Thanks to a newly announced partnership between Parks Canada and PaRx, Canada’s first national nature prescription program, doctors in BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba can now prescribe Parks Canada Discovery Passes to their patients.
PaRx was launched by BC Parks Foundation in November 2020 and currently has over 1,000 registered prescribers. The program is endorsed by BC Family Doctors, Saskatchewan Medical Association, Nurse Practitioners Association of Manitoba, Ontario College of Family Physicians and many other professional associations.
PaRx promotes spending at least 2 hours per week in nature, for 20 minutes or more at a time. A growing body of research has shown that spending time in nature can help treat anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, as well as help prevent conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Parks Canada Discovery Pass, which usually costs $72.25 for an adult, provides users with unlimited access for one year to over 80 national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas. Healthcare professionals who are registered with PaRx can simply check a box on the website when logging the prescription and the pass will be mailed to the patient. PaRx is encouraging prescribers to prioritize patients who live close to the destinations included with the pass as well as those who would otherwise be unable to afford the cost.
The program is expected to expand across every province and territory by the end of 2022.
Learn more by visiting parkprescriptions.ca.