Part VI - Conservation of Resources of Archaeological Value

Introduction to Part VI

Part VI of the Ontario Heritage Act entitled “ Conservation of Resources of Archaeological Value” addresses how, through licensing and the designation of qualifying properties, artifacts or other physical evidence of past human use or activity that is of cultural heritage value or interest is to be addressed and conserved.

For ease of navigation, we have divided Part VI into the following:

Land Development Activities and Archaeology

In addition to the provisions Part VI of the Ontario Heritage Act, under the Planning Act decision must have regard for provincial interests, including the conservation of features of significant archaeological interest: 

"Provincial Interest

2. The Minister, the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board and the Municipal Board, in carrying out their responsibilities under this Act, shall have regard to, among other matters, matters of provincial interest such as, ... (d) the conservation of features of significant architectural, cultural, historical, archaeological or scientific interest;"

This provincial interest is further provided for in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 (PPS), which requires that, 

Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on lands containing archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential unless significant archaeological resources have been conserved” (policy 2.6.2).  

As to the two types of considerations, 

  • The identification and evaluation of archaeological resources, is based upon archaeological fieldwork undertaken by a licensed archaeologist in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act.  
  • Areas of archaeological potential are defined in the PPS as areas with the likelihood to contain archaeological resources. Such areas may be determined initially by the Ministry or a municipality, using tools such as the Ministry’s Criteria for Evaluating Archaeological Potential or a municipal Archaeological Management Plan (AMP). Archaeological potential is then confirmed through archaeological fieldwork undertaken by a licensed archaeologist in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act.
  • Significant archaeological resources are defined in the PPS as those resources that have been determined to have cultural value or interest for the important contribution they make to our understanding of the history of a place, an event or a people.  This determination is achieved generally through archaeological assessments, which are undertaken by licensed archaeologists, and submitted to the approval authority (the municipality) and to the Ministry (as a condition of their licence under the Ontario Heritage Act) which assessments will also recommend approaches to the conservation of the identified significant resources.

Many municipal official plans contain policies regarding the conservation of archaeological resources.

In the case of an application for approval of a plan of subdivision under s.51(7) of the Planning Act, the following archaeological information must be provided, as set out in Schedule 1 to O. Reg 544/06:

"23. Whether the subject land contains any areas of archaeological potential.

24. If the plan would permit development on land that contains known archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential,

a) an archaeological assessment prepared by a person who holds a license that is effective with respect to the subject land, issued under Part VI (Conservation of Resources of Archaeological Value) of the Ontario Heritage Act; and

b) a conservation plan for any archaeological resources identified in the assessment."

Notably, O. Reg 197/96 regarding consent applications does not have a similar requirement for archaeological information.

The Planning Act also permits municipalities to pass zoning by-laws with respect to significant archaeological resources: 

"Zoning by-laws

34.  (1)  Zoning by-laws may be passed by the councils of local municipalities:…

3.3 For prohibiting any use of land and the erecting, locating or using of any class or classes of buildings or structures on land that is the site of a significant archaeological resource."

It is interesting to note that the Ontario Building Code does not list Part VI of the Ontario Heritage Act as applicable law.  Therefore, a building permit may be  issued without requiring compliance with archaeology provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Annotated Act - Section 47 [Definitions]

PART VI
CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL VALUE

Legislative History of the Title to Part VI

Originally enacted S.O. 1974, c. 122. [Enactment commenced 05/03/1975]


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  1. 47. DEFINITIONS PART VI


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  1. 48(1) LICENCE, ACTIVITY ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

  2. 48(2) NO LICENCE REQUIRED

  3. 48(3) SAME

  4. 48(4) LIMITS OF LICENCE

  5. 48(5) LICENCE NOT TRANSFERABLE

  6. 48(6) APPLICATION

  7. 48(7) SAME

  8. 48(8) ISSUANCE OF LICENCE

  9. 48(8.2) WHEN APPLICANT HOLDS A LICENCE FROM ANOTHER CANADIAN JURISDICTION

  10. 48(9) REVOCATION AND REFUSAL TO RENEW

  11. 49(1) REFUSAL OR REVOCATION, ETC., OF LICENCE

  12. 49(2) NOTICE REQUIRING HEARING

  13. 49(3) POWERS OF MINISTER WHERE NO HEARING

  14. 49(4) REFERRAL TO REVIEW BOARD

  15. 49(5) HEARING

  16. 49(6) PLACE OF HEARING

  17. 49(7) REPEALED

  18. 49(8) REPORT

  19. 49(9) FAILURE TO REPORT

  20. 49(10) DECISION OF MINISTER

  21. 49(11) REQUEST FOR CANCELLATION

  22. 49(12) WITHDRAWAL OF HEARING REQUEST

  23. 50(1) EXTENSION OF TIME

  24. 50(2) CONTINUANCE PENDING RENEWAL

  25. 51. PROVISIONAL REFUSAL OR REVOCATION, ETC.

  26. 51.1(1) APPOINTMENT OF INSPECTORS

  27. 51.1(2) CERTIFICATE OF APPOINTMENT

  28. 51.1(3) PRODUCTION OF CERTIFICATE

  29. 51.2(1) INSPECTION

  30. 51.2(2) POWER OF ENTRY

  31. 51.2(3) DWELLINGS

  32. 51.2(4) POWERS OF INSPECTOR

  33. 51.2(5) RETURN OF THINGS REMOVED

  34. 51.2(6) EXPERTS, ETC.

  35. 51.2 (7) USE OF FORCE

  36. 51.2(8) TIME OF ENTRY

  37. 51.2(9) OBSTRUCTION OF INSPECTOR

  38. 51.2(10) OBLIGATION TO ASSIST

  39. 51.2(11) OBLIGATION TO PRODUCE

  40. 51.2(12) FALSE INFORMATION

  41. 51.3 REPORT BY INSPECTOR

The Ministry has prepared the following standards and guidelines for consultant archaeologists undertaking archaeological fieldwork as part of the land use planning and development process.


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  1. 52(1) DESIGNATION PROCESS

  2. 52(2) NOTICE OF INTENTION

  3. 52(3) CONTENTS OF NOTICE

  4. 52(4) OBJECTION

  5. 52(5) WHERE NO NOTICE OF OBJECTION

  6. 52(6) REFERRED TO REVIEW BOARD

  7. 52(7) HEARING

  8. 52(8) PLACE OF HEARING

  9. 52(9) REVIEW BOARD MAY COMBINE HEARINGS

  10. 52(10) REPEALED

  11. 52(11) REPORT

  12. 52(12) FAILURE TO REPORT

  13. 52(13) DECISION OF MINISTER

  14. 52(14) WITHDRAWAL OF OBJECTION

  15. 52(15) NO HEARING

  16. 53. APPLICATION OF S. 56

  17. 54. REVOCATION OF DESIGNATION, MINISTER'S INITIATIVE

  18. 55(1) REVOCATION OF DESIGNATION, OWNER’S INITIATIVE

  19. 55(2) DECISION OF MINISTER

  20. 55(3) EXTENSION OF TIME

  21. 55(4) APPLICATION FOR HEARING

  22. 55(5) REFERRAL TO REVIEW BOARD

  23. 55(6) HEARING

  24. 55(7) PLACE OF HEARING

  25. 55(8) REPEALED

  26. 55(9) REPORT

  27. 55(10) FAILURE TO REPORT

  28. 55(11) DECISION OF MINISTER

  29. 55(12) WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATION

Flow Chart: The process for designation of a property by the Minister to be of archaeological or historical significance under s.52 of the Ontario Heritage Act. 


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  1. 56(1) PERMIT FOR EXCAVATION, ETC.

  2. 56(2) ISSUANCE OF PERMIT

  3. 56(3) TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF PERMIT

  4. 56(4) PERMIT NOT TRANSFERABLE

  5. 57. PERMIT, GROUNDS FOR REVOCATION AND REFUSAL TO RENEW

  6. 58(1) REFUSAL OR REVOCATION, ETC., OF PERMIT

  7. 58(2) CONTENTS OF NOTICE

  8. 58(3) MINISTER MAY CARRY OUT PROPOSALS

  9. 58(4) REFERRAL TO REVIEW BOARD

  10. 58(5) HEARING

  11. 58(6) PLACE OF HEARING

  12. 58(7) REPEALED

  13. 58(8) REPORT

  14. 58(9) DECISION OF MINISTER

  15. 58(10) WITHDRAWAL OF HEARING REQUEST

  16. 59(1) EXTENSION OF TIME

  17. 59(2) CONTINUANCE PENDING RENEWAL

  18. 60. PROVISIONAL REFUSAL OR REVOCATION, ETC.


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  1. 61. LICENCE OR PERMIT NOT AUTHORITY TO ENTER

  2. 62(1) STOP ORDER

  3. 62(2) COMPENSATION

  4. 62(3) SERVICE OF ORDER

  5. 62(4) SERVICE DEEMED EFFECTIVE

  6. 63. COMPENSATION WHERE PROPERTY DESIGNATED

  7. 64(1) INSPECTION

  8. 64(2) OBSTRUCTION OF INVESTIGATOR

  9. 65(1) REPORTS

  10. 65(2) REPORT OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

  11. 65(3) FORM AND MANNER

  12. 65.1(1) PROVINCIAL REGISTER

  13. 65.1(2) EXCLUDING INFORMATION FROM REGISTER

  14. 65.1(3) INSPECTION

  15. 66(1) ARTIFACTS MAY BE HELD IN TRUST

  16. 66(2) SAME

Flow Chart: Archaeological Reports to the Minister, under s.65  

Material on the Wood Bull website is intended as general information and commentary.  In order to make the Ontario Heritage Act: A Sourcebook a useful resource, we welcome any comments and suggestions. Please email us.
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