This page is for licensed archaeologists. It provides a general description of what happens and how to prepare for the renewal of your archaeological licence.

Knowing what happens while and after the ministry considers your renewal application should help you with the process.

This page also provides you with useful tips and contact information.

When to submit a renewal application

Applications for renewal should be submitted through PastPort before the date your licence expires.

You can apply for renewal as early as 90 days before it expires. The ministry will send out automatic reminders for renewal beginning 90 days before the expiry date.

If you have not submitted a complete application for licence renewal before your licence expires, you will no longer be allowed to carry out any archaeological fieldwork in Ontario until the licence is renewed. If you submit a complete licence renewal application before your licence expires, your licence continues to be effective (it is deemed to continue”) until the ministry decides whether it will be renewed. Otherwise, the licence is considered expired and no new archaeological work can begin under that licence. You may apply for a licence renewal up to five years after it expires.

A renewal application is considered complete when:

  • it has been submitted in PastPort
  • all your outstanding reporting obligations have been met
  • any other identified outstanding licence obligations have been met
  • your proof of current membership in an archaeological organization has been demonstrated

Application review

Applications for renewal of an archaeological licence are:

  • reviewed by the Archaeology Licensing Officer (ALO) and the manager of the Archaeology Program Unit
  • approved by the director of the Programs and Services Branch

The minister has delegated all decisions regarding licence renewals to the director.

The ALO will review your licensing compliance history over the preceding term of the licence to determine whether your licence will be renewed.

The ALO will also consult with other ministry staff including Archaeology Review Officers, the Archaeology Team Lead and the Archaeology Licensing Coordinator.

As part of the licence review, additional information from you may be requested. This can include a meeting with the ministry to discuss your fieldwork and reporting.

Legislation governing licence review

The ALO reviews applications to renew an archaeological licence based on the Ontario Heritage Act and Ontario Regulation 8/06.

The ALO also considers the terms and conditions of your archaeological licence and other policies, such as the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists (2011).

Application considerations

Depending on the class of licence, the ALO will consider some or all of the following:

  • reports deemed incomplete
  • reports deemed non-compliant
  • the results of any inspections of your fieldwork or facility
  • reports requiring revision with significant outcome-related concerns
  • reports requiring revision

Prepare for licence renewal

Submit your reports on archaeological fieldwork on or before the deadline identified in PastPort and respond to requests for revision within the deadlines identified in review letters. Make sure you have met extra conditions placed on your licence, if any.

What to expect

A licensing review may result in a request from the ALO for additional information to support your application. The most common outcome is a renewal of your licence for the maximum three-year term with the standard terms and conditions.

A licensing review may also result in changes to your licence term (shorter or longer) with added or reinforced conditions (for example, during the licence term you must not have a report deemed incomplete or non-compliant).

Added or reinforced licence terms and conditions are not retroactive, and only apply to fieldwork conducted during that licence term.

In some cases, a licensing review may result in a recommendation from the ALO to the director to refuse to renew an archaeological licence.

After a licence review is completed

The ALO recommends one of the following:

  • your licence should be renewed with standard conditions
  • your licence should be renewed for a limited term and/or with additional conditions
  • the minister should propose to refuse to renew your licence

The recommendation is reviewed by the manager of the Archaeology Program Unit, who, if in agreement, forwards it to the director for approval.

You are then notified of the decision about your application through PastPort. In the case of a proposal to refuse to renew, a letter outlining the reasons for the proposal will follow the notification sent from PastPort.

Licence terms and conditions

You will be notified through PastPort if your licence has been approved for renewal. At any time, you can review the terms and conditions of your licence in the licence module in your PastPort account. Any non-standard conditions are at the top of the list of terms.

Licences renewed with a limited term or added conditions

Once your renewal application has been approved, you will be asked in PastPort to acknowledge the terms and conditions attached to your licence. Please read them carefully. Non-standard conditions are listed at the top.

There is no appeal process when a licence has been renewed for less than the maximum term or with specific conditions. The ALO will monitor your submissions over the term of the licence to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions. You may wish to request a mid-term meeting to discuss your progress.

Refusal to renew your licence

If the director proposes to refuse to renew your licence, they will provide you with a notice of the proposed licensing action. The notice will include:

  • the reasons that the ministry is taking licensing action
  • the date that the licensing action will be carried out
  • information about your right to request an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing within the next 15 days, and that the request for a hearing must be submitted in writing to the ALO
  • instructions, if you are waiving the Tribunal hearing, to contact the ALO regarding the necessary steps you must take before you can re-apply for a licence

Requesting a hearing

If you do not request a hearing before the Tribunal by the specified date, the director will carry out the proposed action stated in the notice.

If you request a hearing, the ministry will provide the Tribunal with the materials upon which the refusal decision was based, and the Tribunal will schedule a hearing.

All materials intended for the hearing must be submitted to the Tribunal (two copies) and provided to the other parties at least 14 days before the scheduled hearing start date. You will be able to continue operating under your existing licence throughout the Tribunal hearing (your licence is “deemed to continue”).

Ontario Land Tribunal process

Once a hearing request is referred to the Tribunal by the ministry, a formal process begins that structures how the objection will be heard and how a party and members of the public will be permitted to participate.

Each referral is assigned a Tribunal case file number and the file is assessed for completeness of information, any jurisdictional issues are resolved, and a pre-hearing conference is scheduled.

Pre-hearing conferences

For all matters that come before the Ontario Land Tribunal, the Tribunal has a mandatory rule that a pre-hearing conference must be held. This conference provides an opportunity for all parties (licensee, ministry and other recognized parties, as applicable) to discuss the issues with each other and with the Tribunal in a non-binding way (“without prejudice”). The purpose of the conference is to seek a mediated settlement of the dispute and to prepare all parties for the formal hearing process if a settlement cannot be reached.

The conference is only open to the official parties to the hearing. It is normally a telephone conference call, but it can be an in-person meeting. The conference is not intended to be the forum to discuss the arguments of a case; no evidence is presented and no final decisions are made. Some evidence may be permitted by the Tribunal to further support the positions of each party and to seek a settlement.


Tribunal hearings are governed by rules of procedure and conducted in a quasi-judicial, structured manner. Most parties are represented by legal counsel. Those without legal counsel must become familiar with the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Ontario Heritage Act, and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.

Unlike the pre-hearing conference, hearings are fully open to the public and the media can attend, although no recording devices are allowed. Generally, the basic structure of a Tribunal hearing is:

  1. a review of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under the Ontario Heritage Act and the types of evidence that it will and will not hear
  2. the parties are introduced and briefly summarize their intended case
  3. the ministry is called first to present its case and may call witnesses to present evidence
  4. the objector cross-examines the ministry's witness and the Tribunal has an opportunity to ask questions
  5. the objector is called to present his or her evidence and may also call witnesses. Although recommended, the objector is not required to have legal counsel
  6. the objector, followed by the ministry, is given the opportunity to summarize his or her arguments

Hearing recommendations

After the hearing, the Tribunal provides a report to the minister making recommendations based on the evidence presented and arguments made at the hearing.

Typically, the Tribunal releases the report within 30 days, but a later release does not invalidate the hearing process. The Tribunal’s case file is then closed.

The director makes the final decision on the matter, taking the Tribunal’s report into account.

Adopting the recommendation of the Tribunal

The director is not required to adopt the recommendation of the Tribunal. For example, if the Tribunal recommended that the licensing decision be reversed, the director would need to decide whether to follow its recommendations or the original one from ministry staff, or take such other action as he or she considers proper and in accordance with the Act and regulations.

The Ontario Land Tribunal has more detailed information about their processes at their website.

More information

For more information about the ministry’s archaeology program, visit our website.

The site contains more information about the Terms and Conditions for Archaeological Licences and the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists.

You may also contact the ministry’s Archaeology Program Unit for more information about inspections at