Heritage organizations, ICOMOS Canada, CAHP and the NHSA, respond to Budget 2021

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April 22, 2021

As organizations committed to preserving Canada’s Historic Places, ICOMOS Canada, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals and the National Historic Sites Alliance, support several items in Budget 2021, but call on the Federal Government to place greater importance on the link between heritage conservation and climate as a means to achieve Canada’s goal of netzero emissions by 2050.

The long overdue funding for Parks Canada to implement a transparent designation framework is good news and we look forward to the opportunity to provide input on the new legislation. At the same time however, we are concerned that the designated funding will not directly address the sustainable conservation of over 300 federally-owned historic places, not to mention the over 700 National Historic Sites that are managed locally, by communities across Canada.

We welcome the Canada Community Revitalization Fund that will provide $500 million over two years, to the regional development agencies for community infrastructure. The sustainability and resilience of our main streets are not only key to our recovery but an important element of achieving several UN Sustainable Development Goals. Heritage buildings, landscapes and public spaces are often at the anchors of our urban and rural communities. We strongly urge the government to invest these funds in heritage places, as they will directly impact and benefit communities.

While the Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture and Sports Sectors will provide much needed $300 million in funding, our associations are looking forward to understanding specifically, how it will benefit heritage places and organizations. We echo concerns expressed by the Indigenous Heritage Circle on a need for adequate funding for Indigenous heritage.

Finally, we strongly support the maintenance, reuse and repurposing of heritage buildings as a means to achieve the federal government’s climate change goals. While a $4.4 billion interest-free loan program to homeowners for retrofits demonstrates a strong commitment to helping Canadians reduce their carbon footprint, we believe it was a missed opportunity to recognize the importance of the conservation of existing buildings and the accounting of embodied energy and life-cycle analysis as a means of achieving our sustainability objectives.

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Since 1975, ICOMOS Canada, the Canadian national committee of ICOMOS, has been at the forefront of the heritage conservation movement in Canada and abroad, actively contributing to the development of the theory and practice of cultural heritage conservation. Today, the organization and its members continue to play a leading role in influencing national and international policies through innovative thinking and holistic approaches to continuously improve the conservation of cultural heritage for communities.

Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

Operating since 1987, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) is a non-profit organization serving heritage professionals from across Canada in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. CAHP members are specialists in a wide variety of fields, such as conservation architecture, planning, history, archaeology, landscape architecture and engineering. CAHP establishes standards of practice, shares knowledge about heritage conservation, and supports the involvement of heritage professionals whenever places of heritage value are being identified, preserved, restored and rehabilitated. As part of its mandate, the organization also fosters and promotes public and legislative support for heritage conservation.

National Historic Sites Alliance

The National Historic Sites Alliance (Alliance) was founded by individuals and organizations to support, promote and protect the National Historic Sites across Canada that are not owned and operated by Parks Canada. Through mutual cooperation, the Alliance is a collaborative backbone organization to these national historic sites by aligning activities, sharing practices, advancing policy and legislation, improving public will and mobilizing funds.
www.nationalhistoricsites.ca / www.lieuxhistoriquesnationaux.ca