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Ontario Heritage Act

Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. 0.18

The Ontario Heritage Act came into force in 1975:

  • Its purpose: to give municipalities and the provincial government powers to preserve the heritage of Ontario.
  • Its primary focus: to protect heritage properties and archaeological sites.
  • Important provisions. It also mandates a Crown agency — Ontario Heritage Trust and the Conservation Review Board — a tribunal that hears objections to municipal and provincial decisions under the Act.
  • on-line from Publications Ontario
  • Telephone 1-800-668-9938
  • At a ServiceOntario Centre
    ServiceOntario Centre
    College Park Building
    777 Bay Street, Market Level, M5G 2C8

Ontario Heritage Act Amendments

The Government Efficiency Act came into force on November 26, 2002. It included changes to the Ontario Heritage Act to clarify, update and streamline its provisions related to archaeology and built heritage protection.

These changes were an interim measure. In 2005, the government passed comprehensive amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act. These amendments modified those made in the Government Efficiency Act. They strengthen and improve heritage protection in Ontario, bring Ontario's heritage legislation in line with leading jurisdictions in Canada and:

  • Give the province and municipalities new powers to delay and also to stop demolition of heritage sites. They balance enhanced demolition controls with an appeals process that respects the rights of property owners.
  • Further expand the province's ability to identify and designate sites of provincial heritage significance.
  • Provide clear standards and guidelines for the preservation of provincial heritage properties.
  • Enhance protection of heritage conservation districts, marine heritage sites and archaeological resources.