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Since the 1970s, the National Trust for Canada has advocated for tax changes at the federal level. Among G-8 countries, Canada alone lacks a national system of funding policies and programs to preserve its historic infrastructure. The 1976 United States Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit has encouraged the rehabilitation of over 37,000 historic properties representing over $58 billion in private investment. That is a 5 to 1 ratio of private investment to federal tax credits.

Within the European Union, there is considerable variation in the rates of tax applied to building conservation projects, but the application of tax credits for heritage conservation are commonplace.

The federal government has only one financial incentive program, the National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program, which supports privately-owned heritage properties.

Between 2001 and 2007, the Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund (CHPIF), a program was launched by the federal government to test the private sector appetite for a future heritage rehab income tax incentive. The results were impressive: a total of $21.5 million in federal contributions spread across 49 projects leveraged more than 8 times that amount in private sector investment ($177.2 million) and gave empty, derelict buildings vibrant new uses.

For information on incentives and disincentives at the federal level, and international examples, navigate the left-hand menu.