Change the Game 4 Heritage – Organizations

What’s happening on Parliament Hill will affect historic places in your community. We need your voice!

If you lead a heritage organization, make your living in the heritage sector, own historic property, or just care about the quality of our built environment, please read this message and get ready for the recommended actions below.

Status update on federal action for historic places in Canada, and recommended strategy for responding

As early as Monday, November 27, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development will table the report from its hearings on the state of historic places in Canada.  The report is expected to contain recommendations that will touch on all types of heritage places, responding to testimony presented by the National Trust and others. The National Trust’s testimony and submissions urged the Committee to give priority to recommendations that would have the most tangible impact for the greatest number of historic places in Canada, and a proven spin-off effect for the economy, namely: measures like tax incentives that would encourage private sector investment; grants and contributions that would help fund the efforts of Indigenous peoples, charities and not for profits to save and renew places of significance; and “Heritage first” leasing and investment policies that would help create a market demand for historic places. Please join hundreds of Canadians in indicating your support for these priorities here.

Once the Committee’s report is tabled in the House of Commons, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change must respond within 120 days.

The tabling of the Committee’s report, and Parliament’s decision on Bill C-323 will signal the beginning of an important era for heritage practitioners and advocates: an essential opportunity to engage in a focused and productive relationship with Government, in particular the office of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and Parks Canada, the federal government’s lead on heritage conservation.

Accordingly, here is the action plan that we propose, and we urge all heritage advocates, practitioners and supporters to participate and take action. A united voice and a coordinated approach are essential, as we’ve learned from the successes of the environmental movement and the arts.

In brief, the goal is a timely response that has been endorsed by many heritage organizations as possible, and by allied organizations in architecture, construction, planning and more – followed by a series of meetings throughout 2018 designed to keep up momentum! A door has been opened for federal leadership on historic places and it is up to each of us to be informed, be active and be part of the movement!

Timeline for Action

  • Week of Nov 27: Expected tabling (public release) in the House of Commons of the Environment Committee’s report, Heritage Preservation and Protection in Canada. As soon as the report is released, the National Trust will share a link to the report with everyone who is registered to receive our newsletter, and/or who has expressed their support for the priorities noted above. Please make sure you are on one or both of those lists!
  • Within 24 hours of the release of the report, the National Trust will invite all registered contacts to a series of “town hall meetings” by teleconference to discuss the recommendations and reach consensus on key messages for responding. We will also host discussions on Facebook Live. Organizations and networks will be urged to help push information out to their contacts.
  • Within days of the report’s release and based on the conversations noted above, the National Trust will seek wide endorsement of a draft “official” response by all provincial/territorial heritage organizations and allied organizations. Once endorsed, the response would be sent to the Minister of the Environment, the Chair of the House of Commons Environment Committee and other key stakeholders. Heritage leaders, please brief your boards and be ready to participate. While every organization and individual should also feel free to send their own letters, our Government Relations advisor is urging a strong show of support in the form of a single position with broad support from the key organizations. This proactive approach helps avoid contradictory responses, which would be counter-productive.
  • The response will include a request for follow up meetings for a selection of the key signatories with the Minister of the Environment– following the example of Canada’s environmental NGOs.
  • Development of follow-up strategy with a pan-Canadian working group of leaders and champions to keep the conversation going on federal action for historic places. A handful of organizations and individuals are now on board – please join in!

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