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

Chapter 9: From Islands to Networks
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action

(9-1) We recommend that the Minister work with the provinces and territories to protect the ecological integrity of the national, provincial and territorial network of protected areas through formal agreement. In developing the agreement, include First Nations governments, municipalities, non-government organizations and industry as partners in the discussions.

We recommend that the Minister initiate a federal inter-departmental memorandum of understanding to support the maintenance of ecological integrity of national parks by ensuring consistent policies and plans with respect to lands under federal jurisdiction in greater ecosystems that include national parks.

Federal, provincial and territorial parks agencies manage their own parks networks under their own legislation. In most cases, the protection of ecological integrity is not a specific mandate of these agencies. Regular communications with provincial and territorial parks agencies occur through the Federal-Provincial Parks Council and Parks Ministers' meetings.

Collaboration among federal departments has traditionally been undertaken on a case-by-case basis and on issues of common interest (e.g. species at risk). Departments have a range of objectives which need to be harmonized through sharing of information and dialogue.

UNDER WAY. Parks Canada will continue to seek appropriate bilateral agreements with other governments.

Support of other federal departments is important to maintaining ecological integrity in national parks. Parks Canada is exploring appropriate mechanisms with key federal departments and agencies, particularly Environment Canada.

(9-2) We recommend that the Minister requests the [G]overnment of Canada to use existing federal government authority within its jurisdiction regarding fisheries, endangered species, migratory birds, long range air pollution, navigable waters and environmental impact assessment to support the maintenance of ecological integrity in national park ecosystems. (A similar action was also recommended with respect to boreal forest management by the Senate Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest, 1999.) Existing federal authorities are already being used on a case-by-case basis as opportunities arise. For example, Parks Canada has participated in the environmental assessment of the Cheviot mine proposal based on authorities under the Fisheries Act. UNDER WAY. As the need and opportunities arise, Parks Canada will continue to take advantage of federal authorities in other areas to support the ecological integrity of national parks.
(9-3) At the provincial and territorial level, we recommend that Parks Canada undertake regular and continuing dialogue among senior executives of federal, provincial and territorial agencies responsible for land and resource management to support improved co-operation on the maintenance of ecological integrity in national parks and other protected areas. For example ... Park managers regularly participate in regional strategies and plans affecting national parks. UNDER WAY. Parks Canada's senior managers have met with and briefed appropriate senior provincial and territorial officials on the Panel's report and Parks Canada's response to it. This dialogue will continue.

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