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Internal Audit and Evaluation Documents

1 Background

1.1 Program Objectives

CHPIF is one of four key components of the Historic Places Initiative (HPI), along with the Canadian Register of Historic Places, Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and the Certification Process which were developed as a broad strategy to protect and conserve Canada's historic places for present and future generations by providing tools to engage Canadians in heritage conservation. The goals of this approach are: to slow the rate of destruction of historic places; to encourage their conservation; and to demonstrate through decisive action that Canada's historic places can provide significant benefits to a vital and dynamic country.

CHPIF was announced in Budget 2003 as a $30M contribution program for built heritage as a financial lever of the HPI:

...In order to provide financial incentives to the private sector to preserve heritage properties, the Government of Canada will create a three-year contribution program of $10 million per year to compensate businesses for a portion of the costs incurred in restoring heritage buildings.1

The CHPIF program was designed specifically to respond to the on-going and significant loss of heritage properties across Canada.2 CHPIF funding was designed to compensate businesses for a portion of the costs incurred in conserving heritage buildings. CHPIF engages taxable Canadian corporations in preserving Canada's heritage properties to the benefit of Canadians and communities throughout Canada. The goals of the program are to:

  • save threatened historic properties from demolition or destruction;

  • preserve historic properties for future generations through proper conservation;

  • develop new or enhance existing commercial purposes for historic properties.

The rationale for focusing the CHPIF program on the commercial sector was that, although government and the not-for-profit sectors were already active in heritage preservation, it was realized that other sectors must be engaged. Moreover, research has shown that while commercial and industrial built-heritage properties are among the most threatened, best-use options can often be found if some financial support is available to owners.

The contribution program provides contributions to eligible recipients for 20% of the eligible conservation costs for the rehabilitation of a historic place, up to a maximum of $1 million.

The program design for the CHPIF was influenced by the U.S. Historic Preservation Tax Incentive and it is hoped that the experience gained in testing parameters and features of a tax credit program, as contained in the CHPIF program design, will help the federal government assess the case for the introduction of tax-based measures for built-heritage in Canada. As part of our evaluation, we were asked to evaluate the pertinence of a US-style tax credit program to the Canadian built-heritage sector.

1.2 Overview of Program Activity

As of the end of July 2006, a total of 52 projects were still 'active' (see Table 1).3

Table 1: Program Activity to Date

Fiscal Year and Application Round

Number of pre-certified projects still in process

Number of Contribution agreements signed

Year 1 FY2003-04 (Round 1)



Year 2 FY2004-05 (Round 2)



Year 2 FY2004-05 (Round 3)



Year 3 FY2005-06



Year 4 FY2006-07



Total to date



Source: CHPIF Program Data, July 2006. Note: The deadline for round 1 was only one month away from the end of fiscal 2002-03, thus fiscal 2003-04 is considered as Year 1.

Almost $28.3M of the $30M original budget allocation for the program has been committed. Of the total budget allocation, $23.1M or 77% has been ear-marked for the individual projects, while a further $1.7M represents funds still available for other projects and/or returned from incomplete projects (see Table 2). An additional $5.1M is attributable to program administration or non project costs.

Provincial representation appears broadly representative (see Table 2), although initially participants were weighted to the West – BC in particular.

Table 2: Provincial/Territorial Distribution of CHPIF Projects


Number of Projects Committed

Number of Projects In-process



















New Brunswick 2 2
PEI 0 0
Nova Scotia 3 1
Newfoundland 0 1
Nunavut 0 0
NWT 0 0
Yukon 0 0
Total 31 21

Source: Parks Canada Agency, CHPIF Program Administrators, July 2006.

The program has encompassed a wide variety of large and small projects in rural and urban areas (see Table 3).

Table 3: CHPIF Program Activity by Project Type, Size, Project Investment and Contribution

1.3 Objectives and Limitations of this Evaluation

This formative evaluation of the CHPIF program objectives was undertaken to provide Parks Canada with an interim report on the performance of the program and suggestions for improvement and/or potential alternatives to the program.

As a formative evaluation, our analysis is limited to an assessment of program activity to date. It is based on a 'snapshot' of program data and opinions of stakeholders at the time of the study. Interviewees were selected for their expertise, ability to clearly formulate opinions and to be broadly representative of their respective stakeholder categories. However, as the primary research undertaken was qualitative not quantitative in nature, the opinions expressed cannot be considered to be statistically representative. Where there was consensus opinion, this was noted but for some issues, there was considerable divergence in opinions and/or a strongly held minority viewpoint.

The research and analysis phases of this project, including interviews and data review but excluding financial data, were completed by May 2006, thus this report does not reflect a number of important developments subsequent to that date, such as the subsequent adoption of the national conservation Standards and Guidelines (S&G) by certain provinces. In light of these limitations and following best practices for formative evaluation, we have reported on work in progress, rather than formulating definitive conclusions about the performance of the CHPIF program.

1 Canada. Department of Finance. Budget Plan 2003.

2 In 'CIHB Revisited', a 1999 study, it was found that 23% of urban buildings listed in CIHB had been lost through demolition. Source: Heritage Research Associates, Margaret Carter. This study has not been updated. However, the consensus of stakeholders was that loss of heritage properties continues to represent a significant on going problem.

3 The term 'active' designates projects which have been admitted to the program, were pre-qualified or in the process of pre-qualification, and were still active.

4 Definitions as provided program administrators do not incorporate specific area thresholds by category.