Heritage Legislation

Ontario Heritage Act

From the Ministry of Culture Heritage website:

The Ontario Heritage Act came into force in 1975.  Its purpose is to give municipalities and the provincial government powers to preserve the heritage of Ontario.  The primary focus of the Act is the protection of heritage buildings and archaeological sites.  The legislation also mandates the Ontario Heritage Foundation, a Crown agency, and the Conservation Review Board, a tribunal that hears objections to municipal and provincial decisions under the Act.

It encourages citizen participation in heritage conservation locally.  Under section 28 of the Act, the council of a municipality is authorized to establish, by by-law, a municipal heritage committee made up of five or more people. The function of the committee is to advise council on local heritage matters and to assist the council in carrying out its heritage conservation program.

In 2005, the Government of Ontario passed comprehensive amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act (Bill 60) to strengthen and improve heritage protection in Ontario. Amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act.

Download Bill 60 Bulletin - April 2005.

Other Relevant Legislation

The Ontario Planning Act R.S.O. 1990 is the principal legislation guiding municipal land use planning and development on private property.  The conservation of cultural heritage resources in land use planning is considered a matter of public interest, and such resources are easily addressed under this piece of legislation.

The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) is issued under the authority of Section 3 of the Planning Act.  It provides direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development, and promotes the provincial “policy-led” planning system.  The new Provincial Policy Statement came into effect on March 1, 2005.  Section 2.6 of the new PPS addresses “Cultural Heritage and Archaeology”.