Changes to heritage properties
Under the Ontario Heritage Act, all alterations to designated heritage properties and to properties located within a Heritage Conservation District require the approval of the City of Ottawa. Alterations that require approval include, but are not limited to construction of additions, window replacement, partial demolition, and porch replacement or restoration.
How to Apply
Applicants should discuss their proposal with staff in the Heritage Planning Branch who will be able to provide advice, and determine the documentation and applicable fees required for a complete application.
City approval is required before any work on a heritage property that will affect its heritage attributes is undertaken.
As of January 1, 2021, the City of Ottawa implemented a new fee schedule for applications made under the Ontario Heritage Act. These are divided into two categories: staff-issued permits and City Council-issued permits.
Heritage Permits: Staff-level authority
This category includes alterations and additions to properties designated under Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act such as changes to window openings, modifications to porches, new dormer windows or additions. All permits in this category may be processed at the staff level through the authority delegated by City Council under the Ontario Heritage Act. These fees are charged per application, but one application may include multiple alterations. Staff will determine the appropriate fee for each application and advise the applicant in advance.
- Alterations: $279.00
- Alterations to Contributing/Grade 1/Part IV properties such as, but not limited to modifications to porches, new dormers, window replacement, or new openings that can be processed under the authority delegated by City Council under the Ontario Heritage Act.
- Alterations of Non-contributing/Grade 2 properties that may have an impact on the character of the HCD
- Landscape alterations where landscape is an attribute of the Part IV property or an attribute of the HCD
- Construction of detached garages or sheds that require a heritage permit
- Additions: $837.00
- Additions less than 30% of the gross floor area of the existing building.
- May also include minor alterations to a building
- Other: $0
The following types of projects are exempt from application fees:
- Applications processed under the authority delegated to staff including:
- Those that meet the definition of restoration, rehabilitation, or preservation according to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
- Building maintenance projects
- Landscaping projects
- Applications related to demolishing or rebuilding existing buildings affected by catastrophic events
- Applications related to alterations of properties to bring them into compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Heritage Permits: Council-level authority
This category includes alterations to properties designated under Part IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act such as partial demolition, additions and new construction that incorporates the heritage resource. All applications under this category require approval of City Council after consultation with the Built Heritage Sub-Committee. These fees are charged on a project basis, only one alteration fee is charged per application. Alteration fees may be combined with demolition or new construction fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.
- Minor Alteration: $2,340.00
The criteria for this category includes:
- Minor alterations or additions to the existing property
- Involves only one designated property
- Partial demolition up to 30% of the gross floor area of the designated building
- Major Alteration: $8,930.00
The criteria for this category includes:
- Significant alterations or additions to the existing property that impact the cultural heritage value or attributes of the property or heritage conservation district
- Any application that involves more than one designated property
This category includes fees for demolition of designated resources. The fees are based on the cultural heritage value of the resource as defined through a Part IV designation or the property’s assigned category in a heritage conservation district. These fees are cumulative, if an applicant is proposing demolition of three designated properties a fee will apply per building. Demolition fees may be combined with new construction or alteration fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.
- Part IV/Grade 1/Contributing: $13,954.00
- Individually designated buildings, or contributing buildings in a heritage conservation district (category/group 1-3, or Grade 1 in Rockcliffe Park)
- Grade 2/Non-Contributing: $2,791.00
- Non-contributing buildings in a heritage conservation district (category/group 4, or Grade 2 in Rockcliffe Park)
New Construction in Heritage Conservation Districts
This category includes fees for new construction in heritage conservation districts designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. The fees are divided into small, medium and large scale depending on the size of the project. Fees are charged on a project basis, not per property and there will only be one new construction fee per application even if multiple properties are involved. New Construction fees may be combined with demolition or alteration fees as appropriate and determined by Heritage Planning branch staff.
- Small-scale new construction : $3,349.00
The criteria for small-scale new construction includes:
- Applications for new single detached houses
- Applications in this category have no associated Official Plan Amendment or Zoning By-law amendment.
- Medium-scale new construction: $5,581.00
- Applications for new low-scale residential construction including but not limited to: townhouse dwellings, duplex dwelling, semi-detached dwelling, stacked dwelling
- Applications for new construction of low-rise apartment buildings
- Applications for new construction of non-residential or mixed-use low-rise buildings
- Large-scale new construction: $8,930.00
The criteria for major new construction includes:
- New construction of mid-rise and high-rise buildings
- Any application that requires a Zoning by-law amendment (with the exception of an amendment related only to use) or Official Plan Amendment
A Heritage Planner will provide a complete list of the requirements for an application, however, the following documents are generally required:
- Application for Permit under the Ontario Heritage Act - Staff-level authority
Application for Permit under the Ontario Heritage Act - Council-level authority
- Site Plan
- Landscape Plan
- 3D renderings
- List of building materials or material samples
- Cultural Heritage Impact Statement (may be required, consult with a heritage planner regarding this requirement)
Staff review applications to determine if they meet all City requirements. Upon acceptance of a complete application, the City issue a notice of receipt. A report will be prepared and sent to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee (BHSC), Planning Committee or the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and then City Council. Council may approve the application with or without conditions, or refuse it.
Commissioner of Oath
Please note that applications to alter a property designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act now require an affidavit or sworn declaration signed by a Commissioner of Oath. The City of Ottawa provides this service free of charge for Heritage Applications. More information about the process and booking an appointment can be found here.
Plans and Studies
A property owner can appeal the refusal of an application to demolish a designated heritage property or the terms and conditions of approval to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) within 30 days of receiving the notice of Council's decision.
Other Permits or Approvals that may be required
- Demolition Permit - Required for all demolitions. An approval of an application under the Ontario Heritage Act must not be construed to meet the requirements for the issuance of a Building Permit.
- Demolition Control Approval - if property contains residential dwelling units and is in an area to which Demolition Control applies.
Appeals must be received by the City of Ottawa within 30 days of the receipt of notice of Council's decision. Appeals must be accompanied by the fee prescribed by the Ontario Municipal Board or Conservation Review Board. More information about the appeal process can be found on the websites of the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the Conservation Review Board.
Other Approvals or Permits that may be required
- Zoning By-law amendment or Minor Variance.
- Consent for Severance
- Site Plan Control
- Building Permit - Required for most construction. Approval of an application under the Ontario Heritage Act must not be construed to meet the requirements for the issuance of a building permit.
For more information please contact:
A guide to preparing cultural heritage impact statements
This document has been prepared to provide clarity regarding the requirements of Cultural Heritage Impact Statements (CHIS) for those preparing them as a requirement of the City of Ottawa Official Plan. A Cultural Heritage Impact Statement is an arm's length, independent study to determine the impacts of proposed future development on cultural heritage resources.
2.0 When is a CHIS required?
Section 4.6.1 of the Official Plan has policies that outline when a Cultural Heritage Impact Statement (CHIS) is required. Generally speaking, the purpose of a cultural heritage impact statement is to evaluate the impact of a proposed intervention (alteration, addition, partial demolition, demolition, relocation or new construction) on cultural heritage resources when that intervention has the potential to:
- Adversely impact the cultural heritage value of properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA);
- Adversely impact the cultural heritage value of districts designated under Part V of the OHA.
- A CHIS may also be required for development applications adjacent to or within 35 metres of, designated buildings and areas;
- A CHIS may also be required for development applications adjacent to the Rideau Canal, the Central Experimental Farm, a national historic site, a federally designated (FHBRO) building, a building with a heritage easement, or a building on the heritage register.
3.0 Purpose of a CHIS
Section 4.6.1 of the Official Plan provides broad guidance regarding the content of Cultural Heritage Impact Statements, requiring that they:
- describe the positive and adverse impacts on the heritage resource or heritage conservation district that may reasonably be expected to result from the proposed development;
- describe the actions that may reasonably be required to prevent, minimize or mitigate the adverse impacts;
- demonstrate that the proposal will not adversely impact the defined cultural heritage value of the property, Heritage Conservation District, and/or its streetscape/neighbourhood.
A CHIS is intended to provide an independent professional opinion regarding the impact of proposed developments on cultural heritage resources; it is not intended to form the City's professional opinion.
Land use planning policies, and guidelines, such as those contained within Secondary Plans, Community Design Plans, the Official Plan and documents such as infill guidelines etc. are not addressed in a CHIS. When a CHIS is prepared in response to an application under the Planning Act, the impact of the proposed application on cultural heritage resources will be addressed.
4.0 Contents of a CHIS
A Cultural Heritage Impact Statement will provide:
a. General Information
- Address of current property;
- Current owner contact information.
b. Current Conditions/ Introduction to Development Site
- A location plan indicating subject property (map and aerial photo);
- A concise written and visual description of the cultural heritage value of the development site and/or the cultural heritage value of adjacent sites, noting whether the site has: a heritage easement, designation under Part IV or V of the OHA, inclusion on the "Municipal Register," designation as a "Recognized" or "Classified" building by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, commemoration as a National Historic Site of Canada, or inclusion on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
Existing heritage descriptions should be included.
- A concise written description of the context including adjacent heritage properties and their recognition (as above);
- Digital images documenting all cultural heritage attributes;
- Site Plan showing lot dimensions as well as the location/setbacks of all existing buildings;
- Relevant information from Council-approved documents such as "Heritage District Plans" or "Heritage Guidelines." This information should include the guidelines contained within the "Heritage District Plans" and the "Heritage Guidelines" that apply to the proposed project.
c. Background Research and Analysis
- Comprehensive written and visual research and analysis related to the cultural heritage value or interest of the site, including physical or design, historical or associative, and contextual value;
- A development history of the site including original construction dates, additions and alterations;
- Primary research material consulted may include relevant historic maps and atlases, drawings, photographs, sketches/renderings, permit records, land records, assessment rolls, city directories, etc.;
- Secondary sources may include City of Ottawa Heritage Survey and Evaluation forms, FHBRO reports, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada papers, Commemorative Integrity Statements, CHRP listing etc.;
- Parks Canada's "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada," as approved by City Council in 2008.
d. Statement of Significance
A Statement of Significance identifying the cultural heritage value and heritage attributes of the cultural heritage resource(s). In many cases, this statement will be the Statement of Reasons for Designation or the Statement of Cultural Heritage Value that forms part of the designation by-law (Part IV buildings) or the description of the attributes of the heritage conservation district (Part V districts). In cases where this information is deemed to be inadequate or outdated, heritage staff will prepare a Statement of Significance to guide the CHIS.
e. Description of the Proposed Development
A written and visual description of the proposed development.
f. Impact of Proposed Development
An assessment identifying any positive and adverse impacts the proposed development may have on the heritage value of cultural heritage resource(s), as listed in Section 2, above.
Positive impacts of a development on cultural heritage resources districts include, but are not limited to:
- restoration of building, including replacement of missing attributes;
- restoration of an historic streetscape or enhancement of the quality of the place;
- adaptive re-use of a cultural heritage resource to ensure its ongoing viability;
- access to new sources of funds to allow for the ongoing protection and restoration of the cultural heritage resource.
Adverse impacts include, but are not limited to:
- Demolition of any, or part of any, heritage attributes or features;
- Alteration that is not sympathetic, or is incompatible, with the historic fabric and appearance of a building;
- Shadows created that obscure heritage attributes or change the viability of the associated cultural heritage landscape;
- Isolation of a heritage resource or part thereof from its surrounding environment, context or a significant relationship;
- Obstruction of significant identified views or vistas within, from heritage conservation districts;
- Obstruction of significant identified views or vistas within, from individual cultural heritage resources;
- A change in land use where the change affects the property's cultural heritage value;
- Land disturbances such as a change in grade that alters soils, and drainage patterns that adversely affect a cultural heritage resource.
g. Alternatives and Mitigation Strategies
The CHIS must assess alternative development options and mitigation measures in order to avoid or limit the adverse impact on the heritage value of cultural heritage resources.
Methods of minimizing or avoiding an adverse impact on a cultural heritage resource(s) include but are not limited to:
- Alternative development approaches that result in compatible development and limit adverse impacts;
- Separating development from significant cultural heritage resources to protect their heritage attributes including, but not limited to, their settings and identified views and vistas;
- Limiting height and density or locating higher/ denser portion of a development in an manner that respects the existing individual cultural heritage resources or the heritage conservation district;
- Including reversible interventions to cultural heritage resources.
- The CHIS will include a bibliography and a list of people contacted during the study.
5.0 Conservation Plan
A Conservation Plan may be required. The applicant will be informed that a Conservation Plan is required early in the process. They may be required for projects involving complex sites with a number of cultural heritage resources.
Conservation Plans must:
- Describe how the heritage value of a resource will be protected during the development process;
- Include a summary of conservation principles and how they will be used must be included. Conservation principles may be found in publications such as Parks Canada's "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada " and "Eight Guiding Principles in the Conservation of Historic Properties," published by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. (Both publications are available online.);
- Recommend the conservation treatment category – preservation, rehabilitation, restoration - appropriate to each resource of heritage value within the property, including the landscape;
- Outline how the cultural heritage resource[s] are to be managed after the completion of the project;
- A Conservation Plan must contain current information on the condition of the building and recommendations on its ongoing maintenance. These recommendations will be based on the "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada" as amended from time to time, and adopted City Council in 2008;
- A Conservation Plan may also contain guidance on the following, were appropriate: public access, signage, lighting, interpretation, landscaping, heritage recording, use.
Notice that a CHIS is required will be given at the pre-consultation stage and applicants should wait until they are notified that a CHIS is required before retaining a consultant. When a CHIS is required for an application under the Ontario Heritage Act, that application will not be considered complete if the CHIS does not accompany the application. When a CHIS is required for an application under the Planning Act, that application will not be considered complete if the CHIS does not accompany the application. Upon receipt of the CHIS, heritage staff will review the document in order to ascertain that it is complete. If the CHIS does not meet City requirements as described above, the application will not be processed until the CHIS meets City standards. City staff reserves the right to require further information and analysis and will return it to the author with clear instructions regarding necessary changes.
The CHIS is a public document and will be available for consultation.
A CHIS is intended to provide an independent professional opinion and thus CHISs are to be prepared by a heritage professional, who is not the applicant. The qualifications and background of the person(s) completing the CHIS will be included in the report. The author will be a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.
For the purposes of this document, adjacent means contiguous to.
A project has the potential to "adversely impact" the cultural heritage value of a project if it; requires the removal of heritage attributes, requires the destruction of a cultural heritage resource, obscures heritage attributes, is constructed in such a way that it does not respect the defined cultural heritage value of a resource.
Includes buildings, structures and sites that contribute to an understanding of our heritage and are valued for their representation of that heritage. They may reveal architectural, cultural, or socio-political patterns of our history or may be associated with specific events or people who have shaped that history. Examples include buildings, groups of buildings, dams and bridges.
Cultural Heritage Resources
Includes four components: Built Heritage, Cultural Heritage Landscapes, Archaeological Resources, and documentary heritage left by people.
Cultural Heritage Landscape
Any geographic area that has been modified, influenced, or given special cultural meaning by people and that provides the contextual and spatial information necessary to preserve and interpret the understanding of important historical settings and changes to past patterns of land use. Examples include a burial ground, historical garden or a larger landscape reflecting human intervention.
Changes to listed heritage properties
There are no restrictions on alterations to non-designated properties listed on the Heritage Register.
Owners of non-designated properties listed on the Heritage Register must provide the City with 60 days’ notice of intent to demolish or remove a building or structure.
Section 27(11) of the Ontario Heritage Act states that “the notice shall be accompanied by such plans and shall set out such information as the council may require.”
If you are the owner of a non-designated property listed on the Heritage Register and intend to demolish or remove structures on site, please contact the City’s Heritage Planning Branch to confirm submission requirements for the Notice of Intention to Demolish.
Once submission requirements have been confirmed by Heritage Planning staff, your Notice of Intention to Demolish can be submitted using the web form available at this link: Heritage Register - Notice of Intention to Demolish
For more information please contact: