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CPCIL Leadership Programs


Transformative leadership
Shared issues
Team Learning
Cohort based
20 Participants
8 Months
100 Hours
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design thinking
individual problem
peer feedback
expert panel
24 Participants
6 Months
30 Hours
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three topics/year
peer interaction

24 Participants
1 Months
10 Hours each
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specialized topics
run by affiliated
10-20 Participants
40 Hours

CPCIL Services

Programs generate content for services

Innovation and Collaboration Forum

Training and Resource Inventory

Parks & Protected Areas Research Network

Services inform programs

Developing Effective and Equitable Park Leaders

Park Leadership Programs

The Canadian Parks Council (CPC) and the Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership (CPCIL) are pleased to present a revised suite of programs and services to support effective and equitable leadership for the entire parks and protected areas community.

Built on over ten years of parks systems leadership training, the CPCIL online and in-person collaborative programs hone core leadership skills by exploring specific issues facing parks and protected areas and applying them to real-world challenges with proven approaches and tools. All CPCIL programs are designed to build a pan-Canadian network of Park Leaders who can support each other—and their organization—throughout their entire career.

“We all have the exact same problems, we just call them different things”​

2019 Park Leader

“Outstanding opportunity to learn, share, and strengthen interagency leadership in parks and protected areas.”

2018 Park Leader

“Amazing and empowering! We were not just taught about leadership but practiced it, experienced it and shared it.”

2016 Park Leader
Park Systems

Park Leaders Development Program

Apply transformative leadership to a complex park leadership issues and co-create a supportive pan-Canadian leadership community across jurisdictions.

During COVID-19, this eight-month applied leadership program centers on a two-week eResidency with online guest presenters, breakout workshops, and service-learning projects mixed with independent reafl-world tasks to explore concepts in your own area (“field trips together but separately”). In addition, participants will complete pre- and post-tasks, present cases from their own organization and leadership experience, and develop a team capstone project aimed at supporting the entire parks community. Each program focuses on a different theme and spotlights specific regions, co-facilitated with Indigenous collaborators. 

Registration Fee $2000 per participant 

Registration fee is inclusive of eight months of pre- and post-residency support and two-week eResidency. Twenty spots are available in each cohort, with final selection approved by the Canadian Parks Council.

Pre- and post-residency tasks will be completed through online forums and one-on-one calls and should take an average of 2 hours per week. Capstone teams will meet weekly online as a small group and once per month with facilitator.


eResidency will run part-time over two weeks, with a selection of live sessions scheduled between 11am and 4:00pm Eastern time and independent tasks completed on participants’ own schedule. Much of that time will actually be away from the computer as we give you tasks to consider or simply give you breaks to get away from the screen. 

While we want you to be 100% present for the sessions and activities – and to set aside some time to reflect on the program, you should have half your time available during those two weeks for catching up on work commitments during that two-week period.

Participants require internet and webcam access and must commit to avoiding distractions during sessions, participating fully in independent tasks, and should try to have reasonable access to a nearby outdoor space for activities. Program resource material will be shipped in advance.

CPCIL plans to resume face-to-face Park Leadership Development Program Residencies when interprovincial travel restrictions are relaxed, and when public health directives can be met safely. The program registration will increase to $3000 for face-to-face delivery in order to cover accommodation, food, and field experiences.  

Park Leaders Development Program Calendar

ProgramSub ThemeStartResidency Host





Oct. 15

Nov. 11 to 17

Mount Royal UniversityRocky Mountains



Partnerships and Collaboration

Mar. 15

May 5 to 10

York UniversityGreat Lakes



Inclusion and Equity

Oct. 10

Nov. 12 to 17

Royal Roads UniversityWest Coast



Connecting as Nature

Sept. 8

Sept. 21 to Oct. 1


Winter 2021

Climate Change

Feb. 1

Feb. 22 to

Mar. 5





ParkanomicstbdtbdYork UniversitySt. Lawrence



Partnerships and CollaborationtbdtbdRoyal Roads UniversityWest Coast

Park Leaders Accelerator

Apply leadership tools and share ideas with others to make progress on a complex challenge or opportunity

This six month online program will begin with a self-assessment of a current issue you or your organization are facing, learning and applying various approaches, exchanging ideas with peers, and presenting to a leaders’ panel for feedback.

Registration Fee $900 per participant

Twenty-four spots are available in each cohort, with final selection approved by the Canadian Parks Council.

Program success requires active participation in online forums and one-on-one calls and should take an average of 2 hours per week. Participants will be partnered with other Park Leaders to collaborate on the project based on region and role.

Over the course of six months, participants will participate in several live webinars and workshops, and must present their final proposal to a panel of park leaders and experts.


Participants require internet and webcam access and must commit to avoiding distractions during sessions, participating fully in independent tasks. Projects will be based on real-world challenges and opportunities and confidentiality among the cohort is expected. Program resource material will be shipped in advance.

Park Leaders Primers

Explore–and connect with other leaders on–a selection of key topics affecting parks in Canada). These self-directed online leadership programs will involve an exploration of case studies, applying new ideas, and dialogue with colleagues. Take just one or complete all three programs. 

Knowledge Framework

All CPCIL programs explore the following core leadership themes, while also focusing on sub-themes in activities and field experiences.

Core Program Themes

CPCIL is honoured to collaborate with organizations such as PLENTY Canada, IISAAK OLAM, the Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, and others to co-facilitate sessions and programs that work toward two-eyed seeing and Reconciliation.

The Program builds skills in systems thinking to help park leaders address personal and organizational change management, knowledge mobilization (science, social science, and interdisciplinary inquiry), and managing unknowns by understanding your purpose.

Programs tackle the sustainability of parks and protected areas by considering the culture, resources, and mandate of the organizations responsible for them. A major focus of recent residencies has also been tools to support the mental health of conservation professionals.

Parks can succeed or fail based on the ability of leaders to facilitate transparent and effective dialogue. Activities and tasks throughout the Park Leaders Development program help participants write and speak persuasively with ethics, logic, and emotion.

While specific cohorts will dive deep into inclusion and accessibility, all programs are designed to incorporate diverse voices that demonstrate the importance of inclusion and empowerment in conservation and (re)connecting people to nature.

The CPCIL Park Leaders Development Program moves to different regions in order to explore different parks, heritage, and landscapes. Each participant is required to share relevant challenges that highlight their role in conservation and/or park management.

Inspired by the Parks for All Action Plan for Canada’s Parks Community, the Park Leaders Development Program celebrates “places reserved for conserving and experiencing Nature, with varying objectives but important complementary goals.”

Sub Program Themes

How can Park Leaders ensure parks and protected areas adapt to maintain relevance and effectiveness in the Anthropocene?

Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Conservation and Connectivity
Climate Change Adaptation.
How can Park Leaders articulate the value of parks and protected areas and improve their financial sustainability without compromising environmental and social integrity?

Understanding and Articulating the Value of Parks
Ecological Economics
Responding to Changing Resources and Priorities.
How can Park Leaders amplify the efforts of communities and work equitably with partners without losing sight of their conservation mandate?

Indigenous, Community, & Municipal Relationships
Commercial Partnerships
Non-profit Partnerships and Social Enterprise.
How can Park Leaders remove barriers and promote inclusion so parks and protected areas reflect Canada’s social diversity?

Accessibility and Barriers to Diversity
Women in Conservation Leadership
Responding to Changing Resources and Priorities.
How can Park Leaders create the conditions to reconnect people within nature-and as nature– through and beyond parks?

Broadening the Park Narrative
Customer Service & Visitor Experience
Education & Interpretation
Volunteer Management & Citizen Science
The League of Park Leaders

Park Leaders Alumni Community

Nearly 300 past participants in Canadian Parks Council-supported leadership development belong to the growing Park Leaders Alumni Forum.

We Invite You To Participate in the CPCIL Park Leadership Programs

Each Canadian Parks Council Member Agency has a number of priority placements in each program, selected through internal processes. CPC Member Agency staff should contact their representatives for information. Parks and protected area partners are encouraged to consider attending and should submit an application as there may be spaces available.

The CPCIL is committed to diversity and inclusion. We encourage Park Leaders of all abilities to consider this program. We will work together to accommodate all participants.