Let's Talk NMCAs - consultation has closed

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Consultation has concluded.

Parks Canada has a new policy for national marine conservation areas (NMCAs). The new 2022 NMCA Policy and Management Directive guide how Parks Canada plans and manages NMCAs and articulates our leadership role in working with partners and stakeholders to support the establishment and management these special places.

Updates to the 1994 NMCA policy were needed to align the policy with the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (2002). The updates also reflect the experience Parks Canada has gained from more than 20 years of establishing and managing NMCAs. In addition to the updated NMCA Policy and Management Directive, new regulations are being developed. The proposed regulations will help ensure that activities and uses occurring within NMCAs are conducted in a manner that is ecologically sustainable. The regulations will provide clarity and transparency to partners and stakeholders exploring the feasibility of establishing NMCAs. The proposed regulations will also help national marine conservation area management boards provide advice and make decisions. Activities and uses connected with the rights of Indigenous peoples or Indigenous traditional, spiritual, or ceremonial practices will be exempted from the application of the proposed regulations.

In 2019, Parks Canada sought your views on proposed changes to the policy framework and the development of regulations. 

A backgrounder summarized Parks Canada’s policy objectives for NMCAs and our strategy for achieving them, providing additional context for the discussion paper that highlighted the proposed changes to the NMCA policy and potential areas for new regulations for Parks Canada’s NMCA program. Together, these documents were used as tools to solicit valuable feedback on a number of issues.

Parks Canada appreciates all input received during this engagement. Comments within the scope of the exercise were considered for the purposes of updating the policy for national marine conservation areas and considering the scope and scale for proposed regulations under the act.

Parks Canada has a new policy for national marine conservation areas (NMCAs). The new 2022 NMCA Policy and Management Directive guide how Parks Canada plans and manages NMCAs and articulates our leadership role in working with partners and stakeholders to support the establishment and management these special places.

Updates to the 1994 NMCA policy were needed to align the policy with the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (2002). The updates also reflect the experience Parks Canada has gained from more than 20 years of establishing and managing NMCAs. In addition to the updated NMCA Policy and Management Directive, new regulations are being developed. The proposed regulations will help ensure that activities and uses occurring within NMCAs are conducted in a manner that is ecologically sustainable. The regulations will provide clarity and transparency to partners and stakeholders exploring the feasibility of establishing NMCAs. The proposed regulations will also help national marine conservation area management boards provide advice and make decisions. Activities and uses connected with the rights of Indigenous peoples or Indigenous traditional, spiritual, or ceremonial practices will be exempted from the application of the proposed regulations.

In 2019, Parks Canada sought your views on proposed changes to the policy framework and the development of regulations. 

A backgrounder summarized Parks Canada’s policy objectives for NMCAs and our strategy for achieving them, providing additional context for the discussion paper that highlighted the proposed changes to the NMCA policy and potential areas for new regulations for Parks Canada’s NMCA program. Together, these documents were used as tools to solicit valuable feedback on a number of issues.

Parks Canada appreciates all input received during this engagement. Comments within the scope of the exercise were considered for the purposes of updating the policy for national marine conservation areas and considering the scope and scale for proposed regulations under the act.

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Parks Canada has outlined policy objectives (see backgrounder) to help achieve the purpose of NMCAs. These objectives are inter-connected and mutually reinforcing, and will be considered collectively as Parks Canada manages NMCAs collaboratively with partners.

    For more information, please see page 6 of the discussion paper.


    Consultation has concluded.
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Parks Canada is proposing a zoning framework comprising four zones, each with a specific purpose (see Table 1, page 8 in the discussion paper), and specific activity and use restrictions (see Table 2, p. 8-9 in the discussion paper).


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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Some issues are not adequately covered by existing legislation in ways that ensure the protection of ecosystems and specific elements within ecosystems in NMCAs. Parks Canada is proposing regulatory changes to address these issues.

    Photo: Lynn Lee / Tlell, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

    For more information, please see page 10 of the discussion paper.

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Parks Canada is proposing to develop regulations and a permitting system to authorize land use in NMCAs, including submerged lands.

    For more information, please see page 11 of the discussion paper.

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Currently, there is no distinct legal framework to ensure the protection and management of cultural resources in NMCAs. Parks Canada is proposing regulatory changes in this area.

    For more information, please see page 12 of the discussion paper.

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Parks Canada needs the ability to manage businesses that provide high-quality visitor experiences in ways that are ecologically sustainable and consistent with the purpose of the NMCA and its management plan, and that protect visitor safety. We are proposing to develop new business regulations, and that businesses and special events within NMCAs require a permit or other authorization.


    For more information, please see page 13 of the discussion paper.
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Parks Canada is proposing to develop a regulation for scientific research within NMCAs, and use its existing research and collection permit system to manage research and collection activities in NMCAs in the same manner as for national parks.


    For more information, please see page 14 of the discussion paper.


    Consultation has concluded.
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