Historic Places of Canada Act - Summary of Legislation
On June 7, 2022, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, tabled legislation dedicated to the designation and protection of federally-owned historic places. This is Canada’s first legislation of this kind, resulting in a stronger voice for Indigenous peoples in determining the people, places and events considered to be of national historic significance and national interest in Canada. In addition, the legislation provides for transparent decision-making, sharing information with Canadians and parliamentarians, and sustainable protection of federally-owned historic places.
The Historic Places of Canada Act was developed on the principles of inclusion, transparency and sustainability.
· Inclusion means measures that promote inclusive participation in the or of
designation of diverse places, persons and events of national historic
significance or of national interest.
· Transparency means measures that establish clear and consistent
processes, and accessible public information about designations of places,
persons and events of national historic significance or of national interest
and about federal historic places.
· Sustainability means measures that set out the Government of Canada’s
leadership role in the conservation of federal historic places, and establish
common benchmarks for the stewardship of these places.
Highlights of the Bill:
The Bill ensures inclusion through:
· Appointment of representation for First Nations, Inuit and Métis to the
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (Board). This implements
Call to Action #79(i) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada;
· Consultation with a variety of Indigenous governing bodies and entities that
represent the interest of Indigenous groups and their members on the
appointment of three new representatives to the Board for First Nations,
Inuit and Métis;
· Commitment to public participation in the process to identify places,
persons and events of national historic significance or of national interest;
· Requirement that recommendations for designation are based on the best
available information, including Indigenous knowledge and community
· Identification of significant heritage places by Indigenous governing bodies
which may, on request, be listed on the register.
The Bill ensures transparency through:
· A clear and consistent designation process with one advisory body (the
· Established criteria that is approved by the Minister that informs
recommendations respecting the designation of places, persons and events;
· A public register established and maintained by Parks Canada that contains
information on designated historic places, persons and events and
information about federal historic places, their condition and any planned
action that may result in a physical change that may affect their heritage
· Informing the public of new designations through appropriate means;
· A public annual report detailing the activities of the Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada;
· A service standard for the Board to communicate its recommendations
respecting designation to the Minister within 90 days; and
· Prescribe requirements for the modification or revocation of a designation
by the Minister.
The Bill ensures sustainability through:
· Common benchmarks for stewardship of federal historic places
administered by federal authorities;
· Improved access to information about historic places through a public
register that supports decision-making and public interest; and
· Mandatory heritage evaluation of buildings that are 50 years of age and
administered by federal authorities.
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