Historic Resources Impact Assessments

Most of Alberta's historic resources fall into one of four categories:

  • Archaeological sites (buried artifacts and other evidence that tell us about human life in the past).
  • Palaeontological sites (fossilized remains of plants and animals).
  • Historic buildings and other structures.
  • Aboriginal traditional use sites.

The need to preserve and study historic resources has long been recognized and was officially reflected in the passage of the Alberta Heritage Act - now Historical Resources Act.

Historic resources are susceptible to the effects of time and can be damaged by modern society activities. In recognizing their non-renewable nature, Section 37 of the Historical Resources Act provides the framework for Historic Resources Impact Assessments (HRIAs) and mitigation studies.

If an activity is likely to result in the alteration of, damage to or destruction of a historic resource, the person or company undertaking the activity may be required to:

  • Conduct an HRIA
  • Submit a report of the HRIA results
  • Avoid any historic resources endangered by activity
  • Mitigate potential impacts by undertaking comprehensive studies

HRIAs and mitigative studies are paid for by the person or company undertaking or proposing to undertake the activity. Professional private-sector archaeologists, paleontologists, historians and traditional use consultants perform the required work.

Alberta Culture and Tourism regulates archaeological and palaeontological fieldwork through the Archaeological Research Permit System and the Palaeontological Research Permit System. All decisions regarding the management of historic resources are made by Alberta Culture and Tourism.

For more information, contact the Head of Regulatory Approvals and Information Management.

Standard Requirements and Conditions under the Historical Resources Act

Alberta Historic Resource Consultants

Last reviewed/revised: August 23, 2017
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