Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks

Chapter 12. Shrinking the Ecological Footprint
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action
(12-4) Over a long-term, programmed time frame, we recommend that Parks Canada redesign, replace, rebuild or remove existing facilities and infrastructure in national parks to reduce their ecological footprints. Such improvements include ...   UNDER WAY. Consistent with the requirement under the new Canada National Parks Act to make the maintenance of ecological integrity the first priority in park management, Parks Canada will, wherever possible, over the long term, progressively reduce the ecological footprint of existing facilities and infrastructure, taking steps which include those recommended.
(12-5) We recommend that Parks Canada use environmental management systems as integral to conducting daily operations in keeping with the preservation of ecological integrity. The widespread adoption of the environmental management system could be facilitated by ... Parks Canada recognizes the importance of environmental management systems (EMS) in its Sustainable Development Strategy and acknowledges that the implementation of EMS in national parks can be improved. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. Parks Canada will improve the use and understanding of EMS at all levels as a Business Plan priority. Future Park Management Plans will include a section about EMS and future State of the Park(s) Reports will report on EMS activities. The extent and timing of such improvements are subject to the availability of new funding.
(12-6) We recommend that Parks Canada, over time, incorporate sustainable infrastructure, energy systems, materials and practices in park management and activities. There are many ways to achieve this recommendation, such as ... Parks Canada has recently undertaken a complete review of its requirements for renewal of infrastructure. This review, however, did not address fully the need to upgrade infrastructure beyond established standards. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. Parks Canada meets current environmental standards through its capital budget and will use existing federal programs for greening federal facilities to move beyond these standards. Progress in this area is subject to the availability of new funding.
(12-7) We recommend that Parks Canada closely track the implementation of the new policy review component of environmental assessment at all national parks, in order to evaluate its effectiveness in enhancing decision-making related to the scale and appropriateness of proposed projects. Policy review should produce a record of decision that describes project objectives, evaluates alternatives (particularly non-development alternatives), demonstrates concordance with all relevant national park policies and identifies measures for evaluating the success of the project's implementation and operation. Information from the evaluation should be used adaptively to improve future projects and future environmental assessments. Parks Canada's current directive on environmental assessment requires that projects be assessed for compliance with policy before proceeding to an environmental assessment. The intended purpose is to prevent the environmental assessment process from being used to make policy decisions. UNDER WAY. A review will be conducted of current assessment practices to incorporate as many of the Panel's recommendations as possible. Future compliance audits of Parks Canada's environmental assessment program will examine the degree to which the required policy review is being undertaken prior to proceeding with environmental assessments.

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