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Parliament of Canada 

LS-365E

 

BILL C-27:  CANADA NATIONAL PARKS ACT

 

Prepared by :
Jean-Luc Bourdages
Science and Technology Division
John Craig
Law and Government Division
4 May 2000


 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF BILL C-27

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS

SENATE

Bill Stage Date Bill Stage Date
First Reading:

1 March 2000

First Reading:

14 June 2000

Second Reading:

8 May 2000

Second Reading: 28 June 2000
Committee Report: 1 June 2000 Committee Report: 5 October 2000
Report Stage: 9 June 2000 Report Stage:  
Third Reading: 13 June 2000 Third Reading: 18 October 2000


Royal Assent: 
Statutes of Canada







N.B. Any substantive changes in this Legislative Summary which have been made since the preceding issue are indicated in bold print.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

BACKGROUND

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

   A. Short Title and Definitions (Clauses 1 and 2)

   B. National Parks and Park Reserves (Clauses 3 to 7)

   C. Administration of National Parks (Clauses 8 to 12)

   D. Administration of Park Lands (Clauses 13 to 15)

   E. National Parks Regulations (Clauses 16 and 17)

   F. Enforcement of the Act (Clauses 18 to 23)

   G. Offences and Punishment (Clauses 24 to 31)

   H. Mitigation of Damage to the Environment (Clause 32)

   I. Park Communities (Clauses 33 and 34)

   J. Provisions for Particular Parks and Park Reserves (Clauses 35 to 41)

   K. National Historic Sites (Clause 42)

   L. Repeals, Consequential Amendments and Conditional Amendments (Clauses 43 to 70)

   M. Coming into Force (Clause 71) and Schedules

COMMENTARY


BILL C-27: CANADA NATIONAL PARKS ACT

 

BACKGROUND

Bill C-27, An Act respecting the national parks of Canada, was tabled in the House of Commons by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on 1 March 2000 and received first reading on that date. It was introduced, amongst other things, to amend and consolidate the National Parks Act(1) and to mark officially the creation of seven new parks, including the Aulavik National Park in the Northwest Territories, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, and Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, and one new park reserve, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in British Columbia. The bill would enable the government to enact a large number of housekeeping measures as well as new provisions resulting from the many changes made to the National Parks Act over the years.

Much of the subject matter of Bill C-27 was originally introduced in the first session of the 36th Parliament as Bill C-70, An Act respecting national parks. That bill received first reading in the House of Commons on 16 March 1999 but died on the Order Paper when Parliament prorogued in September 1999. The only major difference between the two bills is the removal of a provision in clause 17 of Bill C-70 that would have provided the Governor in Council with authority to levy taxes on park residents and park lands.

The tabling of Bill C-27 is one of three related legislative initiatives that include the creation of the Parks Canada Agency with the enactment of Bill C-29 in December 1998, and the October 1999 tabling in the House of Commons of Bill C-8, which is designed to establish and administer a network of marine conservation areas. Once in force, these three Acts will form a coherent body of legislation that will strengthen the Government of Canada’s capacity to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of natural heritage sites.

The creation of a national system of parks dates back to 1885 when hot springs were discovered in what would later become the Rocky Mountains Park, now known as Banff National Park; the current initiatives are, arguably, long overdue. According to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the existing National Parks Act, which dates back to 1930, consists of a set of disparate provisions as a result of the many amendments made to the Act over the years.(2) The most recent major amendments were made by Parliament in 1974 and in 1988.(3) Bill C-27 would update the Act by re-arranging existing provisions to make the law clearer and simpler and by making some significant substantive changes. The most notable changes would:

  • streamline the legislative process for the creation and enlargement of parks;

  • restrict the commercial development of communities located in the parks; and

  • extend measures to protect wildlife and other resources in the parks.

Under the existing Act, a park is created by either Parliament’s enactment of a statute or a cumbersome and costly proclamation procedure whereby a description of the lands in the park is added to a schedule of the National Parks Act in order to ensure their protection. This procedure is time-consuming and impedes the development of the parks system.

Under Bill C-27, the government proposes that new or existing parks and park reserves be created or enlarged by means of order in council. In this way, a description of the lands in the new park could be added to a schedule of the National Parks Act without the need to enact new legislation. Under the new procedure, Parliament would nevertheless continue to play an important role; the draft order in council would need to be tabled in the House of Commons and the Senate, and then referred to the appropriate standing committees for consideration. If either House of Parliament rejected the draft order, the new park would not be established (or the existing park enlarged). In order to remove any lands from a park, however, it would remain necessary for Parliament to pass an Act. The new procedure would not affect the need to consult the public and other government departments or the need to form agreements with provincial, territorial, and (in most cases) aboriginal organizations with respect to the creation of new parks, pursuant to Park Canada’s Guiding Principles and Operational Procedures.

Bill C-27 would introduce measures to control commercial development in the seven "park communities" located in certain national parks: the urban-style centres of Banff and Jasper and the visitor service centres in Lake Louise, Field, Waterton Lakes, Wasagaming and Waskesiu. At present, commercial development in these communities is not subject to legislated controls, with the exception of only one provision in the current National Parks Act that can be used to define the boundaries of Banff and Jasper by having descriptions added to a schedule to that Act. All the park communities are subject in varying degrees to internal pressures for development, though they recognize that they cannot continue to grow indefinitely. The 1996 Banff-Bow Valley Study demonstrated that the effects of development on ecological integrity are cumulative and not immediately visible.

Bill C-27 would require community plans to be developed for each of the communities located in the parks, and to be tabled in each House of Parliament by the Minister. Commercial development would be controlled by requiring, amongst other things, the community plans to be consistent with the management plan for the park and to observe the principles of having no net negative environmental impact, exercising responsible environmental stewardship, and practising heritage conservation. In addition, each community plan would be required to include a description of the boundaries of the park community, the boundaries of the commercial zone, and the maximum commercial floor space. These three elements would be entrenched in a schedule to Bill C-27 by an order in council to be tabled in Parliament for scrutiny.

Fixing the essential elements of community plans in the legislation would allow a balance to be reached between the interests of local residents in the growth and development of their community, and the national interest in maintaining the ecological integrity of the park system. Since commercial growth would be capped by the legislation, any changes proposed after the submission and acceptance of the community plans would have to be the subject of new legislation following a debate in Parliament.

Current concerns about the conservation and protection of wildlife and other resources in the parks relate primarily to poaching and trafficking, not only in wildlife species but also in other natural resources such as plants and fossils. At present, the hunting or possession of wildlife in a national park is an offence, but trafficking in wildlife or natural resources or possessing them for purposes of trafficking, incurs no penalties. The bill would create a new offence of trafficking, in order to combat the increasing trend towards large-scale targeting and removal of natural resources in national parks for the purpose of sale or barter. A new provision relating to multiple offences would also be added. With regard to poaching, a schedule to the current National Parks Act contains a list of wildlife species which, because of their vulnerability and rarity, are afforded special protection in national parks and reserves. Under Bill C-27, these species would be divided into two schedules on the basis of their degree of vulnerability and the protection they require. Furthermore, the penalties provided for poaching would be increased to take into account the seriousness of the offence and to bring the standards in the Act into conformity with the standards in similar legislation, such as the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act,(4) the Canada Wildlife Act(5) and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.(6)

Finally, the bill would broaden the scope of the current Act relating to damage to the environment so that it would apply not only to cultural resources but also to natural resources. This would make it possible to recover the costs of repairing damage to both the natural environment and resources such as archaeological sites.

In short, Bill C-27 deals with the following aspects of the creation and administration of national parks in Canada:

  1. provision of a procedure for the future establishment of new national parks and the enlargement of existing ones;

  2. addition of several new national parks and park reserves and adjustment of the land descriptions of certain existing parks;

  3. enhancement of protection for wildlife and other park resources;

  4. provision for the continuation of traditional resource harvesting activities by aboriginal persons in keeping with comprehensive land claim agreements and federal-provincial agreements to establish parks;

  5. fixing of the boundaries of communities in national parks and restriction of commercial development in those communities;

  6. banning of the extension of the Banff model of local government to the town of Jasper; and

  7. miscellaneous technical and housekeeping amendments.

Finally, Bill C-27 also proposes to harmonize the legislation governing national parks with the proposed wording of Bill C-8 governing marine conservation areas (called "marine parks" in Bill C- 27). The proposals in the bill also take into account the provisions of the Parks Canada Agency Act,(7) which received Royal Assent in December 1998.

DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS

   A. Short Title and Definitions (Clauses 1 and 2)

Clause 1 of the bill provides that its short title would be the Canada National Parks Act. Clause 2 contains eight definitions that would apply to the bill.

First, "enforcement officer" would mean a person designated under clause 19 or belonging to a class of persons so designated. Clause 19 would empower the Minister to designate as an enforcement officer an employee of the federal public service or of a provincial, municipal, or local authority whose duties included law enforcement. An enforcement officer would have to ensure compliance with certain provisions of the bill and the regulations applying to the particular park. Clause 19 would provide enforcement officers with the same powers and protection as peace officers under the Criminal Code.

Clause 2 specifically identifies the seven "park communities" located within the national parks, namely:

  1. the visitor centre of Field in Yoho National Park;

  2. the town of Banff in Banff National Park;

  3. the visitor centre of Lake Louise in Banff National Park;

  4. the visitor centre of Waterton in Waterton Lakes National Park;

  5. the town of Jasper in Jasper National Park;

  6. the visitor centre of Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park; and

  7. the visitor centre of Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park.

 

"Superintendent" would mean an officer appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act who held the office of superintendent of a park or of a national historic site to which the bill applied, and would include any person appointed under the bill who was authorized by such an officer to act on the officer’s behalf. The powers that could be granted to the superintendent of a park are outlined in clause 16(3), and are discussed below under Part E.

Clause 18 would empower the Minister responsible for parks to designate as a "park warden" any person appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act whose duties included the enforcement of the bill. To carry out their duties of ensuring compliance with the bill and the regulations and maintaining public peace in parks, park wardens would be peace officers within the meaning of the Criminal Code.

The "Minister" responsible for national parks would be the member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada designated by the Governor in Council for the purposes of the Act.(8) "Park" would mean a national park or a national marine park named and described in Schedule 1, and "park reserve" would mean a national park reserve or a national marine park reserve(9) named and described in Schedule 2. Finally, "public lands" would mean lands, including submerged lands, that belonged to Her Majesty in right of Canada or that the Government of Canada had the power to dispose of, whether or not such disposal was subject to the terms of any agreement between the Government of Canada and the government of a province.

   B. National Parks and Park Reserves (Clauses 3 to 7)

Clause 3 states that the bill would be binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province; thus both the federal and the provincial Crowns would be subject to the bill. Clause 4(1) essentially repeats and updates the wording of section 4 of the 1930 National Parks Act, setting out the objectives of creating and dedicating national parks. It reiterates that national parks are dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment, and must be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. The same would apply under clause 4(2) to park reserves, when an area or a portion of an area proposed for a park was subject to an aboriginal claim that had been accepted for negotiation by the Government of Canada under its comprehensive land claims policy.

Clauses 5 to 7 describe the procedures for establishing, enlarging and removing any portion of a national park or park reserve. Under the bill, these protected areas could be created or enlarged by order in council rather than, as at present, by enacting legislation to amend a schedule of the National Parks Act. Specifically, the Governor in Council would be able to amend Schedule 1 of the bill by an order in council adding the name and description of the new park or park reserve or altering the description of an existing park or park reserve. The Governor in Council would first have to be satisfied that Her Majesty in right of Canada had clear title to or an unencumbered right of ownership in the lands and that the government of the province in which the lands were situated had agreed to their use for this purpose. Following the settlement of an aboriginal land claim referred to in clause 4(2), the same procedure would apply to the transfer to Schedule 1 of a park reserve appearing in Schedule 2. The Governor in Council would not, however, be able to amend either Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 to remove any portion of a park or park reserve (clauses 5(2) and 6(3)).

Clause 7 would require the Governor in Council to table any proposed amendment to Schedule 1 (parks) or Schedule 2 (park reserves) in each House of Parliament. The draft order would be referred to the committee of each House that normally considered such matters or to any other committee designated by the respective House (clause 7(1)). Either committee could report its disapproval of the amendment to the House within 20 sitting days; clauses 7(2) and (3) prescribe the procedures for reporting back and debate on the report. If no report of disapproval were made within this time period, or if a report of disapproval were rejected by either House, the proposed amendment could be passed (clause 7(4)). On the other hand, if either House passed a motion to disapprove the draft order, the amendment could not be made (clause 7(5)).

   C. Administration of the National Parks (Clauses 8 to 12)

Under clause 8, the Minister would be responsible for the administration, management and control of parks, including the administration of public lands in parks. Clause 9 provides that powers in relation to land use, community planning and development in park communities could not be exercised by a local government body, except as provided in the agreement referred to in clause 35. This clause would effectively make an exception for the town of Banff in Banff National Park by allowing the Governor in Council to authorize the Minister to amend a pre-existing agreement with the Government of Alberta for the establishment of an independent local government body in Banff.(10)

Clause 10(1) would enable the Minister to conclude agreements with federal and provincial ministers and agencies, local and aboriginal governments and non-governmental organizations for carrying out the purposes of the Act. The Minister could also conclude agreements with any person concerning hydro-electric power services for use in a park and with a local government body or any person located on lands within or adjacent to a park for the supply of water (clause 10(2)). Finally, the Minister could enter into an agreement with a provincial minister or with an agency to authorize the use of public lands in a park, but the agreement could be terminated by the Minister if the lands in question ceased to be used as authorized (clause 10(3)).

Under clause 11, within five years of the establishment of a park the Minister would be required to prepare a management plan for it, including provision for resource protection, zoning and visitor use. The Minister would have to review the plan every five years. The management plan and any subsequent amendments would need to be tabled in each House of Parliament, under clause 11(2).

Clause 12 would require that the Minister provide opportunities "as appropriate" for public participation at the national, regional and local levels in the development of parks policy, the establishment of parks, the formulation of management plans,(11) and any other matters the Minister considered relevant. In addition, at least every two years, the Minister would have to table in each House of Parliament a report on the state of the parks and the progress made towards the establishment of new parks.

   D. Administration of Park Lands (Clauses 13 to 15)

Clause 13 would prohibit the disposal, use or occupation of public lands in a park or the granting of any right or interest in these lands except as permitted by the bill or the regulations. Under clause 14, the Governor in Council could, by regulation, declare any area of a park that existed in a natural state, or that was capable of returning to a natural state, to be a "wilderness area." The Minister would be prohibited from authorizing any activity likely to impair the wilderness character of that area, except for the following purposes: park administration, public safety, the provision of basic user facilities including trails and rudimentary campsites, activities in accordance with regulations made under clause 17 (i.e. traditional renewable resource harvesting activities), and obtaining access to remote parts of a wilderness area by air (clause 14(3)).

Clause 15(1) would permit the Minister to enter into leases of, and easements or servitudes over public lands in a park that were used for rights-of-way or any alteration to, or deviation from, a right-of-way for various purposes (e.g., for railways, railway stations, oil or gas pipelines, telecommunication or electrical transmission lines or exchanges, weather stations, and other scientific monitoring stations). The public lands leased or subject to easements for these purposes would continue to form part of the park and would revert to the Crown if they ceased to be used for the specified purpose (clause 15(3)). The Minister would also have the power to terminate a lease, easement or licence of occupation of public lands in a park and to accept the relinquishment of a licence, easement or servitude (clause 15(2)). Pursuant to clause 15(4), Her Majesty in right of Canada could not acquire any interest in land by expropriation for the purpose of establishing or enlarging a park, notwithstanding the Expropriation Act.

   E. National Parks Regulations (Clauses 16 and 17)

Clause 16(1) would authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations concerning various aspects of the control and management of the national parks, including:

  • the preservation, control and management of parks, including anything relating to buildings, roads, works and public services and the control of businesses, trades, occupations, amusements, sports and other activities;

  • the protection of flora, soil, waters, fossils, natural features, air quality and cultural, historical and archaeological resources, and the acquisition and disposition of prehistoric or historic objects and the sale of publications, souvenirs and consumer articles;

  • the protection of fauna and the destruction or removal of dangerous or superabundant fauna as well as the taking of specimens for scientific or propagation purposes;

  • the management and regulation of fishing;

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

  • 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 easements or servitudes and licences of occupation of or over public lands;

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

  • public safety, including the control of firearms, and the preservation of public health and the prevention of disease; the abatement and prevention of nuisances and fires; the inspection of buildings, structures, facilities and other improvements;

  • the determination of fees to be collected for the use of facilities, permits and licences, and the determination of the maximum amounts of fines provided for in clause 24(2) for contraventions of the regulations or the conditions of permits or licences;

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

  • the control of domestic animals, including the impounding or destruction of strays;

  • 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;

  • the control of access to parks by air; and

  • the summary removal from a park of persons found committing offences against certain provisions of the Act, the regulations, or the Criminal Code.

Clause 16(2) provides that the establishment or use of any of various improvements referred to in clause 16(1)(j) would not operate to withdraw lands from a park.(12)

Clause 16(3) would provide specific powers to the superintendent of a park: to vary any requirement of the regulations for purposes of public safety or the conservation of natural resources in the park; to issue, amend, suspend and revoke permits, licences and other authorizations relating to any matter that was the subject of regulations and to set their terms and conditions; and to order the taking of any action to counter any threat to public health or to remedy the consequences of any breach of the park regulations.

Clauses 17(1) and (2) would permit the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the exercise of traditional harvesting of renewable resources:

  • in Wood Buffalo, Wapusk, and Gros Morne National Parks:

  • in any national park established in the District of Thunder Bay, Ontario,

  • in any park created on territory where the exercise of such activities was provided for in an agreement on the establishment of the park between the Government of Canada and a provincial government; and

  • where an agreement for the settlement of an aboriginal land claim that was given effect by an Act of Parliament provided for the exercise of traditional renewable resource harvesting, including the removal of stone for carving purposes.

Clause 17(3) would permit the Governor in Council to make regulations in order, amongst other things, to specify traditional renewable resource harvesting activities; designate classes of persons authorized to engage in those activities and prescribe conditions; prohibit the use of renewable resources taken from parks for purposes other than for the exercise of these traditional activities; close areas of the park to traditional harvesting of renewable resources; establish limits on the renewable resources that could be harvested in any period or to vary any such limits established by the regulations for purposes of conservation; and prohibit or restrict the use of equipment in the park for the purpose of protecting natural resources. Under clause 17(5), the regulations made under clause 17 could authorize the superintendent of a national park to vary any requirement of the regulations for purposes of public safety or the conservation of natural resources in the park.

   F. Enforcement of the Act (Clauses 18 to 23)

Clauses 18 to 23 provide for the designation of park wardens and enforcement officers, and their powers in enforcing the bill and regulations. Under clause 18, the Minister would be empowered to designate persons appointed under the Parks Canada Agency Act to be park wardens for the enforcement of the bill and the regulations and for the maintenance of the public peace in parks. For the purposes of specified portions of the bill or regulations, in relation to specified parks, clause 19 would similarly authorize the Minister to designate as enforcement officers any persons or classes of persons employed in the federal public service or by provincial, municipal or local authority and whose duties included law enforcement. Under clauses 18 and 19, park wardens and enforcement officers would be considered peace officers within the meaning of the Criminal Code. Wardens and enforcement officers would have to swear an oath and receive a certificate of designation setting out the provisions of the bill or regulations that they would have the power to enforce and the park(s) in which their powers would apply.

The powers of park wardens and enforcement officers are set out in clauses 21 to 23. These would include the power, in accordance with and subject to the Criminal Code, to:

  • arrest without warrant any person found committing an offence under the bill in a park (clause 21(1)(a))

  • arrest without warrant any person who was believed by the warden or officer on reasonable grounds to have committed or to be about to commit an offence under clause 26 (clause 21(1));

  • enter and search a place and open and examine any package or receptacle in accordance with a warrant, and to seize anything in relation to which an offence under the bill or regulations had been committed, or that would afford evidence with respect to the commission of such an offence, to the extent authorized by warrant (clause 22(1)(b));

  • exercise any powers under clause 22(1) without warrant if the conditions for obtaining a warrant existed but exigent circumstances made it impractical to obtain one (clause 22(3)).

  • in the case of park wardens only, arrest without warrant a person whom the warden found committing an offence under any other Act (clause 21(2)).

Clause 23 deals with the custody and forfeiture of seized things. Clauses 28 and 29 would supplement clause 23 regarding the forfeiture, restoration, retention or sale and disposal of seized things by the Minister.

   G. Offences and Punishment (Clauses 24 to 31)

Clauses 24 to 31 would govern offences and punishment. Clause 24 provides that any person who breached clause 13 (disposal or use of public lands), clause 32(1) (clean-up of pollution following the discharge of a pollutant), a provision of the regulations, or the conditions of a licence, permit or other authorization would be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000. Clause 25 would prohibit trafficking in wildlife, plants and other naturally occurring objects or products, with contravention resulting in a fine not exceeding $10,000. The act of hunting, possessing or trafficking in a protected species listed in Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the bill ("Protected Species") could result in a fine not exceeding $150,000, or in imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both on summary conviction, or, on indictment, in a fine not exceeding $150,000 and imprisonment for not more than five years, or both (clauses 26(1) and (2)). In the case of a species listed in Part 2 of Schedule 3, a person convicted on summary conviction would be sentenced to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both, while a person convicted on indictment would be liable to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both (clause 26(4)).

Clause 26 would provide definitions for the terms "wildlife," "hunt," and "possess" and clause 26(6) would authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations amending Part 1 or 2 of Schedule 3 by adding or deleting the name of any species of wild mammal, amphibian, reptile, bird, fish or invertebrate. Under clause 27, fines could be cumulative, offences involving more than one species could constitute separate offences for each species, and offences taking place on more than one day could constitute separate offences for each day. Clause 30(1) would allow a court to make certain specific orders; for example, prohibiting a convicted person from engaging in certain activities, or directing the person to repair damage caused or to provide compensation to the Minister.

   H. Mitigation of Damage to the Environment (Clause 32)

Clause 32 would impose certain duties in respect of the discharge of a substance that could harm the environment or endanger human health. A person who had charge, management or control of such a substance would be required to take reasonable measures to prevent any resulting degradation of the environment or danger to fauna, flora, cultural resources or human health (clause 32(1)). The park superintendent or the Minister could direct that person to take measures if he or she had failed to do so (clause 33(2)). If the person responsible failed to comply, he or she would be liable to the federal Crown for any expenses it incurred (clause 32(3)).

   I. Park Communities (Clauses 33 and 34)

Clauses 33(1) and (2) would require that, for each park community, a community plan be developed that would be consistent with the management plan for the park and consistent with the principles of responsible environmental stewardship. The plan would have to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament as soon as possible after clause 33 came into force. Pursuant to clause 33(3), the plan would need to include a description of the lands comprising the park community and the lands comprising the commercial zones, as well as a measure of the maximum floor area permitted within the commercial zones of the park community. The Governor in Council could add these items to Schedule 4 by order in council following the adoption of the bill; however, any subsequent amendment would be subject to the same parliamentary procedure as that required for establishing and enlarging parks under clause 7 (clause 34).

   J. Provisions for Particular Parks and Park Reserves (Clauses 35 to 41)

Clauses 35 to 38 contain a number of provisions that would apply to particular parks or to some of their components. Under clause 35, the Governor in Council could authorize the Minister to amend the 1989 local government agreement entered into with the town of Banff. Clause 36(1) would limit the operation of commercial ski facilities in the parks to those set out in Schedule 5; namely, the ski areas of Lake Louise, Mount Norquay (Banff Park), Marmot Basin (Jasper Park) and Mount Agassiz (Riding Mountain Park). The Governor in Council could, however, authorize by order in council the construction of ski areas in the vicinity of Sunshine Village in Banff National Park, by adding a description of this area to Schedule 5. Schedule 5 could not be otherwise amended by the Governor in Council (clause 36(2)).

Clause 37 specifically concerns traditional activities of hunting, fishing and trapping by the Cree Band of Fort Chipewyan in Wood Buffalo National Park. Under this clause, the Governor in Council could create the "Wildlife Advisory Board" to make regulations on the issuance of hunting and fishing permits to members of the Band in traditional hunting grounds. The Governor in Council could amend or replace the description of Wood Buffalo National Park (area of Garden River) and Wapusk National Park by withdrawing lands that might be required for purposes of aboriginal land entitlement (clause 38).

Clauses 39 and 40 confirm that the bill would apply to park reserves as if they were national parks, and its application to park reserves, subject to the traditional aboriginal harvesting of renewable resources. Under clause 41, the Governor in Council could authorize the Minister to enter into an agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation concerning the management and operation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, make regulations regarding the pursuit of traditional activities in this park reserve, and add new lands to the park reserve under Schedule 2 without considering the procedure in clause 7.

    K. National Historic Sites (Clause 42)

Clause 42 would allow the Governor in Council to designate any land vested in Her Majesty in right of Canada as a national historic site in order to commemorate a historic event of national importance, or to preserve a historic landmark or any object of historic, prehistoric or scientific interest that was of national importance. The Governor in Council could make any changes considered appropriate in the areas set apart and, by order in council, extend the application of clauses 8(1), 11, 12 and 16 to 32 to these national historic sites.

   L. Repeals, Consequential Amendments and Conditional Amendments (Clauses 43 to 70)

Clauses 43 to 46 of Bill C-27 would have the effect of repealing An Act to amend the National Parks Act,(13) An Act to establish a National Park on the Mingan Archipelago,(14) An Act to amend the National Parks Act and to amend An Act to amend the National Parks Act(15) and the National Parks Act.(16)

Clauses 47 to 67 would bring about a series of consequential amendments to the following Acts: the Contraventions Act,(17) An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act and other Acts in consequence thereof,(18) the Canada Lands Surveys Act,(19) the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act,(20) the Municipal Grants Act,(21) the Northwest Territories Waters Act,(22) the Parks Canada Agency Act,(23) he Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act,(24) the Territorial Lands Act(25) and the Yukon Placer Mining Act.(26) Most of the consequential amendments to these Acts would be for housekeeping purposes, for example, adding the word "Canada" before "National Parks Act" to reflect the name of the Act (proposed as Bill C-27) which would replace the National Parks Act.

Clauses 68 to 70 would bring about a number of conditional amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Northwest Territories Waters Act, and to Bill C-8, An Act respecting marine conservation areas. These amendments would come into force on the date that Bill C-27 or certain named provisions in these Acts came into force, whichever was later. Clauses 68 and 69 refer to provisions regarding the use of land or waters or the deposit of waste within a park or park reserve, while clause 70 concerns the definitions of "park" and "park reserve."

   M. Coming into Force (Clause 71) and Schedules

After Bill C-27 received Royal Assent, the Canada National Parks Act, other than clauses 68 to 70, would come into force on a date to be determined by order in council, as would the parts of Schedule 1 describing Wapusk, Aulavik and Gros Morne National Parks.

It is also important to note that Bill C-27 includes five schedules (each discussed above) dealing with the following aspects of the national parks system or its administration:

Schedule 1: Description of the boundaries of national parks (clauses 2, 5, 6, 7 and 38)

Schedule 2: Description of the boundaries of national park reserves (clauses 2, 6, 7 and 41)

Schedule 3: List of protected species in national parks (clause 26)

Schedule 4: List of communities in national parks (clauses 33 and 34)

Schedule 5: Description of commercial ski areas (clause 36)

COMMENTARY

Bill C-70 would help to update the legislation relating to national parks as necessitated by the many amendments to the National Parks Act since it was first passed in 1930. In several respects, the bill would provide continuity for that Act and subsequent amendments to it. Section 4 of the National Parks Act has always been considered the cornerstone of legislation relating to the creation and administration of the Canadian system of national parks. Bill C-27 repeats this section, with slightly modified wording. The bill would thus continue to reflect the dual objectives of national parks: to protect in perpetuity areas that are representative of Canada’s natural heritage, and to permit the people of Canada to enjoy them. Although the two objectives may seem contradictory to some, the standards set out in Bill C-27 for the creation and administration of national parks should ensure that they are in harmony. This can be seen in the provisions for the protection of fauna and flora in the parks and the environment of parks generally, and the measures to control commercial development in park communities. Bill C-27 would facilitate the creation of new parks by permitting this to be done by order in council, and by establishing review for Parliament and parliamentary committees.

The updating of the National Parks Act, together with the tabling in the House of Commons of Bill C-8 concerning marine conservation areas and the establishment of the new Parks Canada Agency, should give the government of Canada all the tools necessary to preserve and protect natural heritage sites in Canada.  


(1) R.S.C. 1985, c. N-14.

(2) Canadian Heritage, "National Parks Legislation Tabled," Press Release and backgrounders, Ottawa, 16 March 1999 (may be accessed on the Canadian Heritage web site at http://www.pch.gc.ca/bin/News.dll/View?Lang=E&Code=8NR169E

(3) An Act to amend the National Parks Act (1974) c. 11 and An Act to amend the National Parks Act and to amendment an Act to amend the National Parks Act (1988), c. 48.

(4) S.C. (1992), ch. 52.

(5) R.S.C. (1985), ch W-9.

(6) R.S.C. (1985), Ch. M-7, S.C. (1994), ch. 22.

(7) R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46.

(8) It is noted that this definition of Minister differs from that in the current National Parks Act, the Canadian Parks Agency Act, and Bill C-8, the Marine Conservation Areas Act, in all of which "Minister" is defined as the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

(9) It should be noted however, that pursuant to clause 70, any references in Bill C-27 to "national marine park" or "national marine park reserve" would be removed upon the coming into force of Bill C-27 or Bill C-8, whichever was later. Bill C-8, as its title implies, establishes "marine conservation areas" (and not "national marine parks").

(10) The Town of Banff Incorporation Agreement, dated December 12, 1989, being an agreement for the establishment of a local government body for the town of Banff.

(11) The French version of the bill refers to a "plan directeur" in clause 11 and a "plan de gestion" in clause 12, while English version uses "management plan(s)" in both clauses.

(12) Such improvements would include improvements to roads, streets, highways, parking areas, sidewalks, streetworks, trails, wharves, docks, and bridges, pursuant to clause 16(1)(j).

(13) S.C. 1974, c. 11.

(14) S.C. 1984, c. 34.

(15) S.C. 1988, c. 48.

(16) R.S.C. 1985, c. N-14.

(17) S.C. 1992, 47

(18) S.C. 1991, c. 24.

(19) R.S.C. 1985, c. L-6.

(20) S.C. 1998, c. 25.

(21) R.S.C. 1985, c. M-13.

(22) S.C. 1992, c. 39.

(23) S.C. 1998, c. 31.

(24) S.C. 1997, c. 37.

(25) R.S.C. 1985, c. T-7.

(26) R.S.C. 1985, c. Y-3.