About the CRB

CRB Role

The Conservation Review Board (CRB) is an adjudicative tribunal that, through the mandate provided by the Ontario Heritage Act, considers a number of matters such as: the proposed designation of a property as having cultural heritage value or interest; applications for the repeal of a by-law on a specific property; applications related to the alteration of a property covered by a by-law; and, matters related to archaeological licensing. The CRB, through the prehearing process and mediation efforts, will attempt to settle the dispute where appropriate.

Where a case does not settle and proceeds to hearing, after the hearing, the CRB will provide a Recommendation on the matter to either the municipal council or the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, who have the final decision.

Quick Links: CRB Process, Attend a Hearing, Check a Case Status

CRB History and Jurisdiction

The CRB was established in 1975 under Part 3 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The CRB conducts proceedings on matters that are referred, which includes both pre-hearing conferences to explore the potential of settlement, as well as formal hearings to hear evidence and arguments to best enable the CRB to make recommendations to the final decision making power for that particular case. The CRB has responsibilities under both Part 4 and Part 6 of the act.

In 2005, changes to the act gave the CRB additional responsibilities to consider objections concerning properties deemed provincially significant by the Minister under Part 4 of the act. In addition, the changes permit the cross-appointment of CRB Members to Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) panels hearing certain appeals under the act.

In 2009, an Order in Council transferred responsibility for the CRB from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The CRB’s jurisdiction and its authority are defined by the Ontario Heritage Act and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.

Jurisdiction

The Board is empowered to operate under the jurisdiction of Part 3 of the Ontario Heritage Act to address matters under Parts 4 and 6 of the Act. Part 4 deals with the protection of cultural heritage properties by a municipality or by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Part 6 deals with the protection of archaeological sites by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and licensing permits to excavate or alter an archaeological site.

The CRB does not hear matters on:

  • Demolition or the removal of a building or structure from a protected property as this is within the jurisdiction of the municipal council and, on appeal, the OMB.
  • Costs of physical maintenance, repairs, or any proposed work related to the actual condition of the property (or structure), as these are outside the scope of the evaluation of cultural heritage value or interest.
  • Any planning applications or issues that are under the Planning Act. These are between the applicant and the municipality, except when planning information provides useful context for the matters before the Board.

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, the OMB hears appeals concerning:

  • Refusal to permit the demolition or removal of a building or structure on a protected property.
  • Objections to the designation of a heritage conservation district (Part 5 of the Act).
  • Refusal to permit the alteration of property, demolition or removal of a building or structure, or new construction within a heritage conservation district.

The Act allows for a member of the Board to be cross-appointed to the OMB as an OMB member in full standing to form a panel to hear appeals under the Ontario Heritage Act and issue binding decisions on these matters.

A further understanding of the Board’s jurisdiction can be found in reading the applicable parts of the Ontario Heritage Act and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act that relate to the Board. The Board also has Rules of Practice and Procedure.

How matters come before the CRB

Matters come before the CRB under the following sections of the Ontario Heritage Act:

1. Municipal Designations (s.29 (5))

If the property owner or any member of the public objects to the proposed designation of a property considered to have cultural heritage value or interest of municipal significance, they must do so in writing to the municipal clerk of the municipality where the property is located, within 30 days of publication of the Notice of Intention to Designate. The matter will then be referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

2. Provincial Designations (s.34, 6 (4))

If the property owner or any member of the public objects to the designation of a property considered to have cultural heritage value or interest of provincial significance, they must do so in writing to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, within 30 days of publication of the Notice of Intention to Designate. The matter will then be referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

3. Alterations to Designated Property (s.33, (6))

If a municipal council or the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, whichever has jurisdiction, refuses an application to allow alterations to a designated property, or adds terms and conditions to allow any alterations, the property owner can object and have the matter referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

4. Repeal of Designating Bylaw (s.31, (5); s. 32, (4); s.34.8, (4); s.34.9, (5))

If a municipal council or the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, whichever has jurisdiction, wants to repeal an existing designating bylaw, anyone can object and the matter can be referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

If the property owner requests a repeal of an existing designating bylaw and council or the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, whichever has jurisdiction, refuses, the owner can have the matter referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

5. Archaeological Licensing (s.49, (4))

If the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport refuses to issue or renew, or proposes to suspend or revoke, an archaeological licence, the matter can be referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

6. Designation of Archaeological Resources (s.52 to s.55)

An objection to the decision of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport to designate, or not to repeal designation, of a property of archaeological or historical significance, can be referred to the Board to commence its formal hearing process.

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