Frequently Asked Questions

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has released the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists (S&G) which came into effect January 1, 2011. The S&G have increased the amount of field work, artifact analysis and reporting required which is unfortunately ultimately passed on to you. It has been said that the amount of analysis now required exceeds that voluntarily undertaken under most research grants.

What is the point of doing Archaeology?

Within the Province of Ontario, human beings have been occupying and altering the landscape for at least 10,000 years. Most things that happened during the course of time was never recorded;therefore the purpose of archaeology is to collect the physical evidence left behind by human societies in order to provide a better understanding of our past.

The purpose of conducting archaeology from a land development context is to avoid unnecessary damage to, or removal of, physical evidence of the past. Archaeological studies are required in order to ensure that the fragile and irreplaceable physical evidence of Ontario's past societies and periods of history are properly documented and collected.

When is the best time to conduct archaeological investigations on my property?

It is recommended to complete any required archaeological study as early as possible within the process toward development. Although various municipalities often only initially require a Stage 1 Background Research study, it must be noted that almost any Stage 1 will likely recommend some form or amount of a Stage 2 Property assessment prior to considering the property cleared of archaeological concerns.

In the event that the Stage 1 and/or Stage 2 indicates that a potentially significant archaeological resource is present within the study area, a Stage 3 Site Assessment will be required and possibly a Stage 4 Site Mitigation through excavation or avoidance.

Given the time that may be involved in Stage 3 and 4 field work, data analysis, and Aboriginal Engagement (depending on the culture affiliation of the site), we advise our clients to allow themselves the maximum amount of time to address any archaeological concerns before they begin to impact critical project timelines. Starting the archaeological process early also reduces the risk of delays in construction or costly changes to the project plans.

How long does it take to have a report cleared by the MTCS?

TThe Ministry tries to review reports as soon as possible, however due to high volume of reports submitted for review, it can take longer than anticipated for a review officer to have the opportunity to review a file. Currently the MTCS is not able to provide a time frame for report review. For further information on MTCS report review policy, please check out the MTCS News Bulletin – PIFS and the Report Review Process on our News Page. Once the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and sport is satisfied with an archaeological report they will issue a “Satisfaction Letter”. If you require a satisfaction letter from the Ministry for your project by a specific date, it is recommended to submit a request for an expedited review of the report with the MTCS.

If I do not want to plough an area of property can I have it assessed using the test pit methodology instead?

Unfortunately, no. The MTC requires that all lands that can be ploughed or accessed by a plough must be ploughed prior to the physical assessment. Upon review of the report the Ministry will not issue clearance of the archaeological condition until the area has been assessed in accordance with their requirements. Neither the consultant archaeologist nor the proponent can opt for one method over another. Pedestrian survey is the preferred method to assess lands. In order for the Ministry to accept that the lands are not ploughable there must be a documented impediment or justifiable reason supported by evidence in order to use the test pit methodology.

Do you offer rush services?

Yes, under certain conditions. If you require a rush assessment please contact our office directly.

The study area consists of environmentally protected lands, do these lands require assessment?

Lands designated EPA or with similar restrictive zoning, do not require assessment so long as the documentation from the local planning authority indicates that those lands are prohibited from future land alterations or soil disturbance until an assessment has been completed. Please be advised that lands designated Open Space require assessment.

How much of the property are you required to assess?

We are required to assess the entire property area subject to the planning application for which the assessment is required. The limit of the assessed area must conform to the property plan on file with the municipal planning authority.

How long does it take to receive a proposal for AMICK?

Stage 1, 1-2 & 2

Proposals for most Stage 1, Stage 2 or combined Stage 1-2 projects can be received within the same day provided we have accurate information regarding the current condition of the study area and sufficient mapping.

Stage 3

Proposals often require more detailed analysis of previous investigations; typically they can be completed within 2 business days.

Stage 4

Proposals typically take several business days to prepare, due to the amount of detailed analysis required.

Other proposals for example of large utility corridors or secondary plans can take several days depending on the complexities of the proposed project.

What information is required to prepare a Stage 3 proposal?

In order to complete a Stage 3 proposal, we require detailed information regarding previous archaeological investigations. The best way to achieve this is to provide us with copies of reports for all previous archaeological investigations undertaken with respect to the property.

What is the review process at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport?

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) have updated their policies and practices for submission of reports. The MTCS now requires a hard copy and digital copy of the report and report contents. The report package is submitted to the MTCS via post. When the MTCS has received the report package they will contact AMICK within 10 business days to confirm receipt. AMICK will then contact our client ton confirm the MTCS’ receipt of the report.

How do I submit a request for an expedited review?

f you require the Ministry’s acceptance of a report by a specific date in order to ensure that your time lines are met, AMICK recommends submitting a request for an expedited review. In order for the Ministry to grant an expedited review request the following steps must be completed.

  • Contact the archaeological consulting company who prepared the report. Expedited Review Requests must be made through the archaeological consultant who filed the report.
  • Please prepare a signed letter on your company letterhead addressed to the MTCS contact below. The letter must include the reason(s) for requiring an expedited review and a date by which you require the MTCS Satisfaction Letter. Please submit this letter to the archaeological consultant to submit with the request for the expedited review.

    Ms. Abbey Flower Archaeology Review Coordinator Culture Programs Unit, Programs and Services Branch Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport 401 Bay Street, Suite 1700 Toronto, ON M7A 0A7 Phone: 416-212-8002 Email:

  • AMICK will then fill out the MTCS’ Request for an Expedited Review form and will submit the form, along with the client’s letter, to MTCS for processing.
  • MTCS will provide confirmation within 5 business days of the submission of the expedited review request and advise AMICK of when they will complete the report review.
  • AMICK will contact our client and advise of the date by which MTCS has committed to review the report.

What is the expected turn-around on a request for an expedited review?

Please be advised that MTCS typically reviews a report within 4-5 weeks of the request for expedited review being granted.


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