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Canada National Parks Act (S.C. 2000, c. 32)

Act current to 2021-02-15 and last amended on 2019-09-04. Previous Versions


Marginal note:Management by Minister

  •  (1) The Minister is responsible for the administration, management and control of parks, including the administration of public lands in parks and, for that purpose, the Minister may use and occupy those lands.

  • Marginal note:Ecological integrity

    (2) Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks.

Marginal note:Park communities

 Powers in relation to land use planning and development in park communities may not be exercised by a local government body, except as provided in the agreement referred to in section 35.

Marginal note:Agreements — general

  •  (1) The Minister may enter into agreements with federal and provincial ministers and agencies, local and aboriginal governments, bodies established under land claims agreements and other persons and organizations for carrying out the purposes of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Agreements — particular

    (2) The Minister may enter into agreements

    • (a) with any person for the development, operation and maintenance in a park of hydro-electric power pursuant to the Dominion Water Power Act for use in a park;

    • (b) with a local or aboriginal government having jurisdiction on lands adjacent to a park for the supply of water from the park to any place on those adjacent lands; and

    • (c) with any person located on lands in or adjacent to a park for the supply of water from the park to those lands for domestic purposes or for use in establishments providing services to park visitors.

  • Marginal note:Traditional water supply

    (2.1) An agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (2)(b) must take into account any traditional supply of water from the park.

  • Marginal note:Use of land

    (3) An agreement entered into by the Minister with a provincial minister or agency may authorize the use of public lands in a park, but the Minister may terminate the agreement if those lands cease to be used as authorized.

Marginal note:Management plans

  •  (1) The Minister shall, within five years after a park is established, prepare a management plan for the park containing a long-term ecological vision for the park, a set of ecological integrity objectives and indicators and provisions for resource protection and restoration, zoning, visitor use, public awareness and performance evaluation, which shall be tabled in each House of Parliament.

  • Marginal note:Review of management plans by Minister

    (2) The Minister shall review the management plan for each park at least every 10 years and shall cause any amendments to the plan to be tabled in each House of Parliament.

  • 2000, c. 32, s. 11
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 324

Marginal note:Public consultation

  •  (1) The Minister shall, where applicable, provide opportunities for public participation at the national, regional and local levels, including participation by aboriginal organizations, bodies established under land claims agreements and representatives of park communities, in the development of parks policy and regulations, the establishment of parks, the formulation of management plans, land use planning and development in relation to park communities and any other matters that the Minister considers relevant.

  • Marginal note:Progress reports

    (2) At least every two years, the Minister shall cause to be tabled in each House of Parliament a report on the state of the parks and on progress made towards the establishment of new parks.

  • 2000, c. 32, s. 12
  • 2017, c. 26, s. 32(F)

Park Lands

Marginal note:No disposition or use without authority

 Except as permitted by this Act or the regulations,

  • (a) no public lands or right or interest in public lands in a park may be disposed of; and

  • (b) no person shall use or occupy public lands in a park.

Marginal note:Wilderness areas

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may, by regulation, declare any area of a park that exists in a natural state or that is capable of returning to a natural state to be a wilderness area.

  • Marginal note:Maintaining character

    (2) The Minister may not authorize any activity to be carried on in a wilderness area that is likely to impair the wilderness character of the area.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (3) Notwithstanding subsection (2) but subject to any conditions that the Minister considers necessary, the Minister may authorize activities to be carried on in a wilderness area for purposes of

    • (a) park administration;

    • (b) public safety;

    • (c) the provision of basic user facilities including trails and rudimentary campsites;

    • (d) the carrying on of activities in accordance with regulations made under section 17; or

    • (e) access by air to remote parts of the wilderness area.

  • Marginal note:Time limit for declaration

    (4) Where a new or amended management plan sets out an area of a park for declaration as a wilderness area, the Minister shall recommend such declaration to the Governor in Council within one year after the plan or amendment is tabled under section 11.

Marginal note:Disposition of public lands

  •  (1) The Minister may

    • (a) enter into leases of, and easements or servitudes over, public lands in a park that are used for

      • (i) the right-of-way of an existing railway line or the site of a railway station,

      • (ii) the right-of-way of an existing oil or gas pipeline or the site of a tank, reservoir, pump, rack, loading facility or other installation connected with such a pipeline, or

      • (iii) the right-of-way of an existing telecommunication or electrical transmission line or the site of an exchange, office, substation or other installation connected with such a transmission line;

    • (b) enter into leases of, and easements or servitudes over, public lands in a park that are required for any alteration to or deviation from a right-of-way referred to in paragraph (a) or for the relocation of any station or installation referred to in that paragraph; or

    • (c) enter into leases or licences of occupation of, and easements or servitudes over, public lands in a park for the installation and operation of radio and television repeater stations, microwave towers, weather and telemetry stations and cosmic ray and other scientific monitoring stations.

  • Marginal note:Use of lands

    (2) Public lands in a park in which a right or interest is held for any purpose under this Act remain part of the park and, if those lands cease to be used for that purpose, the right or interest reverts to the Crown.

  • Marginal note:Termination, etc.

    (3) The Minister may terminate, or accept the surrender or resiliation of, a lease of public lands in a park and may terminate, or accept the relinquishment of, a licence of occupation of such lands or an easement or servitude over such lands.

  • Marginal note:Expropriation if interests

    (4) The Expropriation Act applies in respect of the taking or acquisition of an interest in public lands in a park for the purposes of this Act where the holder of the interest does not consent and there is no cause for termination under subsection (3).

  • Marginal note:Meaning of terms

    (5) For the purposes of subsection (4), the Minister is deemed to be a minister referred to in paragraph (b) of the definition Minister in section 2 of that Act and the Parks Canada Agency is deemed to be a department named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act.

  • Marginal note:No other expropriation

    (6) Notwithstanding the Expropriation Act, Her Majesty in right of Canada may not acquire any interest in land by expropriation for the purpose of enlarging a park or establishing a new park.

  • 2000, c. 32, s. 15
  • 2009, c. 17, s. 2


Marginal note:Regulations

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations respecting

    • (a) the preservation, control and management of parks;

    • (b) the protection of flora, soil, waters, fossils, natural features, air quality, and cultural, historical and archaeological resources;

    • (c) the protection of fauna, the taking of specimens of fauna for scientific or propagation purposes, and the destruction or removal of dangerous or superabundant fauna;

    • (d) the management and regulation of fishing;

    • (e) the prevention and remedying of any obstruction or pollution of waterways;

    • (f) the prevention and extinguishment of fire on park lands or threatening park lands;

    • (g) the issuance, amendment and termination of leases, licences of occupation and easements or servitudes, and the acceptance of the surrender or resiliation of leases and the relinquishment of licences of occupation and easements or servitudes, of or over public lands

      • (i) in park communities, for the purposes of residence, schools, churches, hospitals, trade, tourism and places of recreation or entertainment,

      • (ii) in existing resort subdivisions, for the purpose of residence,

      • (iii) outside park communities and existing resort subdivisions, for the purposes of schools, churches, hospitals, service stations, tourism and places for the accommodation, recreation or education of visitors to parks, and

      • (iv) in the town of Banff, for the purpose of the exercise by a local government body of functions specified in the agreement referred to in section 35;

    • (h) the restriction or prohibition of activities and the control of the use of park resources and facilities;

    • (i) the establishment, operation, maintenance and administration of works and services of a public character, such as water, sewage, electricity, telephone, gas, fire protection, garbage removal and disposal and cemeteries, including the designation, granting and maintenance of plots in cemeteries, and respecting the use of those works and services;

    • (j) the establishment, maintenance, administration and use of roads, streets, highways, parking areas, sidewalks, streetworks, trails, wharves, docks, bridges and other improvements, and the circumstances under which they must be open or may be closed to public traffic or use;

    • (k) the control of traffic on roads, streets and highways and elsewhere in parks, including the regulation of the speed, operation and parking of vehicles;

    • (l) the surveying of public lands, the making of plans of surveyed lands, the delimitation in such plans of the boundaries of park communities, existing resort subdivisions and cemeteries, their designation as towns, visitor centres, resort subdivisions or cemeteries and the subdividing of lands so designated;

    • (m) the control of the location, standards, design, materials, construction, maintenance, removal and demolition of buildings, structures, facilities, signs and other improvements and the establishment of zones governing uses of land and buildings;

    • (n) the control of businesses, trades, occupations, amusements, sports and other activities or undertakings, including activities related to commercial ski facilities referred to in section 36, and the places where such activities and undertakings may be carried on;

    • (o) the preservation of public health and the prevention of disease;

    • (p) the inspection of buildings, structures, facilities and other improvements for the purpose of the enforcement of regulations made under paragraphs (m), (n) and (o);

    • (q) the abatement and prevention of nuisances;

    • (r) the determination of fees, rates, rents and other charges for the use of park resources and facilities, the provision of works and services referred to in paragraph (i) and improvements referred to in paragraph (j), and the issuance and amendment of permits, licences and other authorizing instruments pursuant to subsection (3);

    • (s) public safety, including the control of firearms;

    • (t) the use, transportation and temporary storage of pesticides and other toxic substances;

    • (u) the control of domestic animals, including the impounding or destruction of such animals found at large;

    • (v) the acquisition or disposition of prehistoric and historic objects and reproductions of them and the sale of souvenirs, consumer articles and publications;

    • (w) the authorization of the use of park lands, and the use or removal of flora and other natural objects, by aboriginal people for traditional spiritual and ceremonial purposes;

    • (x) the control of access to parks by air;

    • (y) designating provisions of the regulations for the purpose of subsection 24(1); and

    • (z) the summary removal from a park, by park wardens or enforcement officers, of persons found contravening specified provisions of this Act, the regulations or the Criminal Code, and the exclusion from a park for prescribed periods of those persons or persons convicted of offences under those provisions.

  • Marginal note:Roads and other improvements

    (2) The establishment or use of any improvement referred to in paragraph (1)(j) does not operate to withdraw lands from a park.

  • Marginal note:Powers of superintendents

    (3) Regulations made under this section may authorize the superintendent of a park, in the circumstances and subject to the limits that may be specified in the regulations,

    • (a) to vary any requirement of the regulations for purposes of public safety or the conservation of natural resources in the park;

    • (b) to issue, amend, suspend and revoke permits, licences and other authorizations in relation to any matter that is the subject of regulations and to set their terms and conditions; and

    • (c) to order the taking of any action to counter any threat to public health or to remedy the consequences of any breach of the regulations in the park.

  • Marginal note:No new establishments

    (4) No lease, licence of occupation, easement or servitude may be issued or amended pursuant to regulations made under subparagraph (1)(g)(iii) for the purpose of the establishment of a new park community, resort subdivision, school, church or hospital.

  • 2000, c. 32, s. 16
  • 2009, c. 14, s. 29
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