Sunday, January 20, 2019
Ontario Bill 66 and its possible impact on archaeology in Ontario
Dear OAS member,
In the last president's message I called your attention to Bill 66 and some of the impacts it could have to archaeological heritage and Indigenous rights (as well as environmental protections) in Ontario. I indicated that comment on the bill could be sent to Ken Peterson at email@example.com by today, Jan. 20.
Since that message, our past president, Paul Racher, has attended two consultations sessions with the Ontario government on behalf of the OAS. While at one of these, he learned about the government's plan to increase housing supply: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page20902.aspx
While the specifics of this plan are not yet fully understood, the rhetoric that is being used suggests that the government wants to make approval processes faster through "streamlining." They state that "The various regulatory requirements and approvals were established to serve specific public interests, policy objectives of government goals. Efforts to streamline these requirements need to balance these multiple goals."
As an organization, the OAS is committed to speaking out to protect archaeological heritage. We have had representation at the consultation meetings we have been invited to. We have submitted comment on Bill 66 and we will submit comment on the proposed Housing Supply Action Plan. We have, and will continue to frame this in terms of language that we hope the current government will understand: that adhering to Official Plans, the Provincial Policy Statement (2014), and Archaeological Master Plans decreases risk, cost, and duplication for municipalities and developers because it allows for identification of archaeological sites early in the approval process.
We have been in touch with a number of organizations who we believe might also have concerns about both Bill 66 and the Housing Supply Action Plan. This includes Indigenous organizations and other heritage organizations.
Should you wish to assist the OAS in advocacy efforts you have a several options.
1. You can comment on the Housing Supply Action Plan here until Jan. 25 (http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page20905.aspx).
2. You can contact your municipality, as several OAS members have already done, as it is at the municipal level that many decisions about planning are made.
3. You can assist the OAS by volunteering to help with advocacy efforts. Members have made a number of suggestions about what the OAS could do - ranging from issuing press releases to networking with various heritage organizations. As a volunteer organization, we can always use assistance in such efforts.