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Ontario Ontario Land Use Planning (1-ON-a)

In Ontario, land use planning may be delegated to municipal councils and territorial district planning boards, depending on the jurisdiction. The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs delegates land use planning regulatory authority to local municipal councils and territorial district planning boards, depending on the jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 4. If there is no municipal organization or planning authority, the Minister of Municipal Affairs may assume authority over zoning in those jurisdictions. R.S.O. c. P.13, s. 47. A developer must ensure the proposed project complies with municipal and territorial district land use restrictions. A developer may need a minor variance or amendment to a zoning by-law or order or an amendment to an official land use plan from the local planning authority with jurisdiction if the project will not comply with one or any of the aforementioned land use planning instruments. Ontario Planning Act.


The Ontario Planning Act requires the municipal council to draft and adopt an official land use plan that outlines the municipality’s land use goals and policies, which must be consistent with the provincial goals and policies set out in the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement . R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 3(5). The municipal council or territorial district planning board may also pass zoning by-laws to restrict or prohibit certain land uses. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(1). The purpose of having an official land use plan in Ontario is “to promote sustainable economic development in a healthy natural environment within the policy and by the means provided under this Act; to provide for a land use planning system led by provincial policy; to integrate matters of provincial interest in provincial and municipal planning decisions; to provide for planning processes that are fair by making them open, accessible, timely and efficient; to encourage co-operation and co-ordination among various interests; and to recognize the decision-making authority and accountability of municipal councils in planning.” R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 1.1. The Minister of Municipal Affairs can delegate any of the Minister’s authority under the Ontario Planning Act except for the authority to approve or exempt from approval an official land use plan or amendments to an official land use plan. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 4.


Ontario Land Use Planning Process

1-ON-a.1 – Review Provincewide Land Use Planning Goals and Plans

A developer should review Ontario’s provincial land use planning interests, including the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement and any Ontario Provincial Plans to ensure the project complies with provincial land use planning interests. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 3(5).

1-ON-a.2 – Contact Local Municipality or Territorial District

The developer should contact the local municipality(es) or territorial district(s) with jurisdiction to determine if there is an official land use plan or zoning by-laws (regulations) in place.

Some municipalities may require a developer to consult with them before submitting an application to amend official land use plans or zoning by-laws. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 22(3.1); 34(10.0.1). The developer can use the Ontario Planning Act Approval Authority Chart to find contact information for the municipality or municipalities in which the project will be located.

Note: Ontario allows a municipality to adopt a development permit system (DPS) that combines and streamlines applications for zoning by-law amendments and minor variances to zoning by-laws. O. Reg. 608/06, s. 2. The developer should contact the municipality for the project’s jurisdiction to find out if the municipality has adopted a DPS and what procedures the municipality uses under that system.

1-ON-a.3 to 1-ON-a.4 – Is there a Local Official Land Use Plan in Place?

The developer should review the local land use plan, if there is one in place, to ensure the project complies with the plan.

The Ontario Planning Act delegates much of the land use planning authority to municipal councils and territorial district planning boards, allowing them to draft and adopt official land use plans. The official land use plan must include “goals, objectives and policies established primarily to manage and direct physical change and the effects on the social, economic, built and natural environment of the municipality or part of it, or an area that is without municipal organization.” R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 16(1)(a). Municipal official land use plans provide context for determining if the project is compatible with the municipality’s overall plans for development.

1-ON-a.5 to 1-ON-a.6 – Has There Been a Comprehensive Zoning By-Law or Official Land Use Plan Amendment Within the Last Two (2) Years?

The developer should check with the local municipal council or territorial district planning board to see if there have been any recent comprehensive amendments because they may affect applications for amendments. Applications for Minor Variances and Zoning By-Law Amendments are barred if the municipal council or territorial district planning board has repealed and replaced all the zoning by-laws within the last two (2) years, unless the municipal council passes a resolution allowing such amendments sooner. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(1.3)–(1.4), 34(10.0.0.1)–(10.0.0.2).

These provisions also apply to the Minister exercising authority to enact zoning orders in the place of municipal zoning by-laws. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(1)(a). Similarly, Applications to Amend an Official Land Use Plan are barred if the municipal council or territorial district planning board has amended the official land use plan within the last two (2) years, unless the municipal council or territorial district planning board has passed a resolution allowing such amendments sooner. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(2.1)–(2.2).

1-ON-a.7 – Does the Project Require an Amendment to the Official Land Use Plan?

A developer may need to amend the municipal official land use plan or territorial district official land use plan if the project does not comply with its goals and policies. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22.

1-ON-a.8 – Application to Amend Official Land Use Plan

The developer must submit a complete Application to Amend an Official Land Use Plan (Application to Amend Land Use Plan) to the appropriate municipal council or territorial district planning board. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(1)–(2).

The requirements for the contents of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan varies depending on the locality. However, general requirements must include, at minimum, the following:

  • The name, address, telephone number and, if applicable, the e-mail address of the applicant (developer);
  • The name of the municipality or territorial district planning board that is being requested to initiate the amendment to its official land use plan;
  • The date of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan to the municipality or territorial district planning board;
  • The name of the official land use plan requested to be amended;
  • A description of the subject land, including such information as the municipality, or the geographic township in unorganized territory, concession and lot numbers, reference plan and part numbers, and street names and numbers;
  • If known, the approximate area of the subject land, in metric units;
  • Whether the requested amendment changes, replaces or deletes a policy in the official land use plan;
  • If the requested amendment changes, replaces, or deleted a policy in the official land use plan, the policy to be changed, replaced or deleted;
  • Whether the requested amendment adds a policy to the official land use plan;
  • The purpose of the requested amendment;
  • In the case of a requested amendment to a lower-tier municipality’s official land use plan, the current designation of the subject land in the upper-tier municipality’s official land use plan and an explanation of how the proposed amendment conforms with the upper-tier municipality’s official land use plan;
  • The current designation of the subject land in the official land use plan and the land uses that the designation authorizes;
  • Whether the requested amendment changes or replaces a designation in the official land use plan;
  • If the requested amendment changes or replaces a designation in the official land use plan, the designation to be changed or replaced;
  • The land uses that the requested official land use plan amendment would authorize;
  • Whether the subject land or land within 120 meters of it is the subject of an application by the applicant (developer) under the Ontario Planning Act for:
    • a minor variance or a consent;
    • an amendment to an official land use plan, a zoning by-law or a Minister’s zoning order; or
    • approval of a plan of subdivision or a site plan.
  • If the subject land or land within 120 meters of the subject land is the subject of an application by the applicant (developer) under the Ontario Planning Act for a minor variance, consent, official land use plan amendment, zoning by-law amendment, Minster's zoning order amendment, or an approval of a plan of subdivision or a site plan, the following information about each application:
    • its file number;
    • the name of the approval authority considering it;
    • the land it affects;
    • its purpose;
    • its status; and
    • its effect on the requested amendment.
  • If a policy in the official land use plan is being changed, replaced or deleted or if a policy is being added, the text of the requested amendment;
  • If the requested amendment changes or replaces a schedule in the official land use plan, the requested schedule and the text that accompanies it;
  • If the requested amendment alters all or any part of the boundary of an area of settlement in a municipality or establishes a new area of settlement in a municipality, the current official land use plan policies, if any, dealing with the alteration or establishment of an area of settlement;
  • If the requested amendment removes the subject land from an area of employment, the current official land use plan policies, if any, dealing with the removal of land from an area of employment;
  • An explanation of how the requested amendment is consistent with the current Ontario Provincial Policy Statement;
  • Whether the subject land is within an area of land designated under any Ontario Provincial Plans;
  • If the subject land is within an area of land designated under any Ontario Provincial Plans, an explanation of how the requested amendment conforms or does not conflict with any Ontario Provincial Plans;
  • A proposed strategy for consulting with the public with respect to the request; and
  • An affidavit or sworn declaration by the applicant (developer) certifying that the information required provided by the applicant (developer) is accurate.

For a full list of requirements, see O. Reg. 543/06, s. 10. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(4)–(5).

1-ON-a.9 to 1-ON-a.11 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The municipal council or territorial district planning board must review the Application to Amend Land Use Plan for administrative and technical completeness. The municipal council or territorial district planning board notifies the developer regarding the completeness of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan within 30 days of receipt. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.1).

1-ON-a.12 to 1-ON-a.14 – Motion to Tribunal (If Applicable)

If the municipal council or territorial district planning board delivers notice stating that the Application to Amend Land Use Plan is incomplete or no notice regarding the completeness of within 30 days, the developer may make a motion for the Tribunal to determine the completeness of the Application to Amend or whether the materials required by the council/territorial district planning board were reasonable. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.2)–(6.3).

The Tribunal’s decision on the completeness of an Application to Amend or reasonableness of the council/territorial district planning board’s required materials is final and not subject to appeal or review. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.5).

1-ON-a.15 – Publish Public Notice of Application

The municipal council or territorial district planning board must notify the public of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan and make public all information and materials related to the Application to Amend Land Use Plan public within 15 days of the application’s completion and at least 20 days before a public meeting is held. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.4); R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(19)–(10.1). The requirements for notice of an Application to Amend Land Use Plan and the requirements for notice of a public meeting or open house for an Application to Amend Land Use Plan are the same, with any necessary modifications. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 11(1).

Notice of an Application to Amend Land Use Plan must be given by personal service or ordinary mail to all land owners within 120 meters of the subject land and by posting notices that are legible and visible from a public highway or some other place to which the public has access, at every property within the subject land, or at a nearby location chosen by the municipal clerk or territorial district planning board secretary-treasurer if posting at every property is not feasible. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3(4). Public notice of the Application must include, at minimum, the following:

  • An explanation of the purpose and effect of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment;
  • A description of the subject land, a key map showing the subject land, or an explanation why no description or key map is provided;
  • Where and when a copy of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment and information and material will be available to the public for inspection;
  • The following statement: "If you wish to be notified of the decision of (name of municipality or territorial district planning board) on the proposed official land use plan (or official land use plan amendment), you must make a written request to (name and address of municipality or territorial district planning board)."
  • The following statements:
    • "If a person or public body would otherwise have an ability to appeal the decision of (reference to council and name of municipality, or name of territorial district planning board or approval authority, as the case may be) to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal but the person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to (name of municipality or territorial district planning board) before the proposed official land use plan (or official land use plan amendment) is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision."
    • "If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to (name of municipality or territorial district planning board) before the proposed official land use plan (or official land use plan amendment) is adopted, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal unless, in the opinion of the Tribunal, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party."
  • If it is known that the subject land is the subject of an application under the Ontario Planning Act for a minor variance or a consent, for an amendment to a zoning by-law or a Minister’s zoning order or for approval of a plan of subdivision, a statement of that fact and the file number of the application; and
  • If applicable, a request that the notice be posted by the owner of any land that contains seven or more residential units in a location that is visible to all residents.

For a full list of requirements, see O. Reg. 543/06, ss. 11(1), 3(15).

If the notice is posted in public, it must include the following:

  • An explanation of the purpose and effect of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment;
  • Where and when a copy of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment and information and material will be available to the public for inspection; and
  • The following statement: "For more information about this matter, including information about appeal rights, contact (address, email address, website or other location or means by which information may be obtained from the municipality or territorial district planning board)."

O. Reg. 543/06, ss. 11(1), 3(16).

Alternatively, notice of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan can be published in a newspaper of sufficiently general circulation in the area to which the proposed amendment would apply. A newspaper notice must include the following:

  • An explanation of the purpose and effect of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment;
  • A description of the subject land, a key map showing the subject land, or an explanation why no description or key map is provided;
  • Where and when a copy of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment and information and material will be available to the public for inspection; and
  • The following statement: "For more information about this matter, including information about appeal rights, contact (address, email address, website or other location or means by which information may be obtained from the municipality or territorial district planning board)."

O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3(17).

Additionally, notice of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan must be provided to every person and public body that has requested such notice from the municipality's clerk or the territorial district planning board's secretary-treasurer, depending on the jurisdiction. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3(8). The regional director of the local Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs Municipal Services Office may also need notice, depending on the plan amendment's approval authority. O. Reg. 543/06, ss. 3(11)–(12). Finally, the following people also need notice of an Application to Amend Land Use Plan:

  • The clerk of the approval authority of the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment, if the approval authority is not the Minister;
  • The clerk of every municipality or the secretary-treasurer of every municipal planning authority having jurisdiction in the area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply;
  • The secretary of every school board having jurisdiction in the area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply;
  • The secretary-treasurer of every conservation authority having jurisdiction in the area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply;
  • The secretary of every company operating a natural gas utility in the local municipality or planning area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply;
  • The secretary of every company operating an oil or natural gas pipeline in the local municipality or planning area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply;
  • Every propane operator of a propane operation, if:
    • any part of the propane operation’s hazard distance is within the area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply, and
    • the clerk of the municipality or the secretary-treasurer of the territorial district planning board has been notified of the propane operation’s hazard distance by a director appointed under section 4 of the Technical Standards and Safety Act.
  • If any of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply is within 300 meters of a railway line, the secretary of the company operating the railway line;
  • The Executive Vice-President, Law and Development, of Ontario Power Generation Inc.;
  • The secretary of Hydro One Inc.;
  • If any of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply is within or abuts the area covered by the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the senior planner of the district office of the Niagara Escarpment Commission having jurisdiction over that land or the area that it abuts, as the case may be;
  • Parks Canada, if any of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply adjoins a historic site, park or historic canal under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada;
  • The Niagara Parks Commission, if any of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply adjoins the Niagara Parkway or is in the jurisdiction of the Niagara Parks Commission;
  • The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, if any part of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply adjoins the 1000 Islands Parkway and is within the jurisdiction of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission under section 9 of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission Act;
  • The clerk of every municipality or the secretary-treasurer of every municipal planning authority or territorial district planning board, if any part of the municipality, municipal planning area or planning area is within one kilometer of the land to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply; and
  • The chief of every First Nation council, if the First Nation is located on a reserve any part of which is within one kilometer of the area to which the proposed official land use plan or plan amendment would apply.

O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3(9).

The municipal council or territorial district planning board may give public notice of the Application to Amend Land Use Plan with the notice of a public meeting. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 11(2).

1-ON-a.16 to 1-ON-a.18 – Publish Notice of Public Meeting

The municipal council or territorial district planning board, depending on the jurisdiction, must publish notice of the required public meeting regarding the Application to Amend Land Use Plan at least 20 days before the public meeting is held. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(19)–(10.1). The requirements for notice of an Application to Amend Land Use Plan and the requirements for notice of a public meeting or open house for an Application to Amend Land Use Plan are the same, with any necessary modifications. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 11(1). In addition to the notice requirements for public notice of an Application to Amend Land Use Plan listed in 1-ON-a.14, any notices for a public hearing or open house that are mailed, posted, or published must also include the date, time, and location of the public meeting. O. Reg. 543/0, s. 3(15), (16), (17).These two notices can be provided together or separately. O. Reg. 543/06, s. 11(2).

The municipal council or territorial district planning board must hold at least one public meeting for the public to comment on and ask about the Application to Amend Land Use Plan. The public may comment on the Application to Amend Land Use Plan at the public meeting. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 17(15)(d), 22(1)(b), 22(2)(b). Any person who attends a public meeting on an official land use plan amendment can make oral submissions to the municipal council or territorial district planning board, depending on the jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(19.2). Any person can also make written submissions to the municipal council or territorial district planning board before the adoption of the amendment. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(20).

1-ON-a.19 – Review Application Materials for Approval

The municipal council or territorial district planning board must review the application materials for approval. If the municipal council or territorial district planning board determines the official land use plan amendment is suitable for adoption, it may adopt all or part of the amendment by by-law and submit it for approval if not exempted by R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(9). R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(22).

1-ON-a.20 to 1-ON-a.22 – Provide Notice of Decision

The municipal council or territorial district planning board must notify the developer who submitted the Application to Amend Land Use Plan, anyone who filed a written request to be notified of a refusal, the appropriate approval authority (the upper-tier municipality or the Minster of Municipal Affairs, depending on the jurisdiction), and any other prescribed person or public body by personal service, mail, email, or fax within 15 days of deciding to adopt or refuse the proposed amendment. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.6); O. Reg. 543/06, ss. 4, 12(2). The refusal must contain a brief, written explanation of the effect that written or oral submissions to the planning authority had on the decision; an explanation of the purpose and effect of the requested amendment; the date of the refusal; and the last date to file an appeal and instructions for filing an appeal, if applicable. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(6.7); O. Reg. 543/06, s. 12.

1-ON-a.23 to 1-ON-a.24 – Notice to Appeal Decision (Optional)

The developer or anyone who made written or oral comments before the final decision can appeal the municipal council or territorial district planning board decision to the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) if the municipal council or territorial district planning board fails to adopt the official land use plan amendment within 210 days of receiving the Application to Amend Land Use Plan. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 22(7), (7.0.2), (11.0.1)–(11.0.2). The developer can submit a Notice of Appeal to the clerk of the municipality or the secretary-treasurer of the territorial district planning board, depending on the jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(7). The developer must file a Notice of Appeal within 20 days of receiving the municipal council or territorial district planning board’s notice of refusal. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(7.0.3). The Tribunal must provide notice to the developer regarding receipt of the Notice to Appeal via email, personal service, mail, phone, or fax. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(7.0.4).

The Notice of Appeal must highlight which part of the official land use plan amendment is subject to the appeal; explain how the section(s) of the official land use plan that would have been affected by the amendment are inconsistent with the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement, any Ontario Provincial Plans, or, if in a lower-tier municipality, the upper-tier municipality’s official land use plan; explain how the amendment is consistent with the aforementioned land use planning instruments; and include the fee charged under the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 17(25).

1-ON-a.25 to 1-ON-a.26 – Provide Notice of Public Hearing on Appeal (If Applicable)

The Tribunal can hold a public hearing after providing notice to the persons and public and in a manner the Tribunal determines is appropriate. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 11. The Tribunal can also dismiss all or part of an appeal without a hearing. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(11.0.7).

1-ON-a.27 to 1-ON-a.29 – Review Appeal for Approval (If Applicable)

If the Tribunal determines that the proposed amendment is consistent with the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement, any Ontario Provincial Plans, and, if applicable, an upper-tier official land use plan, or it determines the official land use plan section that would be affected by the amendment is inconsistent with any of the aforementioned land use planning instruments, then the Tribunal informs the municipal council or territorial district planning board, depending on the jurisdiction, that it has an opportunity to issue a new decision on the proposed amendment. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 22(11.0.9).

1-ON-a.30 to 1-ON-a.31 – Are There Zoning By-Laws or Orders in Place?

The developer should determine if the relevant locality has zoning by-laws or orders in place.

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

A municipal council can also pass zoning by-laws to define and limit the uses of land within the municipality. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34. An official land use plan defines a municipality’s general land use policies, while the zoning by-laws are more specific and useful for the day-to-day administration of the official land use plan. Citizens’ Guide 3 – Zoning By-laws.

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

In jurisdictions that do not have a municipal council, mostly in Northern Ontario, the Minister of Municipal Affairs may retain all the zoning authority typically delegated to municipal councils and can issue zoning orders as the equivalent to zoning by-laws. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(1)(a). The Minister can also define a planning area made up of territory without municipal organization and appoint a territorial district planning board to handle all land use planning for its defined planning area. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 10. The territorial district planning board can pass zoning by-laws in the same way that a municipal council can pass them. Citizens' Guide 7 – Northern Ontario.

1-ON-a.32 – Review Local Zoning By-Laws or Orders

The developer must review any zoning by-law or order to ensure the proposed project complies with the regulation. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(1). R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(1)(a).

1-ON-a.33 – Does the Project Require a Minor Variance?

If the project does not exactly conform to a zoning by-law but maintains the general intent and purpose of the by-law and the official land use plan, a developer may apply for a Minor Variance to the by-law’s provisions from the local committee of adjustment. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(1). Municipal councils that have passed a zoning by-law can pass another by-law establishing a committee of adjustment to handle minor zoning by-law disputes. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 44(1).

If the project is in a jurisdiction with no municipal council, and the project does not exactly conform to the Minister's zoning order, then the developer may apply for a minor variance to the zoning order. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(2). When the Minister is exercising their authority in place of a committee of adjustment to allow minor variances, the process is the same as if a committee of adjustment were in place except for the requirements for a hearing, notice of the Minster's final decision, and appeals of the final decision. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(2).

1-ON-a.34 – Application for Minor Variance

A developer may apply for a Minor Variance by submitting a complete Minor Variance Application to the local committee of adjustment appointed by the local municipal council or to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, depending on the jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 44(1); 45(1), (3); 47(2). A complete Minor Variance Application must include, at minimum, the following:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the subject land and of the agent if the applicant (developer) is an agent authorized by the owner;
  • The current designation of the subject land in any applicable official land use plan;
  • The current zoning of the subject land;
  • The nature and extent of the relief from the zoning by-law;
  • The reason why the proposed use cannot comply with the provisions of the zoning by-law;
  • The description of the subject land, such as the municipality, concession and lot numbers, registered plan and lot numbers, reference plan and part numbers and name of street and number;
  • The frontage, depth and area of the subject land;
  • Whether access to the subject land is by a provincial highway, a municipal road that is maintained all year or seasonally, another public road or a right of way or by water;
  • The existing uses of the subject land;
  • Whether there are any buildings or structures on the subject land;
  • If there are buildings or structures on the subject land, for each building or structure the type of building or structure, the setback from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines, the height in meters of the building or structure and the dimensions or floor area of the building or structure;
  • The proposed uses of the subject land;
  • Whether any buildings or structures are proposed to be built on the subject land;
  • If any buildings or structures are proposed to be built on the subject land, for each building or structure the type of building or structure, the setback from the front lot line, rear lot line, and side lot lines, the height in meters of the building or structure and the dimensions or floor area of the building or structure;
  • The date the subject land was acquired by the current owner;
  • The date the existing buildings or structures on the subject land were constructed;
  • The length of time that the existing uses of the subject land have continued;
  • If known, whether the subject land is the subject of an application under the Ontario Planning Act for approval of a plan of subdivision or a consent;
  • If the subject land is the subject of an application under the Ontario Planning Act for approval of a plan of subdivision or a consent, and if known, the file number of the application and the status of the application;
  • If known, whether the subject land has ever been the subject of an application for a Minor Variance;
  • A sketch showing the following:
    • The boundaries and dimensions of the subject land;
    • The location, size and type of all existing and proposed buildings and structures on the subject land, indicating the distance of the buildings or structures from the front yard lot line, rear yard lot line and the side yard lot lines;
    • The approximate location of all natural and artificial features on the subject land and on land that is adjacent to the subject land that, in the opinion of the applicant (developer), may affect the application (examples include buildings, railways, roads, watercourses, drainage ditches, river or stream banks, wetlands, wooded areas, wells and septic tanks);
    • The current uses on land that is adjacent to the subject land;
    • The location, width and name of any roads within or abutting the subject land, indicating whether it is an unopened road allowance, a public travelled road, a private road or a right of way;
    • If access to the subject land is by water only, the location of the parking and docking facilities to be used; and
    • The location and nature of any easement affecting the subject land; and
  • An affidavit or sworn declaration by the applicant (developer) that the information required and provided by the applicant (developer) is true.

For a full list of requirements, see O. Reg. 200/96, s. 2.

The issuance of a Minor Variance is also subject to any other criteria prescribed by regulation passed pursuant to the Ontario Planning Act and any criteria established by local municipality by-law. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(1.0.1).

1-ON-a.35 – Is the Minister Acting in Place of a Committee of Adjustment?

Where the Minister of Municipal Affairs is acting in place of a local committee of adjustment to grant Minor Variances to zoning orders, the requirements for a public hearing, notice of decision, and Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) appeals do not apply. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(2).

1-ON-a.36 – Publish Notice of Public Hearing

The local committee of adjustment must give notice of the public hearing on the Minor Variance Application at least ten (10) days prior to the public hearing. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(5); O. Reg. 200/96, s. 3. The committee can give notice in one of two ways: by mailing notice to every landowner within 60 meters of the area to which the Minor Variance Application applies and posting a notice somewhere to which the public to be affected by the Minor Variance Application has access, or by publishing notice in a newspaper of “sufficiently general circulation” in the area to be affected by the Minor Variance Application. O. Reg. 200/96, ss. 3(1)–(2), (4). The committee must also notify anyone who has submitted a written request for notice of a hearing on an application for a minor variance to the secretary-treasurer of the local committee of adjustment and the persons prescribed by regulation. O. Reg. 200/96, s. 3(7)–(10).

1-ON-a.37 to 1-ON-a.38 – Hold Public Hearing on Minor Variance Application

The committee of adjustment holds a public hearing on any Minor Variance Application within 30 days of receiving the Minor Variance Application. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(4). At the hearing, the committee must hear the applicant (developer) as well as anyone else who is either in favor of or opposed to the Minor Variance Application. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(8.1).

1-ON-a.39 – Review Minor Variance Application for Approval

The local committee of adjustment or the Minister of Municipal Affairs, depending on the jurisdiction, must review the Minor Variance Application for approval.

1-ON-a.40 to 1-ON-a.42 – Provide Notice of Decision (If Applicable)

Within ten (10) days of deciding on the Minor Variance Application, the local committee of adjustment delivers notice of the decision to the applicant (developer). R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(10). This notice includes the reasons for the decision and any effect of the written and oral submissions had on the decision. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(8.1). Notice of the decision also goes to the Minster of Municipal Affairs (if the Minster notified the committee by registered mail that he or she wanted to receive a copy of all committee decisions) and anyone who made a submission at the hearing or filed a written request to be notified of the decision. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(10).

Where the Minister of Municipal Affairs is acting in place of a local committee of adjustment to grant Minor Variances to zoning orders, the requirements for notice of decision do not apply. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(2).

1-ON-a.43 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

The developer may appeal the Minor Variance Application decision to the local appeal body, if the municipal council has appointed one, or to the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal). R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 8.1(6)(b), 45(12).

If a municipality has an official land use plan and its zoning by-laws are up-to-date with that plan, then a municipality can pass a by-law creating a local appeal body to handle appeals of minor variance decisions. R.S.O. c. P.13, s. 8.1(1); O. Reg. 551/06, ss. 1–2. This local appeal body can hear appeals of minor variance decisions if the municipal council has passed a by-law granting it that power. R.S.O. c. P.13, s. 8.1(6). The Tribunal can assume jurisdiction over the appeal if no hearing has begun and notice of a related appeal has been filed with the Tribunal. R.S.O. c. P.13, s. 8.1(160.

If the municipal council has not appointed a local appeal body, the applicant (developer) has 20 days to appeal the committee of adjustment’s decision to the Tribunal, or the committee’s decision becomes final. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(12); R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(14). The Tribunal can dismiss an appeal without a hearing. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 45(17).

Where the Minister of Municipal Affairs is acting in place of a local committee of adjustment to grant Minor Variances to zoning orders, the requirements for appeals do not apply. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(2).

1-ON-a.44 to 1-ON-a.45 – Does the Project Require an Amendment to a Zoning By-Law or Order?

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

A developer may need to amend a municipal zoning by-law if the project does not comply with the by-law. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

A developer may need to apply for a zoning by-law amendment from the territorial district planning board with jurisdiction over the project's location if the project does not comply with the zoning by-law. Citizens' Guide 7 – Northern Ontario. The process for applying to amend a territorial district planning board's zoning by-law looks identical to the process used to apply to amend a municipal council's zoning by-law, so a developer would need to follow along with that process. Citizens' Guide 7 – Northern Ontario. Alternatively, a developer may need to request to amend or revoke a zoning order from the Minister if the project does not comply with the order. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(8).

1-ON-a.46 – Application to Amend Zoning By-Law or Order

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The developer must submit a complete Application to Amend Zoning By-Law (Application) to the municipal council. A complete Zoning By-Law Amendment Application includes, at minimum, the following:

  • The name, address, telephone number and, if applicable, the e-mail address of the applicant (developer);
  • The date of the application to the municipality ;
  • If known, the names and addresses of the holders of any mortgages, charges or other encumbrances in respect of the subject land;
  • The current designation of the subject land in the applicable official land use plans, and an explanation of how the application conforms with the official land use plans;
  • The current zoning of the subject land;
  • The nature and extent of the rezoning requested;
  • The reason why the rezoning is requested;
  • If the subject land is within an area where the municipality has pre-determined the minimum and maximum density requirements or the minimum and maximum height requirements, a statement of these requirements;
  • A description of the subject land, including such information as the municipality, concession and lot numbers, registered plan and lot numbers, reference plan and part numbers and street names and numbers;
  • The frontage, depth and area of the subject land, in metric units;
  • If the application is to implement an alteration to the boundary of an area of settlement or to implement a new area of settlement, details of the official land use plan or official land use plan amendment that deals with the matter;
  • If the application is to remove land from an area of employment, details of the official land use plan or official land use plan amendment that deals with the matter;
  • If the subject land is within an area where zoning with conditions may apply, an explanation of how the application conforms to the official land use plan policies relating to zoning with conditions;
  • Whether access to the subject land will be:
    • by a provincial highway, a municipal road that is maintained all year or seasonally, another public road or a right of way; or
    • by water.
  • The existing uses of the subject land;
  • Whether there are any buildings or structures on the subject land;
  • If there are any buildings or structures on the subject land, the following information for each building or structure:
    • the type of building or structure; and
    • in metric units, the setback from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines, the height of the building or structure and its dimensions or floor area.
  • The proposed uses of the subject land;
  • Whether any buildings or structures are proposed to be built on the subject land;
  • If any buildings or structures are proposed to be built on the subject land, the following information for each building or structure:
    • the type of building or structure; and
    • in metric units, the setback from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines, the height of the building or structure and its dimensions or floor area.
  • If known,
    • the date the subject land was acquired by the current owner;
    • the date any existing buildings or structures on the subject land were constructed; and
    • the length of time that the existing uses of the subject land have continued.
  • If known,
    • whether the subject land has ever been the subject of an application under the Ontario Planning Act for approval of a plan of subdivision or for a consent, and if so, the file number and status of the application;
    • whether the subject land has ever been the subject of an Application to Amend a Zoning By-Law; and
    • whether the subject land has ever been the subject of a Minister’s Zoning Order and, if known, the Ontario Regulation number of that order.
  • A sketch showing, in metric units:
    • the boundaries and dimensions of the subject land;
    • the location, size and type of all existing and proposed buildings and structures on the subject land, indicating their distance from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines;
    • the approximate location of all natural and artificial features (for example, buildings, railways, roads, watercourses, drainage ditches, banks of rivers or streams, wetlands, wooded areas, wells and septic tanks) that:
      • are located on the subject land and on land that is adjacent to it; and
      • in the applicant (developer)’s opinion, may affect the application;
    • the current uses of land that is adjacent to the subject land;
    • the location, width and name of any roads within or abutting the subject land, indicating whether it is an unopened road allowance, a public travelled road, a private road or a right of way;
    • if access to the subject land will be by water only, the location of the parking and docking facilities to be used; and
    • the location and nature of any easement affecting the subject land.
  • An explanation of how the application for an amendment to the zoning by-law is consistent with the most recent Ontario Provincial Policy Statement;
  • Whether the subject land is within an area of land designated under any Ontario Provincial Plans;
  • If the subject land is within an area of land designated under any Ontario Provincial Plans, an explanation of how the application conforms or does not conflict with the Ontario Provincial Plans;
  • A proposed strategy for consulting with the public with respect to the application;
  • An affidavit or sworn declaration by the applicant (developer) that the information required under this Schedule and provided by the applicant (developer) is accurate.

For a full list of generally applicable requirements, see O. Reg. 545/06, s. 10. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10.1)–(10.2). Municipal councils can require additional information as set out in its official land use plan. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10.2).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

In addition to the items required for an Application to Amend Zoning By-Law listed above, a complete Request to Amend or Revoke a Minister's Zoning Order (Request) must also include, at minimum, the following:

  • A description of the subject land, including such information as the municipality, or the geographic township in unorganized territory, concession and lot numbers, registered plan and lot numbers, reference plan and part numbers, and street names and numbers;
  • Whether there are any easements or restrictive covenants affecting the subject land;
  • If there are any easements or restrictive covenants affecting the subject land, a description of each easement or covenant and its effect;
  • The regulation number of the Minister’s order that is the subject of the request;
  • Whether the request is to amend or revoke the Minister’s order;
  • The current designation of the subject land in the applicable official land use plan;
  • Whether the subject land is the subject of a proposed official land use plan or plan amendment that has been submitted for approval, and if so, the file number and the status of the matter;
  • A sketch showing, in metric units:
    • all of the requirements of a sketch accompanying an Application to Amend Zoning By-Law listed above;
    • the current uses of land that is adjacent to the subject land;
    • the location, width and name of any roads within or abutting the subject land, indicating whether it is an unopened road allowance, a public travelled road, a private road or a right of way.

For a full list of requirements, see O. Reg. 546/06, s. 2 R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(8.1).

1-ON-a.47 to 1-ON-a.48 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The municipal council or the Minister of Municipal Affairs, depending on the jurisdiction, must review any Application to Amend Zoning By-Law materials for administrative and technical completeness. After review, the municipal council or the Minister of Municipal Affairs provides notice to the developer within 30 days regarding whether the Application is missing any information. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10.4), 47(1)(a). Further notice requirements are outlined in detail in O. Reg. 545/06, s. 5. O. Reg. 545/06, s. 3. The Minister of Municipal Affairs will not consider a Request to amend or revoke a zoning order until they receive a complete Application and the required fee from the developer. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(8.2).

1-ON-a.49 – Publish Public Notice of Application

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The municipal council must publish public notice of the Application to Amend Zoning By-Law and make all information and materials related to the Application public within 15 days of the Application’s completion. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10.7).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

The Minister of Municipal Affairs can decide how to provide public notice of a Request as well as how long to accept public comments on the proposed amendment or revocation. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(9).

1-ON-a.50 – Publish Notice of Public Meeting

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The municipal council must provide notice of the public meeting to the persons and public bodies prescribed by O. Reg. 545/06, s. 5 with the information and in the manner prescribed by that section. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(13). The municipal council must provide notice of the public meeting at least 20 days before the meeting date. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(14.1).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

The Minister of Municipal Affairs may refer a Request to the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) for a hearing. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, ss. 47(10)–(11). The Tribunal decides how and to whom to give notice of the hearing. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(12).

1-ON-a.51 to 1-ON-a.52 – Hold Public Meeting on Zoning By-law Amendment Application

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The municipal council must hold at least one public meeting and make all the information and material available that would help the public understand the Application to Amend Zoning By-Law under consideration. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(12). All public meeting attendees must have an opportunity to make comments about the proposed zoning by-law amendment. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(14.2).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

The Tribunal holds a hearing on the Request and provides a written recommendation to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(13). The recommendation states whether the Minister should approve the Request in whole or in part, approve the Request with modifications, or refuse the Request in whole or in part, along with reasons for the recommendation. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(13). The Tribunal also sends its recommendation to anyone who made oral submissions at the hearing or made a written request for a copy of the recommendation. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(14).

1-ON-a.53 – Review Application Materials for Approval

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The municipal council must review the Application to Amend Zoning By-Law materials for approval. If the Application is refused, the municipal council must provide notice of the refusal within 15 days to the applicant (developer), anyone who submitted a written request to be notified of a refusal, and anyone listed in O. Reg. 545/06, s. 4. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(10.9).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

The Minister of Municipal Affairs reviews the Request in conjunction with any public comments received, if any, and the Tribunal's recommendation, if there was one. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(15). The Minster can issue a second order to amend or revoke in whole or in part the order in question. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(15).

1-ON-a.54 to 1-ON-a.56 – Provide Notice of Decision

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

Within 15 days of passing a zoning by-law amendment, the municipal council must provide written notice of the decision in the manner prescribed by O. Reg. 454/06, s. 6 to the person who applied for the amendment, anyone who filed a written request to be notified of the decision, and any other persons or public bodies prescribed by O. Reg. 545/06, s. 6.

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

The Minister of Municipal Affairs must send a copy of their decision to amend or revoke the zoning order in whole or in part to any municipalities within the area covered by the Amendment as well as anyone who requests in writing a copy of the decision. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(16).

1-ON-a.57 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

Jurisdictions with Municipal Organization

The developer can appeal the municipal council decision to the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) if they fail to adopt the zoning by-law amendment within 150 days of receiving the Application. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(11). If the zoning by-law amendment would also require an official land use plan amendment and both applications were submitted on the same day, appeal becomes available in 210 days. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(11.0.0.0.1). The developer submits a notice of appeal and required fee to the clerk of the municipality. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 34(11).

Jurisdictions Without Municipal Organization

Decisions of the Minister of Municipal Affairs on Requests are not subject to appeal. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, s. 47(1)(a).


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