The Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) empowers municipalities and the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism to designate property of cultural heritage value or interest. Recognizing the importance of heritage sites to the collective memory of all Ontarians, the OHA requires that the province keep an official record of all properties and heritage conservation districts designated under the act, and of any other properties that the Minister considers to be of cultural heritage value or interest.

The OHA Register is a central repository of legal documents, including designation bylaws, statements of cultural heritage value or interest, descriptions of heritage attributes, notices of council decisions, approvals for alterations and ministerial orders.

The Ontario Heritage Act Register serves many purposes, most important of which is to provide a central, public database of all heritage properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Other purposes include:

  • to provide a public research tool
  • to offer backup records for municipal clerks/staff, local heritage committees, councillors and other government officials
  • to provide municipalities, the Trust and the Province with comparables for heritage identification and evaluation
  • to spread awareness of heritage conservation with accurate information on which sites are protected
  • to ensure that heritage properties are considered according to the procedures laid out in the OHA