Canadians Invited to Virtually Participate in Consultation on Future of Our National Parks

This has undoubtedly been the year of the outdoors.

There aren’t many positives coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it did allow Canadians to econnect with nature. From camping to hiking and canoeing – families have enjoyed national parks, historic sites and marine protected areas, as they have provided safe spaces to enjoy nature while practicing safe physical distancing.

In the recent Throne Speech, the Trudeau government committed to work with municipalities as part of a new commitment to expand urban parks, so that everyone has access to green space. This will be done while protecting a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of Canada’s oceans in five years, and using nature-based solutions to fight climate change, including by planting two billion trees, officials said.

It is with that in mind that today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the upcoming 2020 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada – a consultation on national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas.

The Minister’s Round Table is an opportunity for Parks Canada to engage in meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups, stakeholders, and all Canadians to help shape the future of these treasured places for decades to come. While the Government’s main focus right now is to keep Canadians safe and the economy stable, we want to know how Parks Canada can continue to provide a safe, accessible experience for all Canadians, while continuing its important work around protecting and maintaining these national treasures for future generations.

Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. JIM BYERS PHOTO

The consultation will focus on five main themes:

  • Urban Parks: Parks Canada as a leader in urban conservation, and providing access to nature and culture in communities;
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: Parks Canada as a partner and a leader in inclusion, diversity, accessibility, and reconciliation in protected and heritage places;
  • Ecological Corridors: Connecting protected places to respond to climate change and biodiversity loss;
  • Indigenous Leadership in Conservation: Advancing Indigenous leadership in conservation, traditional use, Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous protected and conserved areas; and
  • Protecting our Cultural Heritage: Advancing legislative protection for federal built heritage.

From October 19 to 30, 2020, Canadians, including youth and newcomers, are encouraged to participate and share their views on these important topics by visiting www.letstalkparkscanada.ca. This year, the roundtable will look a bit different. Virtual engagement sessions will be held with representatives from organizations with an interest in Parks Canada, including national indigenous organizations, environmental and cultural non-governmental organizations, and the tourism industry.

“The pandemic has reminded us all how important nature is to our personal well-being – and the health of our planet,” said Wilkinson. “That is why we are launching this consultation – so we can continue to listen to the views of Canadians as we adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. Our goal is to continue to provide high quality service to our visitors as we protect these iconic places for generations to come. I encourage all Canadians to virtually participate in this consultation to share their perspectives with Parks Canada.”



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