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Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development


NUMBER 072 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, September 21, 2017

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (0845)  

[English]

    Welcome, everybody. We'll get the meeting started.
    This is our second session on heritage preservation and protection in Canada.
    We have some guests with us today.
    We have Dr. Christina Cameron, who is a professor and Canada research chair on built heritage. Welcome. We have Dr. Gordon Bennett. We have Andrew Waldron, who's the national heritage conservation manager at Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions. We also have Dr. Christophe Rivet, who's the president of ICOMOS Canada, and he's going to tell us all about that when it's his turn.
    Just to touch base, I use cards to help us out. Witnesses, you have 10 minutes. When you have one minute to go, I'll put up the yellow card, just to give you some notice because you don't have a clock to look at. When you're out of time, I'll put up the red card. I don't like cutting people off, so I just ask that you wrap it up quickly when I put up the red card. I do exactly the same thing for the committee members as well, so they'll be looking for that.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    I can be, but I try not to be.
    Just ignore them.
    You're all very good and I really appreciate your help in keeping things orderly.
    I'd like to start with Dr. Christina Cameron, please.
    Thank you very much and good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to present my ideas on built heritage in Canada.
    My contribution is based on my experience as Parks Canada's director general of national historic sites from 1986 to 2005, so almost 20 years. During that time, I worked on a comprehensive heritage conservation program for historic places in Canada. Since then, I've deepened my understanding through the research I do at the University of Montreal.
    I'd like to open by making two points.
    The first is that heritage properties in Canada are recognized by various levels of government, and they include national historic sites, federal heritage buildings, provincial historic sites, and municipal historic sites. In other words, there are lots of levels of designation.
    The second point is that the number of heritage properties needing care absolutely exceeds the possibility of governments themselves looking after them all. I would argue that stewardship for most heritage places, historic sites, is carried out by individuals, corporations, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. That's not to say that government doesn't have a role. Indeed, collectively governments have important leadership, legal, and stewardship roles to play in protecting and conserving heritage properties in Canada.
    What prompted this comprehensive heritage study in the last couple of decades was the loss and deterioration of so many heritage places. It's not new for Canada. I just remind you that in 1951 the Massey-Lévesque commission concluded that, our history is “written on the...surface of the land, but this history is threatened every day with obliteration.” That was in 1951.
    An internal research report from the 1990s demonstrated the loss of 21% of the buildings that had been recorded 30 years earlier in the Canadian inventory of historic buildings, where I started my career. In other words, 21% of our heritage places were gone—not modified, but gone—in one generation. Then the Auditor General's 2003 report corroborated this by noting that 20% of all built cultural resources at national historic sites and national parks were in poor condition, and that 66% of all federal heritage buildings were in fair to poor condition. This pattern hasn't changed.
    You will all have seen the Auditor General's report this year on the National Capital Commission, which reported that over 25% of their assets, many of them heritage assets, are in fair, poor, or critical condition.
    What can the federal government do? To improve the preservation and protection of heritage places, government needs to support Canadians in their stewardship role, and it also needs to put its own house in order. In the first place, we need to know which properties have heritage value, how they will be conserved, and whether the conservation treatments have been effective in preserving the heritage values.
    Significant achievements have been made towards these goals in the last two decades. Through a pan-Canadian collaboration, a single information source has been established to capture all historic places, all the designations, recognized for their heritage value at all the different levels. This single information source, known as the Canadian Register of Historic Places, has been unanimously adopted by all jurisdictions in Canada. It is managed by Parks Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, but I give a note of caution. It's my understanding that participation in the register has been slowing down.
    To respond to the need to define appropriate conservation treatments, a team of governmental and non-governmental experts has produced something called “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada”, now in its second edition. These standards have been adopted by Parks Canada, the National Capital Commission, the federal heritage buildings review office, as well as all provinces and territories except Ontario. They're also used by some municipalities. In order to evaluate compliance with the standards and guidelines, a national certification program has been developed, although it needs renewal.

  (0850)  

    With the register, standards and guidelines, and certification capacity in place, albeit in need of additional funding, the basic infrastructure has been created to preserve and protect historic places in Canada, but both the register and standards and guidelines need to be given a statutory foundation. But if Canadians are to be supported in their stewardship of heritage properties, and if the federal government is going to carry out its own stewardship responsibilities, a suite of legislative, financial, and fiscal tools is still needed.
    The first is in terms of legislation. Federal legislation is needed for national historic sites and other properties under federal jurisdiction, as well as for federal actions affecting properties on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Legislation could also provide a statutory base to Canada's international obligation to identify and protect world heritage sites of outstanding universal value that are in Canada.
    Second is the basic heritage infrastructure. Further investment is needed to revitalize the register to ensure robust participation from all partners. Consideration should also be given to including indigenous registrars as an integral part of the register management, as this would be an important signal for reconciliation. A mechanism is needed to periodically update the standards and guidelines, and to renew the certification training program.
    Third is the tool kit, which needs both reinforcement and expansion. For some types of property, grants and contributions are the most appropriate tool. For others, tax measures, including tax credit for investment in heritage places, would be more effective. The government could take specific action to improve the tools available. The national historic sites cost-sharing program could be made permanent, with sustained and adequate funding. Fiscal incentives like the highly successful American tax credit could be created for national historic sites and other properties on the register. Support could also be provided to not-for-profit institutions like the National Trust for Canada and ICOMOS, which, as you will hear, is the organization that gathers together professionals in heritage conservation. Both of those would do much to mobilize both Canadians who do stewardship activities and Canadians who are active in conservation.
    My time is limited, as you've noted, Madam Chair. What I have attempted to briefly outline are what I consider to be the main components of a comprehensive heritage conservation program for Canada's historic places. The pattern of loss and neglect has not changed in decades. The Parks Canada Agency Act, I remind you, charges the minister responsible for Parks Canada, who is the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, with responsibility for national historic sites, historic canals, heritage railway stations, heritage lighthouses, federal heritage buildings, historic places in Canada—hence the register—federal archaeology, and the design and implementation of programs that relate primarily to built heritage writ large. The agency act emphasizes that it is in the national interest to protect and commemorate these special places “in view of their special role in the lives of Canadians and the fabric of the nation”, but the minister cannot accomplish this work without a more robust suite of legislative, financial, and fiscal tools.
    I hope that your study will provide a vision and practical recommendations to this end, in order to protect and conserve our historic places.
    Thank you.

  (0855)  

    Thank you very much, Ms. Cameron. I'm sure there are going to be quite a few questions. You have lots to share.
    We'll hear now from Mr. Bennett.
     Good morning. I want to thank the committee for its invitation.
    I'd like to focus my remarks on the need for the Government of Canada to take legislative action respecting built heritage and archaeological resources under federal jurisdiction.
    When I retired from the federal public service in November 2003, a single bill containing two proposed acts—one dealing with national historic sites, the other dealing with other types of historic places and archeological resources—was in the advanced stages of drafting. It was my hope and my expectation that this bill would be introduced into the House of Commons sometime during 2004. This seemed a reasonable expectation, especially given the 2003 report of the Auditor General, which stated that federal built heritage was at risk because of shortcomings in the legal protection framework, and that there was a need to reinforce the legal protection framework. The stars, as they say, seemed to be aligned for the passage of legislation that would finally bring the federal government up to the level of the provinces and the territories and a long list of other countries that have comprehensive legislation dealing with historic places and historic resources.
    Since 2004, I have searched every Speech from the Throne and every federal budget upon its release—you can do that in retirement—for some signal that legislation was imminent. I would not be here today had those searches not been in vain. I don't think I am the only person who has ever wondered why it is that the Government of Canada has sponsored and passed comprehensive legislation dealing with national parks, national marine conservation areas, national museums, wildlife, migratory birds, species at risk, and general environmental protection—to cite only a few examples—but there is no comprehensive federal legislation—with the emphasis on comprehensive—dealing with national historic sites and historic places. To be sure, there is legislation on heritage lighthouses and heritage railways, but significantly, both were initiated by private members, whereas the former were all government bills.
    This is not to say that there are no statutes that deal with historic sites. In fact, there are three: the Historic Sites and Monuments Act; a single section of the Canada National Parks Act that deals with some national historic sites administered by Parks Canada; and the Parks Canada Agency Act. However, each of these statutes focuses on particular aspects of national historic sites, and none provide the systematic or comprehensive type of statutory protection that is required.
    Why legislate? Parliament is the highest policy-making authority in the country in respect of matters falling under federal purview, and legislation is the highest expression of that policy-making authority. It is essential that Parliament legislate in the area of built heritage in order to signal to Canadians, as well as federal departments, agencies, and crown corporations and other orders of government, that the federal government values this heritage. Policy that is not expressed in, and hence sanctioned by, legislation does not possess the same degree of credibility, stability, or predictability as legislation, not only outside government, but equally important, inside government as well.
    Those of us on the historic sites side of Parks Canada have lived through not having good legislation. Legislation is essential to provide a statutory basis for the expenditure of public funds on heritage, not only by the Parks Canada agency, but also by other federal institutions and entities that have significant custodial and other responsibilities for built heritage, whether national historic sites, federal heritage buildings, or archeological resources.
    The Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act states that custodians have the right to use property “for the purposes of that department”. Really the authority to spend money is only for the purposes of that department. The act goes on to say “subject to any conditions or restrictions imposed by or under this or any other Act or any order of the Governor in Council”. Custodians are subject to conditions and restrictions relating to the protection of the natural environment. This has been done through other federal legislation. They are not subject to any legislative obligations relating to the conservation of the federal built heritage.

  (0900)  

     Legislation is also required for federal credibility. The Government of Canada is the only jurisdiction in this country that does not have legislation to protect in a systematic manner historic places and archaeological resources that fall under its jurisdiction. The federal government needs to get its own house in order if it is to be a credible actor in this field. The federal government has long been strong on the rhetoric of heritage conservation, but it remains the only jurisdiction that has not legislated effectively in this area.
    At the international level, Canada compares poorly with other countries, such as France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and others, in respect of cultural heritage since all these other nations provide statutory protection for their historic places. Indeed, one might say that providing statutory protection for the nation's most important historic places is considered a sign of national maturity. In this regard, Canada's immaturity is strongly evident.
    What needs to be done? Briefly, here is what such Canadian legislation needs to accomplish.
    In the case of national historic sites, there should be a national historic sites act. This new federal act would incorporate relevant provisions of the Historic Sites and Monuments Act and section 42 of the Canada National Parks Act. Most significantly, the national historic sites act would be the means for implementing Parliament's 1998 declaration as expressed in the preamble to the Parks Canada Agency Act that “it is in the national interest...to ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites”.
    Among other things, it would achieve that by requiring federal custodians of national historic sites, including Parks Canada, to conserve such sites in accordance with the “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada”; to communicate the reasons that the national historic site was designated; and to require that the heritage values of the site, including those not related to the reasons for designation, be respected in decisions and actions affecting the site. In reality, there is no reason that government departments, agencies, and crown corporations that own national historic sites and operate them for non-museological purposes—in the case, of course, of federal sites not administered by Parks Canada—cannot operate within the construct or the concept and framework of commemorative integrity.
    Federally owned national historic sites represent about 25% of the total number of national historic sites in this country. The rest, all of which have been designated by the Government of Canada, fall under provincial or territorial jurisdiction, including most privately and publicly owned national historic sites. A new national historic sites act needs to address these national historic sites in a manner that scrupulously respects the jurisdiction of other orders of government. It can do so by containing a provision prohibiting the federal government from undertaking action that would adversely affect the commemorative integrity of national historic sites that fall under the jurisdiction of another order of government. This would be no mere window dressing, as many federal activities have the potential to adversely affect these sites.
    I would now like to turn to the proposed historic places act, which should, among other things, provide a statutory foundation, as has been mentioned, for the Canadian Register of Historic Places and for the “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada”, both of which are pan-Canadian instruments essential to the long-term conservation of historic places in this country. The act would provide a legislative regime for the protection of archaeological resources on federal lands, including federal lands under water. The federal government is the only order of government in Canada without such a regime. It would provide statutory protection for federal heritage buildings and for world heritage sites under federal ownership, and it would protect other world heritage sites from federal actions having an adverse impact on the universal value of world heritage sites.

  (0905)  

    In the time available, I have only been able to touch on some of the highlights of what should be in the legislation. Much fuller detail would exist in the draft legislation that was prepared 14 years ago, and additional issues and needs have indeed probably arisen since then that would also need to be addressed. My principal objective has been to emphasize that legislation is the only way to provide the essential and necessary legal infrastructure to ensure that Canada's most important historic places and archaeological resources are protected for this and future generations. In the absence of such action, Canada will remain a laggard among nations.
    Thank you very much. Even in what you have given us, I know you had more to say than you were able to in the time given, but we have your brief in front of us and I know people will read it. Thank you so much for that.
    We will hear from Mr. Waldron?
     Thank you very much for the invitation, Madam Chair, and honourable committee members.
    I'd like to speak to three more high-level themes. Rather than getting into the specifics, I want you to get the mood of heritage in Canada. You can follow along with the slides in front of you.
    I want to talk about three things. They are what we consider heritage today, to provide a context for the state of built heritage in Canada, and to offer leadership goals that the federal government could meet.
    I work for a company that values sustainability that is working towards carbon neutrality. That's the goal of this government. It's also a central goal in protecting heritage buildings. We all live our lives on a spectrum of past, present, and future, but we often live with only the present and future in mind, especially as the 21st century anxieties are our preoccupation. These include globalization, climate change, terrorism, and things like that. To be a healthy society, we need to embrace our past. Today, we have a chance to move Canada steps closer to what has already occurred in most G20 countries, namely, to support heritage in a real and substantive manner, rather than always framing it on the margins.
    Like it or not, in this room, we are all heritage advocates. Each of you care about your past, whether it's learning about your family history, maintaining your cottage, or being a collector. There are many types of heritage. There's physical heritage. We often talk about physical heritage or built heritage that I'm going to talk about. Then there's intangible heritage, natural heritage, and even digital heritage. All of these might be meaningful to you, your family, your community, your province, your country, or even globally. Ask a question about what is a value in your life and you are probably thinking about heritage. Heritage is living sustainably. Heritage has significant impacts on social well-being, environmental conditions, from reducing waste to developing better construction, and holds huge economic benefits, especially in the tourism sector. Heritage can change in meaning. It is not fixed in one era, but a continuum of meaning. It is an interconnection with previous and future generations, akin to the seven-generation concept of the Iroquois Confederacy.
    The Aga Khan Foundation understands this. In front of you is Al-Azhar park, a green lung in the middle of Cairo. The Zeidlers in Toronto understand this. Heritage conservation projects bring benefits to society. Each of these projects contains the ideal of what I call the three Cs: culture, community, and commerce.
    Canada's context is one that has evolved from commemorating places based on specialized criteria and monumentality, both physically and conceptually, to understanding that everything is a cultural landscape. The old stereotype of activists fighting developers remains, but it is waning. There are people out there doing interesting work.
    We now live in a world that Paul Crutzen described in the seventies, which he termed the anthropocene, or a global cultural landscape of human intervention. To educate the public on these concepts is a challenge. There are maybe a dozen professors in Canadian universities teaching on heritage. There are only a few professional programs in the educational system, actually.
    Let's turn specifically to built heritage. The process of officially designating places by federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments amounts to one-tenth of one per cent. Based on Canada's building stock and with estimates of designations in the country, there's very little protected in Canada. About 41% of our commercial and institutional buildings were built before 1969. That's our building stock as of today; we have an older building stock. Construction costs on care and maintenance of places, which means renovations, upgrades, and retrofits, make up half of the construction industry today—half of the construction industry. It's not new construction. It's care and maintenance of places that exist today. None of this work, except for in a very few cases, requires proper conservation treatment. Within the construction industry, there's almost no experience in heritage conservation, and yet, almost a million and a half people work in the industry, with activity in the billions of dollars. As I said earlier, heritage is now about sustaining what we have: no more demolition, and better care and maintenance of what we have.

  (0910)  

     There is a disconnect between heritage and other industries, a place where the federal government could be a leader. For example, industry has not incorporated conservation principles into their standards, processes, and programs, even though work is performed on historic buildings. LEED and other green building programs have not integrated heritage. There are minor criteria for that. Even in the new WELL program through the International WELL Building Institute, there is no measurement of quality of place or of historic place. Some provincial building codes are strong on addressing heritage buildings, but the national building code is much weaker on the national level, often causing variances to the provincial code.
    As the former Canadian registrar, I redeveloped the Canadian Register of Historic Places to be more accessible for people to learn about their places, but there was always the challenge of implementing proper documentation standards across jurisdictions, unlike models in other countries, such as the United Kingdom.
    We have no real, proper data today on the state of heritage in Canada. There are 1,237 federal heritage buildings covered by the Treasury Board policy on management of real property, which was created in 1982 and regulated by the federal heritage buildings review office. It is a buildings-only policy. It is not a landscape policy or a land policy. It does not cover engineering structures or land use. It's out of date and needs an overhaul. It hasn't revised its approach to evaluation in almost 40 years. It does not maintain its designations to reflect changes in buildings. Buildings evolve over time. In fact, Parks Canada eliminated the role of the manager of FHBRO several years ago.
    The policy is weak in terms of federal buildings. For example, it does not protect places that are owned and operated by crown corporations. Unlike Ontario crown corporations for instance, they are not accountable to any authority. These include Canada Post, CBC, Canadian museums, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Bank of Canada, the National Arts Centre, all of the port authorities, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. For example, two years ago, CBC demolished one of the earliest radio transmitter stations in Canada without requiring any review process. It was an art deco gem that could have been a national historic site, and yet even a commemoration would not protect it. Indeed, even when a department does due diligence and after repeated attempts to save a federal heritage building, it can end up in a landfill.
    There are 968 national historic sites of which 200 are federally owned. The balance are owned by various levels of government, first nations, non-profits, and private hands. These are commemorations. They are moral in nature under the act. They have no legal protection and very little support, except for one federal program, the national cost-sharing program, which in fact is biased towards wealthier national historic sites and does not benefit those that need it most. Many national historic sites cannot raise matching funds, but you won't hear of those.
    This is the Berthier railway station, and it's a national historic site. I discovered it had been lost along with several other national historic sites, yet I can't find any record of it being demolished. It's now completely gone. It lost its commemorative integrity.
    Of the successful national historic sites, outside of having the economic advantages of being owned by the federal government, there are many sites working away trying to operate on reduced budgets. Glanmore, for example, runs its programming on just under half a million dollars in its budget, and that is probably half of what a federal agency would run their sites on.
    One solution is an effort that I am part of to create a pan-Canadian network of national historic sites for the purpose of acting as a backbone organization that reduces the cost—not siphoning money away from them—and raises the profile of managing these places while protecting their commemorative integrity. In fact, federal support for such an organization could be fulfilled by the minister, who may, and I quote the act “make agreements with any persons for marking or commemorating historic places pursuant to this Act and for the care and preservation of any places so marked or commemorated”.
    As leaders in heritage conservation, you can enshrine protection in legislation; address support for heritage places as you do in other industries; revise the models within government to protect federally owned property, including businesses owned by the government; sustain a greater family of national historic sites; improve how codes and standards are implemented; be the leader that demonstrates to industry the sustainable goals of this century; and finally, possibly punish those who think short-term gain is to their advantage.

  (0915)  

     To end, I'm showing you a modest building in London, England. In 2009, the building was under threat of demolition. In 2010, the U.K. culture minister listed it on the advice of English Heritage. Its grade II status means that carrying out unauthorized work is a criminal offence and owners can be prosecuted, and a local planning authority can also insist that all work undertaken without consent be reversed at the owner's expense.
    Four lads from Liverpool, along with hundreds of other pop musicians, used these recording studios in Abbey Road since the 1930s. It is now protected, thanks to the legislation in place at the national level, and this could not happen today in Canada.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you very much.
    Could you share your presentation and your notes with us? You have lots of data there that would be good to have.
    I can do that, yes, of course.
    Next up is Mr. Rivet.
     Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
    On behalf of ICOMOS Canada, I would like to thank the committee for initiating this important study.
     We believe it is timely to address this subject, because it is about protecting a human right, addressing the challenges of climate change, and envisioning a sustainable future for our communities.
    I'll start by saying a few words about us to set the context for our comments. ICOMOS is the only global non-governmental organization dedicated to the conservation of the world's cultural heritage buildings, sites, landscapes, and areas. It carries out its work through more than 100 national committees and 28 international scientific committees. ICOMOS has the mandate to advise UNESCO on cultural heritage matters, especially in the context of the world heritage convention. It also focuses on developing theory and guidance for best practices through a series of charters.
    At ICOMOS Canada we're the Canadian national committee. We have been active since the early 1970s in influencing the theory and best practices in conservation in Canada as well as abroad. We are an independent and multidisciplinary organization with members from coast to coast to coast. Our current priorities are to develop guidance on cultural landscapes, indigenous heritage, and climate change related issues. Recently, we've taken a leadership role internationally on sustainable development policies and bridging policies between environmental and cultural conservation.
    We are happy to share with the committee a few important observations about our country's international commitments and how they translate into federal policies. Our comments are relevant to Parks Canada's mandate, but also to a number of other federal departments, such as Environment and Climate Change Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Public Services and Procurement Canada.
    Canada made commitments towards the protection and conservation of cultural heritage as early as 1976 by adopting the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, or the world heritage convention, as it's known. In 1998, it ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, or the Hague convention. Canada led the development and ratification of UNESCO's Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in 2005.
    Cultural heritage is included in international agreements related to the environment and sustainable development adopted by Canada. They include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the New Urban Agenda, and the new sustainable development agenda.
    A look at these commitments allows us to make three main observations. The first is that article 5 of the world heritage convention guides our current assessment of Canada's compliance with it and offers us the opportunity to update our national tools in response to that obligation. In particular, Canada would need to complete the main set of tools required, including legislation to protect, tools to guide decision-making, and financial incentives to implement proper practices.
    The second is that the international commitments made by Canada regarding ecosystem protection and climate change include provisions related to protecting cultural heritage. In order to be consistent with these commitments, this should result in the integration of federal policies regarding natural and cultural heritage and a strengthening of federal capacity to protect and conserve cultural heritage through impact assessments, policies towards the reduction of emissions, and infrastructure investments.
    The third is that the international commitments made by Canada regarding sustainable development recognize the role of cultural heritage in achieving sustainability and in making cities and human settlements inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. In order to be consistent with these commitments, the federal government should develop policies to guide planning, funding, and partnerships that address sustainability holistically, including the conservation of cultural heritage.
    Based on these observations, ICOMOS Canada draws four conclusions.
    The first is the disconnect between the practice of cultural heritage conservation internationally and federal legislation. The international context is broader in its definition of cultural heritage, ties together intangible and tangible heritage, considers more closely the relationship between nature and culture, and increasingly focuses on sustainable communities.
    The second conclusion is that there is an incomplete set of federal legislative and policy tools to address the conservation of cultural heritage. Without legislation to protect, it is difficult to implement proper guidance and challenging to develop financial incentives. The federal government has a responsibility in regard to the international agreements and can play an important coordinating role with provinces, territories, other jurisdictions, and civil society to meet these commitments.
    Third, there is a need to integrate policies related to cultural heritage, the environment, and sustainable development to reflect international commitments. This would strengthen the goals of addressing the impacts of climate change, investing in collective infrastructure especially in cities, and advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

  (0920)  

     Last, there is an imbalance in investments and resources to support civil society to take action and conserve cultural heritage. This includes the support provided internationally to the advisory bodies to the UNESCO world heritage committee, such as ours.
    As such, ICOMOS Canada would like to make a few recommendations to create an ecosystem of national cultural heritage; to establish priorities on sustainability and cultural heritage; and to develop an action plan for Canadians to conserve cultural heritage.
     We recommend developing and implementing legislation, tools, and incentives to protect built heritage, archeological sites, underwater heritage, landscapes, and other forms of heritage.
     We recommend reviewing the national historic sites program to articulate an active role and responsibility for the federal government in the conservation of all national historic sites. This would include developing appropriate governance models for cultural and indigenous communities to be actively involved at sites administered by the federal government. It would also include developing policies and resourcing Parks Canada to actively contribute to the conservation of sites that the agency does not administer.
    We recommend strengthening Parks Canada's role in advising federal departments on the conservation of built and archaeological heritage and enhancing its ability to provide technical advice on cultural heritage matters related to impact assessments, energy efficiency, and climate change adaptation.
    We recommend creating an interdepartmental advisory committee with the mandate of articulating goals for a federal sustainable development strategy that includes the conservation of cultural heritage and reflects Canada's international commitment.
    We recommend developing and implementing practices to jointly recognize the significance and jointly conserve natural and cultural heritage.
    We recommend correcting the imbalance of federal support to offer opportunities for cultural heritage groups to actively contribute to solutions. This includes strengthening existing environmental and infrastructure programs and investing in initiatives that support civil society's ability to engage in the conservation of cultural heritage.
    Last, we recommend reviewing the role of Parks Canada in relation to the implementation of the world heritage convention in Canada. This is to recognize the shared responsibility with other jurisdictions and partners of protecting sites of outstanding universal value.
    These recommendations are to be understood in the international context that I've just described. You have a supporting document that gives you more details and more fleshed out information on that.
    It is important to note that Canada is the only G7 country without comprehensive national heritage legislation, as I echo Mr. Bennett's statement. This is a disservice to the citizens and a missed opportunity for Canadians to apply tools that have made a positive difference to the well-being of communities around the world.
    The question of whether to invest and support the conservation of cultural heritage has been answered. Canada is already committed through its international agreements in culture, the environment, and sustainable development. Governments have called upon Canadians to play their part in achieving the goals of building a better society and addressing climate change. ICOMOS Canada is answering that call. We are bringing together professionals and communities to contribute solutions based on a better understanding of the role of cultural heritage in achieving these, such as diverting construction waste from landfill, improving building maintenance, and enhancing the resiliency of cultural landscapes. What we need now is federal leadership to achieve our full potential.
    Thank you.

  (0925)  

    Thank you very much, and thank you for the additional information.
    We'll open the first round of questions with John Aldag.
    Good morning, everyone. Thank you for the excellent testimony that each of you has given us today, as well as for your careers in furthering heritage conservation in Canada. It's really an honour to have all four of you here with us this morning.
    I think it's covered in the presentations, but I just want to get a very clear statement from any of you. Perhaps Christina and Gordon, you could start. We've talked about how we have programs such as the national historic sites program, and we have the federal heritage building review office that designates buildings.
    What does that mean truly in the sense of protection? With the example that Andrew has given here, if a custodian department wanted to get rid of a designated building or a national historic site today, is there anything through the existing legislative framework that would prevent that?
    I'll start, but Gordon is really the expert.
    If it is a designated national historic site within Parks Canada, there is legislation through the Parks Canada Agency Act and through policy to protect it. If it's a designated national historic site within the federal family, not under the custodianship of Parks Canada, such as the Central Experimental Farm, that's another department and the other department has full authority, as Gordon explained, so the minister has no real authority on that. If it's a federal heritage building, it's under Treasury Board policy. The ultimate penalty for doing whatever you want with a classified federal heritage building is a rap on the knuckles by the secretary of the Treasury Board. That's it.
     Canadians tend to think we have things, these designations and that equals protection, but what I'm hearing today from you is that is not the case. Although, Andrew, I wanted to clarify something in your presentation. You made the comment that .01% of buildings are protected. Is there a true protection out there, or is the .01% maybe recognized or designated? Is there some other program? There was a bit of a conflict, at least in my mind, about what that meant.

  (0930)  

    Okay. That is based on a number of estimated designations at all levels of jurisdiction in the country. There were possibly, as the registrar I can recall, approximately 17,000 to 20,000 designations as of, say, five or six years ago in this country. Of the total building stock in the country, compared with all these buildings, the designated buildings are .01%.
    That doesn't equate to a true protection, then.
    It does at certain levels of jurisdiction.
    Okay, so provincial, territorial, and so on.
    Say municipal or provincial, depending on your jurisdiction. Each province and territory has different types of legislation that feed in from municipalities in some cases. So there's stronger protection at the provincial level, and there's not as strong a protection at the federal level.
    Okay, great. Sure.
    Gordon, did you want to make any comments about the protection piece?
    There are various forms of protection, protection against public activities, for example, in a national park or a national historic site, where the public access is controlled. There is some legal framework to deal with that.
    In the case of cultural heritage properties, where in fact the biggest threat is really lack of maintenance and lack of good conservation practice, there is no legal requirement on Parks Canada. It's a heritage steward, and that's its purpose in being set up, but there's nothing in an act that says Parks Canada must maintain these places up to a certain standard.
    For example, there's nothing that exists that is similar to the Canada National Parks Act, which makes ecological integrity the first priority. It puts an obligation on the minister, and on the managers of those places. There is no such obligation on any Parks Canada-administered national historic site.
    That's a great example. This committee looked at Rouge Park and the discussion on ecological integrity, so we are familiar with that kind of concept. Hearing that it's not in existence anywhere in relation to historic sites is really helpful.
    Gordon and Christina, both of you were involved in drafting or guiding the creation of the earlier legislation from the early 2000s, as you said. Has anything changed, to your knowledge, in the heritage world in Canada, in terms of designations, legislation, or policies that would make that kind of legislation either outdated or unnecessary? Or is there still a need today for the kind of work that was done in the early 2000s?
    Ms. Cameron.
    Not much has changed. My colleagues have explained that the concept of what is heritage has changed, and there's a sustainability emphasis, a broader cultural landscape approach, and an approach by districts as opposed to individual designations. Those kinds of things have changed in terms of the concept of heritage, but the fundamentals have not changed.
    Mr. Sopuck.
    I'm the national parks critic for our party. I live right next to Riding Mountain National Park, and I'm fairly familiar with how parks operate, at least my own park. I'm very possessive of that park.
    Mr. Bennett, what federal actions negatively affect heritage sites on federal lands, especially in national parks? Can you point to any specific examples?
    Are you talking about in Riding Mountain?
    No, any national park. Can you point to an egregious example of a heritage site that was severely compromised because of Parks Canada actions?
    I can think of a couple, yes, but my sense is we're talking about things of many years ago. I've not worked for Parks Canada since 2003.
    My impression from what I see in Riding Mountain National Park is that they're doing a really good job of preserving the heritage of that particular park. I would assume that ethos continues throughout the park system.
    Mr. Waldron, where do you draw the line between an out-of-date building and a heritage building? For example, in downtown Winnipeg, the old Eaton's department store was demolished and a hockey arena put up in its place. Where do you draw the line between what's an out-of-date building and one that becomes a heritage building?

  (0935)  

     Well, for the last 100 to 150 years the concept has been based on age value. What is the value of a place over time? One answer can be the age of it. In general terms, they say 40 to 50 years of age or so, because in the life cycle of a building that's when you need to start addressing things like replacing a roof or dealing with issues of the building envelope. However, in my world, in the private sector, we essentially treat these buildings from day one. The concept should be that you care for and maintain these buildings from the beginning.
    It's called demolition by neglect. Essentially, someone doesn't take care of it for long enough and then it becomes an eyesore, a problem, or a health and safety threat, and therefore we demolish it.
    The Eaton centre should have been protected and saved, just like any other property in an urban centre.
    Well, 15,000 Jets hockey fans would probably disagree with you, but we'll just leave it—
    Now, yes.
    Yes, fair enough.
    You're almost implying there should be no demolition of any building anywhere, because it'll ultimately become a heritage building. I don't think you're implying that, are you?
    No, the way we address it in the 21st century is we manage places with the way places evolve. We do not simply demolish places because they are not economically viable. There are other options, and we've seen that by many entrepreneurs in Canada.
     This is the 21st century. If you take into account the greenhouse gases that are emitted because you have the embodied energy of a building.... There's another strategy there.
    Great.
    My other role on the opposition side is that I'm the official wildlife conservation critic, and part of that role is advocating very strongly for hunting, angling, and trapping.
    Recently, I was at the Ontario Fur Managers Federation Rendezvous in Carp, Ontario. You've never seen a group of people who are more protective of the fur trade heritage or their willingness to display it by period clothing and the implements that the fur trade used back in the day. The fur trade has a strong aboriginal component, a strong ecological component, the built environment, the forts that were built across Canada, and so on. I'd like to use the rest of my time to talk about the conservation of the heritage of the fur trade.
    Dr. Cameron, I'll ask you first. What is your view? Are we doing an adequate job of protecting the heritage of this absolutely foundational industry of our country, which affected nearly all parts of Canada and how we developed?
    Well, it's not my area of expertise, but Parks Canada and the Government of Canada have actually acquired quite a number of fur trade posts across the country and have used some of them for really museological purposes. They do indeed try to tell the story of the fur trade. I haven't been to Lower Fort Garry for a while, but I'm sure it's now probably telling a much broader story than at one point it might have done. Probably at the beginning there was a much bigger emphasis on the Hudson's Bay Company part of the equation, and now it's probably speaking more about the trade itself and the indigenous people, the people who were being traded with.
    I was actually part of the gifting and removal out of Lower Fort Garry of the major collection that was there, and it's now in the Manitoba museum. I'm very proud of that, because Parks Canada is not really capable of managing such a valuable collection. That was part of that.
    We're very proud of that museum ourselves. In these politically correct times, the fur trade is often given short shrift for very bad reasons, so I'm glad to hear you say these efforts are ongoing.
    Would any other panellists like to comment on where we are with the heritage conservation related to the fur trade?
    Mr. Bennett.
    In terms of what is going on today, Parks Canada officials would be in a better position to comment on that than somebody like me. I've been out of the business since 2003. I really can't comment.
    Thank you very much.
    Before we move to Mr. Stetski, I wanted to welcome Jennifer O'Connell and Peter Schiefke to the table. I'm sorry for not introducing you sooner.
    Mr. Stetski.
    Thank you for very interesting presentations. They were thought provoking for me in a number of ways.
    I'd like to start with Mr. Rivet, and the question can be extended to the rest of you. I was clearly interested in your proposal that we should be doing better in the way of education initiatives and working with the construction industry and the national building code. I wanted to give you an opportunity to expand on those two in particular. What should we be doing to better protect heritage?

  (0940)  

     Thank you very much.
    The bigger context of that answer is that as a country we've already committed to thinking about how heritage fits into sustainable development aspects. If we were to translate that into policies and tools, we would need to start with the premise that was already highlighted by Mr. Waldron, that generating waste and the destruction of these buildings has a repercussion on other priorities that we've set ourselves.
    I was looking at data yesterday about how much waste ends up in the landfills from construction renovation and so on, and it's close to 30%. This is a huge opportunity to think things through about how we look at that waste in terms of its value. There are a lot of very innovative things being discussed in Canada and abroad around how we address the demolition, partial demolition, or renovation of a specific building and reuse these elements that are understood as being original materials. For example, we look at how we can use them locally in another building. As you build a historic district, you have a building stock that will have the same needs for certain types of material and certain types of approaches.
    All this is to say that right now we have a multi-billion dollar industry that is generating about 30% of Canada's waste in landfills. How can we look at this to meet both our international obligations and our vision for sustainable communities?
    I'll move on then to another area of interest, certainly for me.
    The committee did a tour where we met with witnesses in a number of parks and areas in western Canada. When we met with the first nations group out of Jasper, one of the chiefs said something that really stayed with me, and I'd be interested in your comments on how you think we're doing. He said, “We don't have any written language, so the Creator wrote our stories on the land.” That really stayed with me. How are we doing in recognizing indigenous heritage values? I'll just open that up to the floor.
    I will certainly not pretend to speak on behalf of indigenous people. However, I will share some of the echos of what we've heard, and we have indigenous people on our board of directors.
    What we see is that Canada is not equipped to deal with protecting things that are important to our indigenous people. It does so through certain legislation, but there are some big challenges. One of them is the protection of cultural landscapes. Another is the protection of archeological sites.
    These are significant shortcomings in thinking about how to, for example, implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is something we are noticing, and this is why our committee is looking at it as a priority. We feel ill-equipped to respect, express, and protect the world vision of the many indigenous communities.
    I would just like to mention that there is one very good model of a site in the Northwest Territories called Sahoyue-Edacho, which to all intents and purposes looks like a national park and has really no built resources in it. It probably has archeological resources. It's designated as a national historic site of Canada for its value to the indigenous peoples and their stories as related to the land. I believe it's now protected. I don't know if it's in the ownership or custodianship of Parks Canada or through some partnership, but it is a protected area. It's essentially a national park, but recognized for its cultural value, which speaks to Christophe's cultural landscape and the interconnection of culture and nature.

  (0945)  

    You're into your last minute.
    Perhaps it comes back to Christophe again. You mentioned climate change and its impact on heritage. Would you like to expand on that a bit for us?
    In 30 seconds, I will simply say there are a lot of initiatives that allow us to think about how we invest in energy efficiency, how we prepare impact assessments for our big infrastructure programs, and how to look at whether these places that we are about to evaluate should stay or not; that is, can they play an active role in fighting and addressing the challenges of climate change. We shouldn't presume that what exists doesn't perform. We should look at how it performs and whether it meets the goals of our communities.
     You're out of time, but thank you. That's very interesting, as we move forward on our reconciliation pathway and look at how that's going to shape our policies and approach.
    Mr. Bossio.
    The town of Greater Napanee in my riding has as its centrepiece a Greek revival-style town hall. It's a beautiful building. It's a federal building. Actually, we have the same thing in the town of Deseronto, a beautiful post office that has the same kind of impact on the community itself. It's a centrepiece. Like so many rural communities, they have a disproportionate impact on the ability to rebuild main street in rural Canada.
    One of the concerns I have is that because the funds and resources are so limited for national historic sites, and because of the lack of lobbying or funding capacity and resources that exist in much larger centres, rural Canada's historic sites are falling down much more quickly than they are in the large urban centres.
    Christina, I know you spoke about tax credits, and we've talked about funding in general and the legislative improvements. I wonder how we can enshrine within the legislation or within the funding models a particular protection for rural properties, because of the disproportionate nature of those properties.
    Assuming they are designated by some level of government, then the ownership matters. If it remains in federal ownership, then some of the things we've been talking about—
    This one in particular is in Napanee.
    —would be a legislative issue to my point of view, and that legislation would be accompanied with some funding support, because the other departments will be looking for that. If it's out of the federal basket, then these other tools come into play. If the building were owned and operated by a not-for-profit or an institution, then—
    In these two particular cases, one is a federally designated site and the other is a crown corporation, the post office.
    The crown corporations, as was said here at the table, are completely out of any federal heritage buildings policy, which only applies to departments. This would require legislation.
    What do you think that legislation would look like, though, or what tools could exist within the legislation that could cater specifically to rural communities, and how would we define that?
    I don't see it so much as being in the context of rural. I understand the issue is often a rural one, but it would be the obligation of a crown corporation or the obligation of another federal department to take into consideration the heritage value as recognized by either a national historic site or a site on the register of federal heritage buildings. I believe that if and when government goes forward with legislation, there will have to be some provision of money for the additional conservation requirement that would come along with that legislation.
    Do you think the disproportionate nature of a rural structure should somehow add to the criteria as to...? Once again, there's only a certain bucketful of funds that's going to be available to deal with these buildings. Should there be something enshrined within the legislation or the funding model that says because the structure has such a disproportionate impact upon the overall community itself, that should be part of the criteria as to how funding mechanisms are unlocked?

  (0950)  

    That could be a consideration, and in terms of priority setting, that would be something that would be considered as part of your recommendations and as part of developing legislation.
    At the department level, based on your previous experience, has a rural lens been applied in relation to these issues of historic sites?
     I don't think a rural lens specifically has been applied. However, certainly in the early 2000s, when I was looking at these sorts of things, national historic sites were located in over 400 communities across the country. There are 900-and-some places that have been designated a national historic site, and they're to be found in about 400 communities. I did not do, and I don't think anybody has done, a rural-urban split. I think if you were to go through the list of designations, you would see that there are many national historic sites, and I'm sure there are many federal heritage buildings in small towns in rural Canada. They have not been ignored in designating. Because of the public nature of the designation process, which has been driven by people writing into the board, rural people, interestingly enough—and I think a gentleman mentioned this on Tuesday—are very committed to their heritage, and so the board over the years has dealt with a number of places in what we would call rural Canada. In terms of the funding, to my knowledge, nothing gives a leg up or an extra number of points to something.
     Mike. I'm sorry to say that we're out of time.
    Mr. Godin.

[Translation]

    We can all see there's an issue with the management of the inventory of historic sites. Mr. Waldron said that we learned only after the fact that a historic site had been destroyed.
    I understand there's currently no way to require property owners and municipalities to provide information and to follow an assessment process. Is that correct? Obviously, once a historic site has been destroyed, it's too late. History shows that this has occurred a number of times.
    What would be the best way to implement an inventory and tools to protect our heritage and infrastructure?
    Let's be clear. Money is often the driving force. There are no bad intentions to destroy our heritage. However, property owners and municipalities, despite their good intentions, reach the end of their rope and must make choices based on the money available.
     My question is for the four witnesses. What would be the best way to protect our heritage?
    Given that Mr. Waldron was the registrar, he can provide more details that I can on the matter. However, I still want to clarify a point.
    It should be noted that this inventory contains sites that have already been designated. The issue therefore is not to determine whether the sites have value. The second aspect of the inventory is that it covers all the jurisdictions.
     Regarding the federal level specifically, the witnesses here agree that there's no requirement mechanism. The federal departments that could have a property designated are not required to intervene in relation to a designated building and to possibly make sure the building continues to exist. I simply wanted to make that distinction. Again, this create an issue in terms of Canada's other international obligations, which I set out earlier.

  (0955)  

    Mr. Waldron, I want to hear your opinion.
     It starts with building maintenance. That's the beginning. The involvement of groups, individuals and resources is first based on the interest demonstrated by a community. The legislation is a tool that can help the people who want to protect a location get involved. The goal is really for everyone to join together to protect a site. Okay?
    When a location is designated as a national historic site, a plaque is made for the location in question, and a ceremony is held. A committee member may attend the ceremony. However, the process stops there. The federal government's role doesn't go any further.
    Before, there was a commemorative integrity statement. It helped bring together all the groups of a community and ensure that many people were involved in protecting a site. I did this for Cobalt, a small city in northern Ontario. All the people of this city were involved and they're now very proud of their cultural resources, which are protected. We're not talking here about implementing legislation, but about protecting rights. The legislation, tools, donations and everything else are only the beginning.
    Okay. I'll stop you here because I have another question.
    We all have our reasons for considering a site of historic significance, whether the site is a post office, museum, lighthouse, wharf or any other location. You've designated about 2,000 federal buildings and historic sites. These places have now been listed.
     In an ideal world, we would protect everything. However, we must face the facts. It's impossible.
     How do you establish an order of priority?
    A number of approaches are possible. I'll tell you about what we did for buildings belonging to the Department of National Defence. The department owns about 50,000 buildings. We chose representative samples of a certain type of building. There were 10,000 buildings, but we protected only a few of them. That's one of the ways we can proceed.
    Thank you.

[English]

    Mr. Amos.
    I'd like to reiterate my colleagues' thanks to all of you for your hard work on issues that are chronically underfunded. Having worked on the environmental side of affairs, I can commiserate with you, but there's hope for the future. It's great that there's a committee looking at this and great that we have such strong memos from you.
    I want to follow the line of inquiry of my colleague Mr. Bossio around financing and the best approach to financing. My own sense is that we're going to reach agreement that there should be legislation. Where I'm not sure there's going to be agreement is on recommendations around the best path forward for the use of scarce funds.
    I would like to hear a response from those of you who are interested. Should the rural side be weighed more heavily in the broader context of financing heritage building protection? I also want to situate this in a broader context. Do you think there would be a stronger justification for financing of heritage protection if it's framed in the context of tourism promotion, particularly rural tourism promotion? Do you think there would be stronger arguments if it were framed in terms of a main street revival program?
     Is it possible that the entire argument around the financing of heritage in a competitive government funding world has been that it hasn't been focused on the right thing, not just that it's just been competing against superior priorities? I'd love to hear your comments on that.

  (1000)  

    Once more unto the breach.... In terms of priorities—I understand that this question also came up on Tuesday—I'd like to address specifically the notion of competing priorities and competing interests. You heard on Tuesday about the need for dramatically enhanced funding for cost-sharing in order to effectively conserve, and we're just talking about the national historic site component, which is probably about 700 places outside of federal ownership and is already oversubscribed.
     To me, the context always depends on where you're sitting. If I'm looking at the 2016 federal budget and I see $65 million approved in that budget for a bicycle and hiking trail in Jasper National Park, and I think of the needs of.... If the conservation is just not taking place on things that people highly value across this country, then I say to myself that I think it really depends on where you are. I think sometimes we need to get down and look at where the money is actually being spent. When you do that, I think, it's not so much culture versus nature, and it's not so much tourism versus this or that. It's something else.
     Now, on framing things so that people appreciate why this investment has benefits other than just straightforward conservation, I think that makes eminently good sense. For example, in the United States, there is a 20% tax credit for approved work that takes place on any national historic landmark. In fact, I think any building on the register is eligible to apply for that funding. They built in something that said to forget heritage for the moment; any building built before 1936 in the United States that is converted into affordable housing will automatically get a 10% tax credit.
    That tax credit program in the United States is credited by a number of people with being instrumental in the rehabilitation of American cities. Many of you are much younger than I am, but I remember reading in the 1980s about all these American cities that were basket cases and would never recover. New York City and Provincetown and all of these places were dead, yet it was this rehabilitation tax credit program that started interesting entrepreneurs. The high-tech industry started moving into old buildings. There was this creation of that sort of thing. In fact, when Christina and I were working, Deloitte and Touche in the United States had a section of their big consulting firm that was designed to put places on the register so they'd be eligible for tax credits, because of the very positive impacts this rehabilitation was having on those communities.
    I agree with you that framing is important, but I would like us always to think in these terms: when we're talking about the competing interests, it really depends on how you are actually spending that money.
    Thank you.

  (1005)  

    I have just a quick point, realizing how little time there is.
    Really quickly, please.
    Simply because we were talking about the model of individual support, which is really important, I want to make an echo of the environmental movement, where what we are doing is encouraging civil society to be invested through initiatives and programs that are funded by the federal government. There is absolutely something to consider here, because it is applied elsewhere in the world very successfully, and the environmental movement is very competent in achieving things for the community. For heritage, we should consider that option as well.
    Before I move to Mr. Fast, following up on that, and as you've shared already, if you have any concrete examples on how we can leverage money and other opportunities to meet that question, we're looking for those. Thank you.
    I'm going to drill down into that a bit later on, but first, when I take your testimony collectively and then the testimony we heard two days ago, there are some common themes emerging. One is that we need legislation.
     Mr. Bennett, you really drilled down into that and gave us a comprehensive look at what you think is required.
    Mr. Rivet, you also talked about policy tools. Fortunately, we have a written copy of your submission, but it doesn't really drill down to what those tools might entail. Could you do that for us? That's helpful for us as we craft a report going forward.
     Perhaps I'll give you a pointer as to a big picture of where one could start.
    There is a slate of tools that can apply specifically to Parks Canada, and then there is a slate of tools to consider for the entire federal government. I should disclose that I used to be an Environment Canada employee, and that is where I learned a lot about how the environment is part of the consideration of action by all federal departments.
    There is something to consider there, where, for example, the federal sustainable development strategy, which aims to guide each department on how to achieve Canada's commitment on sustainable development, is reporting on its contributions. There are some significant challenges in aligning the objectives of that strategy with the international commitments, one of them being the fact that there is no mechanism to report on how we achieve sustainable development while considering cultural heritage. There's already an opportunity there to place a marker that cultural heritage is part of Canada's goals in achieving sustainable development, and that as a government we will look for those actions and performances that will help us achieve that goal.
    As I mentioned in my introduction, there are various departments that are easily touched upon when one looks at heritage matters. It's a matter of their mandate not being called upon for cultural heritage, but they're already, in a way, addressing heritage issues. When we talk about reconciliation with indigenous peoples, we're obviously talking about certain aspects of heritage. When we talk about investing in infrastructure in urban centres, we will inevitably intersect with the cultures and the cultural expression of the communities in those urban centres.
     I'm simply pointing out that even just starting with the federal sustainable development strategy, we can look at how that applies to other departments.
    The last idea that comes to mind is that there will soon be an announcement on funding for eco.... I'm sorry. I forget the specific expression, but it's essentially encouraging owners to invest in greening buildings and eco-retrofitting. This is clearly an opportunity where we can talk about how the federal government views the importance of cultural heritage, not just because it has value, but because of its ability to perform to achieve our goals towards sustainable development and the impacts of climate change.
    Does anybody else want to comment?
    If not, I want to talk about the financial challenges that face any government. Mr. Amos touched on that. He talked about competing priorities. We talked about that in the last meeting as well.
     The funding has been up and down over the last few years. You've had a look at what the funding levels are. Have you come to any conclusion about what kinds of funding levels are required for us to not only maintain our existing inventory of cultural heritage buildings, but to actually acquire new ones and incent the private sector to do their part?
    Mr. Rivet.

  (1010)  

    I don't have a definite number, but I want to point out two things that I think are important.
    First off, it's clear that Parks Canada does not have the resources, the capacity, to fully invest in the conservation of the sites. When we look at their reports to Parliament indicating that a large proportion of them are in fair or poor condition, there's an issue that we need to pay attention to there.
    The point I really wanted to make is the idea of leveraging. I don't believe we have fully explored that idea. This is where I go back to the environmental approach to funding, where we seek partners in civil society to take on the leadership for what is best for the communities, and we do that by supporting their individual initiatives that fit within the federal government's goals of x, y, and z. It's that pattern of thinking that I think is also extremely important to consider for addressing this.
    Mr. Bennett.
    You have 30 seconds.
    While funding for Parks Canada has increased significantly since 2013, expenditures on national historic sites and all cultural heritage programs within Parks Canada are down by about 15%, I believe. There's a structural problem here. It's not just a money problem. It's how the money gets distributed. It's where the money goes. That's something this committee could probably look at.
    Ergo, your comments about the Jasper bicycle trail....
    I don't think he said anything, did he? I don't remember hearing that. Did he say it?
    Somebody talked about the Jasper bicycle trail.
     Did I mishear?
    A voice: No.
    No, they heard it. I missed it, but I thought that I would have twigged on it if it had been said.
    I'm going to have to cut off that excellent line of questioning. We'll see if we can pick it up further along.
    Mr. Aldag.
    For one of the pieces that's come to mind and that we've had a bit of a discussion on, this is more of a heads-up. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it now. In the spring, we tabled legislation on federal sustainability, the FSDA. We were looking at sustainability, and for this whole heritage piece, I would say, we didn't consider it when we did our study. I'm thinking that when the legislation comes back, it may be something that we could dedicate a session to in terms of looking at how heritage could fit into that act. I'm kind of putting it on the record that we should consider that as a committee and perhaps have some of these witnesses come back and speak to us—and perhaps others—because there could be an amendment that could strengthen that legislation. I'll leave that for some thinking for us at this time.
    Mr. Sopuck, in his comments, took me back to a point in time when I was stationed at Riding Mountain National Park in the early 1990s. At that point, a number of federal heritage buildings and national historic sites were under threat. I think of the east gate there, which is an architectural gem. There was a comparable one for the south gate that had been demolished without any records. There were questions about whether we should just get rid of east gate. Also, the visitors centre was going to be demolished and replaced with something new. These are real architectural gems and set the whole character of the town of Wasagaming.
    The issue we have within national parks, based on my three decades plus in the organization, is that there are always competing interests for where to spend money. I know that within national parks the idea of ecological integrity is always the driver, and then there are contemporary assets such as highways and water treatment systems. Heritage is often the neglected cousin.
     Even though there's money, and your comment was that Riding Mountain park is not in bad shape, there were points in time—
    Oh yes.
    —where it could have ended up very differently. People like Christina and Gordon were very pivotal in making sure there were policies in place for Parks Canada.
    I also go outside of Parks Canada, which is actually mandated to spend money on heritage, so the historic sites and federal heritage buildings within Parks Canada are fortunate. On this idea of legislation being required for the expenditure of public funds, a discussion I've had many times with the Department of National Defence and other departments is that in their core mandate they're not financed by Treasury Board to spend money on heritage buildings. National Defence was one department that was often knocking down federal heritage buildings. Their argument was simply that they didn't have the money, that they were here to blow things up—
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Mr. John Aldag: —and defend the country, not to protect old structures.
    With that as a lengthy preamble, I'm trying to wrap my mind around the crafting of this if we were to go forward with legislation on federal historic sites and the work that Gordon and Christina did. I tried to find the previous legislation, but it's sealed, so we can't get it. We need to reconstruct whatever it is. It had gone to cabinet, so I've been unable to.... I was looking at doing something along these lines with my private member's bill.
     We need to really reconstruct what was there. I'm wondering if we were to do a piece getting the federal House in order and we had legislation for national historic sites.... Was what was contemplated to look at not just the Parks Canada ones and giving true protection, but to look at the full suite? Would we have been able to give that federal expenditure for the protection of federally owned national historic sites...? Could you help shed some light on how that was at least envisioned back in the early 2000s?

  (1015)  

    In the interdepartmental meetings we had, there was a lot of discussion about the extra costs associated with heritage conservation. We did reach I think what was a fairly general consensus on the 20% figure. The heritage people said they thought that was a little high, so we gave reasons why we thought it was high. The custodians said that they didn't think it was high enough, that if there were a big contingency.... They had seen how the U.S. system works.
     The 20% figure was sort of accepted that it would be.... There would be an additional cost to the treasury for those other 65 or 63—whatever the number is—national historic sites in other government departments, just as the government funded obligations when the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was introduced, for example, and originally under the guideline order custodians had to assume obligations that they had not previously had to assume. These are important obligations. It's important that they meet them—
     This kind of legislation would perhaps for, say, federally owned historic sites put commemorative integrity first. It would give that kind of protection and would either mandate or specify that expenditure of federal funds on these conservation practices was legitimate.
    Exactly.
    Okay.
    It's just as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act gives departments and agencies the authority to spend money on environmental assessment.
    But the intent was never to pull those national historic sites out of the other custodial departments and, say, put them under Parks Canada; it was to leave them out under the departments.
    No, John. In my dreams I thought it would be lovely to come to work on Parliament Hill every day, which in my view is a premier national historic site. The idea was not to do that.
    Okay.
    Ongoing use is a very important function of heritage character.
    There is so much to explore here, but I have to cut you off. I'm sorry.
    Mr. Stetski.
    I get only three minutes, so I'll be quick.
     John, were you saying that you weren't able to get copies of the legislation that Mr. Bennett referred to from 14 years ago?
    Yes.
    We're going to work on it.
    Okay, thank you, because I think that's really important.
    I want to step outside my comfort box, and perhaps yours. We have a Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Parks Canada ends up currently being responsible for much of heritage. I went through the minister's mandate and there were 13 priorities. One talks about working with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to make significant new investments in cultural infrastructure, and another was to work in collaboration with the Minister of Indigenous and North Affairs to provide new funding to promote, preserve, and enhance indigenous languages and cultures. Is Parks Canada the right place to house heritage?
    I have to tell you that I'm the NDP critic, but I refer to myself as an advocate for national parks, and I really am. Should there be a separate ministry of Canadian heritage that actually includes this portfolio from Parks Canada, and would that potentially improve things?
    Christina, you look as though you'd like to start.

  (1020)  

    It's because Gordon and I don't agree on this point, so I'll give you my quick hit and give him some time.
     I was very disappointed that the Minister of Environment's mandate letter did not include cultural heritage. I'll leave that there. I know he'll have more to say about that. The main argument for keeping Parks Canada together has always been an operational argument. In other words, when you deliver at the field level, the country is divided into units and they coordinate the delivery at the field level, and Canadian Heritage doesn't operate on the land like that. That's always been the argument for that side.
    Now if I can pass it to Gordon, you'll hear the other point of view.
     Obviously, I think you could say, a major reason why this legislative initiative petered out was that at the end of 2003, control and supervision of the Parks Canada Agency was transferred from the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the Minister of the Environment. Clearly this was a priority for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. It was not a priority for successive Ministers of the Environment.
     I guess the place to really begin is whether the government and whether the minister thinks that this is a good fit. Christina referred to the mandate letter, which contained five explicit references to national parks, one implicit reference to national parks, three references to marine and coastal area conservation, and not a single reference to any of the cultural heritage programs that the minister is responsible for. I'm not blaming the minister. I'm not even blaming the government. I think it's just an assumption that everybody makes that this sort of heritage probably resides somewhere else. There's nothing malicious; that's just the way it is.
    I think if the minister is interested in retaining those responsibilities, there has to be a general legislative provision, as exists in Australia, that clearly states the minister's responsibilities. The minister is responsible for the Department of the Environment. The Department of the Environment has no mandate in cultural heritage. Parks Canada is not part of the Department of the Environment, and it's not part of the Department of the Environment for good reasons, which I won't go into here.
    I think there are some options. One, look at making sure that the minister and Parks Canada accord much greater attention to this than has been given to date. Two, if in fact it is perceived that these programs are not a good fit, one could look at the CEO of Parks Canada reporting to another minister in respect to these cultural heritage programs and continuing to report to the Minister of the Environment for the others. Three, given what's happened to historic sites, I'm not sure breaking them out of Parks Canada now would do any further damage than has already been done over the last few years.
    Okay. I let you run for an extra two minutes because I could see that we had time to do a two-minute round and I thought everybody was very interested in the answer to that question. I took privilege there and just went ahead and let it run, so we're going to give two minutes to the Conservatives and two minutes to the Liberals, and then we'll wrap it up.
    Go ahead, whoever wants to take it.
    Sure.
    We'll do the same thing we did Tuesday. Just do another two minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Aldag, for your references to Riding Mountain National Park. We'll have to have a conversation offline about the glories of my park.
    Back in 2014, the Prime Minister announced the $2.8-billion program—I'm going to quote here from a newspaper article—“to support infrastructure improvements to heritage, tourism, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation across Canada. These investments by the Government of Canada include the largest infrastructure plan at Parks Canada in its 104 year history.” It was an announcement that I was very proud our government made at the time. I'm not trying to be too partisan here, but the money was there.
    I want to ask you a couple of quick questions. Is that money being well spent on heritage preservation, in your view? I gather that the money was for a three-year period. Should that program continue?
    Dr. Cameron.

  (1025)  

    I honestly can't answer that. I'm not inside anymore. I don't know how it was allocated. Really, I haven't done a study of that. I think this is something an auditor general would come through and do another report on to see how it had addressed some of the failings that were identified.
    Sorry, that's not a very good answer.
    Okay.
    Mr. Bennett.
    I 'd say the same thing. The last departmental performance report contained no information for Parks Canada on how much money was spent on national historic sites.
    Again, I find that lack of knowledge quite surprising. It was a major, major announcement. I think it's part of the reason Mr. Aldag talked about some of the improvements that occurred in the parks.
    Dr. Cameron, does a heritage site have to have national significance or do locally significant sites that are precious and dear to local communities also deserve national consideration, even though they may not have a national significance?
    In my own case, I'm thinking particularly of the Ukrainian migration to western Canada, and that kind of thing.
     I think you've had Dr. Alway in to talk about how that process works, so I won't repeat that.
     I think the idea of the Canadian Register of Historic Places was really designed to capture exactly what you're talking about, and that in terms of federal jurisdiction the responsibility is that no federal action would negatively impact such a place. As you know, property is mostly provincially distributed, so the protection for a locally important site probably comes from a municipality, as delegated from the province. The federal part can be that the federal government commits to not allocating any funds or taking any action that would negatively impact any registered property.
    You have 30 seconds.
    Should there be a small program, then, by the federal government to assist these local preservation efforts, a matching funds kind of program? Many of these are very low in cost. For some of my little volunteer groups who are heroically working on these areas, $5,000 would mean the world. Would a program like that by the federal government be useful?
    That was where the tax credit program was targeted—
    Mr. Robert Sopuck: Right.
    Prof. Christina Cameron: —and that was really in relation to any registered property, so that would be the area to explore.
     I know we're out of time.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Amos.
     I'd like to return quickly to the financing question and simply invite our learned witnesses, if they have further reflections on the financing aspect, to please send in those reflections in writing. That would be fabulous.
    I want to put you in a particular universe and then get your reflections. Let's say $20 million was accorded to Parks Canada to encourage heritage conservation across the country, keeping in mind that there is a leadership role for Parks Canada to demonstrate just what great heritage conservation can be done and how it can be shown off to the public, but also recognizing the long-term and ongoing costs of maintaining, etc.
     If you have $20 million a year and you're going to accord a part of it to federally owned heritage structures, what portion is for that and what portion is for encouraging heritage across the country for what is not necessarily federally owned? My own bias is that it's likely that just incentivizing heritage outside of federal ownership is where we want to go, so I'd love to hear Mr. Rivet and Mr. Bennett in particular on that, please.
    I want to bring the conversation back to the experience I had in the environmental movement, where it's clear that the federal government has invested way more than $20 million in creating initiatives that allow communities to do work irrespective of where that work takes place. I think that's where there is much to consider. If we are to intervene in cultural heritage, we are intervening in landscapes and places as diverse, as broad, and as important as we are doing for our land, our water, and our air.
     Looking at the models that we are applying there, where we're talking about leveraging and multi-jurisdictional investments, and about economic development agencies being involved at all levels of government, that is something where already the federal government has a track record in delivering, which Canadians are familiar with and would not come as a surprise if it were considered as an option. I'm not specifically answering the $20 million and how much, the theoretical; I'm simply reiterating that in terms of proportion and impact we have an experience elsewhere already.

  (1030)  

    I think the $20-million ask on cost-sharing should go to the non-federally owned sites to help them out. I think that within the Parks Canada context the needs should be met by looking at some internal reallocation.
    After speaking with owners of national historic sites in rural regions, I also think the cost-sharing program needs to be reformed. I've spoken to people in Labrador and in northern British Columbia, and they do struggle because there isn't an equal playing field. This needs to be investigated in terms of how to balance out those funds. In the end, the rich sites with the money to do the studies get the money. The poor ma-and-pa sites in Saskatchewan don't get the money. There needs to be a rethinking of how that program works.
     I know there's an interest in continuing with this questioning. We have small details to take care of. If you are willing, we will stop the questioning at this moment and I'll finish what I have to do, and then we'll run the time out. If there's any objection, let me know now; otherwise that's what we're going to do.
    Very quickly, we did get confirmation that the commissioner is going to do the reports on October 3, so our meeting will have to be shifted. We do have witnesses who can come only on that date. They're willing to come in the afternoon. We have a spot for 3:30 to 5:30, right after QP, a room here in the Wellington Building.
    What's the date?
    It's going to be October 3 in this room. I'm just letting you know that we're shifting the meeting to the afternoon because there are witnesses who cannot come except on that day, and we want to hear from them.
    Is there any objection?

[Translation]

    Madam Chair, unfortunately I can't attend the meeting.

[English]

    You can't?
    I can't.
    We can still continue with the meeting. If you wouldn't mind sending a representative, that would be great, because we really do have that one day for that witness, so we'd like to try to do that.
    Thank you for sharing that. We'll make sure you get all the notes, okay?
    Thanks. I will try to find a replacement for me.
    Thank you. I appreciate that.
    Otherwise, we're going to shift that. We'll send out a notice and make sure you have that.
    The other thing I realized when I was going to send out the pictures on Tuesday was that I don't know everybody's backup team anymore, whether it's an A1, an A2, a C1, or whatever it is that you're using as your support team at the table here. Can you send me an email, please, and just let me know what your...?
    You'll have them?
    The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Thomas Bigelow): I'll take those.
    The Chair: The clerk will take those so we know whom to send the information to, in addition to you.
    That was all I had to get done today, so if we're good to go, we'll go back and do another couple of minutes each, and that will end the day.
    Why don't we just start off with Wayne again.
    I put everything away.
    Okay. I know the Conservatives are ready.
    Go right ahead, Joël.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Ms. Cameron, I want to know what you think about the establishment of criteria and about the distribution of the federal government's investment in protecting sites, places and buildings. Would it be possible to have a geographic distribution across the country?
    Obviously, urban centres are major centres with a great deal of infrastructure and many sites. However, our regions also have a history. The urban centres developed as a result of the regions.
    Would it be possible to consider a distribution of investments among the provinces, a distribution that takes into account the rural regions in comparison with the urban centres? Have you already considered this to protect Canada as a whole and to avoid favouring one region or province over another? I think all Canadian provinces and territories have a history.

  (1035)  

    These distinctions currently don't exist. However, depending on the programs accepted by a particular government, a program can always be created a certain way to compensate for some shortcomings or to enter different data. For example, in terms of rural buildings and major cities, certain distinctions can always be made between the cities and rural municipalities, as is the case in Quebec. I think it depends on how the programs are created. We've never explored this, but I think anything's possible.
    Are my thoughts far-fetched?
    Mr. Rivet wanted to answer my question, but I first want to hear from Ms. Cameron.
    No, go ahead.
    Mr. Godin, I certainly wouldn't be so bold as to tell you whether your thoughts are far-fetched. However, I want to support the point made by Ms. Cameron.
    It depends on the jurisdictions. In Quebec, for example, the provincial government has excellent legislation to protect landscapes. It's something quite unique across the country. Other provincial governments invest in certain types of heritage that are, for example, more closely related to indigenous peoples, or they invest more in buildings.
    If we're thinking about a federal funding allocation, we must also consider the idea of leverage. We must look at how to support a conservation method that will achieve the objectives of all the communities across the country, according to their type of heritage, as effectively as possible and in cooperation with the other provincial, territorial and municipal governments.
    Thank you.

[English]

     Mr. Stetski.
    I think we heard a lot of great suggestions today, and I really want to thank you as a panel.
    Very quickly, if you had to pick one short-term thing that you would like to see happen, and then one thing longer term, what would the two priorities be off the great list you have given us?
    I'll start with Andrew.
    In the short term, they would be the things that you can do in terms of the Treasury Board policy. You could revisit it easily within policies driven internally by government, and you can revisit some of the ideas there. Strengthen them. Refine them. They haven't been touched by committee for years. They tried a few years ago, but they should do that.
    The long-term vision I think has to do with the legislation. It's not legislation in terms of fixating on funding dollars; it's in terms of what Christophe said about leveraging. It's the impetus for transforming our country. That's where it would start. Then you would have all of these ancillary impacts greater than anything, and this has already been the experience in the United States.
    Those would be my short-term and long-term suggestions.
    Gordon.
    I worked for 35 years for Parks Canada. I spent some time working closely with colleagues in national parks. The one thing that always astonished me was the importance of the Canada National Parks Act, and I say that admiringly. In other words, that very strong piece of legislation, even before the introduction of ecological integrity, drove the program. It made most people think that Parks Canada is national parks. There probably have been a few ministers and others who have felt the same way.
    I think the legislation, as Andrew said, is really important in order to introduce that change. A former senior official of Parks Canada is reported to have once said that national parks had strong legislation and a great system plan, and national marine conservation areas had strong legislation and a great system plan, but national historic sites really had no legislation and half a system plan.
    It really counts having that legislation. It counts inside and outside because most people in Canada are very happy knowing that the Canada National Parks Act is there protecting those important places. We need the same thing on the historic side.
    Very quickly, I think a short-term win would be to introduce the concept of indigenous registrars for the Canadian Register of Historic Places. That would be because we didn't get far in the consultation with indigenous peoples. One, we didn't know how to do it, and two, the concept of heritage has evolved so much that it's absolutely essential that it be self-identified, and this would be a great enrichment of the registry.

  (1040)  

    That's it. I'm so sorry, but maybe our side will pick it up. We'll see.
    Go ahead, Mr. Aldag.
    I'm looking for a quick summary. This is in the spirit of helping us re-create or understand the legislation that Christina and Gordon worked on in the early 2000s.
    There was one act that covered the report “Federal House in Order” and the federal leadership piece. With a minute or two, could you walk us through really quickly—just bullets—how those two separated out?
     If we run out of time, you could send something to us that would help guide us in at least recommending how to structure this based on the work that was previously done. I know a lot of thought went into it.
    There was one act in the proposed bill dealing exclusively with national historic sites. The other proposed act in that bill was the historic places of canada act, and it dealt with the other matters, including the register of the standards and guidelines, federal heritage buildings, archeological resources on federal lands, including lands under water, and world heritage sites.
    Was there a funding piece under both of those? As I say, it was one title but two almost distinct acts within that, and the funding would have flowed....
    There was a lot of work done on funding, a lot of modelling done on how tax credits could work, and so on. I don't remember all the numbers. There certainly was a lot of work done, and it would have been assigned to the two acts separately because they were different.
     That statutory authority to spend is really critical. We need to make sure we get that right, as well as how to support this.
    I think that's good.
    Do you think you have finished?
    We want to thank all of you very much. It's obviously been a great session. Lots of questions were asked. We've received good answers, but I think there is obviously lots more we want to know. If you have something to share with us that you weren't able to say today, or even if you have details that you want to clarify with us on what you did say, we would very much welcome that. I know our analysts have sometimes said they'd like to maybe send a question or two, if you'd be ready for that. It's a shortish study, so if you get the questions, we'd really like to have a fast turnaround response if possible.
    Thank you again.
    The meeting is adjourned.
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