The City's planning process includes a variety of different types of applications to accommodate proposed construction projects that do not comply with all policies and bylaws, the subdivision of land, or a change in the use of land, buildings of structures. The most common types of applications that undergo a planning process are applications for Official Plan amendments, zoning bylaw amendments, site plan approval, draft plan of subdivision, minor variances and consent.

The planning process that is followed by the City is required to comply with minimum provincial requirements established in the Planning Act and associated Ontario Regulations. Applications for Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments are considered by the Planning Committee (which holds public meetings required by the Planning Act) and, ultimately, by Council. Applications for minor variances and consent are considered by the Committee of Adjustment.

The typical planning process followed for a site specific application for a zoning bylaw amendment is illustrated in the chart below. Due to the complexity and nature of some applications, the order and number of steps may vary:

Planning Process Flowchart
Click for a larger view

All current planning applications are mapped on DASH, the City's online Development and Services Hub. This tool shows the application's type and an overview of its details along with the name of the applicant and the City planner overseeing the file.

How can we improve the Planning Process?

Best practice research tells us that all Municipalities have a degree of uniqueness as it relates to public participation in the planning process. The City is currently undergoing consultation on a draft Public Engagement Framework, which is meant to guide the engagement process in a consistent manner across all departments of the City. While the Public Engagement Framework will apply to the planning division, the planning process has specific rules and regulations that must be complied with to meet provisional requirements. In order to ensure that the specific requirements related to the planning process are met, the City is conducting a separate review geared towards how the public participates in the planning process. The City is interested in improving the planning process for applications that are considered by the planning committee to ensure that:

  • The public has an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback at key times during the planning process;
  • The requests being made in applications can be easily understood by the public;
  • Minimum provincial requirements are met; and
  • Decisions made on planning applications are easily understood by the public and applicants.

Offer your input: Consultation

As part of the review of public participation in the planning process, the City is hosting two-hour focus group sessions on April 3, 2017 to gather feedback on the current process.

Register for one of the sessions:

Space is limited to 12 seats per session. Register early to ensure your get your preferred time.

Next Steps

Following the focus group sessions in April 2017, Staff will be hosting a public meeting at planning committee in May to present some draft recommendations for discussion and receive additional public feedback.

Staff will consider all input received during the focus group sessions and the public meeting and will then prepare a recommendation report to implement improvements to public participation in the planning process.