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Law

The legal framework for archaeology on land in Canada is the subject of this publication. In fact, the proper management and handling of archaeological resources is a matter of:

  • international treaties and
  • statutory law at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.

Indeed, this analysis of rules relevant to archaeology was commissioned by the Government of Canada in the very year of the hundredth anniversary of the first major international treaty on the protection of heritage (Hague II).10 Archaeological resources are an important part of humanity's heritage, and this anniversary represented an ideal moment to take stock of Canada's legislation on the management of that heritage. Canada has a substantial body of legislation dealing with archaeology; some stems from obligations under international treaties and some is domestic. These laws and regulations, summarized in the following pages, address these basic questions:

  • What is an archaeological resource?
    [Definitions under international, federal and provincial legislation]

  • Why is archaeological management important?
    [Sources of law and policy]

  • Who should be notified of archaeological surveys/research?
    [Permission procedures for survey and planning work]

  • How should research and planning be conducted?
    [Qualifications for people doing the work]
    [Obligatory content of reports]

  • How should development plans take archaeology into account?
    [Legislation governing different kinds of development on lands]

  • What should happen when something is discovered?
    [Different kinds of discovery]
    [Reporting]
    [What to do with the find]