Yes! Bill C-323 – An Act to create tax incentives for the rehabilitation of Historic Property – passed second reading, and will continue to Committee!

What’s New?

Many of you already wrote to your own Member of Parliament, and to the Minister of the Environment, who passed your letters on to the Minister of Finance.  You likely received replies that raise issues with the Bill, and even state that the Government will oppose it.

Some important facts:

1.      Don’t forget the promise made by The Liberal Party of Canada, which expressed their willingness to consider financial incentives for historic places in their October 2015 pre-election message to the heritage sector.  Responding to written questions from the National Trust for Canada, Liberal Party president Anna Gainey wrote. “A Liberal government will work in collaboration with the heritage sector and other stakeholders to examine measures that promote the preservation and rehabilitation of Canada’s heritage buildings.  We are open to measures that use the tax system that stimulate private investments in heritage buildings.”   See the full letter here. Let’s all remind the Government of that promise, and help them find ways to keep it.

2.      We have the whole summer to keep the conversation alive about historic places and the need for incentives!  Please consider meeting Liberal MPs, to thank them for their “Yes” vote at Second Reading, or to tell them why their support for tax incentives is essential to a vibrant economy and a sustainable environment.  See “What you can do” below.

3.      Before considering the Bill, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development is expected to embark on a study of the State of Historic Places in Canada – an important “first” for the Committee that can help give context to the proposal for financial incentives. Organizations and individuals will be called as witnesses, and every one with an interest can make their views known in writing.

What you can do:

Bill C 323 offers a historic opportunity to engage and support elected officials in tackling the issues and barriers facing the heritage sector.

You can help!
A.     Talk to Liberal MPs this summer about heritage incentives. Here is a presentation deck and speaking notes that you can use.  Let’s all sing from the same songbook!

Follow up your meeting with a letter to Liberal MPs and Liberal Cabinet Ministers that pro-actively responds to issues raised by government officials in past letters.  Here is a sample letter to help get you started.

Here is the link to find Liberal MPs by postal code.  Find out here how your MP voted.

B.     Consider responding in writing to the replies you received from Government officials who raised issues with the Bill. Remind them of the promise the Liberal Party made to “examine measures that promote the preservation and rehabilitation of Canada’s heritage buildings.

Here is a sample letter to Liberal MPs and Cabinet Ministers get you started. When crafting your letter(s), you will find helpful background information on our website. Point to historic places in your area that need this kind of financial measure – especially those at risk!

Write or cc the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and the Hon. Peter Van Loan (sponsor of the Bill) and us the National Trust to let us know what action you’ve taken!  Or send a copy of your letters, and any replies you receive to the National Trust for Canada, by email at National Trust, or by mail to 190 Bronson Avenue, Ottawa, ON  K1R 6H4.

C.     Given the focus on historic places coming up this fall at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, organizations with an interest can start getting ready to make a submission in writing or in person about the state of historic places in Canada, or about Bill C-323 in particular.  Please let us know if you will do so – we’ll share our draft submission and keep you in the loop!

Thank you!  Together, we can make a difference for places that matter

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