Heritage Grant Program Procedure

Purpose statement

The Town of Oakville Heritage Grant Program provides funding for approved preservation or restoration projects on properties designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.


Any owner of a property designated or protected under s. 29 or s. 37 of Part IV or s. 41 of Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act is eligible to apply for financial assistance with approved preservation or restoration projects.  Eligible properties include designated heritage properties listed in the following sections of the Oakville Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest:

  • Section A – Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act;
  • Section B – Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act – Old Oakville Heritage Conservation District;
  • Section C – Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act – First and Second Street Heritage Conservation District;
  • Section D – Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act – Trafalgar Road Heritage Conservation District;
  • Section E – Register of Designated Heritage Properties under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act – Downtown Oakville Heritage Conservation District.

Properties that are listed in Section F – Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest (Not Designated) are not eligible to apply to the Heritage Grant Program. Properties will only become eligible to apply after Council has passed the designating by-law and the designation is registered on title.

A property must also be free of property tax arrears, compliance orders, enforcement orders issued under property standards and maintenance by-laws, the Ontario Fire Code and any other outstanding fees, fines, orders or statutory violations.

Heritage resources owned or used by any level of government are not eligible except where a non-profit community group has assumed, by long-term lease or legal agreement, responsibility for maintenance of the building. In these cases, such organizations may make an application for the grant as the agent for the owner with a letter of consent from the owner.

Program Details

The program makes funds available to cover up to half of the cost of eligible conservation work up to a maximum of $15,000, subject to available funding. The heritage grant must be matched by a contribution from the property owner.

Priority will be given to grant applications for the restoration of heritage attributes of the designated property.

  • Grant applications will be accompanied by at least two written estimates to assist in determining the eligible grant amount. At the discretion of heritage planning staff, one estimate may be accepted if it is demonstrated by the applicant that additional quotes have been sought or if the work is highly specialized (i.e. stained glass repair).
  • Heritage permit application may be required in addition to a heritage grant program application.  Heritage planning staff will determine heritage permit requirements at the pre-consultation meeting with the applicant.  Heritage permits, if required, may be applied for in advance of grant application, concurrently with grant application, or following grant approval.
  • Heritage grants will not be provided for work started or completed prior to grant approval.  The proposed grant project may have been previously approved by heritage permit, but work must not have begun on the project until grant approval is received in order to be eligible to receive funding. At the discretion of heritage planning staff, applications may be accepted for emergency work that were required and completed within the most recent grant cycle. Documentation of the emergency work, including both written and photographic evidence may be required to support the application.
  • All projects receiving a heritage grant shall be completed within two years of grant approval for the project.  Should the approved project not be completed within the two year deadline, an (additional) heritage permit application shall be required to approve any necessary extensions, up to an additional two years.  Should a project not be completed within four years of the grant approval, the grant monies will be null and void and returned to the Heritage Conservation Reserve to be reused in the next available program year.
  • Approved grant money shall not be transferred to the applicant until the completion of the approved project to the satisfaction of heritage planning staff.
  • Eligible properties may submit a maximum of two projects/applications per grant program year, totaling no more than $15,000 in requested funds



Determination of what constitutes eligible conservation work is at the discretion of heritage planning staff in consultation with the Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee. Heritage planning staff should be contacted by interested applicants for further clarification regarding what constitutes eligible conservation work. Applications to the heritage grant program are available only from heritage planning staff once the eligibility of the proposed project for the heritage grant program has been confirmed.

Any conservation work, which directly and appropriately preserves, restores and/or enhances specific heritage attributes as identified and described in the heritage designation by-law or heritage conservation district plan, is deemed eligible. All work must be executed in such a manner as not to detract from or diminish the cultural heritage value of the property or district. Work within the town’s heritage conservation districts must always be consistent with the applicable heritage conservation district plan.

Projects that are submitted for the heritage grant should meet accepted standards of conservation, i.e. appropriate heritage district plan requirements or the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

Examples of eligible conservation work:
Eligible conservation work may include (but is not limited to):

  • repairs to the structural support elements of property, including foundation, roof and eaves troughs, exterior walls and other serious structural faults;
  • porches, verandahs, cupolas, columns;
  • exterior cladding such as clapboard, wood shingles, stucco, board and batten, masonry. Also includes removal of non-heritage siding (i.e. vinyl siding, insulbrick) and detailing (i.e. aluminum clad soffits and fascia) and associated repairs;
  • repairs to historic windows and doors (including screen doors and storm windows) and other structural openings;
  • replacement wood storm windows (excluding aluminum clad wood windows);
  • decorative architectural detailing, millwork and trim (including brackets, soffits, fascia, cornices);
  • cleaning and/or repair of masonry and stonework;
  • re-painting of heritage features in appropriate period colours; and,
  • conservation or restoration of any other heritage attribute on the property that is described as in the heritage designation by-law or heritage district plan.

The removal or replacement of intact or otherwise repairable heritage attributes on the property should always be avoided. Every effort should be made to retain and preserve the heritage attributes that contribute to the significance of the property, while still permitting those changes necessary to ensure the building has renewed viability.

The merits and scope of a restoration project will be determined using appropriate documentary sources - either directly related to the property or based on solid research and relevant historical references. Restoration should never be the result of speculation or mere conjecture and should never be overly influenced by current design trends.

In general terms, ineligible work includes any work or projects of a non-heritage nature, works that focus on non-heritage attributes, additions, spaces, features and finishes, or any works that might diminish the cultural heritage value of the property.

Examples of ineligible conservation work:
In-eligible work includes (but is not limited to):

  • repairs and upgrades ordered as a result of non-compliance with property standards by-laws and other applicable by-laws, regulations and legislation;
  • re-insulating, installation of new heating or cooling systems or other energy efficiency upgrades;
  • construction of new additions or accessory structures that are not based on historical research and that do not incorporate historically appropriate forms, finishes, elements and materials;
  • removal of asbestos, mould, urea formaldehyde and other contaminates;
  • landscaping and fencing, unless the proposed work is related to the preservation or restoration of a specifically documented heritage feature or contributes to the overall character of a cultural heritage landscape or heritage conservation district;
  • driveway paving and repairs;
  • improvements to mechanical or electrical systems;
  • minor repairs; routine household maintenance such as repairing a broken step;
  • non-heritage awnings and signage;
  • sandblasting or other cleaning methods that may damage a structure’s finishes;
  • moving of structures;
  • works on existing non-heritage additions, sheds or outbuildings;
  • works on any interior features not specifically listed in a designation by-law;
  • architectural and engineering services, feasibility studies, cost estimates, preparation of drawings; and,
  • any work completed or started before a grant has been formally approved, with the exception of emergency work completed within the most recent grant cycle, as described above.


Applicant shall mean the owner of a designated property applying for a heritage property incentive grant, or their agent, if such agent is authorized in writing by the owner to act as agent for making the application;

Council shall mean the elected Council of The Corporation of the Town of Oakville;

Designated Heritage Property shall mean real property including all buildings, structures and landscape elements thereon that have been designated by municipal by-law as being of cultural heritage value or interest pursuant to Part IV or the Ontario Heritage Act or located in a Heritage Conservation District designated under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act;

Eligible Property shall mean that which is described in the scope of this document;

Eligible Conservation Work shall mean that which is described in the procedures of this document;

Emergency Work shall mean any repairs/restoration/replacement of damaged materials that were required to secure or stabilize a designated heritage property as a results of unexpected events that include, but are not limited to: inclement weather, vandalism, fire or accident;

Heritage Attributes shall mean the principal features, characteristics, context, and appearance that contribute to the cultural heritage value or interest of a property or heritage conservation district, as well as any attributes specified in a designation by-law for a property or area;

Preservation shall mean the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property; and,

Restoration shall mean the process of accurately revealing, recovering, replicating or representing the state of a heritage property at a particular period in its history, while still protecting the cultural heritage value of the property.


Heritage Planning Staff:

1. Heritage planning staff shall set the yearly date for deadline of applications to the heritage grant program and will provide notice to eligible property owners.

2. Heritage planning staff shall provide grant application forms to the applicant only after a pre-consultation meeting has determined the project’s basic eligibility for the heritage grant program.

3. Heritage planning staff shall advise applicants whether the proposed work will also require submission of a heritage permit application. Additional permit requirements (i.e. building permits, Conservation Halton permits) remain the responsibility of the applicant.

4. Heritage planning staff shall deem submitted grant applications complete (or not) prior to the program deadline in order for them to be considered for the grant program.

5. Heritage planning staff shall undertake evaluation of the grant applications along with a working group from the Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee. A short list of recommended projects will be provided to the full Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee for consideration. Final approval to all projects will be given by Council as part of the minutes of the applicable Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee meeting.

6. Heritage planning staff shall notify the successful grant applicants following final approval by Council.

7. Heritage planning staff shall inspect completed grant projects prior to the release of grant monies to ensure conformity with the approved project. Heritage planning staff may require additional work or corrections to be made in accordance with the approved project prior to releasing grant monies.

8. Heritage planning staff shall work with successful grant applicants and the Financial Planning department to release the allocated grant monies following the completion of the project to the satisfaction of heritage planning staff.

9. Heritage planning staff shall distribute customer feedback surveys to grant program applicants following the release of grant funding.

Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee:

1. The Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee shall select members on a yearly basis to participate in the working group for the heritage grant program.

2. The members of the working group shall make every effort to attend any meetings required for the heritage grant program.

3. The members of the working group shall assist heritage planning staff in the evaluation of complete applications to the heritage grant program, including prioritizing projects and determining appropriate funding recommendations.

4. The members of the working group shall participate in the presentation of recommended projects for approval to the full Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee.


1. Interested applicants shall contact heritage planning staff to determine the basic eligibility for their proposed project.

2. Providing that the proposed project is eligible, the applicant shall complete the required application form and include all required materials in their submission. If the applicant is not the owner of the subject property, a letter of consent from the property owner shall also be required with the application. The application form and materials will be submitted prior to the posted deadline of the heritage grant program.

3. If required by heritage planning staff, the applicant shall also submit a heritage permit application for the proposed project. Despite the issuance of any grant approvals, heritage permit approval (if required) must be obtained prior to beginning any work on the proposed project.

4. The applicant shall provide any additional information requested during the course of the evaluation of submitted projects.

5. The applicant is responsible for determining and completing all other permit requirements for the proposed work. This may include (but is not limited to): site plan approval, building permit, tree removal permit, signage permit, Conservation Halton approval.

6. The applicant shall, upon confirmation of the grant approval, complete the approved work within two years of the approval date. Should the work not be completed to the satisfaction of heritage planning staff at the end of two years, the applicant shall apply for heritage permit approval to extend the project by up to another two years. Should the work not be completed at the end of four years from the final approval date, the applicant is aware that the grant funding will no longer be available for the project.

7. The applicant shall contact heritage planning staff to schedule the final inspection of the project upon its completion. The applicant is aware that work must be completed in accordance with the heritage grant approval and heritage permit approval (if required).

8. The applicant shall make any alterations/adjustments to the completed project required by heritage planning staff in order to meet the approved plans for the project, prior to receiving any grant monies.

Procedure details

Procedure Number: MS-SPR-002-005
Parent Policy: MS-SPR-002
Section: Municipal Services
Sub-Section: Special Requests
Author: Planning Services
Authority: CAO
Effective Date: 2019 Dec 16
Review by Date: 2024
Last Modified: New - 2019 Sep 23


Under sections 39 and 45 of the Ontario Heritage Act, councils may pass by-laws providing grants or loans to owners of property that has been designated under Part IV (individual property designation) or Part V (heritage conservation districts) to help them cover the costs of repair and restoration. Terms and conditions may apply to funding.

The Town of Oakville’s Community Assistance Policy (MS-SPR-002) allows municipal programs to provide financial assistance through grants, donations, loans, fee assistance or in-kind services to organizations, community groups and individuals for purposes which support the town’s corporate goals and strategy.