Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 poses a massive threat to heritage and heritage advocacy (Click here to read the act).
On January 1, 2025, buildings in Ontario that are on a Heritage List of Interest and are not designated and have been on the list for more than 2 years will be removed from that list. The building will not be eligible to return to the list for 5 years and the catch is that a building cannot be designated unless it in on the list. Currently 73% of the heritage inventory in Essex County is listed as a property of interest and is not designated. Municipalities in Essex County designate at an average of 1 property per year.
The list has been used in the past to protect properties and bring them to the attention of advocates and the municipality should a developer request a demolition permit. Many buildings in the municipality have been saved by the advance warning of a demolition request sent to Council. In the era of Bill 23, there will be no warning when a heritage building and no time to save it when a significant building is lost.
There are further changes though Bill 23 to the requirements to designate which will put Indigenous, Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces at threat.
To that end, our branch is launching a series in which we will highlight heritage buildings and landscapes that are listed but not designated. Some of the properties at risk will surprise you.
If there’s a building that you’re passionate about and would like to see listed in this series, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to advocate for the properties that you value.