Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic and United churches in Ontario have asked the standing committee on justice policy of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly not to approve the proposed amendments to the 1975 Ontario Heritage Act citing lack of consultation and the “serious difficulties” they would impose on churches struggling with the upkeep of their buildings.
Bill 60 gives the province and municipalities new powers to delay or even stop demolition of heritage sites. It also allows municipal councils to delegate approvals for alterations to designated heritage properties.
The churches have expressed concern that an amended Act would prevent them from selling old churches and buildings with dwindling congregations or even renovating them to reflect current needs of their parishes.
In response, the provincial parliament moved the third reading of the bill from winter to spring, allowing a technical working group, on which churches will be represented, to accommodate the churches’ concerns.