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Parks Canada

Parks Canada
Parcs Canada
Agency overview
Formed May 19, 1911
Jurisdiction Government of Canada
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Employees 4,000
Annual budget $500 million
Minister responsible Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment
Agency executive Alan Latourelle, 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 the Minister of the Environment, who mandates it 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 37 National Parks, three National Marine Conservation Areas, 168 National Historic Sites, 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. The Canadian Register of Historic Places is supported and managed by Parks Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and other federal bodies.


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.[2] Since its creation, its name has changed, known variously as the Dominion Parks Branch, National Parks Branch, Parks Canada, 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.


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.[3] 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.[3] Starting in the 1960s, Parks Canada has also moved to decentralize its operations.[3]

Parks Canada is currently headed by Alan Latourelle who was reappointed on August 7, 2007[4][5] As of 2004, the annual budget for Parks Canada is approximately $500 million, and the agency has 4,000 employees.[1]

Prior to Latourelle's appointment on August 8, 2002, the Parks Canada CEO was Tom Lee.[6]

Name Term
Alan Latourelle 2002–present
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,[7] Regulations and Boards etc

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]

See also

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  • 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)

External links

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