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Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists

On January 1, 2011, the ministry released Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists (PDF). Compliance with the Standards and Guidelines is mandatory for all consultant archaeologists who carry out archaeology in Ontario.

Tools and Resources

For help using the Standards and Guidelines, please review the tools and resources in this section.

These publications contain highly specialized and technical information and are available only in English under Regulation 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, which excludes the application of the Act under certain conditions. For assistance in French, please contact the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport at, (416) 212-8886.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the Standards and Guidelines, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Model Archaeological Assessment Report

The ministry has developed a Stage 1 model report as a tool for consultant archaeologists to use when preparing archaeological assessment reports and project report packages to comply with the 2011 Standards and Guidelines.

The model report, Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment: Water Main Back-Up Route to the Ottawa International Airport is a best practice example of an archaeological assessment report that fully complies with the 2011 Standards and Guidelines. It provides insight into styles, formats and the level of detail that would fulfill the ministry’s reporting requirements. Details on specific reporting elements are located in the report margins.
Note: information contained in the report is fictitious, including the company name, project and proponent information.


The ministry has produced the following bulletins that clarify and expand on the requirements in the Standards and Guidelines.

  • Archaeological Sites
    This bulletin is intended to help archaeologists understand their role in contributing to a high quality public record of archaeological sites in Ontario. Every time they find a site or work on one, archaeologists are required to inform the public record by filing an archaeological site form with the ministry. The bulletin explains how to use Ontario’s Past Portal (PastPort) to file site forms.
  • The Archaeology of Rural Historical Farmsteads
    This draft bulletin is intended to help consultant archaeologists meet fieldwork and reporting standards for archaeological sites classified as rural historical farmsteads. It includes advice for every stage of the archaeological assessment process. It also outlines how to evaluate the cultural heritage value or interest (CHVI) of such sites, how to decide on whether to recommend further work and how to determine the most appropriate mitigation strategy. The ministry is continuing to develop this draft and is accepting comments on it. Please send any comments you may have to
  • Winter Archaeology
    The Standards and Guidelines do not permit archaeological fieldwork in adverse weather conditions. This bulletin is intended to help consultant archaeologists develop appropriate measures to offset adverse weather conditions when winter fieldwork is unavoidable.
    Note: before proceeding with any winter fieldwork, licensed archaeologists must discuss and request confirmation of their proposed strategy with the ministry.
  • Engaging Aboriginal Communities in Archaeology
    This bulletin is intended to help consultant archaeologists engage Aboriginal communities in archaeology as effectively as possible. It summarizes the requirements for Aboriginal engagement set out in the Standards and Guidelines. It also provides information and resources to assist consultant archaeologists in meeting these requirements. The bulletin is a “living" document. The ministry will continue to review and improve it as we engage with Aboriginal communities. This will ensure that it remains useful and effective and continues to reflect emerging best practices and accepted principles.

Fact Sheets

The ministry has created the following fact sheets to help archaeologists understand the ministry’s report review process. They provide useful tips to help licensed archaeologists ensure that their reports pass ministry review.
  • Archaeological Report Review
    This fact sheet provides an overview of the ministry’s archaeological report review process. It also answers frequently asked questions about the possible outcomes of report review and provides useful tips and contact information.
  • Incomplete and Non-Compliant Reports  
    This fact sheet provides an overview of the ministry’s protocols for handling reports that do not meet fieldwork and reporting requirements. An archaeological assessment report that the ministry deems incomplete or non-compliant may affect both the licence record of the archaeologist who prepared it and the ability for the development proponent for whom the assessment was carried out to satisfy the conditions of approval placed on their project.

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