Municipalities can give tax relief to owners of eligible heritage properties by passing a by-law creating a heritage property tax relief program under the Municipal Act, 2001.

The province gives municipalities the flexibility they need to adapt their program to local circumstances. For instance, municipalities can:

  • set the amount of tax relief they wish to offer (between 10% and 40%)
  • develop eligibility criteria in addition to those prescribed in the legislation

The province shares in the cost of the program by funding the education portion of the property tax relief.

Eligible properties

To be eligible for tax relief, a property must be a building, structure or a portion of a building or structure that is:

Guide for municipalities

Ontario has prepared a guide to help municipalities learn more about the tax relief measure and develop a local program in a community.

The guide provides step-by-step information on how municipalities can develop a heritage property tax relief program.

The guide provides two kinds of information:

This guide is for information purposes only and is not intended to be authoritative.

Get the guide

Get a print copy of the guide by:

Heritage conservation agreement

A heritage conservation agreement is a voluntary legal agreement between the municipality (or the Ontario Heritage Trust) and the landowner to protect the heritage attributes of a property and encourage good stewardship of the property.

The agreement is voluntary and recognizes that both parties intend to protect the cultural heritage value of the property.

The Municipal Act, 2001 gives three options for heritage conservation agreements:

  • an easement agreement between the property owner and the municipality under Section 37 of the Ontario Heritage Act
  • an easement agreement (often referred to as a “conservation easement”) between the property owner and the Ontario Heritage Trust under Section 22 of the Ontario Heritage Act
  • an agreement between the property owner and the municipality to ensure that the property is conserved

The Ontario Heritage Trust, a provincial Crown agency, can enter into heritage conservation easement agreements with owners of heritage properties. For more information about the Trust’s heritage conservation easement program, visit its website.

If your municipality needs assistance in designing an effective conservation agreement as part of your heritage property tax relief program, contact the Ontario Heritage Trust at 416-325-5000 .