Your voice is needed to help create a better climate for investing in and renewing historic places. Take action on current national campaigns, or find valuable resources for your own local campaign.

Federal Budget Consultations 2021 – Raise Your Voice for Stimulus Funding for Heritage Places

Federal Pre-Budget Consultations 2021 are happening now until February 19. If ever there was a federal budget that must include urban, rural, and Indigenous heritage places, Federal Budget 2021 is it – given the recent federal climate action plan’s focus on existing buildings, the impact of COVID-19 on heritage sites that rely on tourism, and the essential role of heritage in reconciliation and inclusion.

Recommendation – The heritage sector is calling on the federal government for at least $200 million in stimulus funding for capital construction and other investments at heritage places across Canada. It is also supports funding for Indigenous heritage leadership to advance cultural heritage priorities that are of importance to Métis, Inuit, and First Nations Peoples in Canada.

Now we need your help. We encourage organizations and individuals help get heritage places in the Federal Budget by responding to the Budget Consultation 2021 Survey or submitting a Letter no later than Friday, February 19th at 11:59pm Eastern Time.  Your responses will be shared with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Cabinet Ministers, and Finance Department officials.

It’s easy to submit – use our suggested Survey Tool responses or sample Letter to help you in your submission.

If you choose to submit a letter, please consider forwarding a copy to your local Member of Parliament and let them know you care about heritage places. You can find contact information for your MP here.

For further info, watch the video discussion from the February 2, 2021 Gathering of the Heritage Sector: Getting Historic Places in Federal Budget 2021.

Questions, comments or concerns? Talk to us:
Email or call us toll-free: 1-866-964-1066.

New Federal Climate Action Plan – A Great Start, But Needs More Emphasis on Building Reuse

The federal government’s much-awaited green plan – A Healthy Environment and A Healthy Economy: Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan to Create Jobs and Support People, Communities and the Planet – was released on December 11th. While the Plan outlines substantial funding to improve building energy performance and emphasizes greening the building material supply chain, it could do more to quickly increase building reuse and slow demolition. Here are some of the aspects of the federal plan that the National Trust will be exploring further and bring to the attention of federal officials in the coming months:

  • Look beyond operating emissions and capitalize on the avoided carbon/embodied energy of existing buildings
  • Greening the building supply chain
  • Keep two billion trees in wilderness areas
  • Smart retrofits needed
  • Building reuse and the true green jobs of tomorrow

Please see the full National Trust response here.

National Trust intern Shannon Bateman (Thunder Bay, ON) is collaborating with the Climate Heritage Network ‘s Working Group 3: Making the Case for Building Reuse as Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Pathway to create climate heritage communications tools and materials for COP26 (Glasgow November 2021) and the general public. If you would like to more involved in these and other National Trust climate heritage action efforts, please contact Chris Wiebe

New Legislation for Canada’s Federal Heritage Places – We Need Your Insights!

The federal government is Canada’s largest property holder with over 4,000,000 km² of crown land and 37,000 buildings in its portfolio, including 1,200 recognized for their heritage value. In addition, it regulates or commemorates hundreds of other heritage places across the country, including heritage railway stations and privately owned National Historic Sites.

And yet, Canada is the only G-7 country without laws to protect heritage places owned or recognized by its national government.

The December 2019 Minister of Environment and Climate Change Mandate Letter looked to change all that by identifying new heritage legislation as a top priority: “Work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to provide clearer direction on how national heritage places should be designated and preserved, and to develop comprehensive legislation on federally owned heritage places.”

Despite the disruption of the pandemic, legislative work is currently underway, and the National Trust in consultation with its National Council partner organizations were asked to submit their recommendations Proposed Federal Heritage Legislation – National Trust and Council Recommendations what this long-awaited legislation should contain. Please send us your comments, and also let us know if there are federal heritage properties or nationally designated sites in your area that you think are at risk.

Contact: Chris Wiebe (Manager, Heritage Policy & Government Relations)

Federal Action Needed – COVID-19 and the Heritage Places Sector Recommendations for Recovery

Since the inaugural ‘gatherings of the heritage sector’ on April 2, hundreds have participated in these productive bi-weekly Zoom calls to share the issues they and their heritage organizations and sites and are facing. Those discussions spawned a letter signed by the National Trust and 22 partner organizations recommending $200 million in federal stimulus funds earmarked for projects at heritage places.

Now, we are working to crowdsource the list of #ShovelReadyHeritage projects to send a signal to government that historic places can be a powerful part of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plans. Why? Because we know that heritage projects create more ‘green’ jobs than new construction, spur private investment, and contribute to community resilience over the long term.

Find how you can take action with our #ShovelReadyHeritage Toolkit

July 30, 2020 Update

ShovelReadyHeritage: We’ve Got Work to Do

The good news: For the first time ever, together, we have an incredible list of heritage projects worth $356,402,668 that, if funded, would create new green jobs and help support Canada’s economic recovery. This puts flesh on the bones of our collective “advocacy ask” for funding.

But we’ve all got work to do to make this funding a reality. Whether you are leading a project that needs funding, running a heritage organization, making your living in the heritage sector, or just plain care about historic places – Read more about where we are at, and what you can do. 

Thanks to all who participated in the National Trust’s bi-weekly Gatherings of the Heritage Sector, launched in early April to help us all understand the impact of COVID-19 on the historic places sector, and strategize together.  Zeroing in on the potential to influence future stimulus funds for heritage projects, 22 national and provincial organization leaders wrote to 5 federal ministers, asking that $200 million be earmarked, making the point that stimulating investments in existing and older buildings would create more green jobs than new construction.  We know this is the path to a post-COVID “Green Recovery” for Canada – a “Renovation Wave” inspired by ideas circulating in the EU and beyond.

To substantiate this “ask”, many of you helped crowdsource examples of #ShovelReadyHeritage – projects that would create new green jobs and contribute to community resiliency over the long term.  We now have a list of 218 projects totaling $356,402,668 and shared the story of eight of them in our newsletter.

In follow up conversations with officials from the Infrastructure Minister’s office, we learned the importance of advocacy at the provincial level, where funding decisions about existing Infrastructure money is being made.  We used a ‘Gathering’ session and a special issue of our newsletter to launch the Shovel Ready Heritage Tool Kit that our provincial and local NGO partners and all project proponents can use to follow through with provincial elected officials, MPPs and MLAs, with the goal of getting heritage investments on the agenda.

A special heritage fund is extremely unlikely, so proponents of heritage projects need to focus on how those projects create jobs and meet other key goals on governments’ agendas.

What now?

Here are three things we can all do:

  1. Sign up now for “ShovelReadyHeritage Bootcamp” at the next Gathering of the Heritage Sector on Tuesday, September 15 at 12:15 pm ET. Designed for people and groups who need funding to make their shovel-ready heritage projects a reality, this session will feature leaders of successful heritage projects and offer practical advice on ‘selling’ your project to champions and elected officials, accessing government funding, attracting donors and more.
  1. Keep up the pressure at the provincial and local level to fund projects on the #ShovelReadyHeritage list.

Heritage leaders, how are you doing in your efforts to bring attention to these heritage projects and others, and influence the way infrastructure funding is allocated now and into the future? Please keep using the Shovel Ready Heritage Tool Kit to send letters, ask for meetings… and tell us what you hear.

A shout out to Architectural Conservancy Ontario for its enthusiastic promotion of the campaign in a letter to the editor, in an appearance at the Province of Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.  ACO, Heritage BC and other heritage organizations have worked hard to connect worthy projects with provincial decision makers.    

Project proponents, use the Shovel Ready Heritage Tool Kit to make sure elected officials and civil servants know about your project and the jobs it could create. Check out some existing sources of funding for heritage projects.

  1. Get funding for #ShovelReadyHeritage in the Next Federal Budget – Make a Submission to Pre-Budget Consultations 2021 by Friday, August 7

Underscore our earlier ask that $200 million be earmarked for heritage projects! It’s easy – use our budget submission template brief and submit it to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) no later than Friday, August 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

To submit your brief to FINA, click here
For more information on FINA Pre-Budget Consultations 2021, click here.

Questions, comments or concerns?  Talk to us: email or toll free: 1-866-964-1066

Past Campaigns

National Trust Concerned by Proposed Changes to Ontario Heritage Act

Tabled on May 2nd, 2019, the Government of Ontario’s Bill 108 – More Homes, More Choice – proposes dramatic changes to the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA), along with 18 other pieces of legislation such as the Planning Act and Environmental Assessment Act. The Ontario Government is soliciting online comments on the proposed changes until June 1. The National Trust is consulting with provincial stakeholders on the implications of the Bill. Stay tuned for more insights and information.

Background and Reponses to Bill 108:

Urge the Senate to Pass Bill C-374 Ensuring Indigenous Representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Private Member’s Bill C-374 responds to TRC Call to Action 79i by increasing the number of members on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to provide for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation. The Bill passed the House of Commons with unanimous consent in April 2018, but has been slow to move through the Senate. It is now at risk of being lost when Parliament rises for the summer – a significant blow to progress on reconciliation and historic places.

We need your help! We encourage you to write to the three Senate leaders and urge them to expedite consideration of this important bill.

Here’s a sample letter. Please address your letters to these Senate Leaders:

The Honourable Senator Peter Harder, P.C.
Government Representative in the Senate
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator Larry W. Smith
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A4

The Honourable Senator Yuen Pau Woo
Facilitator of the Independent Senators Group
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A4

Do you think Federal Budget 2019 should include historic places? Raise your voice.


The Endangered Places List shines a national spotlight on historic places at risk due to neglect or lack of funding.


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