Frequently asked questions
How does a Canadian property become a World Heritage Site?
There is a four-stage process to follow for any heritage site to become a World Heritage Site. Since Parks Canada is the lead agency for implementing the World Heritage Convention in Canada, it manages the process for Canadian nominations.
First, in order for a country to nominate a property as a potential World Heritage Site, it must be on the country's Tentative List. A Tentative List is an inventory of properties that a country believes have good potential to meet one or more of the criteria for inscription on the World Heritage List, in addition to meeting the conditions for authenticity and integrity, and ensuring that appropriate management measures are in place to protect the site's Outstanding Universal Value in perpetuity.
Second, a detailed nomination dossier is prepared by the proponent for the site according to the criteria and requirements outlined in the World Heritage Committee's Operational Guidelines. The nomination dossier must clearly demonstrate that the site is protected and managed under Canadian (federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal) legislation and policies, that the proponent has developed an appropriate management plan, and that a thorough analysis has been undertaken to demonstrate the site’s Outstanding Universal Value, in comparison with other similar sites around the world.
Third, international experts from the World Heritage Committee's official advisory bodies (IUCN, ICOMOS) evaluate the nomination, a step that includes a visit to the nominated site to assess its heritage values, its protection and management regime, and to confirm the level of support of the various stakeholders. The experts make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.
Finally, the World Heritage Committee makes a decision on the nomination. It can inscribe the site on the World Heritage List, not inscribe the site on the list or send the nomination back for further information.
What is the Status of Canada’s Tentative List?
Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites was last updated in 2004. Countries are encouraged to update their Tentative Lists approximately every ten years, and so the Government of Canada has initiated a public process to update its Tentative List.
How will sites be chosen to be added to Canada’s Tentative List?
A public process is being used to solicit all applications for inclusion on Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage. Canadians were invited to submit applications over a six month period, ending January 27, 2017. These applications are going through a process of internal review by Parks Canada, followed by the evaluation of a Ministerial Advisory Committee of Canadian experts in the fields of natural and cultural heritage. From all the applications received, the Advisory Committee will recommend to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada those properties that it believes have the best possible chance to be inscribed as World Heritage Sites. The Minister will review the recommendations of the Committee and make a final decision and public announcement in December 2017 on Canada’s updated Tentative List for World Heritage.
Who can submit an application to be included on the Tentative List?
The deadline for submissions was January 27, 2017. All Canadians were invited to prepare an application. Applications were required to include the written consent of the owner of the property being proposed.
What type of sites are eligible to be included on the Tentative List?
The process to update Canada’s Tentative List will conform to the strict World Heritage standards. Applicants were asked to demonstrate that their proposed site has potential Outstanding Universal Value – the core requirement for inscription on the World Heritage List – by satisfying one or more of ten natural and cultural criteria. They also needed to explain how they would meet additional World Heritage requirements for integrity and authenticity (for cultural properties only), be effectively managed and protected, and enjoy broad local support.
How many sites can Canada add to the Tentative List?
There is no specific limit on the number of sites on a country’s Tentative List. Considering that beginning in 2018 a State Party can submit only one nomination from the Tentative List each year for consideration by the World Heritage Committee and that the List is updated on a decennial basis, the Government of Canada is aiming to add up to ten new properties.
Will sites presently on the list be reviewed at the same time as the new applications?
Canada’s current Tentative List includes six sites that have not been inscribed on the World Heritage List. Work continues on nominations for these properties, which are at various stages of completion. As the new Tentative List is developed, proponents of these six sites will be contacted to confirm their commitment to remaining on the List.
Who will review the Tentative List applications?
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada has appointed an Advisory Committee that will review all Tentative List applications and recommend to the Minister those properties which it believes should be included on Canada’s updated Tentative List for World Heritage Sites.
Who is the Ministerial Advisory Committee?
The Advisory Committee is composed of seven Canadians that collectively represent a broad base of knowledge in natural and cultural heritage conservation and commemoration in Canada:
- Dr. Christina Cameron (Chair)
- Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo
- Mr. George Greene
- Dr. William Moss
- Dr. Lisa Prosper
- Mr. Derek Thompson
An open, transparent, and merit-based process was used to solicit and appoint these candidates to the Ministerial Advisory Committee.