CPAWS Healthy Nature Healthy People: A Call to Put Nature Protection at the Heart of Canada’s COVID-19 Recovery

CPAWS Healthy Nature Healthy People report.

Guiding Document

Canada is a country deeply connected to nature. It underpins our sense of place, our well-being, and our economy. Yet there is ample evidence that nature in our country, like in the rest of the world, is in crisis.1 Much more of our country’s land and freshwater needs protecting to sustain the healthy ecosystems that all Canadians rely on and to tackle the climate change crisis. In early 2020, momentum was building in Canada and around the world for more ambitious conservation action. The federal government committed in late 2019 to protecting 25% of Canada’s land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030 — a move that was welcomed by CPAWS and reaffirmed by the Prime Minister in recent public statements.2, 3, 4 Canada also promised to take on a global leadership role by encouraging other countries to support ambitious land and ocean protection targets in the new global biodiversity framework being negotiated under the mantle of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD).5 Then the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down in the span of a few weeks — devastating families, overwhelming some countries’ health care systems, and shutting down the global economy. CPAWS continued our work to protect Canada’s land and ocean, carefully heeding public health advice and working remotely, and began to explore what the pandemic could mean for conservation. This report highlights what we have learned about the relationship between the pandemic and terrestrial conservation and presents a case for why governments in Canada should put nature conservation at the heart of our country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPAWS Healthy Nature Healthy People report.
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Conservation Through Reconciliation Resource Listing


The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership is working with its partners to create The CRP is aiming to launch the Solutions Bundle in June 2021. In the meantime, we have created a temporary research engine to house resources and help share information. Please visit The Solutions Bundle, an interactive website designed in Ethical Space to help build knowledge, capacity, and relationships in support of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Indigenous conservation leadership. The Solutions Bundle will combine the concepts of a western toolkit and an Indigenous medicine bundle and will serve as an example of Two-Eyed Seeing where Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems will be valued equally. to learn more. To contribute resources or share ideas for improving the search function, please contact

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Economic Impact of Canadian Parks and Protected Areas (2009)


A Technical Report prepared by The Outspan Group Inc.

Amherst Island, Stella, Ontario for the Canadian Parks Council (April, 2011)

Foreword and acknowledgements

Canadians benefit in so many ways from our national, provincial and territorial parks. For many years, park agencies have been working together to define, measure and report on these benefits.

As a society and individually we benefit from parks. They provide opportunities for families to be together, to learn about nature and to enjoy healthful outdoor recreation. They are places for us to relax and rejuvenate, contributing to our health and well-being. Parks contribute to our sense of identity and place. We value the natural and cultural heritage that they protect and present. Though most of us may only ever visit a few of these places, they fill us with wonder and inspire us and we consider them an important legacy to pass on to future generations.

Parks provide a broad range of ecological services. They produce clean water and air, protect critical habitat for species-at-risk and maintain healthy, diverse and resilient ecosystems upon which our own health depends. Forest areas in parks help stabilize the earth’s climate by reabsorbing carbon and other pollutants from the atmosphere and producing oxygen.

Parks also generate economic activity, supporting tourism, providing sustainable jobs, generating tax revenue to governments and diversifying the economy, particularly in rural and remote areas of Canada. Parks are the focus of much of Canada’s regional, national and international tourism activity. This report examines the economic impact of Canada’s national, provincial and territorial parks and demonstrates that spending by park organizations and by visitors to parks has a substantial and recurring impact on the economy.

Calculating the impact of each park agency and Parks Canada within and outside each province and territory and then rolling all of the data into a national report is a monumental task. This is the second such report prepared by the Canadian Parks Council and the first to include data from every province and territory.

The Economic Impact Model for Parks (EIMP) used to undertake this analysis is a substantial improvement over previous versions. It now reports on direct, indirect and induced impacts and calculates tax impacts by level of government. It has been updated with the latest coefficients from Statistics Canada’s Provincial Input/Output models and is now a web-based and user- friendly application, readily accessible to anyone wishing to use it.

This report shows that:

  • The $47 million in operating and capital expenditures (excludes amortization) by BC Parks and PFOs led to $394 million in expenditures by visitors. In other words, every one dollar invested in the protected areas system generates $8.42 in visitor spending on food, entertainment, transportation and other goods and services.
  • Provincial park-related spending generated over $28 million in tax revenues (sales and production taxes only, does not include income tax effects), returning 60 per cent of BC Parks’ capital and operating expenditures.
  • The combined economic impact of this spending is a $392 million boost to GDP and over 5,200 full-time jobs.



Nature Playbook


The Nature Playbook

The Nature Playbook is a strategy to connect young people with Nature in Canada. It is meant to guide and inspire actions that all Canadians can take to connect a new generation with Nature.

Pick up the Playbook. Plan your Plays. Make a difference.

Sortons jouer dans la nature

La stratégie Sortons jouer dans la nature vise à rapprocher les jeunes Canadiens de la nature. Elle a pour but de guider les Canadiens et de les inspirer à agir pour mettre la nouvelle génération en contact avec la nature.

Obtenez le livre de jeu. Planifiez vos jeux. Contribuez à des changements positifs.

Download Infographic
Download Planning Poster
Download Powerpoint
Téléchargez résumé de deux pages
Téléchargez Affiche «Planifiez votre jeu»
Téléchargez Présentation PowerPoint

Alberta Parks’ Top 20 Policy and Research Questions – 2012 Workshop

Research Report

Alberta Parks’ Top 20 Policy and Research Questions – Provincial Workshop (2012)

Lars K. Hallstrom, Joyce Gould, John Parkins, Elizabeth Halpenny, and Naomi Finseth

Abstract: “Generation of priority research questions to inform Park management and conservation policy.”

Objectives: This project met multiple objectives of relevance to both the research and policy communities within the Parks Division of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. In addition to generating a list of relevant, feasible and implementable Parks priority research, this project:

1) Identified potential gaps and innovation in public policy that will support Parks sustainability in the face of demographic/social change, economic stressors and ecological variation;
2) Contributions to “horizon scanning”- the systematic search for potential threats and opportunities.

3) Increase communication, interactions and potential collaboration between government, non-governmental and research communities and practitioners; 4) Increase the exposure and knowledge base of the research community to the policy and research priorities of both governmental and non-governmental organizations at the provincial and federal levels in Canada.

5) Generate and communicate the policy and research priorities of different levels and branches of government across those different levels and branches; &
6) Provide guidance to funders and funding agencies as to areas of priority and interest.


Alberta Parks’ Top 20 Policy and Research Questions:

  1. How does social change (in terms of values, behaviours, expectations, etc.) affect visitation to Alberta’s parks?

    1.b How is social change affecting Alberta Parks’ ability to deliver its mandate?

  2. How do: (1) the public; and (2) the provincial government define an optimal and efficiently management Park Agency, and what management, funding, and marketing and on-the-ground management practices models contribute to creating such as Agency?

  3. What are the individual/familial/community/social impacts that are provided by Alberta Parks? (e.g., economic, health, ecosystem services)

  4. What values do citizens assign to parks that ensure Alberta Parks and protected areas are retained, maintained and remain a part of our natural heritage? How should these values be assessed?

  5. What elements/aspects of a park visit, foster or inspire more environmentally active and aware citizenship?

  6. What will be/are the impacts/effects of climate change on the ecological and social systems in and immediately adjacent to Alberta Parks?

  7. What spatially-based initiatives and spatial properties are needed to optimize conservation/preservation in or adjacent to Alberta Parks now, and into the future?

  8. What tools and techniques are most effective in the restoration of species and ecosystems in Alberta Parks?

  9. Using ecological and social carrying capacity as a guide, how can Parks enhance visitor experience and prioritize the ecological well-being of provincial parks while countering negative visitor and industrial effects on being?

  10. What natural disturbance processes operate within provincial parks and how do we manage for them now and into the future?

  11. How do current land management practices in Alberta Parks influence water resources?

  12. What is Alberta Parks’ contribution to protecting biodiversity?

  13. What are the most effective interventions to foster or reinforce positive behaviours and reduce non-compliance within Alberta Parks?

  14. What are the most effective collaborative and network-based strategies for enhancing the spatial extent of Alberta Parks, while maintaining/improving relationships with neighbours?

  15. What is the role of Alberta Parks in provincial and national efforts in the management, conservation and recovery of species at risk?

  16. What are the barriers and processes for knowledge translation in Alberta Parks’ policies, decision making and practice(s)?

  17. What are the best practices for funding the conservation of natural areas and open spaces? 7

  1. How are invasive species being controlled, managed, affected or mitigated by Park’s policies and programs?

  2. In light of growing population and industrial/economic pressures in the province, is demand for recreational opportunities and natural green spaces being met by each region’s existing family of provincial parks and other conservation and/or outdoor recreational lands?

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External Resource

The Mission of the WCS Canada BatCaver Program is to identify and study hibernation sites for bats in Western Canada, using the resources of Cavers and the public to expand our knowledge. This information is critical to protecting bat populations from threats such as the fungal-caused disease White-nose Syndrome (WNS), which is spreading across North America and will reach Western Canada within a few years.

Bat Caver website, photo by Bob Rutherford.
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Protected Planet

External Resource

Protected Planet is the most up to date and complete source of data on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), updated monthly with submissions from governments, non-governmental organizations, landowners and communities.

Aboriginal Peoples and Canada’s Parks and Protected Areas (2007)


“Best Practices” in Collaborating with Aboriginal Communities

Canada’s park agencies have a long and diverse history of working with Aboriginal communities. One of the Council’s strategic directions  is to “support agencies’ efforts to address Aboriginal interest in parks and protected areas.”

In 2000, the CPC prepared and presented to Parks Ministers a discussion paper on Aboriginal tourism in parks. This was followed-up in 2001 with Parks Canada convening a Round Table on Aboriginal Tourism. 

At their fall 2006 meeting, Parks Ministers directed the Council to enhance its work on this strategic direction. In response, the Council has developed a series of “best practices” case studies profiling leading collaborative work between park agencies and aboriginal communities. This approach will help to identify recent innovations and successes, common challenges, and opportunities for shared learning.

Case study text reviewed by profiled communities to ensure their concurrence. Designed by aboriginal-owned communications company. Preface authored by Patterk Netser, Nunavut’s Minister responsible for Parks. 

Les « bonnes pratiques » de collaboration avec les collectivités autochtones

Les organismes responsables des parcs au Canada ont une longue expérience de la collaboration avec les collectivités autochtones sous diverses formes. Le CCP a pour orientation stratégique, entre autres, d’appuyer les efforts déployés par les organismes pour tenir compte des intérêts des Autochtones dans les parcs et les aires protégées. 

En 2000, le CCP a préparé un document de travail sur le tourisme autochtone dans les parcs, document qu’il a présenté aux ministres responsables des parcs. Parcs Canada a ensuite organisé une table ronde sur le tourisme autochtone en 2001. 

Lors de leur rencontre de l’automne 2006, les ministres responsables des parcs ont demandé au Conseil d’axer ses efforts dans cette direction. En réponse, le Conseil a rassemblé une série d’études de cas mettant en évidence les « bonnes pratiques » de collaboration entre les collectivités autochtones et les organismes responsables des parcs.

Cette approche permettra de cerner de façon stratégique les innovations et les réussites récentes ainsi que les occasions d’apprentissage et les défis communs.

On a demandé aux collectivités concernées de revoir le texte des études de cas, au besoin, afin d’obtenir leur accord. Le document a été conçu par une entreprise de communication autochtone. La préface a été rédigée par Patterk Netser, ministre responsable des parcs du Nunavut. 

The Importance of Being Permanent


The Importance of Being Permanent: Permanent Protected Areas as Natural Solutions for Climate Change

Current protected areas are projected to have very different species, ecosystems, and ecological functions under various climate change scenarios. Despite the potential for significant ecological transformation over time, permanent protected areas remain one of the most effective ways to conserve biodiversity in a changing climate. They are valuable natural assets that contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation while providing a range of additional environmental, social, and economic benefits. They protect a great deal of geophysical and biological diversity, and they are spaces for species and ecosystems to adapt in place. Permanence sustains the ability to continue to practice Indigenous ways of life, maintaining cultural resilience into the future. Maintaining current protected areas and creating new permanent protected areas remains critical to our adaptability as anthropogenic climate change progresses.

 Making the business case for permanent protected areas is an important step in the planning process. Complementary strategies have been proposed to meet the climate change challenge. Examples include focusing on potential climate refugia for new protected areas, adjusting protected area boundaries, and establishing temporal conservation measures to meet short-term life stage needs of species. These alternative strategies, however, cannot replace permanent protected areas. The importance of maintaining permanent protected areas must also be emphasized.

The Importance of Being Permanent Quick Facts Table contains summary information, quotations, and additional resources that underline the importance of permanence for various social and ecological priorities (e.g. biodiversity, research, ecosystem services, cultural practices, etc.) in the face of climate change. The table covers eight protected area topics and three key messages for use by those who wish to communicate the value of permanent protected areas as part of a natural solution to climate change adaptation. It was developed by members of the Canadian Parks Council Climate Change Working Group, a collaborative group consisting of members from Canada’s national, provincial, and territorial parks and protected areas agencies.

In a changing climate, permanent protected areas are more important than ever.

That’s because permanent protected areas conserve…

·         … geophysical diversity, protecting enduring landforms and abiotic components

·         … ecological integrity, protecting essential ecosystem functions and processes

·         … biological diversity, protecting representative ecosystems and species

·         … ecological resilience, protecting nature’s ability to withstand disturbance

·         … climate refugia, protecting spaces where changes will be more gradual

·         … living laboratories, protecting benchmarks for research

·         .. ecosystem services and natural infrastructure, protecting essential services for communities

·         … places that engage and inspire people, protecting human health, wellbeing, and connection to nature

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