Impact assessment

Impact assessment is a process for evaluating how proposed actions, projects or policies could disturb or harm the environment. It is a key tool that helps Parks Canada minimize impacts on the environment and achieve its mandate.


Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas are precious treasures.

As Canadians connect with nature and their history in these special places today, we want to ensure our grandchildren and great grandchildren will also be able to enjoy them.

How do we do that?

One way is through impact assessment. For example, suppose we need to build an outhouse. If we put the outhouse over here, some rare plants might be destroyed. If we put the outhouse over here, we might destroy some archaeological artifacts. And if we put it here, pollution from the outhouse might end up in the river.

Through the process of impact assessment, we can consider all the potential impacts on natural and cultural resources, and find out that this is the best spot for our new outhouse. The impact assessment would also consider impacts from the design of the outhouse, and show ways to improve it.

For example, maybe we need to install a screen to prevent birds from building nests there before visitor season opens. This mitigation reduces the impact of the outhouse as well. After all the mitigations have been identified, we add up any negative impacts that might remain. If those remaining impacts don’t appear significant, the project can proceed, and we can be confident that the ecological integrity, commemorative integrity or ecological sustainability of the place will be maintained even after the project for future generations.

To learn more, visit

The impact assessment process
The basics of the process, project vs. strategic impact assessments, the Continuous Improvement Program.
How to get involved
Participate in assessments and get information on an ongoing assessment.
A guide to the Parks Canada impact assessment process.
Conservation in action
Stories from the field.

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