By Jennifer Bain – April 19th, 2021
A trio of people at Pukaskwa National Park in Ontario. People of all backgrounds, cultures and traditions want to see themselves reflected in Parks Canada staff/Parks Canada, Scott Munn
Canadians wants Parks Canada to work harder to make racialized communities, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2+ communities and people living with disabilities feel welcome in its parks, conservation areas and historic sites.
That was a key takeaway of “Let’s Talk Parks, Canada!” — the 2020 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada, a national consultation that’s held every two years to help shape the agency’s response to challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss.
The round table was delivered through virtual engagement sessions and an online engagement portal in October and November. It drew a record 4,500 emails and 20 written submissions, and attracted 60 organizations to nine virtual discussion forums. More than 500 ideas were shared through the online portal and 8,000 people were engaged over social media.
“Getting outside has been indispensable to many of us during this difficult year, myself included,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, wrote in his report and response to the round table. “COVID-19 has reinforced the need to ensure that all Canadians can access, enjoy and feel welcome in all natural and cultural heritage places.”
Wilkinson’s report details 12 action areas that “will help to protect more nature, strengthen Indigenous leadership in conservation, protect Canada’s built heritage, foster diversity in the stories shared at Parks Canada administered places and make these important places even more inclusive and welcoming to all visitors.”