Historical Resources Act

The Historical Resources Act is administered by the Minister of Alberta Culture. The purpose is to preserve, protect and present historical and archaeological resources of provincial, national and international significance.

What is the historical resources act?

The definitions of “historical resource” and “archaeological resource” are very broad:  “archaeological resource” means a work of humans that (i) is primarily of value for its prehistoric, historic, cultural or scientific significance, and (ii) is or was buried or partially buried in land in Alberta or submerged beneath the surface of any watercourse or permanent body of water in Alberta.”historic resource” means any work of nature or of humans that is primarily of value for its palaeontological, prehistoric, historic, cultural, natural, scientific or aesthetic interest including, but not limited to, a palaeontological, archaeological, prehistoric, historic or natural site, structure of object.”

General prohibitions in the Act prohibits anyone from altering, marking or damaging an archaeological resource or paleontological resource unless he is the holder of an excavation permit or has the written permission of the Minister. Any person who discovers a historic resource in the course of making an excavation for any purpose, other than research, must immediately notify the Minister of the discovery.

Where any operation or activity will, or is likely to, result in the alteration, damage or destruction of historical resources, the person undertaking the activity or operation may be ordered to:

  • Carry out an assessment to determine the effect of the proposed activity or operation on historical resources in the area where the activity is being carried on;
  • Prepare and submit a report containing the assessment of the proposed activity or operation; and
  • Undertake all salvage, preservation or protective measures or take any other action the Minister considers necessary.

Any project can attract the requirements of the Act, depending upon where the project is located, the existence of historic resources, the extent to which the area has already been disturbed, and the extent to which it will be further disturbed by the activity.

For more information on the Historical Resources Act, contact us!