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Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to have a place, person or event considered for national historic significance?

How can I check whether a place, person or event has already been designated?

How long does the designation process take?

Are there sources of funding for the conservation, maintenance or operation of a designated building?

What are my responsibilities as an owner if my property is designated a national historic site? Will I be required to ask the federal government's permission if I later want to alter the building?

The owner of an old building is neglecting its maintenance and jeopardizing its conservation. Can the government intervene?

How do I apply to have a place, person or event considered for national historic significance?

Over 95% of the applications received by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Secretariat are sent in by the general public. Interested individuals and groups are invited to send us their applications, which must include all elements listed in the " Components of a Nomination".

How can I check whether a place, person or event has already been designated?

You can find a directory of all designated places, people and events of national historic significance on the Parks Canada website. Information on other types of designation may be found in the Historic Designations in Canada section.

How long does the designation process take?

It may take at least two or more years from the time an application is received until the Minister makes a decision. You will be notified whether your application meets the basic criteria within the first four months and, if so, at what date the nomination will be considered by the Board. The steps involved in processing an application are described in the Application Process section.

Are there sources of funding for the conservation, maintenance or operation of a designated building?

Yes. Contribution programs provide financial support to owners of national historic sites to preserve, rehabilitate or restore their historic value. For more information, see the "Funding" section.

What are my responsibilities as an owner if my property is designated a national historic site? Will I be required to ask the federal government's permission if I later want to alter the building?

The Historic Sites and Monuments Act does not have the scope to legally protect designated buildings. Before making any alterations to a national historic site, we recommend that you follow the Parks Canada Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places. You can download an electronic copy on the Parks Canada website at: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/bib-lib/docs3.aspx or call 819-997-0145 to obtain more information. Please note, however, any alterations that affect the integrity of the place may result in it being removed from the list of designated sites.

Other types of designation place more restrictions on the use and alterations that may be made. For more information, see Protection of Various Heritage Sites in Canada.

The owner of an old building is neglecting its maintenance and jeopardizing its conservation. Can the government intervene?

You first have to check whether the building has been designated by provincial, territorial or federal government by visiting the "Canadian Register of Historic Places". The legislation under which the building has been designated will dictate the type of protection it is afforded. Provincial or municipal designations provide the building with protection under their respective laws.

However, if it is a national historic site designated under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, the federal government does not have the legal authority to impose on the property owner the conservation of the site. The site may, however, be removed from the list of designated sites if its integrity is compromised.