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: $274.00
- 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: $821.00
- 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: $2,295.00
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: $8,757.00
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: $13,683.00
- 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: $2,737.00
- 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 : $3,284.00
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: $5,473.00
- 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: $8,757.00
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:
Changes to listed heritage properties
There are no restrictions on alterations to properties listed on the Heritage Register.
Owners of 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(5) 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.”
The section below outlines the requirements of a Notice of Intention to Demolish submitted under Section 27(3).
Requirements of Notice of Intention to Demolish
- Completed Form for Buildings Listed on the Heritage Register
- Rationale for demolition and supporting studies (as required). Heritage staff can assist in determining if supporting information is required.
- Full colour, printed photographs (minimum 4” x 6” each) of each elevation of the building(s) you want to demolish. One set of original colour photographs is required and all photographs shall be labeled with address, orientation and date. All photographs must be high quality (focused, well lit, clear).
The following information may be required at the request of Heritage Staff:
Historic information regarding the building including the following:
- Copy of Fire Insurance Plans (if available);
- City Directory information;
- Architect or builder;
- Additional biographical information regarding significant owners; and
- Historic photo or building plans (if available).
If historic information is requested as part of the Notice of Intention to Demolish, property owners are expected to make reasonable efforts to provide this information. Information can be found online, at the City of Ottawa Archives, the Ottawa Public Library (Ottawa Room, Kanata Room etc.) and Library and Archives Canada. If some information is not found, property owners should provide a list of resources that were consulted during their research.
For more information please contact: