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e-3860 (Culture and heritage)

Initiated by Clint Robertson from Windsor, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Heritage buildings in Canada are being lost at an unacceptable rate;
  • The conservation of heritage buildings is good for economic development, with rehabilitation generating 21% more jobs than the same investment in new construction;
  • Conserving heritage buildings contributes to environmental sustainability because building renewal capitalizes on materials and energy already invested and reduces landfill waste;
  • Heritage buildings fight climate change – it has been shown that it takes 10 to 80 years for a new “green” building to make up for the negative climate change impacts of its construction, while a heritage building’s construction impacts have already been realized;
  • Insufficient financial incentives are available from the federal government for heritage building conservation;
  • In 2017, a House of Commons report of the Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Development recommended that “the federal government establish a tax credit for the restoration and preservation of buildings listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places”; and
  • The United States has had a hugely successful federal income tax credit in place since 1976, rehabilitating over 46,000 properties, returning $1.20 in tax revenue for every dollar invested.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Financially incentivize the conservation of heritage buildings in Canada; and
2. Establish a tax credit for the conservation of buildings listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places as per the 2017 report of the Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Development. Such an income tax credit should be 20%, and it should be refundable over multiple years.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of preserving Canada’s heritage properties. For example, Budget 2019 provided $367.8 million over two years, starting 2020-21 to support capital assets in Canada’s national parks, conservation areas and historic sites. This funding supports Parks Canada in advancing infrastructure projects at national parks and historic sites across the country in order to provide safe, high-quality and meaningful experiences for visitors. The government also continues to support the Parks Canada Agency’s National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places, which helps to protect places of national historic significance by providing funding to eligible applicants (including not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, and provincial, territorial, regional, or municipal governments) who are either owners or long-term lessees of heritage places that have been formally recognized by the federal government, including associated lands, or parts of a heritage place or national historic site district.

Most recently, Budget 2021 provided $28.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $5.8 million ongoing, for Parks Canada to implement new legislation that, if enacted, would provide for a transparent designation framework as well as the sustainable protection of the over 300 federally-owned historic places. In addition, in April 2022, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec announced more than $26.6 million in funding for the creation of a new cultural institution in Quebec, which work will include the restoration of a number of heritage buildings.

Additionally, the Income Tax Act already provides support for heritage properties owned by registered charities and other qualified donees through the Charitable Donation Tax Credit (CDTC). The CDTC provides a significant incentive for individuals and corporations to donate towards historic properties held by qualifying organizations with a mandate to preserve these properties for the benefit of the public.

Open for signature
February 20, 2022, at 3:15 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 21, 2022, at 3:15 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Brian Masse (Windsor West)
June 23, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00648)
Government response tabled
September 20, 2022
Photo - Brian Masse
Windsor West
New Democratic Party Caucus