Draft national urban parks policy

Parks Canada is in the early stages of creating a new National Urban Parks Policy. The policy will be used by Parks Canada to guide the designation, governance, and administration of new national urban parks.

Approach to developing the National Urban Parks Policy

At the national level, Parks Canada is engaging partners and stakeholders about this policy. Parks Canada is also learning and gathering input from local partners at active candidate sites, including Indigenous governments and organizations.

In addition, Parks Canada will also gather input for the policy through:

  • focused stakeholder engagement sessions on specific topics
  • direct nation-to-nation engagement with Indigenous governments and organizations, including about ways to weave together Indigenous Knowledge and science
  • feedback from individuals and organizations with a range of perspectives and lived experiences

Parks Canada will continue to update the draft policy based on ongoing input from partners and stakeholders.

Three core elements of the draft policy

Early input to the National Urban Parks Policy has identified three core program elements:

  • conserving nature
  • connecting people with nature
  • advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

These elements are all connected. Together, they create a draft policy framework that will guide the creation of new national urban parks.

The words ‘National Urban Parks’ surrounded by a circular coloured ring with the words nature, connection and reconciliation.

Conserving nature

National urban parks will help protect biodiversity, including rare ecosystems and endangered species. They will contribute to the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserve a quarter of Canada’s lands and marine waters by 2025, aiming for 30% by 2030. National urban parks will also support climate resilience.

Examples of how national urban parks may conserve nature:

  • conservation and restoration of sensitive ecosystems
  • habitat protection for endangered species
  • enhanced resilience to climate change by improving the ability to absorb flood water and cool cities during extreme weather events
  • creation of corridors for wildlife to move between natural areas
  • opportunities for people to participate in nature conservation and monitoring

Connecting people with nature

National urban parks will create opportunities for people to access nature in large urban centers. They will be natural places where visitors can enjoy health benefits related to time spent outdoors. National urban parks will also be welcoming and inclusive spaces where visitors can learn about local nature and culture.

Examples of how national urban parks may connect people with nature:

  • opportunities for exploration, education and recreation through diverse programming
  • opportunities for learning about local history and culture
  • removing barriers that create challenges for people to access nature
  • creation of relationships to support the administration and operation of the national urban park

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

National urban parks will be shaped by Indigenous leaders, voices and stories. Parks Canada will work to develop nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous partners from the early stages of considering a candidate site. Parks Canada will work closely with Indigenous governments and organizations to ensure national urban parks are designated in a way that advances shared goals for conserving nature in a spirit of collaboration and reconciliation.

Examples of how national urban parks may advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples:

  • Indigenous leadership and stewardship
  • opportunities for Indigenous peoples to reconnect with the land and heal
  • respectful weaving of Indigenous Knowledge and values into governance, operations and programming
  • opportunities for capacity building for Indigenous partners
  • sharing Indigenous voices and stories

Check back soon for more information as Parks Canada develops the National Urban Parks Policy.

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