Consulting with Canadians
Parks Canada consults on all fee increases. The Agency will consult with Canadians on the national fee proposals through its website and other avenues. Any local fee proposals will be communicated to visitors and stakeholders who may be interested. Consultation and transparency is the goal of the User Fees Act and is required prior to fees being approved under the Parks Canada Agency Act.
National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas provide experiential opportunities, and memories that last a lifetime. Visitors consistently rank their satisfaction with Parks Canada services highly. The Agency guarantees excellent value, fair prices and quality services.
Why we charge user fees
User fees help to pay for the range of services and facilities that visitors use and enjoy. Tax dollars are invested to create and preserve national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas, as this benefits all Canadians. When people visit, there is a personal benefit since they use and enjoy services and facilities, and it is fair to other taxpayers that they help to pay for them. Parks Canada has over 3,300 fees for diverse services such as park and site entry, camping, interpretive programs, boat lockage and facility rentals, among many others. Each national park, national historic site and national marine conservation area keeps the revenues earned from user fees to support visitor services and facilities. Generally, it costs more to provide high quality visitor services than the revenue that is generated from user fees. Only about 30% of the total cost of visitor programs is funded by these revenues.
Fee Freeze ends
To support Canadians and tourism businesses during a difficult economic period, Parks Canada froze its prices at 2008 levels until March 31, 2013. For visitors, the fee freeze will end after the proposed fees have been approved following public consultations. The fee freeze will extend 18 months after the fee consultation processes are complete for commercial operators.
Increased operating costs
Parks Canada faces constantly increasing operating costs to provide services to visitors.
Keeping pace with inflation
Parks Canada proposes that future fee adjustments be in accordance with the CPI. Most fees will be limited to an adjustment not exceeding the two year cumulative percentage of the average Consumer Price Index, starting in 2013 and every two years thereafter. The CPI is a measure of the rate of price change for goods and services bought by Canadian consumers. It is the most widely used indicator of price changes in Canada. The CPI is determined by Statistics Canada based on the changes over time to the cost of a fixed "basket of goods." Typically, the average CPI is approximately 2.5% annually.
Canals fee adjustments
Parks Canada is proposing a new fee structure for canals. The current fee model is no longer sustainable and requires changes to be both fiscally responsible and ensure those who receive the greatest direct benefit pay a larger share of the cost of providing service. The new fee structure for canals, based on a per use model, allows for better flexibility aligning fees with services accessed by boaters while reducing the portion of the cost that is funded by tax dollars.
Local fee adjustments
At some Parks Canada places, new fees may be introduced and other fee adjustments may occur for unique services. In some cases services may be currently under-priced with regard to the market or costs and need to be adjusted beyond CPI to ensure sustainability of the offer. In response to visitor needs and desires new services are also being introduced and fees established in accordance with the User Fees Act. The fees for these new services must be approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
Advance notice for commercial operators
In keeping with its traditional practices, for all commercial operators, the Agency provides 18 months advance notice of fee adjustments that may apply to them so that they can make appropriate changes to their own fees and itineraries. Commercial fees will not be adjusted until 18 months following the completion of the consultations and user fee submission processes and every two years thereafter using the CPI adjustment.
User fee adjustments may be made to reflect new service models. As part of this, national historic sites that are moving to self-guided visitor activities entry fees may be reduced or removed once that transition is complete (list available upon request).
Office of the Minister of the Environment
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