Planning & Permits

TRCA Planning & Development helps protect people, property and the watersheds we live in, through our development regulation and by taking an active role in planning and development for the region. We review development proposals that affect our watersheds and regulate development in or near valleys, streams and wetlands, and along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

What Does Planning & Permits Do?

Our work is important as it protects watercourses, wetlands, shorelines and valley lands – and it protects you and your neighbours from flooding, erosion and loss of greenspace. Our regulation (Ontario Reg. 166/06) enables us to contribute to the health and integrity of the regional greenspace system and to maintain or improve the hydrological and ecological functions performed by valley and stream corridors. These corridors are important for:

  • Flood storage and the prevention of property erosion
  • Fish and wildlife habitat
  • Groundwater recharge and discharge
  • Air and water quality
  • Archaeological resources
  • Natural beauty

TRCA Planning and Permits Oak Ridges Moraine corridor

Every year, the Toronto region experiences severe storms and periodic flooding. Unrestricted development within a floodplain increases the risk of loss of life, personal injury and property damage. Fill or new development placed on or near a valley or bluff slope can aggravate existing erosion problems or create new ones.

Development can also affect neighbouring properties by changing the physical characteristics of the valley or floodplain, or drainage to these properties. Likewise, unrestricted development along the Lake Ontario waterfront may be damaged by flooding due to high lake levels and severe wave action.

We are here to work with homeowners and developers to protect new development from vulnerability due to climate change and severe weather effects. To do this, we work with you to minimize filling, and changes to drainage and development within or adjacent to natural features. Every site is unique – developing a home near downtown Toronto’s ravines is different from developing a home on a rural lot on the Oak Ridges Moraine. We encourage property owners to discuss their individual project with our Planners.

Landowners, developers and consultants interested in obtaining permit approvals from TRCA can access information here. If you are a developer or consultant interested in TRCA requirements when seeking municipal planning approval (a separate process through your municipality), then please consult our Planning and Development Procedural Manual.

Why Do I Need to Apply for a Permit?

A primary objective of TRCA is to prevent the loss of life and property due to flooding and erosion. Accordingly, we administer a Regulation that captures watercourses, river and stream valleys, the Lake Ontario Shoreline, wetlands and potential areas of interference around wetlands. Any proposed development, interference to wetlands, or alterations to shorelines or watercourses may require a permit from TRCA.

The Regulation is enforced. Developing, interfering with a wetland or altering a shoreline or watercourse without a permit may result in a fine and prosecution under the Conservation Authorities Act.

How Do I Know If I’m on TRCA Regulated Land?

Your property is likely regulated by TRCA if the land includes a watercourse, river or stream valley, wetland, shoreline and/or hazardous land like a steep slope or a floodplain. Floodplains, in particular, are not always apparent. You can determine generally if your property is regulated by filling in your address in our Regulation Area Search Tool, or you can contact one of our Planners for assistance.

Projects That Require a Permit

Development can include the placing or excavation of fill, Building a New Home or Replacing an Existing Home, constructing Home Additions, Garages and Sheds, Decks and Pools, or Landscaping. Select the image below that most closely represents your project for instructions on how to apply for a permit.

Don’t see your project here? CONTACT US.