Report 2—Conserving Federal Heritage Properties

At a Glance Report 2—Conserving Federal Heritage Properties

What we examined (see Focus of the audit)

Heritage properties—heritage buildings and national historic sites—are important and valued by Canadians. Heritage properties promote and reinforce the country’s cultural identity. They are assets to maintain, value, and conserve for present and future generations of Canadians.

This audit focused on whether Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and National Defence worked to conserve the heritage value and extend the life of federal heritage properties for present and future generations of Canadians to enjoy. The audit focused on national historic sites and heritage buildings, including heritage lighthouses.

Why we did this audit

This audit is important because there are long-standing problems in the conservation of federal heritage properties, with few improvements since our first audit in 2003. Past efforts to conserve federal heritage properties have not kept up with needs, yet the number of federal heritage buildings continues to grow. This means that the loss of valuable heritage properties will likely increase.

Overall message

Overall, we found that Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and National Defence did not do enough to conserve the physical condition and heritage value of federal heritage properties. The three audited organizations either did not know how many heritage buildings they had or did not know what condition the buildings were in. Also, the heritage property information the organizations provided to Parliament and the public was inaccurate or incomplete.

Designation as a heritage property does not include additional funding for conservation work. As a result, the three organizations prioritized the heritage buildings to conserve on the basis of available resources and operational requirements, rather than heritage considerations.

In addition, the number of designated heritage buildings increased. However, because of the lack of additional funding for conservation work, more buildings may fall into disrepair. This means that present and future generations of Canadians could lose an important part of their country’s history.

What we found about …

Condition of heritage properties

Conservation of heritage properties

Information to Canadians and parliamentarians

Entity Responses to Recommendations

The audited entities agree with our recommendations and have responded (see List of Recommendations).

Related information

Report of the Auditor General of Canada
Type of product Performance audit
Completion date 14 September 2018
Tabling date 20 November 2018
Related audits

For more information

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Illustration with a quote from the report