Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 156, Number 15: Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act
April 9, 2022
2022-04-09

Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 156, Number 15: Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act

April 9, 2022

Statutory authority
Canada National Parks Act

Sponsoring agency
Parks Canada Agency

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Order.)

Issues

In 2005, the Nature Conservancy of Canada acquired approximately 9.3 km2 of land located at Jones Creek, Landon Bay and LaRue Mills, Ontario, from the St. Lawrence Parks Commission in order to expand the land base of Thousand Islands National Park. The Nature Conservancy of Canada transferred ownership of the lands to the Parks Canada Agency (Parks Canada) in 2006. For these lands to be formally considered part of Thousand Islands National Park, they must be included in Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act, pursuant to section 5 of that Act.

Background

Parks Canada is the federal agency mandated to protect nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. National parks protect representative examples of Canada’s diverse terrestrial environments and help Canada meet its national and international biodiversity commitments.

Established in 1904 and located in Ontario along the St. Lawrence River, Thousand Islands National Park is a core protected area of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve and representative of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Canadian Shield. The park is 829.6 ha (8.30 km2) and is located at the crossroads of the St. Lawrence River and the Frontenac Arch. It is in the transition zone between eastern deciduous and boreal forests. The park, and, in particular, the land proposed for park expansion, form part of the core area of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. This is one of the most biodiverse regions in Canada. Thousand Islands National Park has among the highest concentrations of a number of species at risk in Canada, including the Gray Ratsnake, Blanding’s Turtle and Least Bittern. All of these species are identified as threatened in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. Some species, such as Deerberry, can only be found in Thousand Islands National Park.

The characteristics of the park’s intersectional location make it an exceptionally important north–south corridor for wildlife movement and gene flow, which are critical to supporting climate change adaptation. The park and these lands are a part of the only ecologically intact connection between the Canadian Shield and the Adirondack Mountains, making them a key artery through the continentally significant Algonquin-to-Adirondack corridor. Applying the Canada National Parks Act and its regulations is fundamental to the preservation of the unique natural environment and the species it supports.

Adding to Thousand Islands National Park

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a private, non-profit organization that partners with individuals, corporations, foundations, Indigenous communities and other non-profit organizations and governments at all levels to protect the natural areas of Canada. On February 18, 2005, Parks Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding along with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to jointly invest in the acquisition of land in order to expand the land base of the Thousand Islands National Park.

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is a Crown agency of the Government of Ontario that manages parks and heritage sites along the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River in southeastern Ontario. On September 19, 2005, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission entered into an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada for the sale of approximately 9.3 km2 of land located at Jones Creek, Landon Bay and LaRue Mills. The location is approximately 40 km east of Kingston, Ontario. At the time of the sale, the land was unused green space.

On November 2, 2005, the Government of Ontario issued provincial Order in Council 1710/2005 authorizing the sale of the lands to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. On May 23, 2006, the federal Minister of the Environment, on behalf of Parks Canada, entered into an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to formally transfer the lands to Parks Canada. On June 16, 2006, the deed for these lands was registered in the Ontario land registration system, giving title to the lands to the Minister of the Environment. The lands are managed by Parks Canada on behalf of the Minister. Parks Canada did not immediately add these lands to the park, as the original intention was to add them to the park at the same time as other lands that are contiguous with the St. Lawrence Parks Commissions lands and acquired by Parks Canada at approximately the same time. However, the other lands had existing allowances for roads that had been expected at one time, but that were never completed. The issue of road allowances had to be resolved before the lands could be added to the park. Resolving this issue has taken longer than expected, so a decision has been made to move ahead with only the St. Lawrence Parks Commission lands at this time.

Section 5 of the Canada National Parks Act enables the Governor in Council to expand a national park by Order if two conditions are met: paragraph 5(1)(a) requires that the federal government hold clear title or an unencumbered right of ownership to the land, and paragraph 5(1)(b) requires that the government of the province in which those lands are situated has agreed to the use of the lands for this purpose. As noted above, these two conditions have been met: the federal Minister of the Environment, as the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, has title to the lands in question, and the Government of Ontario has issued a provincial Order in Council approving that the lands be made part of Thousand Islands National Park.

Adding these lands to Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act would formalize their addition to the national park. These lands have been under Parks Canada’s administration and control since 2006. Since then, the parcels have been administered to the extent possible as though they were components of Thousand Islands National Park. The use of the lands has been described to Parliament in the past through park management plans that are tabled in both Houses of Parliament every 10 years, pursuant to subsection 11(2) of the Canada National Parks Act.

Parks Canada is currently limited to managing activities on the lands described in the proposed Order solely under the provincial Trespass to Property Act (Ontario). This legislation was developed to address trespassing violations and is not designed for the management of a national park. Adding these lands to Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act would allow Parks Canada to administer the lands under the Act and its associated regulations. Such administration includes protection of natural ecosystems, native wildlife, and cultural heritage, and prohibits certain activities (e.g. hunting, camping, fishing, and trafficking or possessing wild animals or species), except as permitted by the Canada National Parks Act or its regulations. The full protection available pursuant to the Canada National Parks Act cannot be enforced until the land parcels are listed as part of Schedule 1.

Section 7 of the Canada National Parks Act requires that before an amendment be made to Schedule 1, a draft version of the Order amending Schedule 1 and a Report to Parliament related to the creation or expansion of a national park be tabled in both Houses of Parliament. Once tabled, the Order and the Report will be referred to the standing committee of each House that normally considers Parks Canada matters. The committee of each House has 30 sitting days from the date of tabling to bring a motion that it disapproves of the proposed amendment. If no such motion is brought forward, the Governor in Council may make the Order once 31 sitting days have elapsed after the tabling of the Order in both Houses.

Objective

The Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act (the Order) would provide legal certainty by formally adding to Thousand Islands National Park the lands described in the Order. As these lands have been under Parks Canada administration and control since 2006, they have already contributed to Canada’s conservation objective of protecting 25% of Canada’s lands by 2025.

Description

The Order amends Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act by adding 80 parcels of land (approximately 9.3 km2) to the description of Thousand Islands National Park.

Regulatory development

Consultation

The addition of the described lands to Thousand Islands National Park was first communicated to the public through an (ARCHIVED) announcement made in Mallorytown, Ontario, in October 2005 by the local Member of Parliament on behalf of the federal Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. The Pitch Pine Post was a newsletter that was mailed by the park to all area residents each spring from 2006 until 2012. The spring 2006 edition of the newsletter (PDF) announced to area residents the acquisition of the lands and Parks Canada’s intention to make these lands part of the national park, as well as explained that the addition of these lands would double the size of the park. The newsletter announcement did not result in any comments or feedback.

In 2005, prior to the acquisition of these 80 land parcels, Parks Canada consulted multiple environmental non-governmental organizations that support the protection of these lands under the Canada National Parks Act (organizations included the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada).

The Canada National Parks Act requires that a park management plan be developed for every national park, that the plan be reviewed every 10 years, that it be approved by the Minister of the Environment and then tabled in Parliament. The plan is the primary public accountability document for each national park. A park management plan serves as a strategic guide for the future management of national parks. As a strategic and long-term guide, it establishes a vision looking to the future. Its primary goal is to ensure that there is a clearly defined direction for the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity.

Public consultations are required by legislation for every management plan. Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations, local communities, stakeholders and interested individuals are invited to participate in the consultation process, which is typically launched through public announcements. The Thousand Islands National Park of Canada Management Plan has been updated and was tabled before Parliament on March 21, 2022. The new management plan makes reference to the lands proposed for addition to this national park. Public and stakeholder consultations occurred in 2019 and 2020. This included public open houses, a survey, and meetings with partners. No comments were received regarding adding these lands to the park.

Given that the lands proposed for addition to Thousand Islands National Park have been managed as though they are part of the national park, and that stakeholders have been engaged on how these lands are used through the park management plan process, additional consultations specific to the proposed Order were not undertaken. It is anticipated that stakeholders will continue to support the protection of these lands as part of the national park system.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

As required by the Cabinet Directive on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation, Parks Canada carried out an assessment of the modern treaty implications for the proposed Order. As a Crown agency, Parks Canada’s common law duty to consult is triggered when the Crown has knowledge of potential or established Indigenous or treaty rights and contemplates conduct that may adversely affect those rights. An assessment examined the geographical scope and subject matter of the proposal in relation to modern treaties in effect, as well as other constitutionally protected (section 35) rights. It was found that the lands subject to this proposal are not located within modern treaty areas. Therefore, the assessment did not identify any potential implications on Canada’s modern treaty obligations.

The lands subject to this proposal are in the area of the Haudenosaunee People and are considered as traditional territory by the Mohawks of Akwesasne. At the time of acquisition of these lands, the Mohawks of Akwesasne were notified, and consultations led to a Smoky Fire Ceremony at the park in 2007 that served to solidify the relationship. Thousand Islands National Park administrators continue to meet quarterly with the Mohawks of Akwesasne on matters related to protecting and presenting the park lands. More recently, in August 2020, Parks Canada reached out to the current Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. The purpose of the letter was to confirm the support expressed by a previous Grand Chief in 2004 and to determine if there was any change in the position of the Mohawks of Akwesasne. The current Grand Chief was asked to respond with any questions or concerns with respect to the plan to expand the national park before October 2020. No concerns were expressed.

As noted above, the park management plan was updated in 2010 and again in 2021, and local Indigenous partners were invited to participate in consultations related to the development and updating of the plan. The Mohawks of Akwesasne provided feedback on the plan at all stages and provided a foreword supporting the management direction of the park.

Instrument choice

National parks are established when their name and description are added to Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act. Other than a statutory amendment, the only way to amend Schedule 1 is by order. No other instruments were considered.

Regulatory analysis

Benefits and costs

Adding these lands under the Canada National Parks Act will protect a portion of Canada’s diverse terrestrial environment while providing opportunities for public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of these protected areas in perpetuity.

The park is located within a three-hour drive to 15 million Canadians, and the proposed lands are surrounded by major east-west transportation corridors, urban development, intense agriculture, and regulated water flows. The proposed lands are prime areas of relatively undisturbed biodiversity containing old-growth forest and wetlands. Protecting a critical natural corridor would increase survival rates for species at risk, help maintain the region’s ecological integrity, and promote ecosystem resilience. Addition of these lands to Thousand Islands National Park would connect and protect an otherwise fragmented habitat.

The full protection available pursuant to the Canada National Parks Act and the associated regulations will be enforced once the land parcels are listed as part of Schedule 1. The many regulations that fall under the Canada National Parks Act include protections for natural ecosystems, native wildlife, and cultural heritage, and prohibit certain activities (e.g. hunting, camping, fishing, trafficking or possessing wild animals or species), except as permitted by the Canada National Parks Act or its regulations. In some cases, regulated activities can occur when a permit is issued under the authority of the park superintendent.

There are no economic activities currently taking place within the boundaries of the proposed park expansion. There are no businesses operating on these lands currently, and that is not expected to change once the lands are listed under Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act and formally become part of the park. Currently, there are no active exploration licences or mineral leases that affect these lands, and no such licences or leases have been issued in the past for this area.

The Government of Canada already holds title to the lands, and Parks Canada already administers these lands as though they are part of a national park to the degree possible without a formal park designation. The proposed park expansion is not anticipated to result in any significant new costs to businesses, Government or the Canadian public, because the uses of the lands will not change significantly when the lands formally become part of the park.

Small business lens

No small businesses are operating in the area proposed for the expansion of Thousand Islands National Park and none are anticipated to do so in the future. Analysis under the small business lens concluded that the proposed Order would not impact Canadian small businesses.

One-for-one rule

No businesses are operating in the area that would be added to Thousand Islands National Park. The one-for-one rule does not apply, as there is no impact on business.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

Parks Canada worked closely with the Government of Ontario to acquire the lands proposed for addition to Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, with the understanding that these lands would become part of the national park to protect and preserve a significant example of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. The proposed Order would formalize an arrangement made between the federal government and the provincial government. There are no regulatory alignment considerations associated with this proposal.

Strategic environmental assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was conducted in 2020 in conjunction with the development of the Thousand Islands National Park Management Plan. The plan was developed by treating the lands at issue as part of the national park. Furthermore, these lands have already been zoned in accordance with the national parks zoning system.

The SEA found that the addition of these lands will yield net positive environmental outcomes for the forest and wetland ecosystems at Thousand Islands National Park. The addition of these lands will help the park take action to further protect and recover the 30 species at risk listed in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act found within the park. Given the findings of the SEA, there would be no significant adverse environmental effects from formally adding the lands to Schedule 1 of the Canada National Parks Act and expanding the boundaries of Thousand Islands National Park. However, expanding the boundaries of the national park will have a positive environmental effect, as doing so allows the lands to be regulated and protected by the provisions of the Canada National Parks Act through enforceable prohibitions against activities such as hunting, boundary encroachment and habitat destruction.

Gender-based analysis plus

The proposed Order only provides legal certainty for the land that would be formally added to Thousand Islands National Park, but which is already administered as though it is part of the national park. Therefore, no gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) impacts have been identified for this proposal.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

Implementation

The land survey and land description to be included in Schedule 1 for the boundaries of the national park were undertaken by Natural Resources Canada and registered with the Surveyor General of Canada. These lands have been under Parks Canada’s administration and control since 2006. Once the Order is made, and the amendments come into force, Parks Canada will be able to administer the lands under the authority of the Canada National Parks Act and the associated regulations, which include protections for natural ecosystems, native wildlife, and cultural heritage that cannot currently be enforced.

Compliance and enforcement

Parks Canada’s existing law enforcement program officers monitor Schedule 1 lands for compliance with the requirements of the Canada National Parks Act and associated regulations (e.g. they patrol the parks to ensure responsible use of the land and respond to incidents, such as individuals attempting to undertake prohibited activities). Thousand Islands National Park already has a detachment of park wardens. Park wardens are law enforcement specialists that ensure that legislation, such as the Canada National Parks Act, is enforced and respected.

Contact

Alison Lobsinger
Director
Policy, Legislative and Cabinet Affairs
Parks Canada Agency
Email: alison.lobsinger@pc.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 5(1) of the Canada National Parks Act footnote a, proposes to make the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Order within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Alison Lobsinger, Director, Policy, Legislative and Cabinet Affairs, Parks Canada Agency (tel.: 819‑775‑5331; email: alison.lobsinger@pc.gc.ca).

Ottawa, March 30, 2022

Wendy Nixon
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act

Amendments

1 (1) The third paragraph of the description of Thousand Islands National Park of Canada in Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act footnote a is replaced by the following:

All those parcels of land being more particularly described under Firstly to Twenty-secondly as follows:

(2) The last paragraph of the description of Thousand Islands National Park of Canada in Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the Act is replaced by the following:

  • Thirteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcels 1 and 2 as shown on Plan 110034 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lot 6, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Lansdowne, containing about 13.34 hectares (0.133 square kilometres).
  • Fourteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcel 1 as shown on Plan 109998 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lot 7, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Lansdowne, containing about 0.114 hectares (0.001 square kilometres).
  • Fifteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcel 1 as shown on Plan 110033 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 8 and 9, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Lansdowne, containing about 77.0 hectares (0.77 square kilometres).
  • Sixteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcel 1 as shown on Plan 110035 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 11 and 12, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Lansdowne, containing about 67.9 hectares (0.679 square kilometres).
  • Seventeenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcel 3 as shown on Plan 96394 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 13 and 14, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Lansdowne, containing about 193.995 hectares (1.94 square kilometres).
  • Eighteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcels 1 and 2 as shown on Plan 107903 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 3 to 7, Broken Front Concession, Geographic Township of Escott, containing about 52.56 hectares (0.526 square kilometres).
  • Nineteenthly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcels 1 and 2 as shown on Plan 107904 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 8 to 10, Broken Front Concession, Geographic Township of Escott, containing about 20.19 hectares (0.202 square kilometres).
  • Twentiethly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcels 1 to 3 as shown on Plan 107905 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lot 21, Broken Front Concession, and part of Lots 20 and 21, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Escott, containing about 7.36 hectares (0.074 square kilometres).
  • Twenty-firstly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands;
    • Parcel 1 as shown on Plan 107906 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 23 and 24, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Escott, containing about 4.39 hectares (0.044 square kilometres).
  • Twenty-secondly
    • In the municipality of the Township of Front of Yonge;
    • Parcels 1 to 10 as shown on Plan 95615 in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa, being part of Lots 9 to 22 and 24 to 26, Broken Front Concession, and part of Lots 5 to 15, Concession 1, Geographic Township of Yonge, containing about 589.7 hectares (5.897 square kilometres);
    • The whole from Firstly to Twenty-secondly containing about 1856.149 hectares (18.561 square kilometres).

Coming into Force

2 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.