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:
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:
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.