Permits and licences

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Business licenses
  • Under the Canada National Parks Act, businesses conducting any part of their operation within the national park reserve MUST obtain a business license.
  • This includes non-profit organizations engaged in any activities for the purposes of gain, raising funds, making a profit or commercial promotion.
  • Applications are accepted at any time; however, business licenses are only valid from April 1 to March 31.
  • Please allow a minimum of four weeks to process your application.
  • To receive a copy of the business license application or for further questions, contact the national park reserve. 
  • Thinking of applying for a business license? Check out our list of approved licensed operators in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Research and collection permits

What activities require a Parks Canada research and collection permit?

  • Research: all activities associated with natural science, archaeological, public opinion, and social science research that occur within a national park, national historic site, or national marine conservation area administered by Parks Canada.
  • Collection: Any activity that involves the capture, picking, or removal of biotic or abiotic material (including parts or derivatives), or that involves the removal of cultural and archaeological resources (in their entirety or in part).

Intake periods

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is introducing a new process for Research and Collection Permit applications. Starting on January 15, 2023, applications for Research and Collection Permits will be assessed twice yearly, as follows:

Research period Application window Review period Field work begins 
May to December  January 15 - March 15  60 days   If a permit is issued, a minimum of 60 days from the deadline
December to May  August 15 - October 15 60 days   If a permit is issued, a minimum of 60 days from the deadline

Applicants should plan for a sixty-day review period from the deadline. For example, if you submit your application on or before March 15, the earliest fieldwork could begin within the site, if a research permit is issued, would be May 15. The permitting process may take longer than the standard sixty-day review period if your project is more complex, such as requiring additional permits or consultations.

Applications submitted outside of the two intake periods may be considered however there is no guarantee that they will be reviewed within the standard sixty-day review period. 

How to apply

All applications must be submitted using Parks Canada’s online Research and Collection Permit System (embedded form).

There are two documents that will help you apply:

  1. The Researcher’s Guide outlines the main permit and collection requirements of which all researchers must be aware at all Parks Canada locations.
  2. The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Research and Collection Permit Information Package provides information specific to research in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
Special activity permits (weddings and other events)
  • Special activity permits are required in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve for the following activities or events: 
    • All weddings regardless of group size
    • Group sizes larger than 15 for day use
    • Group sizes larger than 12 staying overnight
  • Please allow a minimum of four weeks to process your application.
  • To receive a copy of the special activity form or for further questions, contact the national park reserve. 
Kayaking and canoeing with custodial groups
  • A permit is required for all custodial groups kayaking and canoeing in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve’s marine waters. This requirement is in place to ensure all minimum safety standards are met.
  • A custodial group is a group affiliated with an institution, where at least one person is below the age of majority and is not accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
  • Custodial groups must contact the national park reserve in advance for appropriate permits, allowing a minimum of four weeks for processing time. 
Film and photography

All commercial filming and photography at the national park reserve requires a film or photography permit. To care for this special place and to ensure visitors’ wishes are met, filming activities have special considerations. 

  • The use of recreational UAV/drones is prohibited across all Parks Canada locations. Drones can pose a risk to visitors, disturb wildlife and lead to negative experiences for visitors. Commercial drone filming is approved in special cases, which requires the completion of a film/photography application.
  • All applica tions are assessed against the Canada National Park Act, national park regulations and the project’s potential contribution to public awareness, appreciation and education about Parks Canada places. When reviewing the application, Parks Canada may consult Indigenous partners in whose traditional territory filming/photography is proposed. 
  • Applications must be received a minimum of 20 business days prior to intended film/photography activities. 
  • If approved, a film/photography permit will be issued.
  • For additional questions, contact the national park reserve. 

What you will need to submit:

  • Completed application (sent with the items below to the address listed in the application form).
  • Proof of insurance indicating a minimum of $2,000,000 per incident
  • Payment by cheque or credit card processed by the national park reserve.
  • Permit signed by your company/organization and Parks Canada.
Production crew size Application fee Location fee (per day)
1-6 $ 153.50 $ 511.25
7-15 $ 383.50 $ 1022.75
16-30 $ 767.00 $ 1533.75
31-99 $ 2556.25 $ 2045.25
100 + $ 3067.75 $ 2556.25

Other fees may be applicable.


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