Pre-federal budget letter to Minister Freeland and Minister Wilkinson

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September 18, 2020

Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Finance
Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca

Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Jonathan.wilkinson@parl.gc.ca

Dear Minister Freeland and Minister Wilkinson:

In advance of the next federal budget, and development of any economic recovery plan, Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals | Association Canadienne d’experts-conseils en patrimoine (CAHP | ACECP) requests that the federal government make a substantive, and long overdue commitment to heritage conservation as part of these economic plans.

As the federal government works towards a “green economic recovery”, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and developing a carbon-neutral economy, adapting existing buildings – especially heritage buildings – to meet sustainability objectives should be a priority. It has been proven that often the greenest buildings are those which already exist and retaining, and readapting heritage buildings should be a key component of the government’s
climate change and sustainability strategy.

As outlined by The National Trust for Canada, “building renewal and re-use capitalizes on materials and energy already invested, reduces construction and demolition waste, and avoids environmental impact associated with new development. A recent study shows that it takes from 10 to 80 years for a new green building to make up for the negative climate change impacts of its construction.”

There is also strong economic development case for heritage conservation with clear evidence to link heritage investment to economic growth and job creation. Rehabilitation generates upwards of 21% more jobs, including skilled jobs, than the same investment in new construction. Heritage rehabilitation also incurs less “leakage” out of the Canadian economy for foreign goods (National Trust for Canada).

CAHP | ACECP supports the enactment of the 17 recommendations in the 2017 House of Commons and Sustainable Development Committee report, Preserving Canada’s Heritage: The Foundation for Tomorrow. Of particular importance to CAHP | ACECP members is to see the following recommendations with direct budgetary implications advanced as part of Budget 2020:

  1. that the Treasury Board Secretariat work with federal departments and agencies to ensure that they invest 2% of the asset replacement value annually towards the maintenance and repair of federal heritage buildings, as recommended in the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Guide to the Management of Real Property (Recommendation 7);
  2. that the federal government restore the funding level for the National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places to a minimum of $10 million per year federal income tax credit for restoration expenditures (Recommendation 10); and
  3. that the federal government establish a tax credit for the restoration and preservation of buildings listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Place (Recommendation 11); and
  4. that resources are available so that places of Indigenous heritage be better identified and designated, and that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action that concern the protection and preservation of Indigenous heritage in Canada be enacted (summary of Recommendations 15-17).

The 2017 House of Commons and Sustainable Development Committee report, Preserving Canada’s Heritage: The Foundation for Tomorrow is found here.

The need for federal financial incentives and programs for heritage conservation is urgent, as large numbers of important heritage properties in Canada continue to be lost and degraded each year.

Financial incentives, such as an income tax credit, to conserve these buildings are needed. The federal income tax credit program has been enormously successful in the United States since the mid-1970s and has resulted in a 5 to 1 ratio of private investment to tax credits, and in the process conserving tens of thousands of heritage properties. Such a program in Canada would not only benefit heritage properties tremendously but contribute in a major and positive way to our sustainability, climate change and economic development goals.

CAHP | ACECP is a professional organization comprising 526 members who are heritage professionals in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. CAHP | ACECP shares knowledge about heritage conservation and supports the involvement of heritage professionals whenever places of heritage value are being identified, preserved, restored,
or rehabilitated. As part of its mandate, the organization also fosters and promotes public and legislative support for heritage conservation.

CAHP | ACECP members are specialists, tradespeople, and craftspeople in a wide variety of fields, such as conservation architecture, planning, history, archaeology, landscape architecture, and engineering. For more information about CAHP | ACECP please visit: http://cahp-acecp.ca/

Yours sincerely,
Dima Cook
President, CAHP | ACECP

Cc:

  • Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament, Carleton (Ontario), Conservative
  • Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Member of Parliament, South Surrey – White Rock, Conservative
  • Peter Julian, Member of Parliament, New-Westminster, Burnaby, New Democratic Party
  • Laurel Collins, Member of Parliament, Victoria, New Democratic Party
  • Gabriel Ste-Marie, Member of Parliament, Joliette, Bloc Québécois
  • Monique Pauzé, Member of Parliament, Repentigny, Bloc Québécois
  • John Kidder, Finance, Green Party
  • Daniel Green, Deputy Leader, Green Party