Parks Canada Lifts Five Year user Fee Freeze

Lynsey Kitching
 
Parks Canada is consulting on proposed changes to its national and local fees for services such as entry and camping starting in 2013. These consultations will run from January 11 until February 18.
 
Across the country, there are 44 National Parks, 167 National Historic Sites and four National Marine Conservation areas. The closest to Tumbler Ridge are Jasper National Park and the Fort St. James National Historic Site. 
 
Parks Canada explains why there are user fees. “We charge user fees to help pay for services that provide personal or commercial benefits. Parks Canada currently charges over 3,300 different user fees for services such as entry, camping and for rights and privileges such as business licenses. Only about 30 percent of the cost of visitor programs is funded by user fees revenue; revenue that is retained at the national park, national historic site or national marine conservation area where it was collected.”
 
The current user fees will be in place until March, 31, 2013.
 
The framework Parks Canada is using to help them outline how the user fees will be elevated is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is a measure of the rate of price change for goods and services bought by Canadian consumers.
 
Most fees will be limited to an adjustment not exceeding the two year cumulative percentage of the average CPI, starting in 2013 and every two years thereafter. The average CPI is typically about 2.5 percent.
 
If this seems a little diluted, here is an example from Parks Canada, “For example, if the annual average CPI for 2011 was 2.9 percent and for 2012 was 2.1 percent, Parks Canada fees would increase by 5 percent in 2013. Once approved, future indexed fee adjustments would be automatic, every two years. Fees that are $1 or more will be rounded up to the nearest $0.25 interval. Fees under $1 will not be rounded. Under exceptional circumstances such as high inflation or economic challenges, Parks Canada may adjust fees at a rate that is less
than the CPI.”
 
Along with this, National historic sites that are moving to self-guided visitor activities may have entry fees reduced or eliminated once the transition is complete.
 
On January 11 of this year, Parks Canada launched its public consultation on proposed fee adjustments.
 
Alan Latourelle, Chief Executive Officer for Parks Canada says, “I believe that what we have proposed is a very reasonable approach to ensuring services and programs for visitors remain economically viable and of the high quality visitors expect, and that Canadians continue to have memorable and meaningful experiences when they visit their treasured places.”
 
To voice your opinion on these changes, visit www.pc.gc.ca.