The Cultural Property Export and Import Act protects the national heritage by establishing export controls that encourage the preservation in Canada of cultural property that is of outstanding significance and of national importance. These controls are intended to balance the interests of Canadians and the rights of cultural property owners.
The Cultural Property Export and Import Act prohibits the export from Canada of an object included in the Canadian Cultural Property Export Control List without an export permit. Any resident of Canada who wishes to export such an object must file an application for an export permit with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The CBSA permit officer first determines whether the object is on the Control List. If the permit officer determines that the object is or might be on the Control List, the permit officer will then refer the application to an expert examiner for advice. An expert examiner is an institution with expertise in cultural property designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The expert examiner determines whether an object is on the Control List, whether it is of outstanding significance, and whether it is of national importance. If the expert examiner determines that the object meets these criteria, the expert examiner advises the permit officer to refuse the application. In such a case, the permit officer will then send a notice of refusal to the applicant.
A request for review can only be made to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) after a permit officer has refused to issue the export permit. CCPERB will then conduct a proceeding to determine whether an object:
If CCPERB determines that the object meets the above criteria, it will then form an opinion as to whether an institution or public authority in Canada might make a fair cash offer to purchase the object within six months after the date of its decision in the proceeding. If CCPERB determines a fair cash offer is possible, it will establish an export delay of between two and six months, during which time the object will not be permitted be exported from Canada. Export delays provide designated organizations with an opportunity to acquire these culturally significant objects that might otherwise be permanently lost to Canada.