Frequently asked questions

For more Frequently Asked Questions, visit: Questions and answers (World Heritage Convention)

How does a Canadian heritage property become a World Heritage Site?

There is a four-stage process to follow for any heritage site to become a World Heritage site. Since Parks Canada is Canada's lead agency for implementing the World Heritage Convention, it manages this process for Canada.

First, in order for a country to nominate a site as a potential World Heritage Site, it must be on the country's Tentative List. A Tentative List is a list of properties that a country believes has good potential to meet one or more of the criteria for inscription on the World Heritage List, in addition to meeting the conditions for authenticity and/or integrity, and to ensuring that appropriate management measures are in place to protect the site's Outstanding Universal Value in perpetuity.

Second, a detailed nomination dossier is prepared for the site according to the criteria and requirements outlined in the World Heritage Committee's Operational Guidelines. The nomination dossier must clearly demonstrate that the site is protected and managed under Canadian (federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal) legislation and policies, that it has an appropriate plan for managing its values and that, in comparison with other similar sites around the world it has "Outstanding Universal Value".

Third, international experts from the World Heritage Committee's official advisory bodies evaluate the nomination, which includes a visit to the nominated site, to evaluate its heritage values, its protection and management regime, and to confirm the level of support of the various stakeholders. The experts make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee.

Finally, the World Heritage Committee makes a decision on the nomination. It can inscribe the site on the World Heritage List, not inscribe the site on the list or send the nomination back for further information.

After being placed on the Tentative List, the process of preparing a nomination can be expected to take at least two years and may take much longer. After submission of the completed nomination, the evaluation and review process takes approximately 18 months.

What is the status of Canada's Tentative List?

Canada’s Tentative List for World Heritage Sites was updated in 2017. Countries are encouraged to update their Tentative Lists approximately every ten years, and so additions to Canada’s Tentative List are not planned for the foreseeable future.

Are there any prerequisites for including a heritage site on Canada's Tentative List?

Sites included on the Tentative List must have strong potential for inscription on the World Heritage List. In other words, sites that are included on the Tentative List must demonstrate the potential to satisfy one or more of the criteria for inscription, as well as to meet the condition(s) of authenticity and/or integrity and to have appropriate protection and management. These requirements for inscription are defined in the Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Since the formal nomination of a site will need to document that the site's values are protected and managed under Canadian legislation and policies, that it has an appropriate plan for managing these values into the future, that it has Outstanding Universal Value in comparison with other similar sites around the world, and that there is stakeholder support for the nomination, sites proposed for inclusion on the Tentative List benefit from being able to demonstrate that these requirements can be addressed.

What sites currently make up Canada's Tentative List?

In order to help the World Heritage Committee in evaluating potential sites, State Parties must submit a Tentative List of candidate sites that have a strong potential to meet the evaluation requirements for World Heritage site designation. As of 2023, there are ten sites on Canada's Tentative List:

  • Gwaii Haanas, British Columbia
  • Ivvavik/Vuntut/Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk), Yukon
  • Quttinirpaaq, Nunavut
  • Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs, British Columbia
  • Stein Valley, British Columbia
  • Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatchewan
  • Heart’s Content Cable Station Provincial Historic Site, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Qajartalik, Nunavut
  • Sirmilik National Park and the proposed Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area, Nunavut
  • Yukon Ice Patches, Yukon

To learn more about these sites, go to: Sites on Canada's Tentative List

Who represents Canada in matters related to the World Heritage Convention?

Since 1976, the Parks Canada Agency has served as the State Party representative for Canada, given its expertise related to cultural and natural heritage.

What are Canada's existing World Heritage Sites?

Official emblem of the World Heritage Convention

As of 2023, the following properties are World Heritage sites in Canada. They are listed in the order they were inscribed:

  • L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
  • Kluane/Wrangell – St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek, Yukon and British Columbia (and Alaska)
  • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
  • SGang Gwaay, British Columbia
  • Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta and Northwest Territories
  • Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Alberta and British Columbia
  • Historic District of Old Québec, Quebec
  • Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Old Town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
  • Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Alberta (and Montana)
  • Miguasha National Park, Quebec
  • Rideau Canal, Ontario
  • Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia
  • Landscape of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia
  • Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Pimachiowin Aki, Manitoba and Ontario
  • Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi, Alberta
  • Tr’ondëk Klondike, Yukon
  • Anticosti Island, Quebec

For more information, go to: Canadian sites on the World Heritage List

Who is allowed to use the World Heritage emblem?

The World Heritage emblem is used to identify properties protected by the World Heritage Convention and inscribed on the official World Heritage List. It represents the universal values for which the Convention stands.

Use of the World Heritage emblem, is strictly regulated and determined by the World Heritage Committee, with guidelines for its use defined in Chapter 8 of the Operational Guidelines. Please note that before using the World Heritage emblem in any form, appropriate authorization is required. Please contact for more information regarding its use.

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