Proposed Revisions to the Provincial Policy Statement (2014)

October 05, 2019 3:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Proposed Revisions to the Provincial Policy Statement (2014)

By Abbey Flower

The Ontario Archaeological Society has been called on to provide comment on proposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). For those who may be unfamiliar with the PPS, this is an important document issued under the Planning Act R.S.O 1990 by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). The PPS applies across the province and provides guidance and direction on matters related to land use planning. The scope of the PPS is broad and some language applies to archaeology and Indigenous rights.

Several of the changes are very positive and should receive strong support, specifically those that strengthen the requirements for Indigenous Engagement early in the planning process. Other proposed changes need careful consideration and clarification.

A proposed change to the definition of areas of archaeological potential appears to remove language specific to permitting the use of municipal approaches to determining archaeological potential, such as Archaeological Management Plans. Instead the criteria for potential is determined solely at the provincial level through the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists. This may limit a municipality’s ability to strengthen Archaeological Management Plans by including criteria that are fine-tuned to the contexts of their region.  

Perhaps most telling is how the proposed changes are summarized by the province. The goals of these changes place cultural heritage under the heading of “Reducing Barriers and Costs”, when it should instead fall under the goal of “Protecting the Environment”. Cultural Heritage and archaeological sites are not roadblocks to development. They are essential and irreplaceable parts of our environment that can attract and enhance economic growth. It is imperative that we continue to communicate the inherent, tangible and economic value of cultural heritage conservation.

In this we need your help! The OAS is encouraging, individual members and especially members of the public to comment through the ERO website. Express your support for the strengthening of Indigenous engagement. Give examples of how cultural heritage and archaeology has brought long-term value to communities and businesses. Are there cultural heritage sites where you take visitors from out of town? Do you know a business that has thrived by showcasing its history and archaeological findings? Help us show that it is not a barrier or frivolous cost, but that it should be viewed as an essential part of our environment, worthy of protection and conservation.

OAS will be providing formal comment on these proposed changes before the closing date, October 21, but the more voices that join the call, the better chance we have to be heard.

Please take a moment to provide your comment, and encourage your colleagues, local historical and heritage societies, and your friends and family to lend their voice.

We have summarized the proposed changes that pertain to archaeology below (changes in bold):

Current language

Proposed new language

1.2.2 Planning authorities are encouraged to coordinate planning matters with Aboriginal communities.

1.2.2 Planning authorities shall engage with Indigenous communities and coordinate on land use planning matters.

2.6 Cultural heritage and archaeology

2.6.1 Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved.


2.6.2 Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on lands containing archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential unless significant archaeological resources have been conserved.


2.6.3 Planning authorities shall not permit development and site alteration on adjacent lands to protected heritage property except where the proposed development and site alteration has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that the heritage attributes of the protected heritage property will be conserved.


2.6.4 Planning authorities should consider and promote archaeological management plans and cultural plans in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources.


2.6.5 Planning authorities shall consider the interests of Aboriginal communities in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources.

2.6 Cultural Heritage and Archaeology

2.6.1 Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved.


2.6.2 Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on lands containing archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential unless significant archaeological resources have been conserved.


2.6.3 Planning authorities shall not permit development and site alteration on adjacent lands to protected heritage property except where the proposed development and site alteration has been evaluated and it has been demonstrated that the heritage attributes of the protected heritage property will be conserved.


2.6.4 Planning authorities should consider and promote archaeological management plans and cultural plans in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources.


2.6.5 Planning authorities shall engage with Indigenous communities and consider their interests when identifying, protecting and managing cultural heritage and archaeological resources.


Archaeological resources: includes artifacts, archaeological sites, marine archaeological sites, as defined under the Ontario Heritage Act. The identification and evaluation of such resources are based upon archaeological fieldwork undertaken in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act.

Areas of archaeological potential: means areas with the likelihood to contain archaeological resources. Methods to identify archaeological potential are established by the Province, but municipal approaches which achieve the same objectives may also be used. The Ontario Heritage Act requires archaeological potential to be confirmed through archaeological fieldwork.

Archaeological resources: includes artifacts, archaeological sites, marine archaeological sites, as defined under the Ontario Heritage Act. The identification and evaluation of such resources are based upon archaeological fieldwork undertaken in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act.

Areas of archaeological potential: means areas with the likelihood to contain archaeological resources. Criteria to identify archaeological potential are established by the Province. The Ontario Heritage Act requires archaeological potential to be confirmed by a licensed archaeologist through archaeological assessment and/or fieldwork.

The comment period ends October 21 and comments can be made through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO). The ERO is a platform open to the general public allowing anyone comment on actions the Province takes that could affect the environment, including cultural heritage.

https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0279

For those members who want to see a comprehensive list of all of the proposed changes to the PPS, an unofficial blackline comparison can be found here:

https://www.osler.com/osler/media/Osler/Content/PDFs/2019-pps-blackline.pdf

Proposed revised Provincial Policy Statement:

https://prod-environmental-registry.s3.amazonaws.com/2019-07/EN_PPS%20Proposed%20Policies_July2019.pdf

Current Provincial Policy Statement (2014):

https://www.ontario.ca/document/provincial-policy-statement-2014


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Email: info@ontarioarchaeology.org

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