This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
June 1, 2019
We are proposing amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act to help streamline development approvals, improve transparency and support the Housing Supply Action Plan.
The Ontario government is proposing changes to the Ontario Heritage Act to support streamlining development approvals and increasing housing supply while continuing to empower municipalities to identify and conserve their cultural heritage resources.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) is one of many partner ministries working with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) on streamlining approvals to support the Housing Supply Action Plan and to attract more investment to Ontario.
The Ontario Heritage Act provides municipalities with the tools to conserve heritage properties, including giving local government the power to designate properties and consent to alteration or demolition of those properties. Conserving the heritage of Ontario contributes to healthy communities by bringing environmental, social, economic, and cultural benefits. The intended outcome of the Act is the conservation and wise use of heritage properties for the people of Ontario and for future generations of Ontarians.
The Act has not been amended substantially in nearly 15 years. Since that time, development pressures have increased significantly in many communities across Ontario. The proposed amendments aim to improve provincial direction on how to use the Act, provide clearer rules and tools, and create more consistent appeals processes to help conserve heritage resources while allowing housing supply to increase.
In order to ensure that the heritage properties that are important to Ontarians continue to be protected without impeding compatible development, legislative amendments are being proposed that would:
Enhance provincial direction to municipalities, property owners and the public on how to interpret requirements in the Act by:
- Establishing in regulation prescribed principles that shall be considered by municipalities when making decisions under prescribed provisions of Parts IV (Conservation of Property of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest) and V (Heritage Conservation Districts) of the Act;
- Creating regulatory authority to establish mandatory requirements for the content of designation by-laws; and
- Improving the process for adding properties that are not yet designated (known as “listed”) to the municipal heritage register, by giving notice to property owners once their property is “listed” and enabling them to object to the municipal council.
Provide clearer rules and improve existing tools for municipalities to facilitate timely and transparent processes for reaching decisions under the Act by:
- Establishing a new 60-day timeline for notifying property owners of whether their applications for alteration and demolition are complete;
- Establishing a new 90-day timeline for municipalities to issue a notice of intention to designate a property as having cultural heritage value or interest, when certain events as prescribed by regulation have occurred respecting the property, subject to limited exceptions as prescribed by regulation;
- Establishing a 120-day timeline for passing a designation by-law after the municipality issues the notice of intention to designate, subject to limited exceptions as prescribed by regulation; and
- Clarifying the meaning and intent behind the term “demolition or removal”, in circumstances where a property’s heritage attributes have been identified.
Create a consistent and binding appeals process by:
- Requiring that municipal decisions related to heritage designations and alterations be appealable to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), and that LPAT orders on such appeals be binding.
The goal of these amendments is to improve transparency and efficiency in municipal decision-making, while continuing to protect the cultural heritage resources that communities’ value. The proposed amendments maintain respect for local decision-making authority under the Act by providing clearer direction and well-defined rules that create consistency among municipalities when applying the tools in the Act.
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