Frequently Asked Questions: Regulations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) have been developed for Parks Canada's most queried regulations. Additional FAQ's will be developed when regulatory proposals (new regulations or regulatory amendments) having an impact on businesses are brought forward.

This document is intended to provide contextual information on Parks Canada's most queried regulations and does not constitute or replace legal advice about how any regulation may apply in a specific circumstance. It does not replace the Canada National Parks Act or the Department of Transport Act. In the event of any inconsistencies, Canada National Parks Act and the Department of Transport Act shall prevail.

National Parks of Canada Fishing Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The objective of the Regulations is to protect the health of aquatic ecosystems in national parks and national park reserves by controlling how, when, and where fishing is carried out in park waters.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations describe the circumstances under which individuals must obtain a permit to fish in national park waters. They also set out the open seasons in various waterbodies in each national park, limits for daily and aggregate catch and possession, and lists which game fish species can be caught.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

The Regulations will affect a limited number of commercial fishing operators that are allowed to fish in certain parks pursuant to the terms of the establishment agreements for those parks. The regulations govern the designated classes of commercial fishermen who:

  1. Fish soft-shell clams, eel, smelt or gaspereau in Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada;
  2. Catch and retain lobster and fish used as lobster bait from the marine part of Forillon National Park of Canada.

Fishing for these species is also subject to the requirements of the Fisheries Act and its regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The regulations have been in force since 1925 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2009 and 2010.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Parks of Canada Fishing Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks General Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The objective of the Regulations is to protect the natural and cultural resources in national parks and national park reserves by regulating the types of activities that may take place in various locations.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the use of water resources, public lands or other public property, and recreational facilities within a park including:

  • Activities designated by the Superintendent as hazardous, restricted or prohibited
  • Possession and sale of explosives and intoxicating beverages
  • Prevention of nuisances
  • Conduct of individuals
  • Closure of areas in the park for the prevention of any seasonal or temporary danger to persons, flora, fauna or natural objects

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses such as guides and outfitters must obtain an authorization from the superintendent to conduct any "designated activity" in a national park. "Designated activity" means any activity in a park, including, entry into a park and the use of any facility in a park. Commercial operators are also required to obtain authorizations for water use, the distribution of promotional material, selling explosives or intoxicating beverages, mooring at designated locations, and the development, operation, and maintenance of utilities within a park. Businesses must also obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The regulations have been in force since 1889 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2010 and 2011.

Where can I get more information?

Information about the National Parks General Regulations and the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

Historic Canals Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the operation, maintenance and use of the nine historic canals administered by Parks Canada. The nine canals are: Rideau Canal, Trent-Severn Waterway, Sault Ste. Marie Canal, Saint-Ours Canal, Chambly Canal, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal, Carillon Canal, Lachine Canal, and the St. Peters Canal.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations control the types of land and water-based activities that may take place or are prohibited on a historic canal, including:

  • Activities or events requiring permits
  • Resource protection
  • Safety
  • Signs and structures
  • Navigation
  • Mooring of vessels
  • Dredge and fill operations
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Aircraft operations

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses must obtain a permit to conduct activities in historic canals including the erection of signs and structures, the holding of special events and vessel and aircraft operation.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The regulations have been in force since 1993, and replaced the Heritage Canals Regulations, which were enacted in 1984. The most recent amendments to the regulations were in 2015.

Where can I get more information?

Information about the Historic Canals Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual canal offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks Wildlife Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The objective of the Rregulations is to protect all wildlife in national parks and national park reserves. Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada is excluded because it is governed by the Wood Buffalo National Park Game Regulations.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations set out general prohibitions regarding hunting, disturbing or destroying wildlife in national parks and national park reserves and describes the specific powers of park superintendents concerning wildlife protection and management. It also establishes restrictions concerning the use of firearms, poison, and communication devices when dealing with wildlife in national parks.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Although the Regulations apply primarily to private individuals, it may apply to businesses in certain circumstances. For example, a business may apply for a special permit under this regulation to deal with pest control issues. An outfitter/guide may apply for a firearms permit to transport a firearm through park territory. Businesses must obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations before they can obtain a permit under the National Parks Wildlife Regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The regulations have been in force since 1919 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2006 and 2009.

Where can I get more information?

Information about the National Parks Wildlife Regulations and the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks Highway Traffic Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern traffic on roads, highways and public lanes in national parks and national park reserves. Certain provisions do not apply in the towns of Banff and Jasper which are specialized municipalities under the Municipal Government Act of Alberta.  While Parks Canada Agency maintains final say over land use matters, the Towns have their own bylaws and policing system. Certain provisions also do not apply in parks in the provinces of Alberta and Newfoundland where provincial highway traffic laws apply.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations set out the conditions and requirements for the use of motor vehicles in national parks and national park reserves. They prohibit the use of all-terrain vehicles and have specific provisions governing the use of bicycles and over-snow vehicles. They also provide for the issuance of overweight vehicle permits on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park of Canada and Jasper National Park of Canada.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses are required to obtain, a special permit for the operation of an overweight truck or a bus (gross vehicle weight in excess of 4550 kg) on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park of Canada and Jasper National Park of Canada. To obtain an Overweight Vehicle Permit, businesses must first obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations. In other national parks, businesses may obtain a single trip permit for the operation of an overweight or oversize vehicle along the portion of the highway that traverses the park.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations hava been in force since 1889 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2009 and 2010.

Where can I get more information?

Businesses can apply for an Overweight Vehicle Permit, and find out how to obtain the prerequisite business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations on the Parks Canada Service Standards Overweight Vehicle Permits website.

General information about the National Parks Highway Traffic Regulations can be obtained at:

National Historic Parks General Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The objective of the Regulations is to protect natural and cultural resources in national historic sites listed in the National Historic Sites of Canada Order, made pursuant to section 42 of the Canada National Parks Act, by regulating the types of activities that may take place in various locations.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the use of water resources, public lands or other public property, and recreational facilities in a national historic site including:

  • activities designated by the Superintendent as hazardous, restricted or prohibited
  • possession and use of explosives
  • prevention of nuisances
  • camping and use of fire
  • operation of vessels and aircrafts

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses must obtain an authorization from the superintendent to conduct any designated activity in a national historic site including the use of water from any watercourse, well or water supply for commercial purposes, the distribution of promotional material, the maintenance of utilities or possession of more than five gallons of gasoline or other inflammable liquid that is not stored in the tank of a vehicle, vessel or aircraft.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 1982; they were amended in 2006 and 2011.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Historic Parks General Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national historic site offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks Building Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the construction, alteration, maintenance, removal and demolition of buildings or structures in national parks. The regulations do not apply in the Town of Banff which is incorporated under the Municipal Government Act of Alberta. While Parks Canada Agency maintains final say over land use matters, the Town has its own bylaws governing building construction.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations establish the authorization process to construct a building or other structure in a national park including plumbing, electrical and gas installations and maintenance. They list the plans and specifications required to obtain a building permit and the fees for building, plumbing, electrical, and gas installation permits. The regulations also stipulate the conditions under which the superintendent may require the owner of a building to repair or paint a structure.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Any developer or construction business operating in national parks must obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations before applying for any of the required permits under the National Parks Building Regulations. They are also subject to the fees required to obtain the various types of permits.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 1968 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 1996.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Parks Building Regulations and the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks of Canada Camping Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the use of public lands for camping in national parks and national park reserves, excluding the park communities of Banff and Jasper which are incorporated under the Municipal Government Act of Alberta. While Parks Canada Agency maintains final say over land use matters, the park communities have their own bylaws governing camping.

What are the key elements of the regulation?

The Regulations set out the general rules regarding individual and group camping in national parks including:

  • daily and seasonal permits
  • types of structure that can be erected
  • specific campsite to which the permit applies
  • keeping of domestic animals
  • conduct or behaviour in the campground
  • actions that unreasonably interfere with fauna or the natural beauty of the park

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Outfitters leading guided trips in national parks must apply for camping permits. Businesses must also obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations before they can obtain a permit under the National Parks of Canada Camping Regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 1955 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2009 and 2010.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Parks of Canada Camping Regulations and the National Parks Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks of Canada Lease and Licence of Occupation Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the issuance, amendment, termination and surrender of leases and licenses of occupation of public lands in national parks and national parks reserves.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations outline requirements for obtaining and maintaining leases and licenses of occupation of in national parks.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses are required to obtain either a lease or license of occupation to use public lands for commercial purposes (i.e.: to erect a hotel, motel, bungalow camp or other fixed bed accommodation, or to carry out commercial activities related to trade, tourism, recreation or entertainment) in national parks. Additionally, businesses that offer accommodation are required to keep and retain registration records. Businesses must also obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations before they can obtain a lease or licence of occupation under the National Parks of Canada Lease and Licence of Occupation Regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 1973 and have been amended multiple times, most recently in 2006 and 2010.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Parks of Canada Lease and Licence of Occupation Regulations and the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

National Parks Signs Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The Regulations govern the erection, alteration, repair and maintenance of signs, canopies and awnings in national parks and national park reserves. They do not apply in the Town of Banff which is incorportaed under the Municipal Government Act of Alberta. While Parks Canada Agency maintains final say over land use matters, the Town has its own bylaws governing signage.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

The Regulations set out the permit application process and the restrictions and specifications concerning the erection of signs, awnings and canopies in national parks. They also describe prohibitions and restrictions concerning their content, location, appearance and maintenance.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses are required to obtain and pay for a permit to erect a sign, canopy, or awning in a national park. Businesses must also obtain a business licence under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations before they can obtain a permit under the National Parks Signs Regulations.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 1956. They were last amended in 1990.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the National Parks Signs Regulations and the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations can be obtained at:

Individual national park offices can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations

What is the purpose of the regulations?

The objective of the Regulations is to protect the ecosystem, including marine mammals identified as species at risk, in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park by regulating the types of activities that may take place in the park. The regulations govern the issuance, suspension, cancellation, transfer and expiry of permits for commercial fishing, marine tourism and scientific research purposes. With the exception of sections relating to the disturbance of marine mammals, and speed limits and manoeuvres, the regulations do not apply to holders of a license issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans when the holder is an operator of a cargo ship or engaged in fishing for the species for which the license was issued.

What are the key elements of the regulations?

These Regulations set out the permit application process, as well as restrictions and specifications concerning the operation of vessels in the park. They also describe prohibitions concerning the disturbance of the ecosystem, and specifically, the marine mammals that rely on the marine park for feeding, resting and reproduction each summer.

How do the regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Businesses are required to obtain and pay for a permit for marine tourism, scientific research or special activity in the marine park. Businesses must also be authorized, by law, to carry out, and be capable of carrying out, the activity for which the permit is sought.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations have been in force since 2002. They were amended in 2016, and the amendments came into force on January 1, 2017.

Where can I get more information?

General information about the Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations can be obtained at:

The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park can also be be contacted. Telephone numbers and email addresses are located at Parks Canada.

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations: