FAQs – Planning and Permits

How long will it take for my permit to be issued?

TRCA will determine whether your application is complete within 14 days (minor applications) or 21 days (major applications) of submission.

TRCA will comment on your complete application or issue your permit within 21 days (minor applications) or 28 days (major applications) of confirmation of a complete application.

Please refer to the checklists and guidelines in the Planning and Development Procedural Manual for details.

Please note that additional information may be required (e.g., geotechnical study, cross-section details, elevation plans, drainage details before and after development, etc.)


Can my permit be refused or cancelled?

Permit applications made under Ontario Regulation 166/06 are assessed to determine if the proposed works will affect the control of flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches, pollution or the conservation of land in accordance with TRCA’s programs and policies. Recommendations are forwarded to TRCA’s Executive Committee, which decides whether to approve or refuse each application.

In addition, if TRCA staff are of the opinion that the conditions of a granted permission have not been met, then staff may also recommend that a previously approved permission be cancelled. Before cancelling, TRCA would give a notice of intent to cancel to the property owner.

If staff recommend refusal of a permit application or cancellation of an existing permit, then the owner may appeal to the TRCA’s Hearing Board. The owner will be notified of a hearing date which they or their agent may attend. Upon hearing presentations from TRCA staff and the owner or their agent, the Hearing Board will make a decision.

If the application is refused by the Hearing Board, then the applicant will be notified of the reasons. Within 30 days of the notification, the applicant may appeal that decision to the Mining and Lands Tribunal.

The Mining and Lands Tribunal has been assigned the authority, duties and powers of the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry under the Ministry of Natural Resources Act to hear appeals from the decisions of conservation authorities regarding a refusal to grant permission for a permit.

The Mining and Lands Tribunal may dismiss the appeal or grant permission after a hearing. Please refer to Ontario Regulation 166/06 and the Hearing Guidelines prepared by Conservation Ontario and MNRF for the details of these procedures.


Why do I pay so many different fees?

TRCA charges fees for the delivery of its services, which includes acting as both a commenting body for our municipal and Regional partners, and as a regulatory approval body which issues associated permits for development. As such, we require fees to cover the true cost of the services we provide.

It is also why we have two fee schedules: one for planning services which provides comments to our municipal/regional partners under the Planning Act, and one for permitting services, providing approvals under the Conservation Authorities Act.


What is TRCA’s regulated area and how is it determined?

The regulated area represents the greatest physical extent of the combined hazards, plus a prescribed allowance, as set out in the Conservation Authorities Act. To find out if you may be in a regulated area, please use our regulated area search tool.

Full information on determining the regulation limit can be found in TRCA’s Living City Policies, Appendix C.


How do I find out if a property is affected by TRCA’s regulations?

There are three options:

  1. Take advantage of TRCA’s Property Inquiry Service
  2. Check our regulated area search tool and consult with TRCA staff
  3. Speak with a walk-in planner at TRCA’s head office

Learn More


If a property is regulated, how do I find out what can be built there?

If you’re a potential buyer or seller seeking TRCA’s preliminary review of a specific development proposal for a specific property, your best course of action is to submit a Concept Development Application.

Learn More


How do I know if I can sever a property?

Severing within the natural system is generally prohibited under provincial policies. Lands containing the natural system (including natural features, natural hazards, buffers, and any potential natural cover) should not be zoned for development, and not form part of the lots to be created or developed.

Additional information on severances can be found in TRCA’s Living City Policies and Planning and Development Procedural Manual.


Will my development application be circulated to TRCA?

Municipalities have access to TRCA screening maps, which identify areas where there is a flood risk and/or specific natural feature of interest to the TRCA. In general, development applications wholly or partially within or adjacent to these areas will be circulated by the municipality to TRCA’s Planning and Development department for comment.

If your development proposal falls within or is adjacent to the screening area and/or is greater than five hectares, then your application will likely be forwarded to the TRCA by your municipality.

if your project is in a TRCA Area of Interest, submit the appropriate Conservation Authority planning fee with your planning application

TRCA’s review is separate from the municipal review. Conservation authorities within the Greater Toronto Area have set up a fee schedule to help cover the costs of administering plan review and technical clearance services.

To ensure a streamlined review process please ensure that the appropriate conservation authority planning fee is included when you submit your documents to your local municipal planning department, and that any additional supporting documents that TRCA staff have requested are included.

For a complete listing of fees, please refer to TRCA’s planning fee schedule. For information and advice please contact a TRCA planner for your area and/or review TRCA guidelines.

TRCA staff will determine how your proposal will affect or be affected by adjacent natural features. Staff will then forward comments to your municipality, recommending ways of protecting natural features and protecting your development from the threat of flooding and erosion.

If necessary, you will be advised to apply for a Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses permit under Ontario Regulation 166/06 or other Acts and regulations.

To support your proposal, you may be required to submit additional information (i.e. environmental inventory/assessment, sediment control plan, restoration/rehabilitation/landscape plans or engineering reports if applicable).

Other requirements may include surveys / studies of natural features and/or hazard lands such as floodplain mapping and geotechnical reports.

If TRCA staff have comments, the applicant should address any conditions/comments (TRCA permit requirements, engineering studies, site meetings, etc.) before TRCA can provide clearance to the local municipality.

Once TRCA conditions/comments have been addressed, TRCA clearance for the planning application is provided to the local municipality.