Various heritage statuses

The authority of various levels of governance in granting legal heritage status

Different levels of governance (municipal, provincial, national, international) have developed cultural heritage laws and guidelines to have the authority (at different levels) to apply an array of actions to protect and develop a community's cultural heritage. Diverse architectural and urban planning documents and frameworks, as well as various assistance and support programs can help ensure that these protection objectives are met. 

The cultural heritage of a community consists of a variety of elements which are classified into categories and sub-categories; here are some reference examples:

Immovable heritage

  • Heritage building: house, industrial plant, bridge, dam, relic;
  • Heritage site: institutional site, village center, particular neighbourhood, house and adjacent buildings in rural environment, archaeological site;

Movable heritage

  • Heritage document: archive, manuscript, book, photograph;
  • Heritage object: painting, furniture, clothing, archaeological artifact;

Historical figures, events and places

  • Deceased historical figure: politician, artist, sportsman;
  • Historical event: founding of a city, publication of a book, tragedy;
  • Historical place: house of an important person, site of a battle, area of foundation for a town;

Intangible heritage

  • Know-how, knowledge, expression: traditional music, hunting practices (e.g., beaver trapping), craft making, ritual;

Cultural heritage landscapes : a view of a natural setting shaped by human activity;

Archaeological heritage

  • Archaeological object: arrowhead, pottery shard, coin;
  • Archaeological site: remains of an Amerindian camp, wreckage.

Elements perceived to have heritage potential may be identified through an inventory. Certain elements can then be granted a legal status of protection and presentation. There are several types of statutes granted to different categories of cultural heritage by various levels of governance: citation, ranking, identification, designation and declaration. They lead to protection and presentation measures of varying importance which may require a regulatory framework to ensure its implementation. The statutes of identification and designation, by the Minister, seek to promote cultural heritage. The statutes that also provide protection are declaration, government designation, ranking and citation.

Summary table presenting the various types of heritage status

For more information

  Official City of Saguenay website