What you ought to know about the committee of adjustment process in Toronto


 If you are considering building in Toronto, or own a property and want to renovate or build new on the property, more often then not you will need a minor variance, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations in place. There is a committee of adjustment in place and specific guidelines are in place for each neighbourhood in Toronto. Let us take a look at the committee of adjustment process from start to finish for building in Toronto.


 What is the committee of adjustment?


Under sections 45 and 53 of the Planning Act, authority is appointed to Municipal Councils to take on committees to approve minor applications. These decisions can be on minor variances from the zoning by-law and granting permission for modifying land, building or structures. Consents can also be granted from the committee of adjustment.


The Toronto committee of adjustment consists of citizen members. The entire committee of adjustment is split up into four panels, corresponding to the areas of the community councils. Each panel consists of five members and hold public hearings regularly to consider Minor Variances, consents and permission applications. You can find out the dates and times of these public hearings on Toronto’s government website.


Where do I begin?


Firstly, there is a list of compulsory and possible requirements that you should prepare yourself to be able to deliver along with your application. These are in place to ensure that your application can be taken under an adequate level of review. They exceed the minimum requirements laid down in the Planning Act, but are in place to ensure what you are planning co-insides with the official plan of the city of Toronto.


The level of detail that you need to demonstrate varies greatly, depending on the nature of your land and your proposal. During your pre-application consultation you will get a feel for the level of detail and if any additional information is required.


Click here to read through the list of compulsory requirements to be completed before you submit an application. It is advised to have as much of this in place as you can before attending your pre-application consultation.




or click here if the above link is broken to reach the page the pdf is located:


Application forms and a checklist ofcompulsory requirements.


A selection of further recommended requirements include such things as photographs of the site, letters of support from neighbors or tenants, a covering letter that outlines the nature of the application or a preliminary project review by a city zoning examiner.


Your Pre-Application Consultation


We strongly advise that you take advantage of a pre-application consultation as it allows you to proceed through the review process, saving you money and time. Your planning consultant will provide you with preliminary information and have the capabilities to direct you to other members of staff for more in-depth knowledge. If you are unfamiliar with the process, talk to your planning consultant about any steps or rules that you are unsure about and try to grasp a full understanding of what comes further down the line for you and your project.


Submitting your completed application


You are getting there! You have gathered together all the information required and are ready to submit your application. Upon hearing back that your application was received and accepted to be complete, you will be notified of your hearing date and provided with a public notice sign.


You must post this public notice sign on the property in a location that is visible on the street for 10 days prior to the hearing. Feel free to discuss your proposal with neighbors so that you are able to alleviate any concerns that they may have before the hearing takes place. You will find that if you are open to any questions from the beginning, then there will be a greater understanding and general acceptance from the public.


The Committee of Adjustment Hearing


You should expect the hearing to take place within 30 days of an acceptance of a completed application. During the hearing, the panel will introduce you and either you or someone you appoint to speak for you will present your proposal. Anyone who has anything to say about your plans is then invited to speak. In order for an application to be approved, the committee must decide whether the plan is appropriate for the site and that the general intent and purpose of the zoning-by-law and official plan of Toronto is maintained. They also consider any effect on surrounding properties among other considerations.


The decision is usually made at the hearing, after the committee has taken had time to thoroughly review all the material from your application as well as results from site inspections, letters received and from any persons who speak at your hearing. However, your hearing may be adjourned to a later date and alternative stipulations may be requested to be put in place. Should this occur, a new public notice sign needs to be displayed again before the hearing takes place.


You’re approved!


You may find that your application was approved with conditions as the public may have some suggestions or concerns about your proposal that the committee has taken under review. If you do not appeal these conditions, then you have one year to satisfy them. If you cannot uphold this, then your consent becomes void and a new application is required.


Once you have satisfied any conditions, you will be issued a certificate of consent and you have two years from the date it was issued to register the deed or carry out any further legal transactions.


So, there you have it, if you gather as much information as possible about your site before you send away your application, you take advantage of the pre-application consultation and are open and honest with your neighbors about your plans, you are bound for an easier ride towards an approved consent.