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

Chapter 6. Tools for Understanding and Monitoring Ecological Integrity
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action
(6-11) In recognition that data and information are different, we recommend that prior to any data collection program, Parks Canada formally define what information is required for management. Formally define information needs by asking what is required, what level of precision is required, how current does the information need to be and what scale of resolution is required. The information needs analysis should be conducted in all parks using the model established in Jasper National Park (Thomlinson, 1997).   UNDER WAY. A directive on Ecological Data Management has been drafted to provide a set of national guidelines for ecological data management in support of ecosystem management in national parks and national marine conservation areas. Once approved, it will require that each park prepare a Park Data Management Plan, specific to the park's needs, to guide data collection, use, storage and distribution. Information needs analyses will be conducted according to geomatics principles, as described in the directive.
(6-12) We recommend that Parks Canada establish a system-wide data management and archiving system. These could include ...   UNDER WAY - FUNDING. The Chief Information Officer is leading the development of a Recorded Information Management Strategy (RIMS) for all of Parks Canada, which will address system-wide data and information management and archiving needs for all kinds of data collected and used by Parks Canada. The RIMS will address the creation, organization, storage, retention, use and retrieval of all media (e.g. paper and electronic documents, images, film) under the custodianship of Parks Canada and will work within the Treasury Board's Management of Government Information Holdings policy which presents recorded information as a resource to be managed. The responsibility to meet the RIMS goals and obligations rests with all Parks Canada Agency employees, as all employees are responsible for maintaining the recorded information within their custody. The extent and timing of implementation are subject to the availability of new funding.
(6-13) We recommend that Parks Canada make Field Unit Superintendents responsible for the protection of park ecological data and documentation. Through regular audits, evaluate the state of ecological data sets and documentation. As a first step, Parks Canada should have Statistics Canada conduct an audit on data management and storage mechanisms. Field Unit Superintendents are currently responsible and accountable for the care of a park's data. The Auditor General has responsibility for auditing federal programs. The National Archives has responsibility for auditing the records management function of federal programs. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. The Ecological Data Management Directive will provide a set of national guidelines for ecological data management in national parks. Together, the RIMS and the Ecological Data Management Directive will require the Field Unit Superintendent to prepare a Park Information Management Plan. The extent and timing of preparing the information management plans are subject to the availability of new funding.

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