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Wild by Law: A Report Card on Laws Governing Canada's Parks and Protected Areas, and a Blueprint for Making Laws More Efficient

Date Published: 2002

Full Reference:

Boyd, D., 2002. Wild by Law: A Report Card on Laws Governing Canada's Parks and Protected Areas, and a Blueprint for Making these Laws more Effective. Victoria: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance.


Canadians are deeply passionate about our parks and the diversity of life that these spectacular landscapes protect. Parks are seen as an integral component of our national identity. Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau referred to Canada's parks as "the greatest environmental treasures of the world."1 It is deeply disturbing to discover that the laws intended to protect these priceless treasures for present and future generations of Canadians are, for the most part, grossly inadequate for such an important task. This report reveals that only the federal government's Canada National Parks Act and National Marine Conservation Areas Act, Nova Scotia's Wilderness Areas Protection Act, and Newfoundland's Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act achieve passing grades. Every other province and territory gets a failing grade. Alberta and Ontario deserve special mention for earning F- (F minus), the worst grade possible. The grades in this report are based on an evaluation of ten legal criteria, including: making the protection of ecological integrity the top priority; prohibiting industrial resource use; ensuring permanent protection through legislated boundaries; dedicating parks to future generations; requiring park planning processes that include the public; reporting on the state of parks; recognizing Aboriginal rights; guaranteeing a minimum of 12% of every ecosystem is protected; providing extra protection for wilderness areas and ecological reserves; and establishing a role in land-use decisions outside parks that have the potential to harm the parks.

Download the full version: WildbyLaw.pdf

Page last updated: 02/28/2008