Canada's Environment Minister has announced that Canada's National Park wardens will carry sidearms beginning in March 2009
Canada's Environment Minister John Baird has announced that the federal government is authorizing up to 100 armed enforcement positions within Canada's National Park Service.
"Parks Canada's enforcement officers have the important responsibility of protecting visitors and staff in Canada's national parks, and they require the right tools to do the job safely," said Baird in a statement.
In May 2007, park wardens had law enforcement duties which included dealing with unruly campers and protecting the park's natural resources.
Then an Occupational Health and Safety report said that the officers would need firearms; after the report was released park wardens were relieved of law enforcement duties.
Parks Canada enforcement officers will be responsible for enforcing the federal conservation laws that apply to national parks and marine conservation areas, but police will still take care of Criminal Code violations.
Canada has 42 national parks in Canada and Parks Canada employs about 425 park wardens.
Funding for the program will come from the $12.2 million set aside in the federal budget for park law enforcement over the next two years, with $2.7 million for each following year.