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About Us



The values of the Canadian Parks, Protected and Conserved Areas Leadership Collective (CPPCL) reflect the guiding principles of our founding organization, the Canadian Parks Council and support effective and equitable parks and protected areas. Our values for all interaction and initiatives include: 


Collaborating to Increase Equity and Resilience

CPPCL was created by the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) to deliver on the Priority Action in their Strategic Plan to:

Support the growth and development of an inclusive and connected network of professionals in the parks community who engage, learn and share expertise across boundaries.

The original Partnering Agreement set out four objectives:

  • Renewed park system leadership program
  • Redevelopment and delivery of a modernized Park System Leadership Course
  • Training Opportunities
  • A National Community of Practice

In 2020, CPC and the CPPCL collaborators shifted to outcomes-based language and a suite of key supporting activities that offer more flexible options for participation and more room for growth. The updated objectives are:

  • Current and future parks-system professionals have access, in all regions of Canada, to relevant, practical and effective professional development programs.
  • Facilitate networking and sharing of best practices among program alumni, academics, and practitioners.
  • Broaden the network of Canadian professional institutions, communities and organizations engaged in parks-system management.

This core work was enhanced in 2020 with a collaboration with Parks Canada to implement a Pan-Canadian Parks and Protected Areas Research Network. You can learn how the CPPCL research network brings together knowers, doers, and learners here

Canadian Context: Parks for All

CPPCL addresses the calls in Parks for All: An Action Plan for Canada’s Parks Community to lead conservation into the future by investing in staff training, sharing knowledge and best practices, and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership.

INCLUDE as a matter of course youth and young professionals in intergenerational dialogues for parks decision-making.

INVEST time and money in employees for the development of high-performing, dynamic, and caring leaders.

PROMOTE social equity, diversity, and inclusion in staffing and leadership across the parks community.

DEVELOP a National Centre of Excellence in park management, in which the parks community can convene to share knowledge and best practices and deliver training.

ESTABLISH research chairs at Canadian universities to encourage faculty and students to lead and coordinate research about parks in Canada, as well as encourage parks to communicate their immediate concerns and issues.

INVEST in mentoring frameworks so that young professionals and current leaders, as well as retired leaders, can benefit and learn from each other.

GENERATE and share research that establishes a link between conservation and connection with Nature and better outcomes for all Canadians.

ESTABLISH practical, robust, and accessible platforms for sharing and supporting information about parks, with options for sharing all forms of traditional knowledge. Such platforms should facilitate local community monitoring and Indigenous guardian programs to report on the condition of parks.

Supporting Global Conservation 

The Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11 calls for the conservation of lands and waters in effectively and equitably managedsystems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

Target 11
By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

CPPCL is designed to respect that both parks and protected areas practitioners and researchers work in a complex system in times when the standards for effective are rising and the cost of past inequity has never been so clear. The leadership programs, collaborative platforms, and knowledge exchanges CPPCL facilitates are designed to be transformative, inclusive, and action oriented.


One of the key conclusions of the 2016 Canadian Parks Council Personal and Professional Development Working Group was that leadership development participants wanted to connect across agencies and regions, but there was no sustainable way to do so. While some individuals connected informally, creating CPPCL made the leadership program an entry point into a career-long opportunity to network across regions and jurisdictions.

We use social capital to support this network, build adaptive capacity and increase the ability of the parks and protected areas system to respond to current and future threats and opportunities. 

social capital showing relational, structural, and cognitive elements

“[Social Capital is] what’s between us; How we’re connected”

~ Sylvie Plante

As CPPCL was formed, then-graduate student Dr. Sylvie Plante helped define the role of both the CPC and the Leadership Collective as boundary spanners that could build social capital across jurisdictions, agencies, and regions.

According to Dr. Plante, social capital involves a) creating a sense of shared meaning (cognitive social capital) by choosing relevant program topics, actively gathering knowledge, and sharing resources and research, b) connecting across and within organizations through networks and tools (structural social capital) such as panels, communities of practice, webinars and eSummits, and this online platform, and c) nurturing creative and productive collaborations built on trust and connection  (relational social capital) through alumni panels, capstone projects, intergenerational dialogue, and team-based learning.

 You can learn more about social capital by completing the free Leadership Primer.

The Parks for All Action Plan refers to the parks continuum as “places reserved for conserving and experiencing Nature, with varying objectives but important complementary goals.”

We consider conserved and protected areas to be any area-based conservation mechanisms that support the effective and equitable management of biodiversity. While not all protected areas are parks, nearly every park is a protected area. As socially significant places, parks generally serve to reconnect people to the natural world through recreation and nature based experiences.

All parks, protected, and conserved areas are necessary as Canada aims to protect biodiversity and ensure equitable access to the benefits of nature.


Financial: The Canadian Parks, Protected and Conserved Areas Leadership Collective (CPPCL) operates through a base levy collected from federal, provincial, and territorial parks and protected areas and registration fees collected for programs and service delivery. We explore grants and funding opportunities that help us meet our mandate while being mindful that growing bigger is not necessarily better.

Social: We seek to understanding and challenging systemic privilege and oppression by representing a diversity of people equitably in our programs, services, and leadership. We are building a platform to uplift underrepresented perspectives (e.g., women, youth, francophones, BIPOC, LGBTQIA2+, and persons with disabilities) while also supporting people in positions of privilege in their journey to become allies and share the weight of transformative change.

Environmental: Simply working in the field of conservation is not enough to meet our obligations in the current twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. We challenge and commit our participants, partners, and ourselves to reduce carbon impacts and waste, to model energy efficiency and local, circular economics, and to be purposeful and mindful of the impacts we must have to make progress in the work that matters.

Since 2018, the work of CPPCL has supported:

Model of

The parks, protected, and conserved areas community is complex, interdisciplinary,  and constantly changing. CPPCL is designed to thrive in that environment by combining stable enablers (agreements, leadership, administrative capacity, and support for new ideas) with emergent activities and projects (research, projects, events and services) that support the shared vision and direction of the collective.

Our governance is built on on the Constellation Model first developed for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment by the Centre for Social Innovation in 2001 and used in settings such as the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. 

Under this model, enablers lie beneath the “horizon” of a shared vision and provide the coordination, stability, and clarity to support innovation. Emergence occurs above the “horizon” as constellations of work that can evolve and adapt creatively to serve the collective need.

The constellation model:

No matter what parks and protected areas face, and no matter how educated we can be about responding to these threats and opportunities, our success relies on being prepared to adapt to the things we can not see coming.