Historic Resource Impact Assessment

An assessment may be required before a development activity begins if the project may impact Alberta’s historic resources.


Most of Alberta's historic resources fall into one of 4 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 is officially reflected in the Historical Resources Act.

Modern life and historic resources

Historic resources are susceptible to the effects of time and can be damaged by the various development activities aimed at accommodating growing populations and modernizing society.

In recognizing the valuable and non-renewable nature of historic resources, Section 37 of the Historical Resources Act provides the framework for Historic Resources Impact Assessments (HRIAs) and mitigation  studies.

Because many historic resources are not visible on the surface, the potential for a proposed development to impact these resources may not be apparent. For this reason, a development proponent (land owner, planner, developer) may be required to submit project details for review by subject-area experts.

The impact assessment process

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 by the Province to:

Project-specific requirements are issued in response to a Historic Resources Application, but all assessments must comply with some standard conditions.

See the following Standard Conditions document for details:

In most cases, the assessment work must be completed before the onset of land disturbance, but occasionally studies can happen in conjunction with certain development activities.

HRIAs and mitigative studies are paid for by the person or company undertaking or proposing to undertake the development. Professional, private-sector archaeologists, paleontologists, historians, and traditional use consultants perform the required impact assessment work and prepare reports on the results of this work.

A list of qualified historic resource consultants is provided below.

Finding a resource during construction

Even if an HRIA is not required, if a historic find is encountered during the course of a development project, it must be reported immediately.

Activities that may impact the resource must cease while it is being evaluated.

See the following Standard Requirements document for more information:

Alberta historic resource consultants

See the list of Alberta historic resource consultants.


Connect with the Historic Resources Management Branch:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-431-2300
Toll free: dial 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-427-3956
Email: [email protected]

8820 112 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T6G 2P8