Reviews of refused export permits

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Export control

The Cultural Property Export and Import Act protects the national heritage by establishing export controls that encourages the preservation in Canada of significant cultural property. These controls are intended to balance the interests of Canadians and the rights of cultural property owners.

Cultural property that is subject to export control may not leave the country under any circumstances without an appropriate export permit. The export-control system, including cultural property export permits, is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Border Services Agency.

If an application for an export permit is refused by the Canada Border Services Agency on the advice of an expert examiner, the permit applicant may request a review by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.

Export review process

The Review Board is responsible for reviewing refused export permits at the request of permit applicants.

The Review Board may uphold the refusal and establish an export delay of two to six months if it determines that:

Controlled cultural property

Cultural property is subject to export control if it meets all of the following conditions:

For more information about export control, please contact the Movable Cultural Property Program.

Outstanding significance and national importance

An object or collection may be deemed of outstanding significance by reason of any one or more of the following criteria:

  • a close association with Canadian history;
  • a close association with national life;
  • aesthetic qualities;
  • value in the study of the arts; or
  • value in the study of the sciences.

An object or collection may be deemed of national importance if its loss to Canada would significantly diminish the national heritage. Learn how to request a review of a refused export permit.

Fair cash offers

Export delays established by the Review Board provide Canadian collecting organizations with an opportunity to acquire culturally significant objects or collections that are facing permanent export.

If a permit applicant cannot reach a sales agreement with an organization wishing to purchase the cultural property, either party may request that the Review Board determine what would constitute a fair cash offer.

Requests to determine fair cash offers are processed by the Secretariat to the Review Board. Such requests must be received no later than 30 days before the export delay expires.

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