Expertise - Heritage Matters

Heritage Matters

The  Provincial Policy Statement provides policy direction with respect to the conservation of built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes in the province.  This policy direction is strengthened by Section 3(5) of the Planning Act (Ont.) which requires that decisions by municipalities and approval authorities “shall be consistent with” the Provincial Policy Statement.

Municipal official plans and other relevant land use planning documents also often include detailed objectives and policies relating to the conservation of cultural heritage resources.

The Ontario Heritage Act provides a legislative framework for the identification and  protection of cultural heritage resources and archaeological resources in the province.  The Ontario Heritage Act gives the province and the municipalities powers to identify and protect properties of cultural heritage value or interest.  Municipalities may also designate heritage conservation districts to protect properties on an area-wide basis.

The Ontario Heritage Act provides mechanisms whereby persons may object to a proposed designation of a property or apply to the council of the municipality to repeal a by-law designating a property. The Act also has procedures for appealing a by-law designating a heritage conservation district.

Where property has been designated, the Ontario Heritage Act regulates and circumscribes alterations and demolitions of property and provides a framework for challenging decisions relating to such applications.

Wood Bull provides clients with strategic advice and representation relating to all aspects of the land use planning process, including land use development applications and proposals involving properties of cultural heritage value or interest. Our focus at Wood Bull is to assist our clients to understand the implications of Ontario Heritage Act designations or potential designations in the land use planning process and make such representations and/or appeals as may be appropriate.

Wood Bull has prepared a publicly-available on-line resource, Ontario Heritage Act: A Sourcebook, for heritage professionals, lawyers, planners, architects, municipal heritage committee members, municipal council members, and members of the public.  The Sourcebook provides annotations of each subsection of the Ontario Heritage Act and includes:

  • legislative history
  • related statutes and regulations
  • case law
  • heritage process flow charts
  • commentary