therefore, been removed from the 2007-2008 Corporate Plan.


 


Program Activity 6: Throughway Management

Throughway management activities include operation, maintenance and repair of roads, bridges, provincial and inter-provincial 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.


16% of Expenditures
($ Thousands) 2006-2007 2005-2006
Planned Total
Authorities
Actual Actual
Expenditures 59,070 95,856 92,906 51,357
FTEs 214   250 196


Sub Activity Highways Waterways
Planned Results Provide safe highways, open to the through traffic and minimize their environmental impacts. Maintain condition of waterways with water control functions and meet water level obligations.
Performance Expectations 25. Highways are open to through traffic.

26. Maintain highways in a condition that minimizes risk to users.

27. Minimize environmental impacts of highways.
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.
Status 25. On Target: In 2006/2007 no highway was closed because of asset condition.

26. Insufficient Information  The Agency continues to invest in highway re-capitalization and maintenance but highway condition ratings are not up-to-date.

27. Reasonable Progress: The strategy for ecological reporting on through highways is being implemented as part of the ecological integrity monitoring and reporting system for individual parks that have through highways; salt management plans are in place and measures are taken to reduce wildlife/traffic collisions.
28. Caution: Progress has been made on inventories and engineering assessments of condition rating. Funding has been allocated to the most urgent health and safety projects and others have been deferred until the funding ramps-up over five years. As a result, 75% of waterway assets would not be assessed as being in fair condition.

29. Caution: Inventories of water control obligations have been completed for all major waterway systems managed by Parks Canada. Targets have been established but the requirement for compliance protocols has been removed.


Figure 2: Planned Results and Performance Expectations Reported for 2006-2007

As previously referenced, the Annual Performance Report details Agency performance in relation to 6 planned results and 9 performance expectations (also outlined in red on Figure 1).  They are:


Planned Results Performance Expectations
Create national parks and national marine conservation areas in unrepresented regions. 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.
Designate and commemorate places, persons and events of national historic significance, particularly in under-represented priority areas. 3. Designate, on average, 24 new places, persons and events per year, of which, 33 % relate to at least one of the strategic priorities (i.e. Aboriginal people, ethno-cultural communities and women’s history).
Maintain or improve the ecological integrity of national parks and the sustainability of national marine conservation areas. 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.
Maintain or improve the commemorative integrity of national historic sites; maintain or improve the state of other cultural resources administered by Parks Canada. 13. Improve 80% of the elements of commemorative integrity rated as poor to at least fair condition within five years of the original assessment.
Encourage the support and involvement of Canadians and stakeholders and their knowledge and appreciation of Canada’s heritage places. 17. Develop indicators, expectations and protocols for measuring public appreciation and understanding of Canadians and stakeholders by March 2007.
Encourage experiences and emotional connections, meet visitor expectations and facilitate learning opportunities. 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.

Program Activity 1: Establish Heritage Places

Create National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas in Unrepresented Regions

Increase the Number of Represented Terrestrial Regions from 25 in March 2003 to 34 of 39 by March 2008 (Performance Expectation #1):

The National Parks System Plan (1997) (www.pc.gc.ca) divides Canada into 39 distinct National Park Natural Regions, with the goal being to represent each of the natural 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.

The number of represented regions as of March 2007 and increases in the number of represented regions over the last four years are shown in Figure 3. Parks Canada is focusing its efforts in six of the currently 11 unrepresented regions. These regions are the focus of attention because there are confirmed candidate sites; there is a level of cooperation with a range of stakeholders in most of the regions, and to varying degrees, there is some level of threat that without action these areas may be lost to other development scenarios. The pace at which Parks Canada will be able to attain its March 2008 target depends a great deal on its ability to secure the support of provincial or territorial governments, Aboriginal people, and local communities, and negotiating the appropriate agreements and cooperative arrangements.

Significant progress was made in a number of regions, in particular, the Mealy Mountains (Labrador) and the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen (British Columbia) where public consultations were held on possible boundary scenarios and on a management framework for these sites. In addition, an important Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the government and the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation that formally launched a feasibility study for the proposed East Arm of Great Slave Lake (Northwest Territories). More detail is provided in the Background Report on the Agency website (www.pc.gc.ca).

Figure 3: Number of Parks Canada’s 39 Terrestrial Regions Represented in the System

  As of March
2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
# Of 39 Natural Regions Represented in System 28 28 27 27 25
# Of Operational National Parks 42 42 41 41 39
Km of Operational National Parks 274,700 274,700 265,000 265,000 244,540

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).
  • 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).

Increase the Number of Represented Marine Regions from Two in March 2003 to Eight of 29 by March 2008 (Performance Expectation #1):

A national marine conservation areas system plan, entitled Sea to Sea to Sea (www.pc.gc.ca), divides Canada’s oceanic waters and Great Lakes into 29 marine natural regions. The long-term goal is to represent each of the natural 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. Under the 2002 Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, Parks Canada is mandated to work with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada to manage national marine conservation areas, and to conserve them for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world.

There are currently two operating marine sites: Atlantic Marine Region 5 is represented by the Saguenay-St. Laurent Marine Park in Quebec (established pursuant to its own legislation) and Great Lakes Marine Region 2 by Fathom Five National Marine Park in Ontario. Although both parks were established prior to passage of the National Marine Conservation Act, the Agency treats them as national marine conservation areas.

Parks Canada has had to refine its establishment protocols for the sites it is currently working on given the new concepts in the NMCA legislation, such as ecologically sustainable use, the requirement to develop interim management plans as part of the establishment process and, the requirement to share responsibilities with other federal departments such as Fisheries and Oceans. Some concepts, embodied in the Act, will take time to define in a workable way. This combined with the time it takes to secure the support of other governments, Aboriginal people and stakeholders for a relatively new concept means that Parks Canada will be challenged to meet its target.

The Parks Canada Agency will not act unilaterally to establish a national marine conservation area. Establishment success requires the support and endorsement of local communities, stakeholders, Aboriginal communities and provinces and territories.

Since March 2003, Parks Canada’s has concentrated on creating National Marine Conservation Areas in six unrepresented regions. No work is planned in the other 21 regions at the present time. Although no new National Marine Conservation Areas have been represented, progress has been made, in particular, in Lake Superior where negotiations during 2006/2007 will likely result in the signing of a federal-provincial establishment agreement in 2007/2008. In addition, discussions with the Haida Nation with respect to the proposed NMCA in the waters of Gwaii Haanas (British Columbia) and discussions with the Government of British Columbia and other parties with respect to the proposal for the Southern Strait of Georgia, contributed to 2006-2007 progress. In 2006, Parks Canada adjusted its short-term target from representation of eight regions by March 2008, to four regions, to be more in line with capacity and the pace of the establishment process.

Designate and Commemorate Places, Persons and Events of National Historic Significance, particularly in Under-Represented Priority Areas

Designate, on average, 24 New Places, Persons and Events Per Year, of which, on average, 33% Relate to at Least One of the Strategic Priorities (Performance Expectation #3):

The National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan (October 2000) (www.pc.gc.ca) presents a strategy to commemorate places, persons, and events of national historic significance. Realization of the National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan is the responsibility of several different stakeholders; the public, who make 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 Board, and preparing submissions, based on Board recommendations, for the Minister. The number of Ministerial designations over the last three years is shown in Figure 4 while the number of designations of places, persons and events across Canada is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4: Status of Ministerial Designations of Places, Persons and Events

  2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005
All SP All SP All SP
Balance as of April 1 1,875 373 1,859 363 1,849 355
  # Of Designations 22 11 19 10 6 3
  Net Adjustments -1 -1 -3   4 5
Balance as of March 31 1896 383 1,875 373 1,859 363
Strategic Priorities as % of new designations for the year 50 52.6 50

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Secretariat database and Directory of Federal Heritage Designation

  • All=All designations, SP=designations related to strategic priorities
  • Adjustments to the number of designations result from the destruction of the listed asset, discovery of double-counted or uncounted previous designations, or re-assessment of the status of a listed site.

In 2006-2007, there were twenty-two new designations: six related to women’s history, two to the history of Aboriginal people, and three to the history of ethno-cultural communities.

One hundred and fifty-seven of the 924 national historic sites (i.e., designated places) across Canada, or about one in six, are administered directly by Parks Canada.
Figure 5: Status of Designations by Type as of March 2007

Type All
Places 924
Persons 597
Events 375
Total 1896
Source: National Historic Sites Directorate

Program Activity 2: Conserve Heritage Resources

Maintain or Improve the Ecological Integrity of National Parks and the Sustainability of National Marine Conservation Areas

 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” (The Canada National Parks Act).

Maintaining or improving the ecological integrity of a national park is a complex and difficult challenge. The Agency does not have direct influence on all the factors, such as long-range atmospheric pollution and climate change, that affect the state of ecological integrity. Other factors, such as acts of nature (e.g., forest fires) can also assist Parks Canada in improving ecological integrity. To maintain and improve ecological integrity, Parks Canada works with a number of partners including Aboriginal communities, adjacent landowners, the private sector such as the tourism industry, along with environmental non-government organizations and universities.

New Investments: The Government has provided funds for the Agency to maintain and improve the ecological integrity of Canada’s national parks; an investment of approximately $135 million over five years with ongoing funding each year thereafter. Parks Canada has also received dedicated funding, totalling $20.3M, for protection of species at risk, an initiative lead by Environment Canada.

Parks Canada is investing to increase its capacity to deliver on its ecological integrity commitments by staffing new positions in resource conservation and in interpretation.

Improve aspects of the state of EI in each of Canada's 42 national parks by 2014 (Performance Expectation #10):

The Agency can point to specific results of active management and restoration projects that demonstrate that it is making reasonable progress toward meeting its performance expectation. Past Annual Reports identified that there was insufficient information to make a determination of progress as projects had not been fully implemented. While many restoration projects are multi-year, the following four projects illustrate the work the Agency is undertaking and progress toward the planned result.

Fire Management: Fires Bring New Life

Fire has always had a significant role in the maintenance of healthy natural ecosystems. However, it is only relatively recently that active management of fire through the use of prescribed burns and the ‘control’ of wildfire has become common.

Properly managed, fire plays an important role in the life of a forest. It opens up dense old growth and turns branches, leaves and dead wood into instant fertilizer. Sun-warmed, nutrient rich soil allows rapid re-growth of plants, providing abundant food for birds and wildlife.

Burned but still standing trees are havens for insects, which in turn feed woodpeckers and many other small creatures. These “snags” also provide shelter, nesting sites and perches for a wide variety of wildlife species.

Parks Canada seeks to reduce wildfire risk and approximate the ecological effects of the long-term historical fire regime (average number of hectares burnt each year) characteristic of each park/site. This will contribute to the maintenance and restoration of ecological integrity/reduction of ecological risk.

Approximately 60 % of parks are actively managing fire; 24 % of parks/sites with fire dependent/fire prone vegetation have clear fire/vegetation management objectives in their management plans; 23 fire plans (prescribed burns) covering 29,881 hectares were approved in 2006-2007.

In 2006/2007, 11 prescribed burns covering 5,859 hectares were ignited. This number is below the seven year annual average of 15 although the total number of hectares burnt was above the average of 44,000 hectares. Parks Canada responded to 137 wildfires, which resulted in 27,210 hectares burned. The number of wildfires was above the seven year average of 76 but below the average area burned.

Fires, whether set under controlled conditions or managed wildfires, will 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/historic sites has improved the ecological health of these special places.

La Mauricie National Park – Aquatic Restoration

Before the establishment of the La Mauricie National Park, that region of Quebec was heavily impacted by human use. The natural state of the lakes and rivers had been altered to facilitate logging and the movement of logs to mills to the south. Dams were built to artificially raise and maintain water levels, and many of the lakes of the region were stocked with non-native species of fish to cater to a sports fishing industry.

Parks Canada launched a restoration project to develop a new concept of recreational experience and discovery of the park’s freshwater ecosystems. Natural water levels and shoreline habitat have been restored by removing man-made structures, sunken logs and downed trees. Non-native fish species have also been removed. Land locked Arctic Char and Brook Trout, that are native to the area, have been re-introduced to several lakes. The overall result is that the ecological integrity of the Park’s fresh water ecosystems has been improved. An information and public engagement program was developed and is now offered to increase the level of understanding of the project with students, the local population, Aboriginal people and park visitors.

These measures will positively impact on the ecological integrity of the Park and will be reflected in improvements in the Park monitoring and reporting system.

Grasslands National Park – Restoring the Ecological Balance

Prairie grasslands are amongst the most threatened ecosystems in Canada. At Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, bison have been re-introduced as a key element in the restoration of the prairie grass ecosystem.

Large herbivore grazing is an ecological process that has been missing from the prairie Park for a number of years. Bison grazing patterns are somewhat different than domestic livestock as they graze heavily in some areas and lightly in others. This pattern creates a vegetation community that is diverse and therefore attractive to a variety of native species not found in the surrounding rangeland. Grazing bison distribute seeds, fertilize the land and, through habits such as dry wallowing create habitat for birds and animals such as the ground squirrel and burrowing owl. By using prescribed fire and watering holes to facilitate bison movement, the Park is aiming to create specific grazing prescriptions, aimed at maintaining a range of prairie biodiversity.

The Agency has two years of grazing monitoring data in place, as well as a completed ecosystem model populated with baseline data to support park level decision-making.

The Agency is confident that these measures will contribute to the restoration of the prairie grass ecosystem. Having bison back on the landscape is also a major addition to visitor experience, providing an opportunity for learning about prairie ecosystems.

Lake Louise Area Strategy: Trail and Habitat Restoration

This trail and habitat restoration initiative is designed to sustain the grizzly bear population in the Lake Louise area while maintaining a positive visitor experience in one of the most visited sites in Canada’s National Park System. The restoration program aims to reduce bear mortality and habituation to humans as well as provide upgraded visitor services and learning opportunities. The end result will be that bear movement and habitat will be less disrupted, while visitor opportunities are improved.

Work on the project is multi-year and proceeding on schedule. Trails have been redesigned to meet the needs of both bears and hikers. Some trails have been closed and others re-routed to avoid key feeding areas and allow bears good escape terrain. In addition to trail projects, potential new uses and the commemorative integrity of the historic Skoki Lodge and Abbot Pass Refuge have been assessed to examine new visitor opportunities; and a firebreak was constructed around the hamlet of Lake Louise to protect people and facilities, while facilitating wildlife movement.

Preliminary results show increased presence and movement of bears and wolves in the area; a positive reaction from trail users and a reduced perception of visitor crowding due to better parking management. The planned reduction target for bear mortality outlined in the Park Management Plan is being approached. In time, the Agency expects there will be greater evidence of environmental stewardship (from opportunity and involvement) and support for the Agency mandate of visitor opportunity, education and protection.

Other Projects

The Agency has also undertaken other projects related to improving the ecological integrity of specific parks. The Ecological Integrity Innovation and Leadership Fund supports approximately 70 projects in scientific research for better park management, active management and restoration, regional and Aboriginal partnerships and initiatives to inform, influence and involve Canadians. Multi-year ecological integrity theme projects have been funded in 11 national parks. For detail on more of these projects see the Background to Performance Report 2007, www.pc.gc.ca. Other examples of efforts to improve ecological integrity in national parks can be found in Parks Canada’s publication, Action on the Ground (www.pc.gc.ca), and Parks Canada’s Species at risk recovery strategies (www.sararegistry.gc.ca).

A system is being put in place to better track the effectiveness of significant actions that are carried out to improve aspects of ecological integrity in the national parks. These actions are either those planned for large-scale projects including priority theme projects, innovation and leadership projects, and restoration projects, or are key actions identified in the park management plan. For each initiative, outcomes and associated targets are defined. These results will be reported in the State of the Park report every five years. Reportable results are expected after one planning and reporting cycle for each park.

Develop selected indicators and protocols for measuring NMCA ecological sustainability by March 2009 (Performance Expectation #9):

Three international workshops led to a recommended framework for shared indicators and protocols that is now to be tested in Mexican, US and Canadian pilot sites, including the marine component of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Parks Canada’s limited capacity presents a challenge in advancing this priority.

Develop Fully Functioning Ecological Integrity Monitoring and Reporting Systems for All National Parks by March 2008 (Performance Expectation #8):

Parks Canada has conducted yearly assessments of all parks on their progress in developing fully functioning ecological monitoring and reporting systems against six criteria. Results of these assessments are shown in Figure 6. These criteria track progress toward a mature monitoring program that will not be attained for several years. Advances have been made in stakeholder involvement (Criterion 4) and in the strategy for assembling monitoring programs (Criterion 6). Scientific credibility and data management and statistical design criteria continue to be a challenge because of the need for additional data collection.

In the interim, a set of five conditions for supporting State of the Park reporting will be addressed. These conditions (see Figure 7) capture the essential elements of the criteria in
Figure 6. Although only two parks meet all of the conditions at the present time, it is expected that 28 parks will do so by March 2008.

Figure 6: Ecological Integrity Monitoring and Reporting System Criteria/Individual Park Success in Meeting the Criteria

Criteria Number of Parks Meeting Criteria (N=42)
2006/2007
1. Scientific credibility: Monitoring systems address clear questions, set defensible targets, use scientifically defensible methods that are available for external review; systems incorporate external scientific advice 4
2. Data management and statistical design: data from monitoring systems are available and coherent, experimental designs and sampling are scientifically adequate. 2
3. Bioregional Cooperation: Monitoring projects complement greater bioregional approaches and initiatives. 29
4. Stakeholder Involvement: partners and stakeholders in the development of park ecological monitoring and reporting system are engaged. 25
5. Linkage to Park Management Plans: Monitoring systems are linked to ecological integrity vision of management plan for each park and greater park ecosystem monitoring goals. 22
6. Strategy for Assembling Monitoring Systems: Parks have credible strategies to address gaps in monitoring systems. 29

Figure 7: Initial Conditions for a Fully Functional Monitoring and Reporting System

Figure 7: Initial Conditions for a Fully Functional Monitoring and Reporting System

Parks Canada reports on the state of ecological integrity of parks ecosystems in its State of Protected Heritage Areas Report (SOPHA) produced every two years and, in each park’s state of the park report produced as part of the five-year management planning cycle. The framework in Figure 8 is used to organize reporting on ecological integrity within different ecosystems (e.g., land based, aquatic). Each additional park has tailored the national system to address their unique circumstances. (see Background Report: Figure 7 for an example of a park monitoring and reporting system.)

Figure 8: Framework for Reporting on Ecological Integrity of National Parks

Component Definition and Measures
Biological Diversity The natural variety of plant and animal species, and the genetic variation within individual populations that characterize ecosystems. Measures include extent to which original species diversity is maintained, extent normal predator-prey relations continue, and extent of species loss.
Ecosystem Processes The flows of energy and matter that shape ecosystems (e.g., growth and decomposition of vegetation, fire, etc.). In normal circumstances these functions are expected to occur within an acceptable range of variation. Measures include the extent of plant growth in a park and the existence of a natural fire cycle.
Stressors Factors, either within or from outside the park, that negatively affect both its biodiversity and ecosystem processes. They may be global and long-range (e.g., climate change, long-range pollutants), or regional and local (e.g., regional land management practices around a park, road densities). Some stressors (e.g., particular diseases in neighbouring animal populations) are specific only to a few parks. Measures include extent of development and population density around a park, the extent of internal roads in a park, and the water quality (i.e., for aquatic ecosystems).

From a longer-term perspective, the national snapshot of ecological integrity in national parks (Figure 9) is based on best available data to illustrate the state of ecological integrity for national park terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. This data comes from a variety of sources: the developing park monitoring and reporting system, satellite imagery, traditional knowledge, other government departments and literature. As more data from individual park monitoring and reporting systems becomes available, this snapshot will be refined to present an overview of the state of ecological integrity in Canada’s national parks.

Figure 9: A Snapshot of the State of Ecological Integrity in Canada’s National Parks

Figure 9: A Snapshot of the State of Ecological Integrity in Canada's National Parks

A project (such as the re-introduction of bison to Grasslands National Park) might improve an aspect of the ecological integrity of a park without necessarily changing the indicator. Many elements make up each indicator. Figure 10 draws on the data from Figure 9 to show change from the 2005/06 Performance Report. Some indicators, such as diversity and developed area were not re-assessed due to lack of new data, while others such as species loss represent new assessments.

Figure 10: Ecological Integrity indicators: Areas of Change from 2005/2006

Figure 10: Ecological Integrity indicators: Areas of Change from 2005/2006

The majority of ecological integrity measures remained stable from 2005/2006. There were seven parks that showed improvements in measures of EI and six parks that showed declines in measures of EI. Eight parks had measures reclassified to a poorer condition of ecological integrity as the result of new information. The latter represent a somewhat reduced condition of ecological integrity without giving us any information about trends. There were also ten instances of new information for a measure where there was none in 2005/2006. Most of these were in good ecological condition. The changes reported include:

  • Improvement in ecological integrity because of the restoration of grazing in prairie grasslands through the reintroduction of bison to Grasslands National Park. Grazing is as an important ecological process to the grassland ecosystem and the return of large herbivores to the park has had a positive impact;
  • A decline in the ecological integrity measure of plant growth (productivity) over the period 1998-2006, for 6 of 11 northern national parks as estimated using satellite imagery. There is no definitive explanation for this change but changing climate is postulated to be the cause;
  • Improvements in the ecological integrity measure for fire as a result of prescribed-burn and managed wildfire burns in Prince Albert, Kejimkujik and Waterton Lakes National Parks. Parks Canada seeks to reduce wildfire risk and approximate the ecological effects of the long-term historical fire pattern. Approximately 60% of parks are actively managing fire. Almost 30 thousand hectares of prescribed burns were approved in 2006-07. This is an important ecological process that is being used to improve ecological integrity of national parks;
  • A greater number of parks with 1% or more of their native species lost. This number will continue to increase for a number of years with increased study and knowledge of rare species; and.
  • Changes in internal road densities with land acquisition; some reflect favorably on the Park (Bruce Peninsula) and others do not (St. Lawrence Islands).

The Background to the Performance Report includes a table detailing the factors considered when assigning a green, yellow or red rating to an indicator.

Each National Park will have a system that monitors and provides data to report on the state of ecological integrity of that park.

Some aspects of ecological integrity, while monitored and reported, are beyond the direct control or influence of the Agency. The monitoring and reporting systems will support the Agency as it focuses its efforts and investment areas that will lead to measurable improvement of the ecological integrity in the parks.

Maintain or Improve the Commemorative Integrity of National Historic Sites Administered by Parks Canada

Improve 80% of the Elements of Commemorative Integrity Rated as Poor to at Least Fair Condition within Five Years of the Original Assessment (Performance Expectation #13):

Commemorative integrity of a National Historic Site is achieved when:

  • Resources directly related to the reasons for the site’s designation as a national historic site are not impaired or under threat;
  • The reasons for the site’s designation as a national historic site are effectively communicated to the public; and
  • The site’s heritage values are respected in all decisions and actions affecting the site.

Commemorative integrity statements for Parks Canada Administered sites

As of March 2007, 137 of 157 Parks Canada administered national historic sites had commemorative integrity statements; 134 were complete and three were in draft form. 85 % of required commemorative integrity statements were completed.

The remaining 20 commemorative integrity statements will be completed in 2007-2008, as part of the site management planning process.

Parks Canada intends to evaluate the commemorative integrity of all the sites it administers by March 2009. In 2006-2007, the rate at which evaluations were being completed was accelerated resulting in twenty evaluations being completed, more than in previous years.

This acceleration will result in the completion of a baseline dataset for the Agency’s national historic sites and foreshadows the transformation of commemorative integrity evaluations into State of Sites Reporting. Results of the evaluations over the last five years are shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11: Status of Commemorative Integrity of Parks Canada Administered National Historic Sites

  Number of Sites with Rating % Over Last Five Years
  2006-2007
(n=20)
2005-2006
(n=19)
2004-2005
(n=13)
2003-2004
(n=14)
2002-2003
(n=18)
RC EC MP RC EC MP RC EC MP RC EC MP RC EC MP RC EC MP
Good 8 6 4 5 6 6 5 3 2 6 2 5 4 1 0 33 22 20
Fair 11 7 12 10 7 9 6 5 8 8 9 7 9 10 13 53 45 58
Poor 1 7 4 4 6 4 2 5 3 0 3 2 5 7 5 14 33 22
Source: Commemorative Integrity database
RC=Resource Condition, EC=Effective communication, MP=Management Practices
• 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. All evaluated sites have a completed commemorative integrity statement (CIS). It cannot be assumed that the sites are representative of other national historic sites administered by Parks Canada and the samples of sites evaluated each year should not be used to infer any general changes in resource condition, effectiveness of communication or management practices of Parks Canada-administered national historic sites over time

Each National Historic Site with poor ratings on one or more elements of CI is assessed three-years after the last commemorative integrity evaluation to determine if it has developed and implemented strategies to address deficiencies. This assessment is completed by managers who are requested to identify specific actions taken over the last three years (completed and ongoing); identify short-term action in their Field Unit Business Plan; and provide an opinion on whether the problem(s) that led to the overall poor rating are completely resolved, partially resolved, or not yet resolved. The assessments are not formal re-evaluations of the commemorative integrity elements of a site and provide only an indication of whether any action has been undertaken to improve the condition of those elements of the original evaluation that had been rated ‘poor’. Results of the assessments over the last three years are shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12: Status of Actions Taken to Address Poor Ratings of CI

  2006-2007 Survey of 4 Sites
Receiving Poor Ratings in
2003-2004
2005-2006 Survey of 12 Sites
Receiving Poor Ratings in
2002-2003
2004-2005 Survey of 6 Sites
Receiving Poor Ratings in
2001-2002
RC EC MP RC EC MP RC EC MP
# of Poor Ratings 0 3 2 5 7 5 1 5 1
# of Sites Reporting Taking Steps to Improve 0 3 0 5 4 4 1 3 1
# and % of Poor Ratings Improved 3 of 5 (60%) 13 of 17 (76%) 5 of 7 (71%)
Source: Parks Canada’s Self-Assessment Survey of Sites With Poor Ratings
RC=Resource Condition, EC=Effective communication, MP=Management Practices

Although Parks Canada has achieved a 69.5% average over the past three years it will not meet the stated goal of 80% improvement within the prescribed timeline. Re-evaluations of the commemorative integrity of national historic sites have not been conducted because of resource limitations.

Since the Agency secured new asset funding in 2005, it has been allocated to most urgent health and safety projects. Ramping-up of the capital funding over the next couple of years means that the needed investments in the re-capitalization of cultural assets will begin, although not as intensely as was described in the long-term capital plan of the Agency.

Program Activity 3: Promote Public Appreciation and Understanding

Encourage the Support and Involvement of Canadians and Stakeholders and their Knowledge and Appreciation of Canada’s Heritage Places.

Develop Indicators, Expectations and Protocols for Measuring Public Appreciation and Understanding of Canadians and Stakeholders by March 2007(Performance Expectation # 17):

Promoting public appreciation and understanding involves programs and activities that are aimed at reaching Canadians at home, at leisure, at school and in their communities through relevant and effective learning and involvement opportunities that respond to their needs and interests.

At the 2005 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada, participants made six recommendations relating to the theme of facilitating More Memorable Visitor Experiences and, under the theme Towards a Culture of Conservation, made recommendations relating to education and outreach, communicating, and socio-economic market research (to see the complete Parks Canada response to the 2005 Minister’s Round Table recommendations visit the Agency website and look under Library).

Parks Canada has created the External Relations and Visitor Experience Directorate to provide national leadership and direction in this area. An evolving function within the newly formed Directorate is public appreciation, understanding and engagement. The Agency established a performance expectation of developing indicators, expectations and protocols for measuring public appreciation and understanding by March 2007. Although this target has not yet been met, the Agency has made progress. There are several examples provided of initiatives that demonstrate progress toward meeting the performance expectation and planned result.

In 2006/2007, work was completed on the review of corporate literature to identify and define the scope, themes and areas of focus of the program activity. The analysis led to the identification of the core concept areas for Program Activity #3 of understanding, appreciation, support and engagement.

Based on the core concept areas a new planned result and performance expectation for enhance visitor experience was developed and presented in the 2007/08-2011/12 Agency Corporate Plan. In addition, as part of the exercise to realign the Agency Program Activity Architecture (PAA) two sub-activities, outreach education and engagement were added. The new PAA structure was presented to Treasury Board and approved in 2007/2008.

Work is continuing to further refine the planned results and performance expectations and develop the protocols and targets for measuring results. The new performance framework for Program Activity #3 will be integrated into the 2008/09-2012/13 Corporate Plan.

Support and Involvement:

Parks Canada conducted national telephone opinion surveys, in 2002 and 2005 to assess Canadians’ knowledge about Parks Canada and their attitudes toward environmental protection, heritage conservation and recreation. There were no surveys conducted in 2006-2007.

In 2005 more than 6,000 randomly selected Canadians responded, representing a response rate of 10%. Parks Canada plans to examine its survey methodology in 2007-2008 to improve response rates.

In the most recent survey, 2005, Parks Canada inquired about the importance of natural and cultural heritage to individual Canadians. Nearly all respondents (99%) agreed that it was important that Canada protect natural areas and the environment. A similar high percentage of respondents were in agreement with the importance of protecting significant historic places.

Canadians’ trust in Parks Canada was also assessed. One in two respondents indicated they had ‘a great deal’ of trust in Parks Canada as a steward of natural and cultural heritage. Only one in eight respondents (13%) had the same level of trust in the federal government in general to be a responsible steward of heritage resources.

Over the past 25 years, Parks Canada has had and continues to have a strong connection with Canadians through its volunteer and cooperating association initiatives. Volunteering is a tangible demonstration of public belief in Parks Canada and its goals.

Canadians have expressed ongoing interest in being involved with and participating in Parks Canada’s programs. The Agency strives to create the conditions to allow this to happen including new site-specific opportunities volunteering at archaeological digs.

Volunteers work under the supervision of Agency staff and provide services that enhance the existing Parks Canada service offer. Volunteer numbers have remained stable over time with 3,000 to 5,000 volunteers providing up to 150,000 hours of their time annually. Periodically there is a large year-to-year fluctuation in the number of volunteers and volunteer-hours. A military re-enactment, a periodic event, may involve up to 2,500 volunteers and many volunteer-hours.

Statistics Canada has released a number of studies that relate to volunteerism. The number of people volunteering in Canada has been in steady decline over the past decade and, the number of hours worked by those who continue to volunteer has been increasing. The Agency has not conducted that type of study but believes that the stability of its volunteer base is reflective of the level of support and involvement it enjoys with Canadians.

Cooperating associations (also known as “Friends of”) are not for profit organizations that have an education component in their mandate. They function independently but in partnership with the Agency, providing a range of services (e.g. retail sales outlets). In 2006/2007 there were 54 cooperating associations working at 72 parks and sites. Some cooperating associations work with multiple sites.

Knowledge and Appreciation:

The 2005 national survey poll results found a slight decrease in the number of Canadians, from 2002, who are aware3 of both the national parks and national historic sites programs. Respondents are aware of heritage areas although awareness was higher for national parks (59%) than for national historic sites (46%).

Engaging Canadians at Home

The web is a tool increasingly used by visitors, partners and stakeholders, urban youth and educators. A Canadian Radio and Television Commission study on new media reveals that nearly two-thirds of the country’s households were on-line in 2006 and that use of the Internet to search for specific information was the second most popular online activity, only e-mail surpassed information search.

In 2004, an evaluation was conducted of the Parks Canada website. That evaluation showed that a majority of users (54%) visited the website to plan a trip. Parks Canada recognizes that the first step in the trip cycle is the pre-trip planning- a step usually initiated at home. Parks Canada offers a multi-channel suite of pre-trip planning services: the web, the national toll-free information line, the campground reservation service and printed material.

In 2006, Parks Canada revised the structure, design and visitor information content available on our website. This was done to bridge the identified gaps between consumers’ needs and expectations and what the website had offered. The new “Planning Your Visit” section of the website was launched as information for each park and site was compiled, in February and March 2007.

The Agency believes that changes to the trip planning portion of the website will increase user satisfaction by enabling website users to access relevant information quickly and on-line from home computers. In 2006/2007, more than 1.2 million website users visited the “Planning Your Visit” section of the Parks Canada website. As new media use increases in Canada, the Agency expects an increase in the number of persons accessing the Agency website and specific elements of that site as Canadians increasingly turn to the web to search for information.

It is anticipated that average handle time for call centre calls, will decrease because call centre associates use the web as their primary source of information. The Agency will be able to measure the change in the number of website visits (a measure of reach) and the time taken to respond to web inquiries. There are no immediate plans to conduct a follow-up user requirements analysis or user satisfaction analysis.

Parks Canada In Schools (PCIS)-Teacher’s Corner

In the 2006/2007 Corporate Plan, the decision makers of tomorrow, the youth of Canada were singled out as an audience segment to be reached. A way of making that connection is through the schools.

The Parks Canada In Schools program connects with teachers of history/social studies, geography and natural science programs in grades 4-12 in all provinces and territories. The Teacher’s Corner on the Parks Canada website provides bilingual, curriculum-based learning resources for teachers across the country. The site houses more than 100 curriculum linked resources. Analysis of visitation to the Teacher’s Corner section of the website shows a growth from 378,079 in 2005/2006 to 834,369 visits in 2006/2007.

To ensure that the site content meets the needs of teachers, the usability and efficacy of the Teacher’s Corner were evaluated. Nine focus groups of teachers took place in five locations across Canada. Findings indicated that teachers were impressed with the high quality of the content and wanted more resources added to the site. These and other technical suggestions made during the focus group sessions will be acted upon to improve the Teachers’ Corner in 2007.

At the present time, the Agency does not carry out testing/surveying of the students whose courses include Agency developed material. Such initiatives are being considered as part of the development of the performance framework for program activity # 3 that is underway.

Canadian Geographic Kids

Many urban youth will not visit a park or national historic site in person. Reaching this important market segment via the medium of television has been a priority for the Agency. 2006/2007 saw the production and airing of season six of Canadian Geographic (CG kids). CG Kids is a television series for children ages 8 to 12; program hosts Sid and Cat travel across the country to discover Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Season six provided excellent profile for Parks Canada with 11 of the 13 episodes featuring National Parks, National Historic Sites and Parks Canada staff. The programs began airing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in January of 2007, and continue to be aired on APTN and Discovery Kids. CG Kids is a partnership initiative and program content is not exclusively that of the Agency.

The Agency does not have a comprehensive picture of the performance results of the initiative except for a focus group study conducted in 2005/2006. The External Relations and Visitor Experience Directorate, as part of its performance framework initiative will, in 2007/2008, be considering ways to measure the results of initiatives such as CG Kids.

Connectivity

Digital communications technologies have exploded onto the scene in the last decade and have changed the way people live, work, play, socialize and learn. Parks Canada launched the “Connectivity Initiative” to reach Canadians who do not regularly visit parks or sites but who are still interested in experiencing their cultural and natural heritage.

Interactive videoconferencing events were conducted as pilots in 2006 at Parks Canada’s Discovery Centre in Hamilton, Ontario and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. Urban audiences at these two locations were connected with Parks Canada staff at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in British Columbia. Two marine biologists and a park warden described the Park’s marine ecosystems and the research and monitoring work underway in order to better understand and protect the Park. Audiences learned first-hand from these specialists and were able to ask questions about wildlife and other matters including environmental ethics. Following the videoconference, participants were focus tested and a formal evaluation report was prepared. Parks Canada has also conducted a market research study and a literature review to assess the potential for a wider scale, Connectivity Initiative of this type of programming. Parks Canada will build a performance framework for public appreciation, understanding and engagement that will include measuring “Connectivity” results.

Program Activity 4: Enhance Visitor Experience

This Program Activity area has the most public contact and provides the public face of the Agency. The Agency, in cooperation with its partners and stakeholders, facilitates opportunities for visitors to enjoy memorable, high-quality visitor experiences, through the provision of programs, services, infrastructure, facilities and interaction with Parks Canada personnel. Visitor experience is intertwined with other Parks Canada key mandate elements of education and protection.

Quality visitor services include pre-visit and on-site planning information, visitor reception and orientation services, campgrounds, hiking trails, canal recreational services and other recreational services, public safety and post visit information and engagement. Partners including “Friends of” associations and the Canadian Avalanche Association deliver some of these services on Parks Canada’s behalf.

The Visitor Experience Program Activity was re-aligned in 2006/2007 to include on-site educational activities associated with learning and interpretation.

Parks Canada is but one of a number of organizations involved in facilitating opportunities for visitors. Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, tourism associations and the private sector all play a role in attracting visitors. Parks Canada can influence but not control all aspects of the activity. There are also higher-level issues such as security concerns and monetary exchange rates that are beyond the control or influence of the Agency.

Encourage Experiences and Emotional Connections, Meet Visitor Expectations and Facilitate Learning Opportunities

Parks Canada uses a variety of mechanisms to monitor visitor expectations, and their level of satisfaction with the services it delivers. This is done within the overall context of the Government’s commitment to improve the quality of service it offers to Canadians and, to provide services that Canadians want. The mechanisms used by Parks Canada include the monitoring of consumer and tourism trends, consultation sessions undertaken to develop management plans, forming local advisory committees and management boards, assessing the comment cards completed by visitors, and the program of visitor surveys.

The Agency does not have, at the present time, a way to measure emotional connection of the visitor to/with the special heritage place that is being visited. The initiative to develop a comprehensive performance framework for Program Activities three and four, will consider how this important aspect of the visitor experience can be measured.

The Agency has increased its capacity in social sciences by hiring a Chief Social Scientist, in recognition of the need to improve research standards and have a directed and coordinated social science research program for programming and investment decisions.

Parks Canada has over the years, conducted/participated in national polling. To date, this polling, while generating interesting data, has not given the Agency sufficient information on all aspects of the Agency’s programs it needs to fully inform decision-making. Parks Canada is making efforts to address social science information gaps. Consideration is being given to develop a social monitoring network to gather and disseminate data to understand, track and respond to social and visitor trends, thereby enhancing the Agency’s ability to make better-informed social science-based decisions and better manage risk. The Agency will decide on and identify preferred approaches and present them in its Corporate Plan.

Number of Visits to Parks Canada Sites: Parks Canada counts or estimates the number of person-visits at 128 reporting units (i.e., 36 national parks, two national marine conservation areas, and 90 national historic sites and exhibits administered by Parks Canada). A person visit is defined as:


“Persons entering lands or marine areas within a reporting unit for recreational, educational or cultural purposes during operating hours are counted as person-visits. Through traffic, commercial traffic, persons residing within a reporting unit, staff, military training activities, and traditional indigenous subsistence activities are all excluded from the person-visit count. In addition, persons re-entering on the same day, and persons staying overnight in a reporting unit do not constitute new person-visits.”

In 2006-2007 there were an estimated 21.7 million person visits, approximately 13.0 million to national parks and 8.7 million to national historic sites. Details of the estimated person-visits for each of Parks Canada’s reporting sites over a five-year period are available on Parks Canada’s web site library at www.pc.gc.ca.

Measuring Visitor Use, Satisfaction and Understanding: Parks Canada uses a variety of mechanisms to monitor visitor expectations, and their level of satisfaction with the services it delivers. This includes monitoring consumer and tourism trends, consultation sessions undertaken to develop management plans, forming local advisory committees and co-management boards, assessing the comment cards completed by visitors, and the program of visitor surveys.

The Visitor Information Program (VIP) provides information on visitors’ use of products and services and their satisfaction with aspects of their visit. This is done through the use of a standard survey administered at least once every five years, at 114 of the national parks, national historic sites, or heritage places and exhibits administered by Parks Canada. 111 of these sites report the number of person-visits to the site and they account for 98% of the recorded visits to national parks and national historic sites. Some parks (6) and historic sites have low visitation and are not part of the five-year survey cycle.

The Visitor Information Program is a national initiative that is in its second 5-year cycle. In each cycle, all 114 sites are to be surveyed. In any particular year, not all scheduled sites are surveyed because of budget or capacity issues (inability to hire survey staff).

Parks Canada’s VIP initiative provides important information to parks/sites about their visitors. However, the Agency recognizes that, as presently structured and delivered, the program is unable to provide regular and consistent information needed in order to meet the needs and expectations of Canadians. In 2006/2007 work began on the elaboration of a revised performance framework for the new External Relations and Visitor Experience Directorate (referenced elsewhere in this report). The revised performance framework has implications for information needs acquired though the VIP. Parks Canada is exploring options to improve the structure and delivery of VIP surveys to accommodate existing and new demands for visitor information. This work will be completed in 2007/2008.

During 2006-2007 visitor surveys were conducted at 14 locations (i.e., 3 national parks and 11 national historic sites including 2 canals/waterways). There were no visitor surveys conducted at national marine conservation areas in 2006/2007.

Results of the surveys conducted as part of the VIP do not necessarily apply to all visitors throughout the year nor to visitors who did not visit the survey locations, nor to other parks and historic sites in the system that did not participate in the survey.

There were 203,000 visitors to the surveyed sites during the peak survey period of June, July, August and September. For the three national parks surveyed, 1,596 visitors were asked to participate in the VIP survey. Of those, 1,397 agreed to participate (87 %) and, 609 questionnaires were completed and returned. Every attempt is made to get 400 survey completions at each participating location. According to sampling theory, an effective sample size is logarithmic compared to population size (the larger the population gets, once you hit a plateau, having a larger sample does little to change the confidence level in the data). To get a 5 % margin of error with 95% confidence (industry standard) for a population of 203,000 would be slightly less than 400 completions (the plateau).

For the 11 national historic sites surveyed, 10,348 visitors were asked to participate in the VIP survey. Of these, 7,777 agreed to participate (75%) and 6,170 questionnaires were completed and returned.

Response rates (i.e., the percentage of visitors approached to participate in the survey who returned questionnaires) for the 2006-2007 surveyed sites, was 59.6% (overall average) and the per site rate varied between 32% and 56% in the three national parks and between 39% and 86% in the eleven national historic sites/canals.

50% of Visitors to National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas Participate in Learning Experiences (Performance Expectation #19):

Visitors are asked to identify themselves as users/participants of specific products or services prior to rating satisfaction with these services. On average 71% of the visitors at the three participating national parks used at least one heritage presentation product or service in 2006-2007. There were no surveys conducted in national marine conservation areas in 2006/2007.

80% of Visitors to National Historic Sites Participate in Learning Experiences (Performance Expectation #19):

On average 89% of visitors to the eleven surveyed sites 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/national marine conservation areas, likely because heritage presentation is a core element of the visitor experience at historic sites, while many visitors to national parks come primarily for recreational purposes.

85% of Visitors are Satisfied and 50% are Very Satisfied with their Experience at National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas (Performance Expectation #20):

Visitors are asked in the VIP to rate their satisfaction with several aspects of their visit and their overall satisfaction, on a five-point scale ranging from five, very satisfied, to one, not at all satisfied. Results for the last four years are shown in Figure 13. There were no surveys conducted at national marine conservation areas in 2006/2007.

Figure 13: Visitors Satisfaction with Overall Visit at National Parks

Year 2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005 2003-2004
# of Sites Surveyed 3 6 1 1
85% of Visitors Satisfied met met met met
50% of Visitors Very Satisfied met met met met
Source: Parks Canada Visitor Information Program

85% of Visitors are Satisfied, and 50% are Very Satisfied with their Experience at National Historic Sites (Performance Expectation #20):

Visitors are asked to rate their satisfaction with several aspects of their visit on a five-point scale ranging from five, very satisfied, to one, not at all satisfied. Results for the last four years are shown in Figure 14.

Figure 14: Visitors Satisfaction with Overall Visit at National Historic Sites

Year 2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005 2003-2004
# of Sites Surveyed 11 13 8 6
85% of Visitors Satisfied met met met met
50% of Visitors Very Satisfied met met met met
Source: Parks Canada Visitor Information Program

Results for overall visit satisfaction are consistent with the results of national surveys on the perceived quality of government services (e.g., Citizens First (1998), Citizens First (2000), Citizens First 3 (2003) and Citizens First 4 (2005)) where the quality of the services offered in national parks were consistently among the highest rated federal government services. High levels of visitor satisfaction are typical of government services involving direct benefits to the public, public information and recreational land (see for example surveys by the U.S. National Parks Service, www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Government Satisfaction Scores, December 16, 2002, www.theacsi.org.