Evaluation Objective and Scope

Consistent with the requirements of the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009) and Treasury Board Policy on Results (2016), the evaluation addressed the Law Enforcement Program’s:

  • Relevance:
    • continued need and alignment with government priorities and federal roles and responsibilities.
  • Performance:
    • adequacy of program management, control of key program risks, and effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement service delivery.

This evaluation covers the period from January 2009 to March 2015. Details on specific evaluation questions, expectations, methods and limitations are found in the full report.

Program Description

  • Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program is used to support compliance with legislation and regulations aimed at protecting natural and cultural resources and providing high quality visitor experiences in the national heritage places the Agency administers.
  • Since 2008, the Agency’s Park Wardens have been armed peace officers dedicated to law enforcement. Park Wardens are supported by program management and partners to provide safe, professional and effective law enforcement services to Parks Canada’s field units.

What We Found


  • The Law Enforcement Program is relevant and consistent with the priorities, roles and responsibilities of both the Parks Canada Agency and the Government of Canada.
  • A continued need for the program is justified by the number of incidents reported that require a response that can only be delivered by qualified and equipped law enforcement officers.


  • Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program is mandate-driven. Most incidents are linked to the Agency’s priorities for visitor experience and/or protection of natural and cultural resources. As the program evolves, an increased capacity for strategic intelligence could support a more effective and efficient program.
  • Parks Canada’s Law Enforcement Program is professional and safe. The program has implemented effective training and systems to mitigate risks related to sidearms and to monitor use of force.
  • The Agency has developed an adequate management framework for the Law Enforcement Program but more could be done to support accountability. Some components of the national-level framework have not been reviewed or fully implemented. The Program’s existing monitoring plan is outdated and problematic for evaluating program performance or supporting continuous improvement.
  • There is reasonable integration of the Law Enforcement Program. The activities of Park Wardens are linked to the needs of Field Units through implementation of Service Delivery Agreements. However, the prescribed process for the development and review of these agreements is not consistently followed. More could also be done to improve communications and working relationships between law enforcement and field staff, particularly related to incident prevention.
  • A clear and consistent separation of roles and responsibilities from those of other organisations and police service of jurisdiction is maintained. The Law Enforcement Branch has developed operational relationships with a number of external partners. Working relationships with these partners are reported to be effective.

Efficiency and Economy

  • The Law Enforcement Branch operates within its funded capacity, employing approximately 85 Park Wardens. While scheduling is well aligned to operational demand, there is some evidence of a need to review capacity related to current and emerging demands for service.
  • We found that the Director of Law Enforcement lacks direct management control over some assets essential to program delivery, resulting in challenges for service delivery.

Recommendations and Management Response

Recommendation 1

The Vice President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation should review the Law Enforcement Program’s management framework to ensure accountability and the ongoing management of program risks. Specifically, this should include:

  • A review of the Management Directive on Law Enforcement.
  • A review of the program’s risk profile to ensure that ongoing and emerging program risks (e.g., mobile platforms) are adequately integrated into program direction.
  • A review of the need for operational reviews and, if relevant, the development of a strategy to ensure that these are completed within a reasonable timeline.
  • A review of the process for Service Delivery Agreements to ensure that enforcement priorities and related demands for service are clearly identified, agreed to and updated on an annual basis.  
Management Response: Agreed.

These elements of the management framework will be reviewed. During 2016 and 2017, our focus is on improving the Service Delivery Agreement process and tools and delivering law enforcement service in the summer of 2017. Given the reality of our capacity, other elements of the management framework review will not be complete until at least 2018.

  • A review of the process and tools for developing Service Delivery Agreements is underway. An integrated planning approach that addresses both compliance and law enforcement is being developed, and will be launched in 2017. Field units are being consulted on the development of the process and tools. The new process will facilitate the clear identification of priorities and law enforcement service needs so that they can be agreed to on an annual basis.
  • The Management Directive on Law Enforcement will be reviewed in 2017 with the objective of completing an updated document in 2018.
  • A review of the need for operational reviews will be conducted as the new Service Delivery Agreement process is implemented and we test our ability to report on performance through Annual Reports and the National Summary. If relevant, the process will be updated and streamlined, will be integrated within an improved monitoring framework, and will complement the Service Delivery Agreement process. A realistic and operationally relevant timeline for conducting operational reviews will be developed. This work will be initiated in 2017, but we will need some experience with the new Service Delivery Agreements before decisions can be made.
  • A review of the program’s risk profile will be initiated in 2018 to ensure that ongoing and emerging program risks (e.g., mobile platforms) are adequately integrated into program direction.  
Recommendation 2

The Vice President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation should review the Law Enforcement Program’s performance measures and monitoring plan to ensure that deliverables and intended outcomes are clear and meaningful for performance management. To track progress over time, performance against these measures should be monitored and reported on consistently and comprehensively at both the local and national level.

Management Response: Agreed.

Improvements to the program’s monitoring plan and performance measures are underway. The improved SDA planning tools are explicitly linked to performance measures, and will facilitate the creation of clear and meaningful objectives. To complement these planning tools, the Annual Reporting processes and template will also be improved. The objectives that will be set in Service Delivery Agreements in 2017 will reported on in 2018.

Improvements to the National Summary will be made in 2017 to capture more performance information, and further improvements will be made in future years as we are able to begin to report nationally against the objectives set in Service Delivery Agreements, and by conducting analyses of data captured in IEM at the national level.

Recommendation 3

The Vice President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation should ensure that appropriate controls are implemented to ensure the integrity of law enforcement data in the Incident and Event Management system.

Management Response: Agreed.

The Incident and Event Management (IEM) system was launched in summer 2015. An assessment of data integrity, completeness, and consistency has been conducted and improvements are underway. System improvements have been made, for example, new system features have been added (e.g., mandatory fields) and bugs have been fixed. Training materials have been developed and delivered to park wardens. Further training and supplementary features may be required to facilitate reporting against the new Service Delivery Agreements.  

Recommendation 4

The Vice President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation should complete a review of the need for strategic intelligence to support the Law Enforcement Program.

Management Response: Agreed.

An analysis of the need for strategic intelligence will be conducted, and potential objectives, options for implementation, and recommendations will be developed in 2018.

Recommendation 5

The Vice President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation should review management accountabilities for the Law Enforcement Program’s materials and equipment to determine whether they effectively meet operational needs. If required, operational standards for specific law enforcement assets should be developed or revised to ensure that they provide clear and detailed direction in support of operational needs.

Management Response: Agreed.

A review of management accountability for law enforcement vehicles is underway and recommendations will be made by early 2017. Regardless of the decision made regarding management accountability/ownership of fleet, operational standards for fleet procurement and outfitting will be developed to ensure that operational needs are met.

The revised Service Delivery Agreement will include clear provisions regarding Law Enforcement materials and equipment that are to be provided by field units. Additional operational standards will be developed as needed.

Date modified :