ENVI Committee Report
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Humans are an integral part of the biodiversity of the planet – the web of life on which our survival depends. However, human activities are rapidly and extensively changing ecosystems, which is having a profound impact on biodiversity. While human activities have substantially improved human well-being, the negative impacts are growing. Unless the problems are addressed, degradation of ecosystem services will provide substantially diminished benefits for future generations and will be a barrier to sustainable development.
Canada’s vast and varied landscapes, which provide essential ecosystem services, have “helped shape the Canadian spirit [and define] our country to us and to the world.” However, Canadian ecosystems are facing threats such as climate change, conversion for agriculture, urban encroachment and invasive species.
Protected areas play an important role in safeguarding ecosystem services, enabling rural economic development and promoting a sense of what it is to be Canadian. However, while successive governments have recognized the importance of protecting natural spaces, this has not translated into sufficient action for Canada both to meet its international obligations and to secure benefits for Canadians. Canadian governments can and must do much more to protect Canadian ecosystems and biodiversity.
Momentum to conserve biodiversity has been building for decades. In Our Common Future, the 1987 seminal work of Gro Harlem Bruntland and the World Commission on Environment and Development, it was recognized that saving “species and their ecosystems … is an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development. Our failure to do so will not be forgiven by future generations.” The Commission noted that “a great deal more remains to be done … the total expanse of protected areas needs to be at least tripled if it is to constitute a representative sample of Earth's ecosystems.”
In 1992, governments of the world came together at the United Nations Convention on the Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro (also known as the “Earth Summit”). At this watershed meeting, participants agreed to the Convention on Biological Diversity, “affirming that the conservation of biological diversity is a common concern of humankind.” Canada was the first industrialized country to sign the Convention.
Canada’s initial response to the Convention was the development of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, in 1995. Since then, Canada has been contributing to implementation of the Convention through various conservation and sustainable use initiatives.
In 2010, the conference of the parties to the Convention held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan agreed to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, which includes a set of global aspirational goals and targets that allow flexibility for setting domestic targets.
The set of 20 targets in the Strategic Plan, listed in Appendix A, are collectively known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. One of the targets, Aichi Target 11, calls on states to protect 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. Stephen Woodley of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) noted that many diverse countries have already met and exceeded target 11, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Spain, Botswana, Austria, Colombia and the Czech Republic. In its SeaStates G20 2014 report, the Marine Conservation Institute noted that six of the G20 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Germany and Italy – had met the marine target, although with varying degrees of protection.
Canada responded to the Convention’s strategic plan by developing the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Resource Ministers; Target 1 of this document reflects Aichi Target 11.
In 2015, the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals gave further international impetus to the protection of biodiversity. Two of these goals are aimed at protecting and conserving marine and terrestrial biodiversity. The 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also has direct implications for biodiversity and the value of protected areas, particularly regarding the value placed on forests.
Establishing new protected areas has been a goal for a number of years. For example, in 2014 the government developed the National Conservation Plan as a complement to other efforts aimed at creating protected areas and to the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada. However, the percentages of terrestrial and marine areas protected are currently 10. 57% and 0.98%, respectively – well below Aichi Target 11.
In recognition of the need to do more, the 2015 ministerial mandate letters made protected areas a priority. Regarding terrestrial protected areas, the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change set a priority to “develop Canada’s National Parks system, as well as manage and expand National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.” The mandate letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard set a priority to “work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected – to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020.”
In order to add parliamentary perspective and support the momentum toward conservation and protection of our natural heritage, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development agreed in February 2016 to undertake the following study:
An assessment of how the full range of federal protected areas, including national parks, migratory bird conservation areas, national wildlife areas, national marine conservation areas, national historic sites, and other federal lands, are integrated to achieve international conservation targets and domestic legislative objectives. This study may include an examination of the potential for indigenous conservation initiatives, and critical habitat as identified in recovery strategies pursuant to the Species at Risk Act.
The Committee held 11 meetings and heard from 81 witnesses, as individuals or representatives of approximately 30 organizations and 3 government departments, the Parks Canada Agency and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The Committee also received 22 briefs during the study.
In addition, members of the Committee travelled to four Canadian national parks or park reserves: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site; Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and proposed Southern Strait of Georgia national marine conservation area; Banff National Park; and Jasper National Park. The discussions held at these sites, in particular with the Indigenous peoples whose traditional territories overlap with protected areas, gave members of the Committee an invaluable perspective on the establishment, management and operation of these parks. In addition, the Committee visited with people living and operating on the borders of Banff and Jasper national parks to gain insights into how protected areas impact the surrounding landscape.
The Committee is very grateful to those who shared their time and thoughts throughout this study, including during site visits. The Committee is pleased to present its findings in this report.
The current driving force behind expanding our network of protected areas is the conservation of biodiversity. Well-designed and connected protected areas are a key biodiversity conservation tool. Biodiversity conservation has many benefits. For example, protecting marine areas may increase marine productivity, and productive marine areas support communities that depend on harvesting. However, protected areas also yield benefits in addition to those associated with biodiversity. For instance, a report entitled Natural Capital: The Economic Value of the National Capital Commission’s Green Network that was released during the study states that the National Capital Commissions’s green spaces in the National Capital Region provide ecosystem services worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the region.
Types of protected areas may fall anywhere along a broad spectrum, ranging from highly protected national, provincial or territorial parks to indigenous protected areas and to regions where sustainable development is allowed. Each type of protected area has its own set of purposes and benefits.
Recognizing the benefits of protected areas for human health and well-being, many of the early protected areas created at the end of the 19th century, such as some of Canada’s first national parks, were established as places of recreation. During the study, Rick Bates from the Canadian Wildlife Federation noted the links between healthy outdoor activities enabled by having these areas available to Canadians and improved human health and associated outcomes, such as improved student academic performance.
Establishing these early parks attracted people to relatively sparsely populated regions bringing economic benefits. Tourism remains a significant economic benefit of many protected areas. Rural communities in the vicinity of protected areas also gain from the influx of government resources. According to the Green Budget Coalition, “Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial parks support 64,000 full time equivalent jobs across Canada, many of them in rural and remote communities. Every dollar spent by parks agencies generates $6 for Canada’s GDP, and 44% of government expenditures on parks returns to governments through tax revenue.” Benefits that many Indigenous communities enjoy from the economic opportunities provided by protected areas is a point elaborated on further in this report.
Protecting ecosystems so that they continue to provide services, such as water purification and flow control, results in indirect economic benefits. Silvia D’Amelio from Trout Unlimited Canada noted, for instance, that “if we can clean up our waters upstream, it's cheaper to treat water in municipalities.” Ducks Unlimited Canada quantified the value of ecosystem services provided by wetlands protected under their programs at $4 billion. Such services include “climate regulation; water supply, treatment, purification and flow control; pollination; genetic diversity; food and fibre; erosion prevention; carbon sequestration; flood control; and recreation and tourism.” The Committee heard about steps some private landowners take to protect their land and maintain the ecosystem services that they require to operate. This concept was exemplified during the Committee’s visit to the Quarter Circle X Ranch in Alberta.
Protected areas are also important for adapting to, and mitigating, climate change. Many witnesses described how a well-designed system of connected protected areas helps wildlife adapt to climate change. Protected areas act as refuges for wildlife, and connections afford wildlife the ability to move to more suitable habitat as the climate changes, increasing the resilience of ecosystems. Protected areas, for instance in the boreal forest, can also store vast amounts of carbon, the management of which can be used to mitigate climate change.
Another benefit of protected areas that was brought to the Committee’s attention is their use as baseline systems against which to measure the outcomes of sustainable management practices on the working landscape. Kimberly Lisgo of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement noted that such benchmarking is important to evaluate adaptive management practices, which are important because protected areas alone will not maintain biodiversity.
Protected areas also play an important role in maintaining support among Canadians for conservation. The loss of connection to nature was noted as a factor in changing attitudes and ethics toward conservation. During the Committee’s site visit to a ranch, it was noted that increasing urbanization is causing people to become out of touch with the land, which in turn contributes to bad land-use decisions. Giving people the opportunity to enjoy nature and to reconnect with the land by visiting Canada’s protected areas may foster support for conservation efforts.
Witnesses, including Roger Hunka of the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council and Kevin McNamee of Parks Canada, noted that Canada’s natural lands and marine areas are the “common heritage of Canadians,” and that protecting and presenting “that heritage through interpretive and educational programs for public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment” enhances pride, encourages stewardship, and gives “expression to our identity as Canadians.” According to Chief Steven Nitah of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, protected areas that protect and present Indigenous land and culture provide “avenues to demonstrate their value in the contemporary world.” Such protected areas also provide opportunities for Indigenous leadership in conservation of these lands.
Finally, a point that was repeated during testimony was that, following a history of colonialism and oppression, working with Indigenous peoples to protect their traditional lands through respectful, nation-to-nation relationships makes a significant contribution towards reconciliation.
Though the benefits of protected areas were many and discussed at length during testimony, some witnesses noted that providing some level of protection comes at a cost. Protected areas require ongoing, active management. John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association noted that a protected area that was left unmanaged and that lacked a key grazing species might become “completely unproductive and uninhabitable for anything.”
Nadim Kara of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada noted that establishing protected areas may limit the availability of prospective land for development. This lessens opportunities “for aboriginal people to leverage the development of natural resources for their own well-being.”
The Committee also heard from witnesses about the negative impact some protected areas can have on adjacent lands. For example, the reintroduction of elk into Suffield National Wildlife Area created problems outside the area that the government ultimately managed by issuing more hunting tags. The imminent reintroduction of bison to Banff National Park was also noted as posing potential issues for ranchers operating outside the park. The Committee heard that ranchers do not mind and often enjoy seeing wildlife on their properties, but it comes with costs associated with decreased grazing resources for cattle.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada ensure that government-sponsored activities within protected areas adequately take into consideration their potential impact on landowners in the adjacent landscape.
The Committee’s study was largely inspired by Aichi Target 11, which reads:
By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
Following international agreement on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, federal, provincial and territorial governments developed the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, which was announced in 2015. Target 1 states:
By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
Sue Milburn-Hopwood of Environment and Climate Change Canada told the Committee that Canada’s goals and targets “are guiding our actions and our investments in many aspects of biodiversity, including the creation of new protected areas.” Expanding protected areas is clearly a priority, as stated in the ministerial mandate letters of 2015.
Canada has a lot of work to do to meet the targets of 17% terrestrial and 10% marine protection by 2020. At the end of 2016, 10.57% of Canada’s lands and inland waters and 0.98% of its marine areas were recognized as protected. See Appendix B of this report for a map showing Canada’s network of protected areas.
Government owned and managed areas account for about 95% of areas counted as protected in Canada. The remaining 5% of areas counted towards Canada’s total protected areas are made up of other types of areas. For example, some provinces and territories count towards their totals certain “privately owned natural areas, areas protected through Indigenous land claim agreements, traditional use planning areas, and habitat protection areas, among others.” Each protected area meets the criteria of one of the IUCN’s classification of management categories for protected areas. This system is discussed in more detail under the section of this report entitled “Ensuring that all of Canada’s Protected Areas are Counted in Canada’s Inventory of Protected Areas.”
Provincial and territorial protected areas are established to meet various objectives, and as such, they cover a broad spectrum in terms of the types of development and activities that are or are not permitted within them. Examples of some of the many different designations under which these protected areas are established include “Provincial and Territorial Parks, Marine Parks, Wilderness Parks, Wildlife Refuges, Ecological Reserves, Nature Reserves, Biological Reserves, Biodiversity Reserves, Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, Habitat Protection Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, Conservancies, and Special Management Areas.”
The federal government manages about half of the area included in the national protected area totals (45% of terrestrial protected areas and 83% of marine protected areas). Areas protected by provincial and territorial governments “make up the majority of the remaining protected areas in Canada.” Numerous types of federal protected areas are included in the national totals.
Under the management of Parks Canada, almost 350,000 km2 (2.25%) of Canada’s lands and waters are protected in a network of 46 national parks, 4 national marine conservation areas, 168 national historic sites and the Rouge National Urban Park. In total, 336,000 km2 of this area is terrestrial, representing 3.37% of Canada’s total terrestrial area. A total of 14,000 km2 of the area protected by Parks Canada is marine, representing 0.25% of Canada’s total marine area. These areas “protect representative examples of Canada’s natural landscapes and seascapes” while at the same time “provide opportunities for public education and enjoyment.”
Under the management of Environment and Climate Change Canada, national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries protect a total area of approximately 124,000 km2 (0.8% of Canada) for “wildlife populations, particularly migratory birds and species at risk.” Approximately 104,900 km2 of this area is terrestrial, representing 1.05% of Canada’s terrestrial area, and 19,600 km2 is marine, representing 0.35% of Canada’s marine area.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has established eight marine protected areas (MPAs) under regulations created under the Oceans Act. MPAs “have specific purposes to protect and conserve fisheries resources and their habitats, including marine mammals, endangered or threatened marine species, unique habitats, and marine areas of high biodiversity or biological productivity, etc.” In 2016, the department was protecting 10,396 km2 (0.19%) of Canada’s marine areas.
The Committee heard of various protected areas in the planning stages at the federal, provincial and territorial levels to increase the extent of Canada’s protected areas by 2020. These proposed new protected areas “are expected to increase [the extent of terrestrial and marine protected areas] to 11.8% and 2.3%, respectively.”
Parks Canada follows its system plans for national parks and national marine conservation areas in order to establish protected areas that represent Canada’s natural regions. For terrestrial areas, Canada is divided into 39 distinct natural regions based on the appearance of the land and on vegetation. Thirty of these regions are represented by 46 national parks and national park reserves. The agency is working on two new parks to represent two of the regions – Thaidene Nëné national park reserve in the Northwest Territories as well as a national park in the Manitoba Lowlands region – and hopes to advance three additional proposals for parks. Parks Canada has not identified areas for potential parks in 5 of the 39 natural terrestrial regions.
Regarding national marine conservation areas, 29 marine regions have been identified. Only five marine regions are represented by four national marine conservation areas. (Two marine regions are represented by Gwaii Haanas.) Three marine regions have active proposals for national marine conservation areas: in Lancaster Sound, Nunavut; in the Southern Strait of Georgia, British Columbia; and in les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. The Lancaster Sound national marine conservation area alone would have an area of 44,000 km2 and represent 0.77% of Canada’s marine area. Ten marine regions have preferred areas selected for national marine conservation areas. “Of the remaining 11 marine regions, 7 have representative marine areas identified, 2 regions have outdated studies and need to be redone … and 1 region has yet to have a study done.”
More information regarding the status and growth of both the national parks system and the national marine conservation areas system is set out in Appendix C of this report.
For its part, Environment and Climate Change Canada told the Committee about two new national wildlife areas it is planning: “Edéhzhíe national wildlife area in the Northwest Territories and the Scott Islands marine national wildlife area off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.” These two new areas will increase the percentage of Canada’s terrestrial and marine areas protected by 0.14% and 0.21%, respectively.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is “advancing a suite of five proposed marine protected areas under the Oceans Act. They are Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound glass sponge reefs in the Pacific, Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam, also known as Darnley Bay in the Arctic, St. Anns Bank in the eastern Scotian Shelf, the Laurentian Channel in the Newfoundland-Labrador shelves, and Banc des Américains located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.” These five areas have been under development since 2010. Together, they will “contribute around 0.36% of Canada’s [exclusive economic zone].” In addition to these specific MPAs, the department testified that it is also pursuing the establishment of new MPAs of greater than 100,000 km2 in pristine offshore areas.
Much of the attention that has been given to the Aichi targets has focussed on the quantity of territory that is to be protected by 2020, as set out in Aichi Target 11. However, the scope of the set of Aichi targets is much broader than protected areas. Several of the other Aichi targets are also relevant to the Committee’s study. For example, other targets relate to conservation and restoration of ecosystems for carbon sequestration (target 15); restoration and safeguarding ecosystems that provide essential services (target 14); and public awareness of the values of biodiversity (target 1). Mr. Hunka emphasized that the other Aichi targets are just as important as target 11, or even more so, for conserving biodiversity.
The Committee’s study has centred largely on Aichi Target 11, but it too is about much more than just area-based targets. As the Committee heard during its site visits, the desired outcome of conserving biodiversity must not be lost in the pressure to meet area targets. As Stephen Woodley stated, the other elements of target 11, discussed below, are “fundamental” to conserving biodiversity.
Aichi Target 11 calls on states to protect 17% of terrestrial and inland water and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020, but it also specifies that conservation should be focussed on areas of “particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services” and that systems of protected areas should be “ecologically representative.” In other words, the quality of areas protected matters as much as the quantity.
Witnesses noted that sometimes quality actually does mean size. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) noted that the preponderance of small protected areas in Canada, three quarters of which were less than 10 km2, need to be “anchored by large well-connected protected areas.”
Size also matters for marine protection. A paper cited by a number of witnesses identifies five characteristics of successful marine protected areas: “no take, well enforced, old (>10 years), large (>100 km2), and isolated by deep water or sand.”
In addition, Sigrid Kuehnemund of the World Wildlife Fund emphasized that size is not all that counts. She stated:
While large MPAs are important, we must not simply designate vast expanses of the ocean that are not at risk from human use or that provide unproven or questionable ecological benefits at the expense of developing proper MPA networks. Canada's progress on MPA networks has to go further than developing a collection of sites without meaningful consideration of how they connect and complement each other, and without including representative coastal and offshore sites within all three oceans.
Other examples were given of what quality entails. At least two witnesses – Chris Miller of CPAWS and Ms. Kuehnemund – testified that large tracts of boreal forest are needed for caribou. Trevor Taylor of Oceans North Canada suggested that protected areas should not be focussed just on protecting species at risk, but should take into account the possibility that high species abundance is a necessary trait for ecosystem functioning and species survival.
Numerous witnesses testified as to the work that has already been done to identify high quality areas for priority protection. Indeed, Environment and Climate Change Canada stated that it identifies Key Biodiversity Areas, which the IUCN defines as “sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity; identified using globally standardized criteria and thresholds, and having delineated boundaries.” Fisheries and Oceans Canada noted that considerable scientific analysis has gone into identifying ecologically and biologically significant marine areas.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada focus the expansion of protected areas not only on quantity to meet Aichi 11 targets, but also to protect terrestrial and marine areas with the highest ecological value in the country.
Aichi Target 11 target also speaks to the connectivity of protected areas. It states that areas are to be conserved through “well connected systems … and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.”
In light of the effects that climate change will have, and is already having on habitats, many witnesses discussed the need for protected areas to be connected to provide corridors for wildlife to navigate to new habitats through fragmented landscapes. Even in the absence of climate change, corridors allow for gene flow between populations, increasing species’ resilience.
Connectivity was also stressed in the marine context. Professor Anna Metaxas defined a marine protected area network as “a collection of individual MPAs or reserves operating co-operatively and synergistically, at various spatial scales, and with a range of protection levels that are designed to meet objectives that a single reserve on its own cannot.” CPAWS noted that Canada has made some progress toward identifying a marine MPA network.
In the terrestrial context, emphasis was placed on the need to properly manage the working landscape surrounding protected areas. What happens outside protected areas can negatively affect protected areas, particularly if they are not well designed. As Ms. Lisgo stated:
If [protected areas] are not well designed, for example: too small to support populations; rely on inputs from outside (e.g., spawning grounds outside); or vulnerable to external perturbations (e.g., dams, pollutants) via stream network (or groundwater); the effects of disturbances outside can infiltrate and negatively impact the ecological integrity of the [protected area], and the [protected area] is no longer able to contribute to biodiversity objectives.
In other words, “how we manage landscapes around protected areas is just as important as how we manage within.” Wood Buffalo National Park exemplifies this principle. Petitioners have asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to add the park to the List of World Heritage in Danger because of what the petitioners see as external threats to the park.
A number of approaches to managing the landscape were suggested. For private lands around protected areas “where acquisition is not possible or appropriate,” at least one witness, Ms. D’Amelio, recommended “incentives and support for complementary land use practices.” The David Suzuki Foundation suggested that the federal government should “work with provincial and territorial governments to establish management plans for areas adjacent to protected areas to ensure land use practices support objectives for these areas.” Another way of managing adjacent lands is to create buffer zones. UNESCO has recommended adding a buffer zone around Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador to protect it from oil and gas activities and other types of industrialization.
The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council went further to suggest that not only do we have to manage the landscape in which protected areas are embedded, but we have to examine all of our unsustainable activities, the negative consequences of which make protecting areas futile.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada develop a “corridors of connectivity” and “buffer zone” strategy to protect and enhance ecologically valuable networks of protected areas and regions on the periphery of protected areas.
Aichi Target 11 speaks to protecting “at least” 17% and 10% of terrestrial and marine areas. It therefore sets a minimum target for protection by the year 2020. In fact, as explained by Alex MacDonald of Nature Canada, these targets “were determined as part of an international negotiation and aren't necessarily science-based targets for Canada.” A number of witnesses, including Mr. MacDonald suggested to the Committee that, while the 17% and 10% targets are important milestones, even reaching them at a global level “will not effectively conserve all the global biodiversity at risk.”
The need to protect an extent of terrestrial and marine areas greater than 17% and 10% over the longer term was stressed in testimony. The government has acknowledged this point. The U.S.–Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership explicitly states that the two countries will “take concrete steps to achieve and substantially surpass” the 17% and 10% targets in the coming years.
Considerable testimony supported the concept of Aichi Target 11 setting minimum, interim targets. Regarding terrestrial protected areas, much testimony was given in support of the idea articulated by Harvey Locke that “nature needs half” – that the ultimate goal should be to protect 50% of terrestrial areas and inland waters.
On the marine side, it was noted that the World Parks Congress has stated that “the ultimate aim is to create a fully sustainable ocean, at least 30% of which has no-extractive activities.” Witnesses also pointed to research that suggests protecting 30% to 50% of ocean habitat is required for “meeting basic environmental and human needs.”
Alan Latourelle, former Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, suggested increasing the 2020 interim targets; he suggested aiming for 20% to 25% land-based protection and 12% to 15% of marine protection by 2020. Mr. Woodley pointed to other countries that already far exceeded target 11.
Though testimony uniformly supported treating the 17% and 10% targets as interim, it was noted that the targets needed to maintain biodiversity are difficult to determine. As the Nature Conservancy of Canada pointed out:
Can we or should we conserve 50 percent of Canada? It is a great question to pose to Canadians, as it crystallizes the subject in a way that is easy for people to grasp. However, we really don’t know whether our target should be 50 percent, 40 percent or 60 percent, or more. We do not have sufficient information to make that judgement at the moment.
Earth Rangers suggested that, in fact, the 50% target is unachievable in southern Canada where sustainable management of the working landscape may be more important. In the absence of certainty of the extent of terrestrial and marine areas that need to be protected in Canada to maintain biodiversity, the Nature Conservancy of Canada suggested that an evidence-based national conservation assessment be undertaken to determine “the most effective protected area scenarios depending on specific goals.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada set even more ambitious targets for protected areas than those established in the Aichi Target 11.
Canada has a lot of work to do to reach Aichi Target 11. The Committee agrees that there are numerous ways by which the percentage of terrestrial and marine protected areas could be increased and is unanimous in its opinion that governments across Canada need to do significantly more to protect Canada’s natural heritage. Such efforts will yield numerous benefits, not the least of which is to support the economies of rural communities.
In order to achieve protected areas targets there are, broadly speaking, two ways forward. We need to ensure that all of Canada’s existing protected areas are counted in Canada’s inventory of protected areas, and we need to rapidly and significantly increase the extent of area protected.
1. Ensuring that all of Canada’s Protected Areas are Counted in Canada’s Inventory of Protected Areas
The quantity of Canada’s terrestrial protected areas is reported in the Canadian Protected Areas Status Report using data from the Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS), which Mr. Woodley described as “a very good system.”
In order to count in the inventory, a Canadian protected area must meet the IUCN definition of protected area:
A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
The IUCN further classifies protected areas into six categories (see Appendix D for further details):
Canada uses these categories to classify its protected areas. For example, 62% of terrestrial protected areas, including large national, provincial and territorial parks and conservation areas, are in category II. Another 29% of protected areas are in category Ib, including a number of large federal migratory bird sanctuaries as well as provincial and territorial parks.
The IUCN definition and IUCN guidance on how to apply its categories are highly influential; they are recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a welcome effort toward a single classification system. However, uniform accounting of protected areas towards the Aichi Target 11 totals has yet to be achieved.
The question of how the IUCN criteria should be interpreted and exactly what land and marine areas should count towards Canada’s targets was discussed during the study. As the IUCN discusses:
One fundamental question relating to the definition and categories of protected areas is whether the word “protected area” should be a general term that can embrace a very wide range of land and water management types that incidentally have some value for biodiversity and landscape conservation, or instead be a more precise term that describes a particular form of management system especially aimed at conservation.
The IUCN itself answers this question by suggesting that the weight of opinion is toward tightening the definition, rather than broadening it, with the implication that:
not all areas that are valuable to conservation – for instance well managed forests, sustainable use areas, military training areas or various forms of broad landscape designation – will be “protected areas” as recognised by IUCN. It is not our intention to belittle or undermine such wider efforts at sustainable management. We recognise that these management approaches are valuable for conservation, but they fall outside IUCN’s definition of a protected area as set out in these guidelines.
Some witnesses suggested that some of Canada’s federal protected areas that are counted toward our totals do not meet the IUCN criteria. Mr. Woodley suggested that some migratory bird sanctuaries and national wildlife areas “would not pass even a basic assessment of management effectiveness as laid out by the IUCN.” He also suggested that the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act “establishes marine protected areas that do not meet the IUCN definition of ‘protected area’.”
However, other witnesses suggested that additional types of protected areas should be counted toward Canada’s totals. As summarized by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the following types of lands are currently not included in Canada’s inventory:
The Canadian Association of Forest Owners noted that areas protected by private woodlot owners are also not recognized as protected.
In fact, there were many appeals to the Committee to broaden the types of protected areas counted in Canada’s inventory. Broadening the inventory is implicit in Aichi Target 11, which refers to protection using “other effective area-based conservation measures.”
The IUCN is currently working to provide guidance on what may constitute “other effective area-based conservation measures.” However, the IUCN notes that different countries interpret the classification system in different ways and recognizes “that it is up to individual countries to determine what they describe as a protected area.”
Within Canada, both the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are working to determine what should qualify as an “other effective area-based conservation measure.” The Committee’s attention was brought to the results of workshops, which concluded that:
[F]or [other effective area-based conservation measures] to be effective, they must share a core set of traits with [protected areas], consistent with the intent of Target 11. (1) Criteria for inclusion of [other effective area-based conservation measures] in the Target 11 commitment should be consistent with the overall intent of [protected areas], with the exception that they may be governed by regimes not previously recognized by reporting agencies. (2) These areas should have an expressed objective to conserve nature, be long-term, generate effective nature conservation outcomes, and have governance regimes that ensure effective management.
The Committee heard in particular that privately held protected areas, such as those of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada, should qualify. Ducks Unlimited Canada testified that areas that the organization owns for conservation purposes and lands subject to permanent conservation easements do not meet the current criteria for “permanent protection,” which would make them eligible for inclusion in Canada’s protected areas inventory. As well, CPAWS and Mr. Woodley suggested that Indigenous Peoples’ and community conserved areas should be counted. Indigenous protected areas are described in more detail elsewhere in this report.
Other witnesses – including Robert McLean of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Latourelle – noted the value of municipal conservation areas and the possibility of including them in the inventory. Conservation efforts made by private industry were also noted, such as a land purchase that Teck Resources made in the Elk Valley and Flathead River Valley to provide habitat for numerous species. Ms. Milburn-Hopwood suggested that “there are many examples of farming practices, perhaps modified slightly, that can very much seek conservation goals” that might be defined as effective conservation measures.
The Canadian Association of Forest Owners noted that “forest owners have a detailed knowledge of their land base and could share information about what is protected in exchange for recognition, cooperation and other arrangements that offer support for the continued provision of this protection.” They also suggested that farm land protected under the Alternative Land Use Services would qualify as protected.
The Committee inquired into the possibility of national historic sites qualifying as protected areas towards the national terrestrial target. While many of Canada’s 981 national historic sites are limited in size, consisting of buildings, battlefields, streetscapes and historic districts, a number of national historic sites are much larger, cultural landscapes. For example, Canada’s largest national historic site, Saoyú-Ɂehdacho on the west side of Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories, is 5,565 km2. Under the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement, through which this site was established, Parks Canada, the Déline Land Corporation and the Déline Renewable Resources Council agreed to “cooperatively manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho as whole, to preserve and protect its commemorative and ecological integrity, including the Heritage of the Sahtúgot’įnę.” However, while ecological integrity may be considered in the management, Parks Canada informed the Committee that Indigenous cultural landscapes such as Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are protected “for a combination of spiritual, cultural and natural values.” Biodiveristy is not generally the main value protected in such cultural landscapes. Accordingly, Parks Canada concluded that “the designations of national historic sites do not offer significant potential to achieve the Aichi biodiversity target[s].”
On the marine side, Fisheries and Oceans Canada noted the work it is doing to assess whether some of its management actions could qualify as “other effective area-based conservation measures.” The department’s analysis notes that, at a minimum, the department’s area-based management measures that might qualify must include a geographic location and a long duration. Other characteristics of an area to consider in determining whether the area is likely to provide conservation benefits include “habitat heterogeneity, adjacent management practices, full vs. partial protection, size, and spatial relationships (i.e. connectivity).” There was a suggestion that fisheries closures may qualify as “other effective area-based conservation measures.” Dr. Metaxas highlighted that fisheries closures can be done very quickly relative to the creation of MPAs under the Oceans Act. However, Mr. Miller pointed out that establishing a fisheries closure is a “band-aid solution” to maintain the integrity of a particular site while the more lengthy process to establish a formal protected area is carried out.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada noted that the government’s work to “complete an inclusive national inventory of conserved areas in Canada,” as outlined in Budget 2014, is due to be completed in 2019, which is too long a timeframe to help measure Canada’s progress toward the 2020 targets. That organization suggested both accelerating the project as well as creating a database complementary to the CARTS that would allow people and organizations to input their independent data. Such data would allow for “a more comprehensive understanding of Canada’s status towards achieving its … conservation targets.”
Creating a complete inventory of Canada’s protected areas will quickly increase the national totals by some amount. James Brennan of Ducks Unlimited Canada estimated that “if all privately conserved lands were included, it would add at least another 1% to the grand scheme of things.” While the addition of land trusts, municipal parks and privately protected lands may not contribute significantly to the national total, it was noted that these types of areas “typically play a major role in qualitative targets, and conserving areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and actively engage Canadians in conservation.” National urban parks, such as the Rouge, would fulfil a similar role. Also, Mr. Latourelle told the Committee that including areas protected by private individuals and organizations in the national totals would recognize and celebrate the good work that so many Canadians are doing.
The Committee recommends that when possible, the Government of Canada partner with provincial, municipal, territorial or other governments to protect terrestrial and marine areas using internationally recognized standardized criteria. In particular, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada – for the purposes of assessing its progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and regardless of ownership (federal, provincial/territorial, Indigenous, private or other) – adopt and apply the definition of “other effective area-based conservation measures” determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and hold all Canadian protected areas not included in the IUCN’s protected areas categories to this minimum standard.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada accelerate data collection for inventory management of protected areas. This could include the creation of a complementary conservation database where individuals and groups could upload data independently as part of a national collection of other effective area-based conservation measures above and beyond Canada’s Aichi targets.
While a comprehensive inventory of Canada’s protected areas is necessary, Mr. Woodley reminded the Committee that it is also “important not to get bogged down on the counting system, on what counts; our focus should be on protecting nature, on making sure we can halt biodiversity loss.” He pointed out that Aichi Target 11 “was meant to protect more habitat, not to recount existing programs.” The focus should be on a coherent expansion of protected areas in Canada.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada ensure efforts focus on the addition of meaningful terrestrial and marine areas and not simply count existing programs and protected areas to meet Aichi 11 targets.
Perhaps the most frequent recommendation made by witnesses to meet the 17% and 10% targets referred to the need for an overarching, national plan or strategy for protected areas. As expressed in a background document that CPAWS submitted, “Canada has no national plan, and as a result, clear strategies, timelines, and measurable goals have not been set to meet Aichi target 11.”
Regarding reaching the terrestrial target, a national or overarching plan was cited as a key factor in both the European Union and Australia meeting and exceeding the 17% target in their jurisdictions. Through “whole-landscape planning, the [Australian National Reserve System] has also allowed for connectivity and integration between protected areas, particularly through cooperation with private landowners.
For its part, Canada is developing a “pathway” to meet the 17% terrestrial target. Parks Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and provincial and territorial partners have established a national steering committee for this purpose facilitated by the Canadian Parks Council. The Committee heard from the co-chairs of the steering committee during its travel to Jasper. The steering committee is preparing a call to action, supported by implementation guidelines, to “encourage efforts among governing bodies and land management partners to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland waters by 2020.”
However the call to action is not a national plan or strategy. John Lounds of the Nature Conservancy of Canada told the Committee that currently numerous governments and stakeholders “are working diligently and independently on Aichi-inspired projects, but [they] are working in silos.” Federal, provincial and territorial governments are working to complete their park systems. Regional governments use regional land use planning processes and commitments to implement regional protected area plans. Indigenous governments are working to protect the traditional territories of their peoples. Non-governmental organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, are working to protect important tracts of Canada’s private natural lands for wildlife. Private landowners are adopting sustainable management practices on their own lands. However, there is no national, overarching plan that brings all the efforts together to reach the 17% target of effective, representative and integrated protected areas by 2020.
CPAWS suggested the establishment of a pan-jurisdictional council to coordinate the development of the plan “with specific targets and timelines tied to Aichi Target 11 as a next step, and then beyond to what is needed to conserve biodiversity.” Alison Woodley of CPAWS harkened back to a 1992 initiative that resulted in ministers responsible for protected areas signing a statement of commitment to complete protected areas systems by 2000. She testified that this initiative “leveraged a huge jump, doubling the size of protected areas.”
The Committee also heard suggestions for certain elements that could be included in a national plan to reach the 17% target. For example, at the federal level, establishing national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries offer management flexibility and are relatively inexpensive and easier to establish than national parks. Eleanor Fast of Nature Canada suggested that these types of federal protected areas are “appealing in meeting the 2020 timeline.”
Various elements of how to achieve a plan were suggested. Mr. Bates suggested that specific targets be set “for conservation of important freshwater rivers, wetlands, and lakes, and the biodiversity associated with them.” He cited South Africa as setting a good example for having fresh water conservation goals. Ms. D’Amelio pointed to the Wild and Scenic Rivers legislation in the United States as an important tool that country uses that “not only protects critical aquatic habitats in riverine systems, but also ensures connectivity through their linear corridors to protect landscapes.” She implied that the protection of freshwater ecosystems in Canada could be enhanced if Canada were to adopt legislation of this nature.
Numerous witnesses suggested specific areas for priority protection. For example, the Flathead Valley, the South Okanagan and the Dumoine River were all mentioned by multiple witnesses as priority areas. Mr. Woodley testified that conservation data centres in every province and the two of the territories have identified a number of other key biodiversity areas in Canada. He suggested that this type of input should be used in a systematic conservation planning exercise. He concluded that “we're in excellent shape to use that kind of information as long as we organize to do it.”
Finally, several witnesses spoke of the benefits of implementing protected areas plans through greater land use planning processes to ensure that protected areas are connected and integrated into the surrounding landscape. CPAWS submitted that “strategic landscape management plans for all regions should be mandatory. This will integrate the objectives of multiple interests, including industry and private landowners, and would guide more effective planning for conservation, resource management and stewardship activities.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada:
Similar to the case for terrestrial protected areas, planning for marine protected areas necessarily involves multiple federal departments, other levels of government and stakeholders working together; Fisheries and Oceans Canada is not the only government department responsible for marine planning. In fact, the marine portions of national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada currently account for the majority of Canada’s marine protection – 0.35% of Canada’s total marine area. National marine conservation areas and the marine portions of national parks managed by Parks Canada account for 0.25% of Canada’s marine area, and marine protection extended by Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Oceans Act and by provinces under various designations each account for 0.19% of Canada’s marine area.
While the above figures represent the total extent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that were protected at the time the study was undertaken, Aichi Target 11 speaks not just to the quantity of area that must be protected. It also requires that protected areas be integrated into a network, as described previously.
In a written brief, CPAWS described progress that Canada has made toward a national network of marine protected areas. In 2011, federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to the National Framework for Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas. Under the heading “Next Steps,” this document states:
While the aim is to have an overall blueprint, technical guidance and some initial action plans or bioregional network designs for Canada's network of marine protected areas in place by 2012, developing the remaining action plans and populating the network with new areas will be incremental over time as resources allow.
CPAWS noted that since the National Framework was finalized, marine bioregions for Canada’s entire ocean estate have been scientifically identified. The federal and British Columbia governments have completed a marine protected area network strategy for the Pacific Coast, and the federal and Quebec governments have reached another agreement on the St. Lawrence.
In response to the Committee’s question to Fisheries and Oceans Canada of whether a marine protected area establishment plan is being developed, the department responded by describing “Canada’s plan to reach marine conservation targets,” which comprises five elements:
This plan relates to marine protection solely under the jurisdiction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada – primarily MPAs under the Oceans Act. It does not encompass marine protection areas extended by other federal government organizations or by provinces, which currently account for the majority of Canada’s marine protection. However, Kevin Stringer of Fisheries and Oceans Canada testified that the focus is now more on integrating protection and on establishing a network in Canada’s 13 marine bioregions, including the Great Lakes. He acknowledged that:
Moving forward on this will take an all-in process, both in meeting our targets and moving forward on networks. We can't get to our targets without active partnerships with federal government departments, with provinces, territories, indigenous groups, and working with environmental groups that have been passionate, driving us, and been very effective partners, particularly with our new mandate.
However, unlike the case for terrestrial planning, no information was provided on efforts that may be underway by federal government departments, in collaboration with other levels of government and stakeholders, to establish a Canada-wide network of marine protected areas. In fact, the Committee heard that in 2011, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had withdrawn from a process to develop the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Plan. In addition, a representative of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. noted that in their view the “Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard have for many years blocked our overtures to work out comprehensive new fishery regulations that would have a direct and lasting conservation pay-off while offering full respect for Inuit rights.” All departments should actively collaborate with each other and all stakeholders toward establishing a national network of marine protected areas.
Witnesses offered suggestions as to how such a network should be established. In particular, CPAWS suggested that marine protected area network planning should take place “within a broader marine planning approach,” which would “provide… opportunities to address: cumulative impacts of human activities; trade-offs among different ocean uses and priorities; and learning and adaptation.”
One example of marine planning brought to the Committee’s attention relates to the area off the North Pacific Coast. A process co-led by 18 First Nations and the provincial government, known as the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) “has identified Protection Management Zones for ecologically, culturally and economically valuable habitats.” Stakeholders, including West Coast Environmental Law, suggested that marine protected area network planning for the region, articulated in the Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy, should build on MaPP’s developed planning and zoning work to “help Canada take a major step forward in meeting its commitment.”
While it is obvious that marine protected area network planning must take place in each of Canada’s 13 bioregions, including the Great Lakes, a number of witnesses drew the Committee’s attention to the importance of extending marine protection in the Arctic in particular. Of Canada’s total shore length, 68% is in the Arctic. Consultant Harvey Locke suggested that Canada could reach its 10% marine target “overnight” by creating marine protected areas in the Arctic.
Multiple suggestions were made as to how arctic sites should be identified for marine protected areas. All witnesses who spoke about arctic marine protection agreed on the importance of Inuit involvement in planning the network. As Cathy Towtongie of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. reminded the Committee, “Inuit are a primarily maritime people;” almost all Inuit communities in Canada are built directly along the arctic shore. Accordingly, Paul Crowley of World Wildlife Fund-Canada and Mr. Taylor suggested that identification of sites should be community driven since “Inuit are the holders of traditional and local knowledge” and because “they are the ones who bear all of the risks and receive the benefits associated with the marine use in their areas.” Mr. Taylor told the Committee that, in fact, “Canadian Arctic Inuit experts have already identified over half of Arctic Ocean areas as important biological habitat that are needed to maintain a thriving marine ecosystem.” Such an ecosystem is essential “to their culture and the wildlife they depend on” as well as long-term economic development.
Mr. Crowley suggested that, in addition to sites identified by Inuit communities, the federal government should also “look at other biologically important areas that may not be immediately adjacent to communities but that are still important for the biodiversity of the region, to ensure that the areas close to these communities are also well connected.” Such important areas may include portions of “the Last Ice Area – the area … where summer sea ice is projected to remain the longest. This resilient sea ice area is projected to be particularly important to ice-dependent and ice-associated life including narwhals, polar bears, and walruses.” Another important area may be Pikialasorsuaq, a region of Baffin Bay that stays free of ice all year long. This region is described as the “most important area in which to feed for plankton and phytoplankton in all of the eastern arctic waters.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada establish a permanent national conservation body consisting of federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous representatives that will lead planning to meet the Aichi targets as well as setting and implementing overarching longer term conservation plans. In order to facilitate the work of this body, the Committee further recommends:
The single most important factor that witnesses identified as being necessary to develop and implement a plan to reach our protected area goals is political will and commitment. Mr. Stringer of Fisheries and Oceans Canada described the effect of that department having the marine protection targets included in its formal mandate. He said that it has “galvanized” people – people in his department, people in other federal departments and stakeholders from both environmental groups and industry, who are now coming forward with offers to help. He testified that having the formal mandate public has “actually made a huge difference.” This was affirmed by Linda Nowlan of West Coast Environmental Law Association, who summed it up saying that “government can act quickly when the will is there.… Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The federal government has already stated its will to meet the protected area targets. To translate those statements into action will require providing the necessary leadership, assessing Canada’s conservation needs, improving federal internal coordination and providing funding.
Witnesses were unanimous in their belief that federal leadership will be key to meeting Canada’s conservation goals. They testified that the federal government is the natural convener and coordinator of all the parties – the provinces and territories, Indigenous governments, municipalities, industry and civil society – that must work hand in hand to reach Canada’s targets. Stakeholders including Ben Chalmers of the Mining Association of Canada and Janet Sumner and Alison Woodley of CPAWS compared the need for strong federal leadership to reach Canada’s conservation targets with the leadership and convening role that, in their opinion, the federal government is currently taking on with respect to climate change. Stephen Woodley suggested that either Parks Canada or Environment and Climate Change Canada should be given a clear mandate to lead the national effort to reach the terrestrial target. On the marine side, he suggested that Fisheries and Oceans Canada already has that mandate to lead under the Oceans Act.
As discussed earlier in this report, reaching national conservation goals requires more than just achieving the targeted percentages of protected areas. Effective conservation involves choosing the right areas to protect and connecting them into a network. Considerable scientific and traditional knowledge is needed to do so.
The Committee heard that Canada already has considerable knowledge to inform conservation planning. We know the existing distribution of protection among the country’s 18 terrestrial ecozones, 12 marine ecozones and 1 freshwater ecozone. Canada also has considerable biodiversity data from data centres in every province and two of the territories, and has identified a number of key biodiversity areas in this country.
Regarding wetlands in particular, the Committee heard that Ducks Unlimited Canada is working in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada to map out Canada’s wetlands. However, further federal support is needed to complete the Canadian wetland inventory.
Witnesses including Mr. Woodley and Mr. Lounds suggested to the Committee that this data should now be used to carry out systematic conservation planning to identify areas that require some form of protection. Mr. Lounds recommended that the federal government work with partners to undertake a science-based conservation assessment for all of Canada. He described his vision for this conservation assessment:
It should speak to the integration of greater protected area ecosystems. It should identify priority areas and connections and outline the roles that each level of government, indigenous communities, and non-governmental organizations can play. It should also consider building on winning strategies that produce significant conservation results and are integrated into the landscape in a cost-effective way—such as, we would argue, the current Government of Canada-[Nature Conservancy of Canada] partnership in the natural areas conservation program.
Mr. Woodley suggested that Canada is “in excellent shape” to use its data to enter into systematic conservation planning “as long as we organize to do it.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada lead a science-based, whole-of-Canada, terrestrial and marine, conservation assessment in partnership with the provinces and territories, Indigenous people, municipalities and other stakeholders.
The assessment should look to the integration of greater protected area ecosystems, identify priority areas and important connection corridors to ensure a sustainable ecosystem, maintain our biodiversity and develop appropriate targets for Canada.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada, in partnership with the provinces and territories, Ducks Unlimited Canada and other non-governmental organizations, support the completion of the Canadian Wetland Inventory.
One of the themes raised repeatedly during the study centred around the need for a coordinated approach to nature conservation. This is true not just between different orders of government and stakeholders, but also within government. In particular, Aron O’Carroll of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement suggested that federal departments and agencies could improve their collaboration to ensure that they are “pulling in the same direction.” Ms. Kuehnemund suggested that a coordinated approach “will help with economic discussions with provincial governments and offshore petroleum boards and will possibly help with the designation of multiple sites at the same time.”
More specifically, David Browne of the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Mr. MacDonald suggested a need for a national framework for terrestrial protected areas, similar to the national marine protected areas framework discussed earlier in this report. Such a framework would specify how various federal legislative tools should work together, which types of tools should be applied to achieve different conservation goals and how departments should use them.
A second specific idea raised by several different stakeholders relates to the system plans that currently govern the decisions of where new national parks and national marine conservation areas will be situated. Under these system plans, Parks Canada works to establish protected areas to represent each of the 39 distinct terrestrial regions and 29 marine regions of Canada. Because of Parks Canada’s adherence to these system plans, the Committee heard opportunities are being missed when a proposal for a new protected area is rejected because the proposed area is situated in region that is already represented or is otherwise not consistent with the system plan. For example, the national park system plan does not specifically contemplate the establishment of national parks in urban areas, yet Mr. Latourelle believes that “there is a long-term need for an urban national park system across Canada.”
Ms. Woodley pointed out to the Committee that the national parks system plan is “designed on a 1970s model” and as such, “it predates the whole area of conservation science.” She acknowledged that it is important for protected areas to represent the various natural regions of Canada. She pointed out, however, that basing decisions of where to establish a protected area primarily to ensure representation of a natural region ignores whether the protected area will be connected to other protected areas, whether it will be integrated into the broader landscape or seascape, and whether it will conserve nature. She suggested to the Committee that ecosystem science be built into the next iteration of the system plans, and that the federal government figure out how national parks and national marine conservation areas can fit together in an integrated way with other protected areas for a complementary approach to conservation.
For its part, Parks Canada has no immediate plans to abandon its system plans and is currently focussed on establishing new protected areas in unrepresented regions. However, Rob Prosper from the agency did suggest that it “may investigate how the [national parks] system plan could be updated through the work [to develop the next set of conservation targets for beyond 2020].”
The Committee believes that while updating the national parks system plan is a step forward, federal departments and agencies should look beyond their individual mandates and come together to create a new federal protected areas system plan that incorporates all types of federal protected areas. Such an overarching plan is needed to ensure that all federal protected areas are established in a coherent and connected manner for the benefit of biodiversity, ecosystems and communities.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada create a federal protected areas system plan that incorporates not just national parks but all federal protected areas, terrestrial and marine.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada take a whole-of-government approach towards contributing to national conservation commitments and targets and that all departments be encouraged to participate in conservation efforts by being made aware of the benefits of protected areas to regional development.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada coordinate its efforts and work collaboratively between departments and agencies to expand the network of marine protected areas.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada expand work being done in collaboration with other countries, particularly those within our hemisphere and with which we share migratory wildlife, in order to achieve common conservation objectives.
The Committee recommends that Parks Canada Agency revisit its system plans and that in the interim, it does not reject protected area proposals simply because they do not fit within the current system plans. As an example, updated system plans could account for corridors, buffers and climate change.
The Committee recommends that Parks Canada Agency consider developing a national urban parks system plan to act as a framework to guide the creation of urban parks as opportunities arise with willing municipal and provincial partners.
As stated previously, the Committee is of the opinion that much more needs to be done to protect Canada’s natural heritage. This includes increasing funding. However, such funding should be seen as an investment in the economies of rural communities that will leverage considerable investment from other sources. As the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society noted, internationally, visits to protected areas “generate about US $600 billion per year in direct in-country expenditures. Meanwhile, the total cost of safeguarding the world’s protected areas is less than US $10 billion. These findings underscore the huge economic value of protected areas even without counting the enormous value of the ecosystem services provided for people.”
This point was underlined in discussion during the site visits. Communities surrounding all of the parks that the Committee visited enjoy considerable economic benefits from the parks by providing accommodations, amenities and additional activities and opportunities for visitors to enjoy. As discussed further in this report, Indigenous peoples also benefit from job opportunities associated with protected areas, including in the services sector, in terms of business opportunities, and through research, monitoring or enforcement initiatives.
While ecological integrity must be the management priority of parks and other protected areas, the economic benefits of protected areas are clear and must be taken into account when considering funding decisions regarding the establishment and management of protected areas. Regional economic development agencies must be made aware of the economic benefits of investing in protected areas.
Regarding current funding levels, the Committee asked the three departments how much money has been spent on expanding federal protected areas since 2005.
Parks Canada provided figures showing the total amount of funding it has received over the past decade for establishing and expanding national parks and national marine conservation areas. In 2005-06, the agency received $27.57 million. That figure has steadily grown almost every year, culminating in funding of $60.23 million for 2016-17.
Environment and Climate Change Canada shared with the Committee that that department’s average expenditures on the protected areas program has been $12.75 million over the past five years.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada responded to the Committee’s question by providing a list of various budgetary amounts, totalling $220.2 million, that have been provided or budgeted for the period starting in 2005 through 2021 to numerous departments in relation to ocean research and protection and related administration.
Witnesses who testified on the topic agreed that meeting protected area targets will require more funding than is currently provided for establishing such areas. Ms. D’Amelio stated:
The ongoing maintenance and establishment of new protected areas, whether as part of the national parks strategy, national wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries, national marine conservation areas, or national marine protection areas, will require significant resources to maintain existing areas and also to strategically acquire new areas. Funds need to be ensured for the medium and the long term to manage and to acquire these protected areas into the future.
In particular, numerous witnesses testified or implied that significant new resources are needed for Environment and Climate Change Canada to establish national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries. The Commissioner noted that under Environment and Climate Change Canada these two protected areas systems receive “almost zero funding.”
Several witnesses suggested that government infrastructure funding programs might be used for conservation purposes. Mr. Brennan suggested that since wetlands reduce the incidence of flooding, wetland conservation is a type of infrastructure investment with additional biodiversity gains. Mr. Miller spoke of a natural area called Birch Cove Lakes in Halifax. He suggested that this property is a type of green infrastructure for the Halifax area and that federal infrastructure funding might help the city acquire it for an urban park.
Funding was the only limiting factor identified as a barrier to private conservation. Ms. Milburn-Hopwood of Environment and Climate Change Canada described a number of programs that the department funds to advance private conservation, including the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk, the Habitat Stewardship Program, the Ecological Gifts Program, and the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The Committee discussed the possibility of evaluating the efficiency of the contributions that these various programs make toward conservation.
The idea of providing financial incentives to support complementary land-use practices on landscapes in which protected areas are integrated was mentioned earlier in this report. Several witnesses, including the David Suzuki Foundation, voiced their support for “private landowner incentive programs to protect natural features on developed landscapes.” During the Committee’s visit to a ranch using sustainable practices in Alberta, the idea of compensating landowners who bear the burden of providing conservation benefits for the public at large was discussed. The Committee heard that more conservation tools are needed, and that the government should consider other countries’ experiences at creating incentives for maintaining wildlife habitat on private lands.
Mr. Woodley raised a conservation funding idea developed in the United States. He explained that the Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) program involves putting “federal funding on the table and allow[ing] groups to self-organize around ecological units.” He suggested that the Canadian federal government “should take a hard look at [the LCC model] as a solution to bringing all interests to the table to do … systematic conservation planning.”
Regarding funding for marine protection, witnesses such as Sabine Jessen from CPAWS expressed appreciation for funding that was recently allocated, but suggested that “there are still gaps, and there is still work to be done.” For example, Ms. Jessen stated that Environment and Climate Change Canada – which currently manages more marine protected areas than any other body – does not have new funding budgeted for marine protection. CPAWS submitted that “successful jurisdictions have assigned adequate funds to support marine conservation planning and implementation.”
The length of time it takes for federal departments to acquire funding for strategic property purchases was also discussed during the study. In particular, Mr. McNamee and Mr. Brennan described situations where an important parcel of private land – such as land bordering an existing protected area – becomes available for purchase, but a federal department does not have a means to access funding swiftly enough to take advantage of the opportunity. While visiting Gulf Islands National Park in September 2016, the Committee learned of a situation where Parks Canada officials were not able to access funding quickly enough to purchase a piece of land that would have made a valuable addition to that park. Mr. Brennan suggested that it would be helpful if there were a mechanism to swiftly deploy funding in such situation.
The Committee recognizes that Bill C-18, An Act to amend the Rouge National Urban Park Act, the Parks Canada Agency Act and the Canada National Parks Act includes a proposed amendment that would allow the New Parks and Historic Sites Account to be used in a broader manner. However, the Committee also notes that this account relates only to protected areas under the purview of Parks Canada. Other departments would also benefit from the existence of a flexible fund, perhaps centrally located within government, dedicated to land acquisitions for conservation purposes.
Finally, the Committee heard a number of creative ideas for governments and other parties to support the establishment of new protected areas without providing new funding. For instance, there may be situations where a party is willing to relinquish rights in respect of an area to allow conservation to proceed. The Committee heard of a number of instances where industry contributed to conservation by voluntarily giving up hydrocarbon leases in Gwaii Haanas and Grasslands National Park. Most recently, Shell Canada relinquished 30 offshore oil and gas exploration permits, which has allowed for the border of the proposed national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound to be extended.
Another example of a creative means to provide value without increasing funding involves exchanging lands for conservation. Alain Branchaud from CPAWS suggested that the federal government could attempt to exchange federal land adjacent to Quebec’s Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville for an equivalent area of provincial land adjacent to Gatineau Park to allow both parks to be expanded. Similarly, the Committee also heard a suggestion that the federal government could try to negotiate with the Government of British Columbia for an exchange of the Dominion Coal Blocks for the Flathead Valley. The latter area was cited by several witnesses as being an important link for a conservation network.
Finally, the Committee discussed ideas for providing non-financial incentives to municipalities to confer additional conservation protections on municipal natural areas. The idea of establishing a merit-based recognition program, such as the Communities in Bloom program or a LEED program for conservation, was discussed. Similarly, the Committee heard the idea of establishing national standards of protection for municipal parks, which would enable them to be counted in Canada’s network of protected areas. Mr. Latourelle suggested that any such criteria should be stringent enough to ensure that Canada’s credibility and the quality of our conservation efforts are not diluted.
As Mr. Branchaud summed it up: “We need new ideas and a dynamic approach if together we are going to meet the huge challenge of attaining the interim objective of 17% in 2020.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada place a greater priority on and dedicate a larger amount of resources to meeting our Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 commitment by 2020, while recognizing that this is a minimum target.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada consider innovative funding and other mechanisms to support and expand conservation and protected areas, including:
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada provide consistent, predictable, ongoing funding to all protected area programs under its jurisdiction and should regularly undertake analyses to assess whether the funding is sufficient to achieve Canada’s conservation objectives.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada ensure that current and future levels of investment to maintain capital assets within the national parks system meet commonly recommended asset investment benchmarks and that any shortfall in levels of investment to maintain assets within existing parks not be a barrier to providing funding for new park establishment.
Almost every witness who contributed to the study reminded the Committee of the importance of the federal government working cooperatively to achieve our conservation targets. For example, the Committee was reminded that provinces and territories together administer more than half of Canada’s terrestrial protected areas. Mr. Stringer of Fisheries and Oceans Canada summarized the situation:
We can't get to our targets without active partnerships with federal government departments, with provinces, territories, indigenous groups, and working with environmental groups that have been passionate, driving us, and been very effective partners, particularly with our new mandate.
Other groups who are also key to reaching our targets include local communities, industry and private landowners. The particular importance of partnering with Indigenous peoples is discussed at some length later in this report.
Witnesses such as Kate Lindsay of the Forest Products Association of Canada emphasized that success often depends on “[bringing] parties to the table early” to ensure that all rights, interests, information, knowledge and contributions can be considered and balanced. Ms. Lindsay told the Committee that “often these processes are complex and they take more time,” but they ultimately lead to “a better outcome, and it achieves … broad-based support.” This is true for terrestrial and marine protected areas alike. Regarding marine protection, West Coast Environmental Law summarized research which concluded that:
Strong public participation in environmental decision-making makes for better decisions that are more robust, more widely accepted, and more likely to be implemented. … [L]egislation that includes explicit provisions for public donations and many types of stakeholder involvement had, on average, larger protected areas after versus before legislation enactment, compared to those without such provisions.
Collaboration with stakeholders was cited as one of the key factors in Nova Scotia’s recent significant success in establishing protected areas. In that case, “several environmental groups reached out to the forest industry and worked together to develop a jointly supported protected area proposal.” Mr. Miller told the Committee that this process “was a made-in-Nova Scotia solution to our poor performance on protected areas.”
In fact, collaboration with stakeholders in protected areas management is embedded in Aichi Target 11, which requires that protected areas be “effectively and equitably managed.” A brief submitted by Dr. Nathan Bennett suggests that this requires
that social, economic and cultural considerations are factored into planning and management. In particular, there is a need to understand and balance the social and economic impacts of [protected areas] for different stakeholders during network planning and to incorporate cultural considerations and Aboriginal peoples’ rights into management plans.
As summarized by Mr. Hunka: “It is citizens who make it happen, not government alone. It's not a legal prescript that will do anything; we need to have it bottom-up and approved at the top, not the other way around.”
The bottom-up approach of citizens identifying which areas should be considered for future protection was discussed at some length. Numerous witnesses suggested candidate protected areas sites to the Committee, highlighting the fact that there is no formal process for the public to bring forward suggestions.
Various possible mechanisms for identifying possible sites for federal protected areas were discussed during the study, including:
As Mr. Latourelle told the Committee:
The vast majority of the new land‑based protected areas that need to [be] established to meet our objectives are provincially or territorially owned crown lands that are the traditional territory of indigenous peoples.
It goes without saying that creating a network of terrestrial and marine protected areas that will meet our international targets and achieve the goals that the federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed to will require the “concrete political commitment” of the provinces and territories.
However, witnesses also stressed throughout the study the important role of Indigenous peoples to meet the goals. As Chief Nitah put it:
Any kind of protected area that's been advanced by any public governments will have to deal with indigenous peoples. There is 110% of this country that has been claimed by indigenous people who own land and sea. There's significant overlap in interest, so you can't really develop any new protected areas without discussion with indigenous people.
Indigenous peoples have a deep cultural connection to the land that they naturally want to protect, though not to the total exclusion of development activities. As such, Indigenous peoples can act as partners and indeed as leaders toward conserving and celebrating Canada’s natural heritage.
The Indigenous cultural connection to the land is rooted in millennia of dependence on the land. As expressed by Chief Nitah: “For tens of thousands of years our peoples managed the land so well that you thought it was empty.” Ms. Towtongie testified that “Inuit have been protecting land and conserving wildlife long before these words were ever invented. Their lives depended on it, and still do to this day.”
In a more modern context, this protection has manifested itself in numerous “guardian” programs. Guardians “are community-based land and water stewards who manage their lands and waters using cultural traditions and modern conservation tools.” They were described by Valerie Courtois of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative of the International Boreal Conservation Campaign as well as by Chief Nitah as “the eyes and ears” of communities on the lands. The Committee heard that such programs help to create relationships between Indigenous peoples and the extractive industries within their territories. Ms. Courtois suggested that “when there are guardians in place, the conversation around not only resource development but also conservation is a much richer and deeper one.”
The Committee heard that there are 30 guardian programs across Canada. Specific examples that were brought up in testimony include the Watchmen of the Haida Nation, the Ni Hat'ni Dene program associated with the Thaidene Nëné proposal, the Tallymen of the Cree Nation, and guardians of the Innu nation in Labrador.
Some of these guardian programs, including the Watchmen in Haida Gwaii, are now supported by the federal government. Witnesses, including Miles Richardson of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, called for the federal government to support a nation-wide guardians program “to promote the capacity for Indigenous peoples to work as stewards in their traditional territories using [their] own ways of knowing and doing in support of national conservation objectives.”
As the Committee learned, such guardian programs receive national government support in Australia. Ms. Courtois described the many successes of this program, “in addition to the obvious land management results” including:
a marked reduction of rates of incarceration of indigenous peoples, a reduction of rates of violence against women, a reduction of rates of obesity and diabetes, all these amazing social indicators.
As noted in testimony, a national guardian program that produces such outcomes in Canada would also make a contribution to reconciliation.
The Committee’s site visit to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and the Haida Heritage Site supported this positive assessment of guardian programs, at least in the context of Haida Gwaii. The Committee met with Haida Watchmen, visited some of the Watchmen sites and learned how the Watchmen began taking care of the cultural and natural heritage of the Haida Heritage Site before the federal protected areas were established. Their work continues today as they watch over and act as ambassadors in the national park reserve, the national marine conservation area reserve and the Haida Heritage Site. Visitors to the area often describe their interactions with the Watchmen as among the highlights of the experiences in Gwaii Haanas.
During its site visit, the Committee was made aware that an essential aspect of the success of guardian programs is that they are initiated and run by Indigenous peoples. Any national program would therefore have to be created in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
Such guardian programs in a defined area essentially establish a type of protected area. In effect, because of their attachment to, and dependence on the land, Indigenous peoples have been establishing their own protected areas for millennia. Indigenous protected areas (IPAs) are protected areas “declared by an Indigenous people in accordance with their own inherent authorities.” “IPAs may [also] be advanced through partnerships with public governments and other entities.” These areas are now being discussed under the rubric of “Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas.”
The Committee learned that in a number of instances, Indigenous peoples have protected portions of their traditional territories under their own authorities and requested that this be reflected in provincial law. For example, the Committee heard from the Moose Cree First Nation, which is protecting the North French River watershed. The “Moose Cree now considers this area to be removed from potential development.” Similarly, the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib lnninuwug declared a watershed within their territory to be “off-limits” to development. The Province of Ontario respected this declaration by withdrawing 2.6 million hectares from mining tenure.
Several witnesses, including Janet Sumner, suggested that the provinces and the federal government should find ways to “honour and respect these conservation areas,” in part by not permitting industrial activities within them. Mr. Crowley suggested that “if a community wants to protect the lands that have supported them, we should get out of their way.”
Many IPAs are now also being designated under the powers and protocols established by land claims agreements that govern much of Canada’s North. Indigenous involvement in the management of these areas varies. Some such areas are governed entirely by Indigenous peoples.
The Committee recommends that, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, the Government of Canada establish a national program of Indigenous guardians, who are community-based land and water stewards managing lands and waters using cultural traditions and modern conservation tools. The program should support sustainable livelihoods and protected areas operations. All Indigenous peoples should have the opportunity to participate in the program.
Recognition of an expanded definition of Indigenous occupation of traditional territories, as exemplified in the Supreme Court decision of Tsilqhot’in Nation v. British Columbia and adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are part of the impetus to establish a new, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, opening up important opportunities in conservation. As the Indigenous Leadership Initiative submitted, “recent developments have created new opportunities for the federal government to adopt new policies, legislation and tools to advance reconciliation by recognizing the roles of Indigenous peoples in conservation.”
While land claims agreements establish protocols for establishing protected areas, Indigenous peoples must also be involved in establishing federal protected areas outside of land claims. However, as the Committee heard in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Indigenous participation has too often been inadequate. In that case, the lack of involvement of Indigenous peoples whose traditional territory fell within the park reserve created distrust and animosity, the implications of which are serious for protecting the natural heritage of the region.
Chief Nitah summed up the implications of the historical situation:
Past crown actions to establish parks or undertake on-the-land conservation programs have resulted in, at worst, the alienation of indigenous peoples from their traditional territories, and at best, limited opportunities for jobs working for another government.
There's a great deal of fear in indigenous communities right across the country in terms of working with crown governments because of the historical relationship. That fear is stunting any kind of ambition that indigenous communities may have in managing their lands using federal or provincial legislation.
As Chief Nitah explained, a new relationship with Indigenous peoples is required through a “nation-to-nation, government-to-government discussion about collaborating to achieve a common conservation objective.” As the Committee learned, such a process can also be a step toward reconciliation, bringing with it many economic and social benefits.
Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada have clearly received the message that Indigenous peoples need to be not just consulted but involved in a meaningful way when protected areas within their traditional territories are established. According to Parks Canada, three-quarters of the lands and waters in Parks Canada's care are managed with the support of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis including 30 co-operative management arrangements. As the Committee saw in the Gulf Islands, there is now a great focus on creating trusting relationships with Indigenous peoples.
The Committee heard of a number of examples where this new model of park establishment has been put into practice. The establishment of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve was referred to a number of times as an inspiration for other protected areas.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and National Marine Conservation Area Reserve have been established using a co-management model. The first model was set forth for the park reserve in the 1993 Gwaii Haanas Agreement. As the Committee learned, particularly through its site visit, this agreement reflects conservation objectives shared by the Haida Nation and the federal government despite disagreement about title to the area. The agreement recognizes that that “the Haida Nation sees the Archipelago as Haida Lands” while “the Government of Canada views the Archipelago as Crown Land.” Despite this disagreement the agreement further states:
Notwithstanding and without prejudice to the aforesaid divergence of viewpoints, and in recognition of the convergence of viewpoints with respect to objectives for the care, protection and enjoyment of the Archipelago, the parties agree to constructively and co-operatively share in the planning, operation and management of the Archipelago.
The signing of this agreement and the successful implementation of this co-management arrangement was celebrated 20 years later with the raising of a commemorative legacy totem pole at the Windy Bay Haida Watchmen site, one of the sites visited by the Committee.
The Haida Gwaii approach has been influential in creating other national protected areas. For example the proposed Thaidene Nëné national park reserve is moving forward in part because “the Gwaii Haanas and Haida Gwaii relationship gave [the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation] the comfort to approach Canada to see if there was still interest on Canada's part, with the understanding that we will build on the relationship that was established between Parks Canada and the Haida Nation.”
The co-management approach clearly works for the Haida. While it can act as an inspiration, the Committee also learned on its site visits that the Haida agreement cannot be applied in all circumstances. The Haida agreement was facilitated because there was one First Nation involved in a relatively well-defined, relatively isolated island territory. This can be compared with the Gulf Islands Park Reserve where there are 19 First Nations with a declared interest in the park reserve. In addition, the park reserve is located in an area of high population density in a region with many uses. Clearly there cannot be a “cookie-cutter” approach to applying the Haida co-management model.
The government has recognized that co-management is a way forward in establishing protected areas. However, Ms. Nowlan suggested that this concept would be even more valuable if it were authorized in legislation. In support of this idea, she cited a study that concluded that laws that authorize indigenous co-management end up protecting a greater area than those that do not include such language.
Another suggestion to improve the process of establishing co-management regimes was to create minimum standards before site selection. This would provide certainty to all involved and speed up the consultation process. However, one of the lessons the Committee learned from the Haida case was that the agreement was made without knowing exactly what would ensue. The agreement was made as a “leap of faith” based on common conservation objectives and a level of trust. It was not necessary to agree on everything before moving forward.
However, to some, trust in the government has been severely damaged by the crown not implementing historical treaties. During the site visits, the Committee met with various Indigenous people, including some Haida, who felt that land claims and modern treaties had to be completed before establishing any protected areas. One such example of which the Committee heard was the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, which was not established until the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement was completed.
The value of trusting relationships was further made clear in Gwaii Haanas. The Committee met with members of the Archipelago Management Board (AMB), which was struck as part of the Haida agreement. The Committee learned that much of the success of the Gwaii Haanas model has been because of the work of this board. The AMB consists of six members – three from the Council of the Haida Nation and three representing the federal government. However, one of the three Parks Canada representatives, the park superintendent, is Haida. Decisions are made on a consensus basis, and because of the make-up of the AMB, decisions have been widely trusted by the wider Haida community on Haida Gwaii. Another reason for the success of the AMB stems from the fact that, until recently, the members were all long-term and thus had time to build trusting relationships and a body of knowledge. The members from the federal government have been, for the most part, from Parks Canada and have been given authority to make decisions that the minister would approve.
As the Committee learned, however, because of the need to implement a marine agreement, a representative of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has replaced a Parks Canada member. The Committee heard some level of frustration with how this change has hampered the AMB’s work. Apparently, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has not assigned a long-term representative to the AMB, and it has not given its representative the same decision-making authority as the representatives from Parks Canada. Therefore, decision making has been slowed. The Committee also heard that, when multiple federal departments are involved negotiating the establishment or management plan for a protected area, appointing a point-person with decision-making authority would facilitate such negotiations.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada pursue common conservation objectives and reconciliation through a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. More particularly, the Government of Canada should:
The Committee heard that, while Indigenous peoples want to conserve their traditional territories, other objectives are also important to them. As the World Wildlife Fund-Canada put it, “for conservation to succeed in the long term in a region where poverty is endemic, it must provide community benefits.” Makivik Corporation outlined potential benefits include, “jobs, services and ecotourism activities contracts, business opportunities, and research, monitoring or enforcement initiatives.”
Under land claims agreements, the establishment of protected areas is accompanied by impact and benefit agreements. While the content of such agreements varies between the land claims agreements, they all require funding to support objectives other than conservation. As an example, in 2008 an umbrella Inuit impact and benefit agreement was concluded for five national wildlife areas and eight migratory bird sanctuaries in Nunavut that “provided funding over seven years for environmentally sustainable tourism, employment, co-management and other opportunities for Inuit in the affected communities.” Mr. Crowley noted that, during negotiations to establish or expand protected areas, the government needs to “bring its A game and the desire to get to an agreement, rather than the desire to get away with the least amount possible.”
Indirect benefits from protected areas also accrue. As noted above, the Guardians program in Australia has greatly diminished some social problems among Indigenous peoples. Chief Nitah suggested that Australia is seeing a “return on the social investment at a rate of 3:1. Instead of money being spent on social programs—health and welfare, judicial systems, correctional systems—they're seeing a big return on their investment in the aboriginal communities who are managing these IPAs.” He suggested that even greater returns might be seen in the Northwest Territories.
Chief Nitah also noted that the establishment of protected areas might have a side benefit of increasing industrial development. He stated that Indigenous peoples might become more comfortable with industrial development outside of protected areas in the knowledge that the “special places within … traditional territories that [an Indigenous community] would like to protect” are protected and “manage[d] in a way that's going to sustain them for their generation and future generations.”
Other Indigenous witnesses, including Makivik Corporation, stressed that protecting their cultural heritage was just as important as protecting natural heritage. As Mr. Latourelle stated, “equally important is that as part of the land claim agreement process or land claim negotiation process, indigenous people get to identify the lands that are important for their cultural values. Often, the vast majority of those lands are also the critical lands for conservation purposes.” This is a natural outcome of the fact the Indigenous peoples see themselves as part of the landscape, not separate from it. This was exemplified by Chief Patricia Faries of the Moose Cree First Nation, who emphasized the importance of protecting her people’s homeland:
This is the land our ancestors called home, where our forefathers were born, where food was gathered, where families were raised and buried, and where the Moose Cree life and culture continue to thrive.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada place a priority on collaborating with Indigenous peoples, Northern governments and stakeholders to protect highest ecological value arctic waters for traditional uses and future generations.
The timeline for reaching Aichi Target 11 is 2020 – just four years away. During this time, Canada aims to increase the extent of its terrestrial protected areas by almost 70% while the extent of marine protected areas is set to expand tenfold to meet the target.
In the past, the establishment of protected areas has been a protracted process. Parks Canada did not indicate the average time to establish a national park. Rather, the agency wrote to the Committee indicating that external factors beyond the agency’s control – such as progress on land claim negotiations – “can greatly affect its ability to make progress on candidate sites.” Even sites that seem to have few impediments take a long time to protect formally. For example, Karen Jans, the Field Unit Superitendent for Prince Edward Island, Parks Canada Agency, told the Committee that federal lands adjacent to the park will be formally included in the park “within the next 10 years,” since “it takes that period of time to work through the legislation.” During questioning, Ms. Jans confirmed that the timeline could be accelerated with political will.
Timelines to establish marine protected areas are clearer. It currently takes an average of 7 years to establish an MPA under the Oceans Act, and about 20 years to designate a national marine conservation area.
In 2012, the Commissioner audited the establishment and management of marine protected areas. In testimony before the Committee, the Commissioner stated:
Our audit showed that at the rate of progress we observed, it would take Canada many decades to establish a fully functioning network of marine protected areas and to achieve the international target of conserving 10% of marine areas. In the interim, significant conservation and economic benefits would not be realized.
Witnesses – including Sigrid Kuehnemund of World Wildlife fund and Paul Crowley of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Sabine Jessen of CPAWS and Rob Prosper of Parks Canada – told the Committee that Canada needs to streamline its processes and accelerate the establishment of protected areas if we are to meet the 2020 timeline, and more importantly, if we are to halt biodiversity decline.
Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are already well aware of the need to accelerate their processes. Each department shared with the Committee ideas in this regard. However, the Committee also heard a number of additional ideas, some of which have proven effective in other jurisdictions. Specifically, witnesses suggested that the government could entrench conservation timelines into law; designate protected areas concurrently; start negotiations with a standard, high-level offer; and review the regulatory regime for minerals and oil and gas in the Arctic.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada expeditiously introduce a bill to formally legislate protection for all federal lands that Parks Canada currently manages, where appropriate.
The Committee recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada explore more effective and innovative mechanisms to expedite protection for marine and coastal areas.
In a 2012 report auditing the establishment of marine protected areas in Canada, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development noted that 20 years after Canada had ratified the UN Convention of Biological Diversity and 15 years after it had committed to leading and coordinating the development of a national network of marine protected areas, there was still no national network. When World Wildlife Fund-Canada asked Fisheries and Oceans Canada to investigate whether this constitutes a violation of section 35(2) of the Oceans Act, the department responded that “the Act does not set a time limit for completion of this work.” West Coast Environmental Law commented to the Committee that “this obvious defect is easily cured. An amended law should contain deadlines for actions.”
The Committee heard examples of other jurisdictions that have successfully expanded their protected area networks – either marine or terrestrial – because they were compelled to do so by law.
With regards to marine protected area networks, at a 2015 forum convened by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, experts from California and Australia “agreed the law was a critical factor, if not the most important factor” in their countries' record of developing marine protected areas. A law compelling action was also cited as having played a significant role in the United Kingdom, the European Union and South Africa having made “astonishing progress in a short time frame.” For example, the United Kingdom increased its extent of marine protected areas from 6% in 2012 to 20% as of 2016 due in part to a “strong legal foundation.” As stated by Linda Nowlan of the West Coast Environmental Law Association:
Many of these places with successful records of [marine protected area] network expansion share a key feature: they've introduced a bold new law that compels action. Law can be a force for change. Canada can learn from their experiences.… A strong legal foundation is one of the enabling conditions for marine protection.
Legislated timelines for action can also help to quickly expand networks of terrestrial protected areas. A legislated timeline was credited for helping to motivate Nova Scotia commit to establishing about 200 new terrestrial protected areas. Mr. Miller testified that the legislation is “very helpful in ensuring that the government remains on track to achieve its protected area targets.”
During the study, Philippe Morel from Fisheries and Oceans Canada acknowledged that MPA establishment under the Oceans Act is too slow. He told the Committee that the department is exploring how that Act can be updated to speed up the designation process with a view to tabling a bill in the spring of 2017.
Another idea raised for accelerating the pace of creating new protected areas is to designate multiple areas at once. Mr. Miller suggested that it takes almost as long to designate one site as it would take to designate a number of sites in a single batch.
The Committee heard that this was an additional factor in Nova Scotia’s successful expansion of protected areas. That province “selected 200 protected areas all at once, as a system, and is now proceeding to designate these areas in batches.” The alternative of designating protected areas one at a time was described as “a recipe for slow implementation and missed targets.”
Designating areas in batches was also recommended as a means to speed up the establishment of marine protected areas. Ms. Nowlan referred to evidence suggesting “that the ad hoc approach to marine protected areas has not worked well” and that other countries have set an example by designating multiple sites at once.
The Committee recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada consider opportunities to designate multiple protected areas concurrently.
As a suggestion for speeding up negotiations with the Inuit to establish protected areas in the North, Mr. Crowley testified:
I think the most important thing is to do this transparently. What are the economic benefits? What is the baseline management that can be handed over to communities? Have that up front right away and across the board, being fair and not renegotiating from one space to the next, from one community to the next, or from one land claim to the next. Start at the highest level right off the bat, and get to “yes” very quickly.
Mr. Crowley and Mr. Taylor suggested that it is time to review and update the regulatory regime for minerals, oil and gas in the North to ensure that it reflects “all the concerns that communities have now, not just the concerns about petroleum development.” Similarly, World Wildlife Fund-Canada suggested that other values – such as fishing, tourism, food security, conservation and community and cultural values – should be put on an equal footing with petroleum. The group pointed to Norway as setting an example for Canada to follow. In Norway, a regional environmental assessment is conducted before a decision is made as to whether an area can be opened for petroleum bids.
Specifically, witnesses such as Mr. Crowley and Mr. Taylor suggested that updating the Mineral and Energy Resource Assessment (MERA) process and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act would help speed up the establishment of new protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, or indeed enable their establishment in some cases.
The MERA process was established in 1980 to implement a policy of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Under the MERA process, the non-renewable natural resource potential of an area in the territories is compiled before the area may be established as a national park or a national marine conservation area.
Representatives both of prospectors and developers and of the Canadian mining industry spoke in favour of the MERA process. Mr. Chalmers suggested that in order to achieve a balance of values when making land-use decisions, it is important to have complete information about both the ecological value and the economic productive value of the land. Mr. Kara supported the MERA process for supporting balanced, transparent, evidence-based land-use decision making. He supported establishing a similar process for other federal protected areas.
However, critics of the MERA process suggest that it harkens back to a time “when there was only one value put forward, and that was to encourage exploration.” The World Wildlife Fund-Canada suggested that it is time to update the MERA process “to better reflect current priorities and ensure its application does not unduly delay Canada achieving its marine protection objectives.” Specifically, that group suggested “that when parties agree, a MERA need not be undertaken and the government should consider conditions under which MERA might not be warranted.”
World Wildlife Fund-Canada also criticized the Canada Petroleum Resources Act as interfering with the establishment of protected areas in the North. This legislation provides for granting significant discovery licences with indefinite terms. Since, as the Committee was told, Fisheries and Oceans Canada does not entertain the idea of protecting marine areas where there may be existing oil and gas rights, licences issued under the Act “can interfere with alternate uses indefinitely – even if they are never exercised.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada ensure that no federal policy or legislation, such as the Mineral and Energy Resource Assessment and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, slows the process of establishing protected areas. Further, no federal policy or legislation should impinge on minimum standards of protection established for that type of federal protected area, such as in the case of Sable Island National Park Reserve.
The goal of Aichi Target 11 is to improve the status of biodiversity. This requires not only protecting areas in a coherent network but also ensuring that the protections provided are sufficient for specific areas to meet their conservation objectives. Monitoring ecological and social outcomes of the protection provided is an important exercise that allows for adaptive management to ensure achievement of the desired outcomes.
As discussed previously, there are various types of protected areas as defined by the level of protection provided. However, the level of protection does not simply affect whether an area can be counted in Canada’s inventory of protected areas. It also determines whether conservation outcomes are achieved. The Committee heard from many interveners that Canada’s federal protected areas, particularly its marine protected areas, need greater protections to achieve conservation goals.
As the Committee learned, providing greater protection does not mean prohibiting all human activity in an area. Mr. Woodley stressed this point, noting that while nature was the first priority in the protected area in the Czech Republic from where he was testifying by videoconference, traditional agriculture was part of the zoning of the park, and the area received six million visitors per year. Mr. Bates noted that some species may be less able to deal with certain types of human activity, but other areas could be compatible with activities such as ranching. However, Mr. Woodley suggested to the Committee that protected areas and conservation must be about prioritizing nature, which is “a life-support system.”
With respect to federal terrestrial protected areas, Mr. Locke suggested that both national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries require greater protection in order that they might be “true protected areas.” Specifically, he suggested that both the Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 be amended “to eliminate the permitting of industrial activities” in national wildlife areas and to explicitly add “some conservation purpose” to migratory bird sanctuaries. Despite this observation, Ms. Jessen noted in testimony that in terrestrial protected areas, “it's generally accepted that industrial uses like logging, mining, oil and gas, and hydroelectric development should be prohibited.”
Ms. Jessen pointed out that such protection is not assumed for marine areas, creating a double standard. Regarding marine protected areas, Dr. Metaxas told the Committee that “the level of protection within an MPA will determine its effectiveness. Full protection is more effective than partial protection.” World Wildlife Fund-Canada pointed out, however, that only 0.01% of Canada’s waters qualify as “highly protected.” According to CPAWS, “there is little difference between what is allowed inside our MPAs and what occurs outside their boundaries.”
The Committee heard that the activities that most need to be restricted in marine protected areas are industrial fishing and mineral, oil and gas exploration and development. Dr. Metaxas pointed out that such restrictions have to be long term in order to allow recovery of ecosystems. Canada’s marine protected areas – whether created under the Canada National Marine Conservation Act or the Oceans Act or as part of a national wildlife area or a migratory bird sanctuary – need greater protection.
Regarding national marine conservation areas, Mr. Woodley pointed out that “although they're protected from oil and gas development, they're not protected from large-scale industrial fishing.” Mr. Woodley and World Wildlife Fund-Canada testified that large no-take zones are “fundamental for ocean conservation.”
Legislative changes were suggested to address these issues. In general, CPAWS recommended that all four pieces of legislation governing Canada’s federal marine protected areas be amended to “establish minimum protection standards for industrial activities, with prohibitions on oil and gas exploration and development, mining, dredging and dumping, and restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing, and commercial shipping.” Finally, Ms. Nowlan suggested that both the Oceans Act and the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act be amended to make ecological integrity the overriding goal for each piece of legislation, as is currently the case for national parks.
As the Committee heard, large core protected areas in all ecoregions are the anchor of protected area networks. As such, Canada’s large national parks are essential to protecting Canada’s biodiversity. Ecological integrity of national parks is therefore critical.
However, Mr. Bates also pointed out that another “important role of protected areas is … to share these great areas with Canadians as a way to maintain support for ongoing work to meet protected areas objectives.” The Committee was told that deep public support is an important factor in maintaining political will to establish new protected areas and prioritizing conservation in general.
As the Committee was told, these two distinct but important roles are outlined in the Canada National Parks Act. Under section 8(2) of the Act, maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity is the minister’s first management priority for national parks. However, section 4(1) of the Act dedicates the national parks “to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment.” The provision goes on to stipulate that the parks must be “maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
These two roles are important; however, their interpretation and implementation are varied. Many perceive a conflict between the two. Through testimony and its site visits to Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, the Committee became acutely aware of the differing points of view. Essentially, one person’s use and enjoyment of a park can be another person’s impairment.
Parks Canada sees increased visitation as “a wonderful opportunity … to be able to share stories about the importance of national parks, and protection, and conservation.” The agency quoted Sir David Attenborough to the Committee: “No one will protect what they don't care about. And no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
As the Committee learned during its site visits to Banff and Jasper national parks, maintaining visitation to national parks by different generations is an issue for Parks Canada. To maintain visitation of those who have grown up visiting parks, accessibility is becoming an issue. Infrastructure and new attractions need to be accessible to people who have mobility issues. On the other hand, to attract youth to parks, the old model of offering camping, trails and opportunities for photographs may not suffice. Other attractions may have to be developed or actively maintained to be relevant to youth who increasingly want to experience a range of activities. The Committee visited a number of current attractions, such as the Banff gondola, Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Glacier Skywalk and Glacier Adventure and the Jasper SkyTram, which offer visitors a range of accessible new experiences.
However, many stakeholders, including the Bow Valley Naturalists and CPAWS regarded increased visitation and its associated development in national parks as incompatible with maintaining or restoring ecological integrity. In fact, some witnesses felt that planned increases in visitation will impair not just ecological integrity, but also the role of parks in connecting Canadians with nature as overcrowding at attractions diminishes visitor experience. On the other hand, developers of park attractions all follow guidelines to minimize the impact on ecological integrity. The Committee heard that developers have a vested interest in maintaining nature, as this is the main attraction that draws so many visitors, offsetting the extra costs and limitations of operating in a national park.
The issue of what is an appropriate level of development in Banff and Jasper is not new. Development threats in the 1990s led to the Banff-Bow Valley Study, “which then resulted at the end of the day in a suite of measures that were designed to limit and cap development in the mountain parks, recognizing that they cannot sustain endless development.” In the face of what witnesses including CPAWS saw as an increased focus by Parks Canada on tourism and visitation over conservation, Peter J. Poole, a Banff businessman, and Ms. Woodley noted the importance of sticking to the established caps.
Parks Canada is aware of the need to manage visitation. In Prince Edward Island National Park, visitation is concentrated in areas of the park where active management is possible. Degraded areas, such as dunes, are closed off for a period to build back up. In Banff and Jasper as well it was noted that most visits are concentrated in a small portion of the parks. As the Committee heard during its site visits, 92% of visitors get their park experience on hardened surfaces in the developed 1-4% of the park area.
The fact that the large numbers of visitors to Banff and Jasper spend most of their time in the town sites and at a few popular attractions puts a great deal of pressure on the towns. They need infrastructure and services to receive visitors in numbers which far exceed their resident populations and which strain their municipal tax bases. Compounding this problem in the Town of Jasper is the federal land lease bill, which accounts for 9% of the municipal tax levy and is not returned to the town. As well, land-use planning in Jasper is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. The town would like a transfer of this jurisdiction to allow it to make land-use plans locally, subject to the minister’s approval, as is the case in Banff. Jasper would like to be treated equally to Banff with the same municipal powers and responsibilities.
Managing traffic also is a major challenge in Banff and Jasper, more so even than managing people. Various ideas were discussed for vehicle management, including a Bow Valley–wide transit plan. It was also noted that Parks Canada’s innovative over- and under-passes for wildlife has earned the agency a reputation as being a global leader in reducing traffic conflict with wildlife.
Parks Canada also manages development through “planning and consultation with the public, Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders [in] a robust and efficient impact assessment program.” However, a number of stakeholders, including the Bow Valley Naturalists and various other environmental groups felt that Parks Canada’s planning has not been sufficiently public. According to CPAWS:
Public consultations on development proposals have become limited to a few weeks of geographically restricted consultations, often after years of behind-closed-door discussions with private developers, and often after decisions have already been made internally. In many cases, like the Lake Louise Ski Resort expansion and the Glacier Skywalk, proposals have been approved in spite of strong public opposition. Public accountability measures like the Minister’s Round Table, which is legally required every two years under the Parks Canada Agency Act, have become tightly scripted events, focused almost entirely on how to increase park visitation, with no attention paid to nature conservation in recent years.
While there will always be people who disagree with some development decisions, the Committee itself discovered that it is difficult to understand the decision-making process. For example, despite repeated questions to numerous witnesses, the Committee was unable to determine what process led up to the announcement in Budget 2016 of a $65.9 million investment for a new biking and walking trail in Jasper National Park. More transparency in decision making is required.
At the same time that significant investments are being made in new infrastructure for the national parks, funding to maintain existing infrastructure has been insufficient in the past. Such infrastructure, which includes assets such as roads, bridges, dams, buildings, and water and wastewater treatment facilities is essential for both safety and visitor experience. The Committee notes that investments are being made “to address the backlog of deferred work and improve the conditions of assets administered by the Agency.” It is essential that future levels of funding are sufficient to maintain capital assets and that any shortfall in such funding not present a barrier to establishing new parks.
The Committee recommends that Parks Canada Agency adhere to existing limits placed on development as outlined in legislation or in management plans, guidelines and policy. Development proposals as well as any changes to existing limits should be subject to a transparent and publicly inclusive decision-making process. Municipalities within park boundaries should have more flexibility to make certain decisions – such as allocate business licences – within their existing footprints and limits.
The Committee recommends that Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans develop relevant management plans to ensure that the protected areas under their jurisdiction will fulfill their intended purposes as refuges for biodiversity. These management plans should be updated on a regular basis in order to effectively address emerging threats to ecological integrity, and departments must be given sufficient budgetary resources to implement these plans.
In order to ensure conservation outcomes, several witnesses suggested that there should be a way to provide interim protection for important ecological marine areas while negotiations and collaboration for their permanent protection is continuing. This was particularly important given the slow pace of formally establishing MPAs and their associated management plans under the Oceans Act. Currently, there is no mechanism in the Oceans Act for providing interim protection. West Coast Environmental Law submitted that, considering that the IUCN “recommends that MPA laws be used to provide interim protection measures for proposed sites,” Canada’s Oceans Act should be amended to “fill this gap.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada amend and strengthen the National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act in order to:
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada confirm minimum conservation standards of protection for each category of federal protected area to meet accepted international standards.
Since halting and reversing biodiversity decline is the primary motivation for establishing networks of protected areas, witnesses also discussed other federal biodiversity actions, in particular the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). SARA is aimed at preventing wildlife extinction and providing for the recovery of wildlife species at risk. As such, it is a key piece of legislation aimed at conserving biodiversity.
The government has been implementing SARA since it came into force – 14 years ago – to protect the 522 species listed as being at risk. Yet, the Committee learned that to date, no listed species has ever had its status improve to the point of the species being removed from the SARA list, and only five species have seen an improvement in status.
Eric Reder of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Mr. Chalmers suggested the federal government is not fully implementing SARA. They called on the government to:
In addition, the Committee notes that the approach under SARA is predominantly species specific. SARA does not advance the type of large-scale conservation initiatives necessary to address the decline of certain wide-ranging species, such as the caribou. Such large-scale conservation necessarily implies federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous collaboration to reach common conservation objectives. Witnesses including Aran O’Carroll of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, Ben Chalmers of the Mining Association of Canada, David Browne of the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Linda Nowlan of West Coast Environmental Law agreed with the suggestion that intergovernmental efforts around species and habitat should be combined with intergovernmental efforts around conservation and protected areas. In particular, the Mining Association of Canada suggested that the federal government could “provide leadership with respect to facilitating data sharing between jurisdictions … [to] help ensure that policy related to species at risk management and protection is informed by the best available data.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada fully implement and enforce the Species at Risk Act while also focussing on achieving the objectives of the Act through enhanced conservation initiatives.
Witnesses discussed monitoring as an essential tool for evaluating whether the ecological and social objectives of a protected area or network are being achieved.
As defined by Dr. Metaxas, monitoring is
the collection of data in a regular and systematic way to assess the effectiveness of [protected areas] in meeting their conservation targets.
Monitoring requires clear and measurable targets, such as a percentage increase in a population within [a protected area], or a difference in average size of a species, or a population inside versus outside the [protected area]. It requires the collection of data in an unbiased, scientific way that can directly measure change.
Monitoring provides the ongoing flow of data – suggesting how well management actions are working and whether conditions are changing – needed for adaptive management. In cases where a protected area is established in a precautionary manner despite a lack of full information, monitoring can fill-in data gaps to allow for adjustments to be made to the management or even to the boundaries of a protected area if the original plan was ineffective. Monitoring, especially of marine protected areas, also provides evidence to help stakeholders assess costs and benefits of a protected area.
Mr. Taylor pointed out advantages of monitoring in the Arctic where it “can be used to monitor the pace and extent of climate change and provide jobs and training opportunities for Inuit experts.”
Monitoring is necessary to establish whether ecological integrity is being maintained and restored in national parks and whether park boundaries should be expanded to protect ecological integrity.
Nadine Crookes of Parks Canada described to the Committee the agency’s current ecological integrity monitoring program. She testified that the agency has completed 120 ecological indicators including 600 measures – 9 of which are Indigenous knowledge measures – for the national parks. Results of monitoring are communicated in “state of the park” reports every 10 years for each of Canada’s national parks. She suggested that there is room for improvement, but that the agency is “certainly working towards having good science to inform our decisions and our actions.”
However, CPAWS suggested that conservation science had been diminished in Parks Canada. In addition, in a 2013 report, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development concluded that
[The Agency’s] implementation of systems for monitoring and reporting on ecological integrity has been slow, and the Agency is challenged to meet many of its deadlines and targets.… The Agency has not clarified how and by when, with significantly fewer resources, it will address the backlog of unfinished work, the emerging threats to ecological integrity, and the declines it has identified in the condition of many park ecosystems. Consequently, there is a significant risk that the Agency could fall further behind in its efforts to maintain or restore ecological integrity in Canada’s national parks.
For national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Commissioner found, in 2013, that the department
had not met its responsibilities for preparing management plans and monitoring the condition of its protected areas.… 90% of national wildlife areas did not have adequate management plans, and these plans were more than 20 years old. Finally, monitoring was done sporadically. The department could not track ecosystem or species changes and address emerging threats.
In order to ensure sufficient monitoring in national parks managed by Parks Canada as well as national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Green Budget Coalition recommended that the federal government provide additional funding to these bodies.
In addition, Mr. Brennan suggested that there is a need for wetland monitoring in Canada. He recommended adding wetlands “to Natural Resources Canada’s national terrestrial monitoring framework, so that we can better understand and monitor landscape change as it pertains to wetlands.”
In a written response to questions from the Committee, Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that “all MPA networks and individual MPAs are (or will be once completed) managed, monitored, evaluated and adaptively managed, to ensure that conservation objectives are being met and new conservation needs can be addressed.”
However, Dr. Metaxas pointed to challenges Canada will face in monitoring MPAs in the future, when at least 10% of Canada’s marine areas will be protected. She explained that 10% of the ocean is 710,000 km2, which is a “vast expanse” of ocean to monitor, especially when some MPAs will be situated in remote locations. She suggested that research be undertaken to determine how to monitor Canada’s MPAs in the most effective and efficient way. She told the Committee that “there are no simple answers, so we have to do the research to find out what the trade-offs are, the costs and the benefits.”
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada develop, implement and sufficiently fund effective monitoring programs in order to measure the successful achievement of ecological integrity of protected areas.
Many protected areas are also large stores of carbon. The link between carbon storage and biodiversity was therefore noted a number of times. Ms. Sumner suggested that “protected areas … must also be about addressing the overlap on climate, carbon, caribou, and biodiversity.” She noted that Ontario’s millions of hectares of bogs and fens are “the breeding grounds for the hemisphere's several billion migratory birds” and also contain “millions of tonnes of carbon.”
However, as the Committee learned, the relationship between protected areas and carbon emissions is complicated. For example, Werner Kurz of Natural Resources Canada submitted information suggesting that conservation of forests by itself is not a good strategy to decrease emissions. This is because protection of forests decreases the opportunities to use wood products in place of more carbon intensive materials, such as steel, in construction.
While protection by itself is not necessarily always a good strategy, Professor Gary Bull suggested that more active management of Canada’s natural carbon pools could theoretically “offset all of the emissions that we produce in Canada.” Such management to reduce emissions could include using trees created by different breeding techniques for afforestation and efforts to “reduce waste and emissions through sustainable forest management, … use more wood in construction rather than concrete, steel, and aluminium, or … use more wood for our energy.”
Though the manipulation of Canada’s natural carbon pools could potentially help to decrease emissions, it was also pointed out that climate change could turn them into enormous sources of carbon. Dr. Bull testified that current natural disturbances such as fires, insects and disease contribute more emissions than the transportation sector. Therefore, decreasing these emissions through active management could theoretically decrease Canada’s emissions. However, if climate change increases these disturbances beyond our ability to control them, the release of carbon could be greatly increased. As the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development submitted to the Committee:
According to analysis by the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, there is a high risk that Canada’s managed forests will be a net annual source of greenhouse gases in the future because of natural disturbances, including fires and insect attacks. These natural disturbances are beyond human control.
Understanding the full life cycle of carbon in Canada’s natural areas, the ability to manipulate these pools and climate change’s potential impact on these pools is therefore essential to evaluate whether attempting to increase their capacity to sequester carbon is an effective climate mitigation strategy.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada lead an effort to determine the capacity of Canada’s natural spaces to release and sequester carbon and to evaluate the potential for increasing their capacity to sequester carbon.
If Canada is to meet its conservation targets for 2020 and beyond, it must not lose existing protected areas.
This point was highlighted by Jeremy Pittman of the Liber Ero Fellowship Program and by Ms. Fast, who raised the issue of the federal government’s ongoing divestiture of community pastures formerly managed by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration in Western Canada. Ms. Fast emphasized the importance of these grasslands:
Temperate grasslands are among the most endangered ecosystems in Canada and globally, and the federal community pasture program invested hundreds of millions of dollars over 80 years to restore and manage more than a million hectares of native grasslands. These community pastures are home to some of the highest concentrations of species at risk on the continent and 31 federally listed species at risk.
Dr. Pittman and Nature Canada submitted to the Committee that the transfer of the remaining community pastures should be paused to provide time for a strategy to be prepared to protect the land. Dr. Pittman suggested that the federal government should ensure that the land transfer maintains or elevates the current level of protection and grasslands management.
Another example where the federal government needs to carefully consider the implications for conservation of a potential loss of lands is the Department of National Defence’s proposed disposal of lands including Royal Roads University on Vancouver Island.
The Committee notes the importance of federal departments and agencies critically considering policy, plan and program proposals through a green lens before decisions are made. The importance of doing so by applying the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals is discussed at some length in the Committee’s report entitled Federal Sustainability for Future Generations – A Report Following an Assessment of the Federal Sustainable Development Act, which was presented in June 2016.
Applying the cabinet directive by performing a strategic environmental assessment before deciding whether to transfer federally protected lands would help to ensure that consideration is given to how the transfer would affect Canada’s network of protected areas and its conservation goals before any final decisions are made.
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada ensure that the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals is applied to any proposal to acquire or to dispose of federal lands, such as the transfer of 700,000 hectares of native grasslands in 62 community pastures to the Government of Saskatchewan. Another example is the Department of National Defence’s proposed disposal of lands including Royal Roads University. In addition, no federal land should be disposed of unless it has been established that the proposed disposal would not be contrary to national conservation objectives.
Over the past 15 years, Canada has seen “one of the most significant national park expansion programs in the history of our country.” In addition, provincial governments, Indigenous communities and non-governmental organizations have made “bold commitments or taken bold actions related to new protected areas.” Canadians can be proud of the achievements our country has made in establishing protected areas and conserving nature; yet this is not enough to protect the biodiversity on which we all depend. We have a lot of work to do to reach the Aichi targets. Federal leadership is urgently needed.
Building on its strengths and experience, Canada must now increase its efforts in order to significantly expand protected areas – both terrestrial and marine – connecting them in a comprehensive network and integrating them into sustainably managed landscapes and seascapes. In particular, partnerships with Canada’s Indigenous peoples will serve as a catalyst for reconciliation at the same time as they help to fulfil our common conservation objectives. In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, now is the time to invest in our natural heritage as a core part of our national identity and to ensure benefits for today and for future generations.
 Biodivcanada.ca, Canadian Biodiversity Strategy: Canada’s Response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1995.
 Ducks Unlimited Canada, Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives,A Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, n.d., p. 7 and Laura E. Coristine, Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Calgary, Including climate in protected areas: promoting biodiversity under climate change, Brief, n.d., p. 1.
 Ibid., pp. 35–36.
 House of Commons, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development [ENVI], Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 12 May 2016 (Stephen Woodley, Co-Chair, WCPA-SSC Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature).
 United Nations, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
 United Nations Framework on Climate Change, Paris Agreement. For example, see Article 5: “Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1 (d), of the Convention, including forests.”
 See Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Mandate Letter.
 See Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Mandate Letter.
 For more information see Parliament of Canada, “Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives,” ENVI, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
 David Suzuki Foundation, Protecting Canada’s Natural Heritage, Brief, 10 May 2016, p. 3.
 Jérôme Dupras et al., Natural Capital: The Economic Value of the National Capital Commission’s Green Network, National Capital Commission, December 2016.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Rick Bates, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Vice-President, Canadian Wildlife Federation). Also see Evidence, 3 May 2016 (Kevin McNamee, Director, Protected Areas Establishment Branch, Parks Canada Agency).
 See ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Kimberly Lisgo, Conservation Planning Team Lead, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement) and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society [CPAWS], Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 15.
 Green Budget Coalition, “Leadership, National Parks and National Wildlife Areas,” Recommendations for Budget 2016.
 Ducks Unlimited Canada, Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, A Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, n.d., p. 5.
 See Kimberly Lisgo, Canadian Pan-Boreal Assessment Presentation to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, Brief, 10 May 2016; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 3 May 2016 (Kevin McNamee); Green Budget Coalition, “Leadership, National Parks and National Wildlife Areas,” Recommendations for Budget 2016; Laura E. Coristine, Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Calgary, Including climate in protected areas: promoting biodiversity under climate change, Brief, n.d., p. 1; and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley, National Director, Parks Program, National Office, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 25 October 2016 (Gary Bull Professor, University of British Columbia, Head of Department, Forest Resources Management, As an Individual) and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley).
 Kimberly Lisgo, Canadian Pan-Boreal Assessment Presentation to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, Brief, 10 May 2016.
 See ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 3 May 2016 (Kevin McNamee); West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 5; Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Chief Steven Nitah); and Miles Richardson, Discussion during informal meeting in Haida Gwaii, 16 September 2016.
 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Written responses to questions asked during the Committee meeting on 3 May 2016, p.3.
 Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, “Report of Protected Area in Canada,” CARTS, Current as of 31 December 2016. Note that other witnesses suggested different values. For example, World Wildlife Fund-Canada suggested that 1.1% of marine areas are protected. See Brief, 25 October 2016, p. 2.
 Ibid. (Kevin McNamee).
 Ibid. (Kevin Stringer, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 4 October 2016 (Sue Milburn-Hopwood) citing data included in Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Protected Areas Status Report 2012–2015, 2016.
 Parks Canada Agency, Written submission, n.d., pp. 2–3 and ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 4 October 2016 (Rob Prosper, Vice-President, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation, Parks Canada Agency).
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Responses to Questions (May 3, 2016), 2 May 2016 and ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 18 October 2016 (Kevin McNamee).
 Parks Canada Agency, Written submission, n.d., p. 2.
 Department of Environment, Written Response to Questions, May 2016.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 4 October 2016 (Jeff MacDonald, Director General, Oceans and Fisheries Policy, Department of Fisheries and Oceans). The term “exclusive economic zone” is prescribed by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea and defined in section 13 of Canada’s Oceans Act. It consists roughly of an area of the sea extending from the outer limit of the territorial sea of Canada to 200 nautical miles offshore.
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, pp. 28–29.
 Graham Edgar et al., “Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features,” Nature, 506, 13 February 2014.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 20 October 2016 (Chris Miller, National Conservation Biologist, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) and Evidence, 12 May 2016 (Sigrid Kuehnemund).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 5 May 2016 (John Lounds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nature Conservancy of Canada); Evidence, 10 May 2016 (Eleanor Fast); Ducks Unlimited Canada, Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, A Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, n.d., p. 8.
 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Written responses to questions asked during the Committee meeting on 3 May 2016, p. 2.
 Harvey Locke, Brief, 31 October 2016, p. 3; Laura E. Coristine, Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Calgary, Including climate in protected areas: promoting biodiversity under climate change, Brief, n.d., p. 1; CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 30.
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 30.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief, p. 11.
 Kimberly Lisgo, Canadian Pan-Boreal Assessment Presentation to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, Brief, 10 May, 2016.
 Mikisew Cree First Nation, Petition to the World Heritage Committee requesting inclusion of Wood Buffalo National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger, December 2014.
 David Suzuki Foundation, Brief, 10 May 2016, p. 2.
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 9.
 Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, 20 October 2016, p. 15.
 Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership, 10 March 2016.
 See Harvey Locke, Brief, 31 October 2016, citation: Harvey Locke, “Nature Needs Half: A Necessary and Hopeful New Agenda for Protected Areas in North America and around the World,” The George Wright Forum, vol. 31, 2014, and references within; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 29 September 2016 (Trevor Taylor, Director of Fisheries Conservation, Oceans North Canada); Evidence, 20 October 2016 (Chris Miller); and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (John Lounds).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 29 September 2016 (Paul Crowley, Vice-President, Arctic, World Wildlife Fund-Canada) and Evidence, 20 October 2016 (Anna Metaxas). See International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] World Parks Congress Sydney 2014, A strategy of innovative approaches and recommendations to enhance implementation of marine conservation in the next decade, December 2014.
 Nature Conservancy of Canada, Responses to Questions from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development re: Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 31 May 2016, pp. 2–3.
 Earth Rangers, Written responses to questions posed following a presentation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, 17 May 2016, p. 1.
 Nature Conservancy of Canada, Responses to Questions from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development re: Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 31 May 2016, pp. 2–3.
 IUCN, Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, Nigel Dudley ed., 2008, Including, Sue Stolton et al., “IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidance on Recognising Protected Areas and Assigning Management Categories and Governance Types,” IUCN, Gland Switzerland, 2013.
 IUCN, Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, Nigel Dudley ed., 2008, Including, Sue Stolton et al., “IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidance on Recognising Protected Areas and Assigning Management Categories and Governance Types,” IUCN, Gland Switzerland, 2013.
 Nature Conservancy of Canada, Responses to Questions from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development re: Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 31 May 2016, p. 5.
 Canadian Association of Forest Owners, Brief, 10 May 2016, p. 1.
 IUCN, Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, Nigel Dudley ed., 2008, Including, Sue Stolton et al., “IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidance on Recognising Protected Areas and Assigning Management Categories and Governance Types,” IUCN, Gland Switzerland, 2013.
 D. MacKinnon et al., “Canada and Aichi Biodiversity Target 11: understanding ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ in the context of the broader target,” Biodiversity and Conservation, Published online: 4 November 2015.
 See for instance: CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 36.
 Pathway to Canada Target 1, Federal – Provincial – Territorial Collaborative Action Towards a Coordinated Network of Conservation Areas across Canada, slide 10; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 10 May 2016 (Alex MacDonald); Evidence, 3 May 2016 (Robert McLean, Director General, assessment and Regulatory Affairs, Canadian Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment); and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Alan Latourelle).
 Canadian Association of Forest Owners, Brief, 10 May 2016, p. 1.
 Ibid., p. 2.
 Parks Canada Agency, Potential Contribution of National Historic Site Designations in the Protected Areas Strategy to Reach Aichi Targets of Protecting 17 Percent Terrestrial and 10 Percent Marine Areas by 2020, Written response, n.d., p. 1.
 Ibid., p. 2.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “Guidance on Identifying “Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures” in Canadian Coastal and Marine Waters,” Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat National Capital Region Science Advisory Report 2016/002, January 2016.
 Ibid. (Chris Miller).
 Nature Conservancy of Canada, Responses to Questions from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development re: Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 31 May 2016, p. 5.
 Ibid., p. 6.
 Pathway to Canada Target 1, Federal – Provincial – Territorial Collaborative Action Towards a Coordinated Network of Conservation Areas across Canada, slide 10.
 For example, see Nature Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives Submission from Nature Canada, Brief, May 2016, p. 1; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Rick Bates); Evidence, 10 May 2016 (Eleanor Fast); and CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, brief, p. 6.
 Benson Westerterp et al., Scaling Up Action on Parks and Protected Areas in Canada: Key barriers to creating an effective network of Protected Areas and how they can be overcome, Brief written in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the University of Ottawa, 2016, p. 2.
 Ibid., p. 3.
 Department of Environment, Written Response to Questions, May 2016.
 Federal–Provincial–Territorial Steering Committee, Pathway to Canada Target 1, Slideshow, n.d., slide 15.
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 35.
 For example, the Committee heard about the Moose Cree First Nation’s work to protect the North French River watershed. See ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 18 October 2016 (Patricia Faries, Chief, Moose Cree First Nation).
 This statement was exemplified by the Quarter Circle X Ranch, which the Committee visited during its travel to Alberta.
 Benson Westerterp et al., Scaling Up Action on Parks and Protected Areas in Canada: Key barriers to creating an effective network of Protected Areas and how they can be overcome, Brief written in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the University of Ottawa, 2016, p. 4. Also see ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley).
 See ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 18 October 2016 (Alain Branchaud, Executive Director, Quebec, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley,). During the Committee’s travel to Alberta, conservationist and author Harvey Locke also suggested that these areas should be protected.
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 35.
 Benson Westerterp et al., Scaling Up Action on Parks and Protected Areas in Canada: Key barriers to creating an effective network of Protected Areas and how they can be overcome, Brief written in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the University of Ottawa, 2016, pp. 4–5.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief, p. 11.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief, p. 11.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Follow up Questions and Answers, Written response, 4 October 2016, p. 1.
 This information was conveyed during an informal meeting in Haida Gwaii in September 2016.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief, p. 25.
 West Coast Environmental Law, Protecting BC’s Coast, Brief, n.d., p. 4.
 This position was put forward by Mr. Harvey Locke at an informal meeting during the Committee’s travel to Alberta.
 Ibid. (Trevor Taylor).
 Ibid. (Paul Crowley).
 World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Brief, 25 October 2016, p. 4.
 For example, see ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 3 May 2016 (Kevin McNamee); Evidence, 17 May 2016 (Rick Bates and Linda Nowlan, Staff Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law Association); Evidence, 3 May 2016 (Kevin Stringer); and CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief.
 For example, see ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 10 May 2016 (Eleanor Fast); Evidence, 18 October 2016 (Janet Sumner, Executive Director, Wildlands League, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society); Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley and Alan Latourelle); Evidence, 12 May 2016 (Stephen Woodley); and Evidence, 17 May 2016 (Ben Chalmers).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 12 May 2016 (Stephen Woodley) and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (John Lounds). Also see Evidence, 17 May 2016 (Kate Lindsay, Director, Conservation Biology, Forest Products Association of Canada).
 See Parks Canada, Written Response to Questions, 2 May 2016, p. 2.
 This idea was discussed during a dinner with the Committee attended by Harvey Locke and Peter J. Poole in Banff, Alberta in September 2016.
 Ibid. (Alison Woodley).
 CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 8.
 Parks Canada, Funding Allocations for the Expansion and Establishment of Federal Protected Areas Since 2005, n.d.
 Department of Environment, Written Response to Questions, May 2016, p. 2.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada, Response to Questions (May 3, 2016), 2 May 2016, p. 5.
 Nature Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives Submission from Nature Canada, Brief, May 2016, p. 1; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 10 May 2016 (Eleanor Fast); Ducks Unlimited Canada, Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, A Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, n.d., p. 13; Evidence, 3 May 2016 (Julie Gelfand, Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development); and Evidence, 10 May 2016 (Mark Gloutney, Director, Regional Operations, Eastern Region, Ducks Unlimited Canada).
 For example, see David Suzuki Foundation, Brief, 10 May 2016.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep: Charting Canada’s Course to 2020, Brief, p. 5.
 See Bill C-18, An Act to amend the Rouge National Urban Park Act, the Parks Canada Agency Act and the Canada National Parks Act, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament (first reading version, 9 June 2016).
 Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Written Response to Questions, 5 July 2016.
 This idea was discussed at an informal dinner meeting during Committee’s travel to Banff, Alberta on 19 September 2016.
 This idea was discussed during a meeting with the co-chairs of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Canada Target 1 National Steering Committee in Jasper, Alberta on 21 September 2016.
 Pathway to Canada Target 1, Federal – Provincial – Territorial Collaborative Action Towards a Coordinated Network of Conservation Areas across Canada, slide 8.
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 7.
 Nathan Bennett and Natalie Ban, Making Real Progress on Marine Protected Areas in Canada, Submission prepared for Liber Ero Fellowship Program and Ocean Canada, n.d., p. 1.
 These ideas were discussed at informal meetings during site visits to Banff and Jasper national parks in September 2016.
 Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Indigenous Protected Areas: Recognizing Indigenous Stewardship in Canada, Brief, 28 September 2016, p. 5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 27 September 2016 (Chief Steven Nitah) and Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Valerie Courtois, Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative of the International Boreal Conservation Campaign).
 Miles Richardson, Discussion during informal meeting in Haida Gwaii, 16 September 2016
 Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Indigenous Protected Areas: Recognizing Indigenous Stewardship in Canada, Brief, 28 September 2016, p. 3.
 See ICCA Consortium, Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs).
 Ibid. (Janet Sumner).
 Indigenous Leadership Initiative, Indigenous Protected Areas: Recognizing Indigenous Stewardship in Canada, Brief, 28 September 2016, p. 2.
 Gwaii Haanas Agreement Between: The Government of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment and: The Council of the Haida Nation, for and on behalf of the Haida Nation and represented by the Vice President of the Council, 1993.
 World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Brief, 25 October 2016, p. 4.
 Makivik Corporation, Brief, Submission by Makivik Corporation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, p. 3.
 Makivik Corporation, Brief, Submission by Makivik Corporation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, p. 3.
 Parks Canada Agency, Response to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Question 2, Brief, n.d., p. 1.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Responses to Questions (May 3, 2016), 2 May 2016 and ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 12 May 2016 (Sigrid Kuehnemund). Also see Evidence, 29 September 2016 (Paul Crowley).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 29 September 2016 (Paul Crowley); Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Sabine Jessen); and Evidence, 12 May 2016 (Sigrid Kuehnemund). Also see World Wildlife Fund – Canada, Letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (Re: WWF-Canada recommendations for meeting marine conservation targets), 12 January 2016, p. 2; and Evidence, 4 October 2016 (Rob Prosper).
 Parks Canada Agency, Response to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Question 2, Brief, n.d., pp. 4–5; and ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 4 October 2016 (Philippe Morel and Jeff MacDonald).
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 6 citing Office of the Auditor General of Canada, Petition 337 – Progress in completing the Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area management plan and in establishing a national system of marine protected areas, 17 April 2012.
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 6.
 Ibid., pp. 2–3.
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief, 8 May 2016, p. 2.
 World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Brief, 25 October 2016, p. 6.
 World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Brief, 25 October 2016, pp. 5–6.
 Ibid., p. 6.
 World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Brief, 25 October 2016, p. 6.
 Harvey Locke, Brief, 31 October 2016, p. 3.
 World Wildlife Fund – Canada, Letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (Re: WWF-Canada recommendations for meeting marine conservation targets), 12 January 2016, p. 2.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 29 September 2016 (Trevor Taylor and Paul Crowley); Evidence, 5 May 2016 (Sabine Jessen); CPAWS, Dare to be Deep, Are Canada’s marine Protected Areas Really Protected?, Annual report on Canada’s progress in protecting our ocean, June 2015; and World Wildlife Fund – Canada, Letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (Re: WWF-Canada recommendations for meeting marine conservation targets), 12 January 2016, p. 1.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 12 May 2016 (Stephen Woodley). Also see World Wildlife Fund – Canada, Letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (Re: WWF-Canada recommendations for meeting marine conservation targets), 12 January 2016, p. 2.
 CPAWS, Dare to be Deep, Are Canada’s marine Protected Areas Really Protected?, Annual report on Canada’s progress in protecting our ocean, June 2015, p. 6; Also see West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 9.
 See CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, pp. 28–29.
 Ecological integrity is defined in section 2(1) of the Canada National Parks Act as: “with respect to a park, a condition that is determined to be characteristic of its natural region and likely to persist, including abiotic components and the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes.”
 Ibid., s. 4(1).
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 20 October 2016 (Karen Jans). Also see Parks Canada Agency, Response to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Question 3, Brief, n.d., p. 6.
 Parks Canada Agency, Response to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Question 3, Brief, n.d., p. 2.
 Bow Valley Naturalists, Brief, 11 September 2016, p. 1; Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 5; Ellen Zimmerman, Brief, 6 October 2016; Shirley Truscott, A private submission to the Standing Committee from a retired Parks Canada employee, Brief, 21 September 2016.
 Bow Valley Naturalists, Brief, 11 September 2016, p. 1; Peter J. Poole, Owner, Arctos & Bird Management, Banff National Park: A Business Perspective on Regulating Business and Managing Visitor Use in the Anthropocene, Brief, 12 September 2016, p. 2. ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley).
 See for instance: Lake Louise Ski Area, Supplementary Materials for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Brief, September 2016, pp. 29–30.
 Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 5 May 2016 (Alison Woodley).; Peter J. Poole, Owner, Arctos & Bird Management, Banff National Park: A Business Perspective on Regulating Business and Managing Visitor Use in the Anthropocene, Brief, 12 September 2016, p. 4.
 This information was heard during the Committee’s site visits to Banff and Jasper in September, 2016.
 Parks Canada Agency, Response to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Question 3, Brief, n.d., pp. 3-4. Also see: Lake Louise Ski Area, Supplementary Materials for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Brief, September 2016, pp. 29–30.
 Bow Valley Naturalists, Brief, 11 September 2016, p. 2; “CEOs of Canada’s largest environmental groups issue statement on national park management,” Written statement, 4 October 2016, p. 2; and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 5.
 Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 9.
 Also see: Bow Valley Naturalists, Brief, 11 September 2016, p. 2.
 See West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 8; ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 5 May 2016 (Sabine Jessen); and Evidence, 17 May 2016 (Linda Nowlan).
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 8, referring to Barbara Lausche and Françoise Burhenne, Guidelines for Protected Areas Legislation, IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper No. 81, 2011, p. 156.
 West Coast Environmental Law, Brief to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives, 8 May 2016, p. 8.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Follow up Questions and Answers, Written response, 4 October 2016, p. 5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Ben Chalmers) and Mining Association of Canada, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, June 2016, pp. 4-5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Ben Chalmers and Kate Lindsay) and Mining Association of Canada, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, June 2016, pp. 4–5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 17 May 2016 (Ben Chalmers). Also see Mining Association of Canada, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, June 2016, pp. 3–4.
 CPAWS Several witnesses discussed the very large areas needed to support caribou, including ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 20 October 2016 (Chris Miller); CPAWS, Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?, Brief, p. 7.
 Mining Association of Canada, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, June 2016, p. 5.
 See Nathan Bennett and Natalie Ban, Making Real Progress on Marine Protected Areas in Canada, Submission prepared for Liber Ero Fellowship Program and Ocean Canada, n.d., p. 1.
 Anna Metaxas et al., Brief, 26 October 2016, p. 5.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 29 September 2016 (Trevor Taylor). Also see Makivik Corporation, Submission by Makivik Corporation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, p. 3.
 Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Protecting Canada’s National Parks – A Call for Renewed Commitment to Nature Conservation, 2016 Parks Report, p. 8.
 Green Budget Coalition, “Leadership, National Parks and National Wildlife Areas,” Recommendations for Budget 2016.
 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Follow up Questions and Answers, Written response, 4 October 2016, pp. 1–2.
 Dr. Werner Kurz and Dr. Carolyn Smyth, Brief in response to three questions from the Standing Committee, 29 October 2016.
 Auditor General Office, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable development, Brief, October 2016.
 ENVI, Evidence, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 10 May 2016 (Eleanor Fast) and Jeremy Pittman, Maintaining species at risk protection on transferred federal lands, Brief, 28 October 2016. Also see Evidence, 12 May 2016 (Eric Reder).
 Nature Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Study on Federal Protected Areas and Conservation Objectives Submission from Nature Canada, Brief, May 2016, p. 1. Also see Jeremy Pittman, Maintaining species at risk protection on transferred federal lands, Brief, 28 October 2016.
 Jeremy Pittman, Maintaining species at risk protection on transferred federal lands, Brief, 28 October 2016.