Apply For A Permit

Applying for a permit ensures that the natural system on or adjacent to your property is effectively protected and managed, and that you are meeting all the legal and legislative policy requirements.

A permit from Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is required prior to beginning construction activities. In particular, please note that under the applicable Building Code Act legislation, you need to have your permit BEFORE receiving a building permit from your municipality.

Why Is This Necessary?

TRCA’s permitting process is mandated under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act. The Regulation administered by TRCA is Ontario Regulation 166/06: Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses.

Ontario Regulation 166/06 is important because it protects watercourses, wetlands, shorelines and valley lands — and it protects you and your neighbours from flooding, erosion and loss of greenspace. If you are filling, changing grade, or building anything on a property within a regulated area, you need a permit from TRCA.

The Regulation requires a permit before any of the following works take place:

  • Straightening, changing, diverting or interfering in any way with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream or watercourse, or for changing or interfering in any way with a wetland.
  • Development, if in the opinion of the authority, the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches or pollution or the conservation of land may be affected by the development.

“Development” is defined as:

  • The construction, reconstruction, erection or placing of a building or structure of any kind;
  • Any change to a building or structure that would have the effect of altering the use or potential use of the building or structure, increasing the size of the building or structure or increasing the number of dwelling units in the building or structure;
  • Site grading; and/or
  • The temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of any material, originating on the site or elsewhere.

How it Works: Preliminary Consultation

It is important to discuss your proposal with a TRCA Development Planning and Permits Planner or an Infrastructure Planning and Permitting Planner prior to submitting a permit application. This preliminary consultation helps you with the following:

  • Identifying how your proposal is affected by TRCA’s programs and policies.
  • Identifying potential issues, constraints and study requirements.
  • Informing you of what lies ahead in the permitting process, determining whether your proposal is supported in principle and what the anticipated processing timelines will be.
  • Confirming what constitutes a complete application based on TRCA’s checklists and technical guidelines.
  • Determining the limits of the natural features through a site visit, if required.

The submission of a complete application gives us an opportunity to review your application in a comprehensive, efficient and timely manner. Incomplete applications are not subject to our targeted review timelines and will delay the process.

Please note that it is the responsibility of an applicant to undertake due diligence to determine all required planning and permitting approvals.

How it Works: Submission Requirements

To ensure the interests of TRCA are met, and to appropriately assess the technical aspects of your proposal, we require the submission of a number of information items with your permit application.

Development Planning and Permits – Standard Requirements

  • Completed and Signed Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Covering Letter, which outlines the proposal, provides contact names and describes all preliminary consultation and submission contents
  • Full Set of Appropriate Plans/Drawings – Digital submissions, using an online file sharing service, are strongly encouraged.
  • Legal Survey

Infrastructure Planning and Permits – Standard Requirements

  • Completed and Signed Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • All submissions should be made in digital format only and include:
    • Covering Letter, which outlines the proposal, provides contact names and describes all preliminary consultation and submission contents
    • Full Set of Appropriate Plans/Drawings
    • Note that for submissions greater than 50 MB in size (total), an online file sharing service should be used.

Associated Documents

Permit Application Forms:

TRCA Administrative Fee Schedules:

Potential Technical Requirements

Please note that the scale and complexity of your proposal will determine which of the studies, reports or design drawings will be needed for your application. For example, to replace a deck on a steep slope will require an engineering study whereas a new house set well back from the slope may not.

The level of detail required for most of the studies and reports can vary widely depending on the property and the proposal. In some situations, a single-page letter from a qualified expert will be sufficient, while in other cases a major study will be necessary.

Meeting with a TRCA Development Planner or TRCA Infrastructure Planner prior to submitting your permit application will help determine which items must be provided to consider your application complete and to establish the requirements for, and the scope of, any studies, reports or design drawings.

TRCA’s checklists and technical guidelines should be consulted in preparation of your permit application.

Associated Documents

TRCA Pre-Consultation Checklist
This checklist has been compiled by TRCA to assist applicants in the preparation of a complete planning application or a complete permit application pursuant to Ontario Regulation 166/06.

Why We Need This Information

Submitting the relevant documents, plans and/or reports allows TRCA staff to effectively review the proposed works and determine if they meet the requirements of Ontario Regulation 166/06 and TRCA’s Living City Policies.

TRCA Apply for a permit image

Types of Permits

A permit can only be issued under the property owner’s name (not under the agent or contractor’s name), and is not transferable. All permits are valid for two years, unless an extension is applied for at the application stage.

The following are the types of permits that your application will fall under:

Delegated Permits:

In order to streamline our permit process we have implemented a staff-delegated permit category which covers the following non-complex permissions:

  • Permissions that are consistent with TRCA approved policies and procedures.
  • Permissions that are for a time period of two years or less.
  • Permissions for one-time extension, provided the time period is two years or less.

This initiative enables permits to be approved by designated staff and allows applicants to proceed within a timely manner rather than having to wait for monthly permit approval by TRCA’s Executive Committee. The review process still ensures compliance with our legal obligations under the Regulation.

Major Permits:

Permit applications that fall under the following criteria are subject to the approval of TRCA’s Executive Committee:

  • Major projects that are significant in geographical area and/or for which submission of a suite of technical studies is required to demonstrate consistency with TRCA policies; these generally require more complex technical review and assessment.
  • Permissions that extend beyond two years, up to a maximum of 60 months.
  • Permissions for a one-time extension that extends beyond two years, up to a maximum of 60 months.

The Executive Committee generally meets on the first Friday of each month.

Permit Re-Issuance:

Once issued, a permit is valid for a period of two years. If the proposed works have not been completed or have not been initiated, then the owner of the property may obtain a permit re-issuance for an additional 24 months, for a maximum total of 48 months, or four years. However, the following conditions must be met to qualify for a permit re-issuance:

  • Written confirmation that the project is unchanged and the plans and documents detailing the works are identical to those stamped approved by TRCA as part of the original permit. If minor modifications in keeping with the original permit are proposed, then a cover letter detailing the modifications and new plans or documents must be submitted.
  • Property ownership as per the original permit is the same.
  • The correct permit re-issuance fee is provided for Development Planning and Permits or Infrastructure Planning and Permits applications.

Associated Documents

Permit Re-Issuance/Revision Application Forms:

These applications are related to Re-issuance / Revision Permit Application for Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (Pursuant to Ontario Regulation 166/06)

Contact Information

Developer and Private Residence related Questions:
Contact: Development Planning and Permits

Public and Private Infrastructure related Questions
Contact: Infrastructure Planning and Permits