What is SOS?

Save Ontario Shipwrecks is a Provincial Heritage Organization in Ontario dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of an appreciation of Ontario’s marine heritage. Incorporated in 1981, SOS is a public charitable organization of dedicated volunteers from across the Province. Operating mainly through a group of Local Chapter Committees supported by a Provincial Board of Directors and Provincial Executive, our volunteers have undertaken many worthwhile projects and activities.

What is the Heritage Act?


The Government Efficiency Act came into force on November 26, 2002. It included changes to the Ontario Heritage Act to clarify, update and streamline its provisions related to archaeology and built heritage protection.

These changes were an interim measure. In 2005, the government passed comprehensive amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act. These amendments modified those made in the Government Efficiency Act. They strengthen and improve heritage protection in Ontario, bring Ontario’s heritage legislation in line with leading jurisdictions in Canada and:

  • Give the province and municipalities new powers to delay and also to stop demolition of heritage sites. They balance enhanced demolition controls with an appeals process that respects the rights of property owners.
  • Further expand the province’s ability to identify and designate sites of provincial heritage significance.
  • Provide clear standards and guidelines for the preservation of provincial heritage properties.
  • Enhance protection of heritage conservation districts, marine heritage sites and archaeological resources.

What is Marine Archaeology?


Under the Ontario Heritage Act, a marine archaeological site is an archaeological site that is fully or partially submerged or that lies below or partially below the high-water mark of any body of water. (O. Reg. 170/04, s. 1.)

The protection of our marine heritage resources is a shared responsibility. The Ontario Heritage Act requires a person to hold an archaeological licence in order to alter or remove artifacts or any other physical evidence of past human use or activity from a known marine archaeological site. This ministry supports Save Ontario Shipwrecks in the effort to conserve and protect marine archaeological resources through public awareness. Licensees must provide notification and submit a site record form for newly discovered marine archaeological resources to the ministry.

What is the Cemeteries Act?


What is the Public Lands Act?