TRCA Annual Regulation Mapping Update

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has completed its annual update of the the mapping that shows the TRCA Regulated Area across our jurisdiction.

At the TRCA Board of Directors Meeting #6/19, held on Friday June 21, 2019, Resolution #A116/19 was approved as follows:

  • THAT staff continue to make updates to the Regulation mapping on an annual basis;

TRCA staff have now completed the 2020 annual mapping update. For more information on the update process, read the staff report to the TRCA Board of Directors on the 2020 Annual Regulation Mapping Update.

The final version of the Regulated Area with supporting criteria layers can be viewed HERE.

It should be noted that the amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act under schedule 6 of Bill 229 do not affect the annual regulation mapping updates. TRCA’s Ontario Regulation 166/06 remains in effect until such time as the Province of Ontario establishes a new regulation for all conservation authorities under the new section 28 of the Act.

See our FAQs regarding TRCA’s regulation and regulation mapping.

For any other questions on the regulation mapping, please contact Mary-Ann Burns at maryann.burns@trca.ca or (416) 661-6600 ext. 5763.

 

PROJECT BACKGROUND


What Does TRCA’s Regulation Do?

TRCA regulates construction, alteration and development activities in and around valleys, streams and wetlands and along the Lake Ontario shoreline. This is done through Ontario Regulation 166/06 under the Conservation Authorities Act.

aerial view of Lake Ontario shoreline
Lake Ontario shoreline

Under this Regulation, property owners need to apply for a permit from TRCA if they are planning to undertake any of these activities on a property that falls within our regulated area.

TRCA’s Regulation aims to:

  • Prevent or reduce risk to life and property from natural hazards associated with flooding, erosion and slope instability.
  • Minimize negative impacts on natural features, functions and systems.
  • Prevent the creation of new hazards or aggravation of existing hazards.

What is TRCA Regulation Mapping?

TRCA’s Regulation mapping shows the areas within TRCA’s jurisdiction that are likely to be subject to the Regulation.

These areas are described in the words of the Regulation, and are based on the presence of natural features and natural hazards such as rivers, streams, flood plains, wetlands, valleylands and the Lake Ontario shoreline.

stream and valley corridors
Examples of stream and valley corridors in TRCA’s jurisdiction

TRCA, municipalities and members of the public can use the Regulation mapping to determine whether a permit from TRCA is needed before proceeding with a construction, alteration or development project.

The regulated area does not represent the development limit. But development in a regulated area does need to take into account possible constraints from natural hazards or features.

It is important to note that the text of Ontario Regulation 166/06 describes the areas that are regulated, so features and hazards do not have to be shown on the mapping to be regulated. For example, TRCA regulation mapping does not capture very small wetlands (less than 0.5 hectares), even though all wetlands and their surrounding areas are regulated.

Kortright Farm in June 2011
A wetland in TRCA’s jurisdiction.

TRCA does its best to keep the mapping as up to date as possible by using the most current information available when preparing the map. TRCA uses a number of different sources of information to keep the mapping current, including:

  • Provincial, municipal and TRCA databases.
  • Field verification by provincial, municipal and TRCA staff.
  • Technical studies, typically undertaken at the time of a planning or permit application.

What Has Been Updated?

The mapping of our regulated areas has been updated to reflect new technical information, such as new flood plain mapping, provincial wetland data, and information based on field verification. These updates more accurately capture areas regulated by TRCA.

The mapping update may capture new areas meeting the description in Ontario Regulation 166/06. Bear in mind, as noted above: the Regulation already applies to those areas;  the mapping is just “catching up” now by indicating where these areas are located.

At this time, there are no legislative changes to the text of Ontario Regulation 166/06.

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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?


More accurate mapping gives property owners a better idea of whether a permit from TRCA is required, before undertaking work on a property, to reduce risk to people, property and the natural system.

In addition to using the Online Regulated Area Search or the regulation mapping viewer (pictured below), you can also contact TRCA Planning & Development staff to confirm whether your property falls within our regulated area, or if your proposed project requires a permit.

updated TRCA Regulated Area

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


question mark Why has TRCA updated the regulation mapping?
question mark What has changed with this update? Has the Regulation changed?
question mark What has caused additions to or removals from the regulation mapping?
question mark What makes up the regulated area?
question mark Does a natural feature or area need to be mapped to be regulated?
question mark How is the regulated area different from a development limit?
question mark What is an area of interference?
question mark What services does TRCA provide to assist property owners?

 

Why has TRCA updated the regulation mapping?

The natural features and natural hazards that we map, as well as the technical information available to us, change over time, requiring periodic review of the mapping. The updates reflect the most recent and accurate information available to TRCA.

Updates to the Regulation mapping help property owners who are considering or proposing development. They also assist both TRCA and municipal staff in coordinating the review of development and infrastructure proposals.

• • • •

What has changed with this update? Has the Regulation changed?

TRCA’s Regulation, which determines the features and areas that are regulated, has not changed. The mapping has been updated to more accurately reflect the regulated area as a result of changes to the landscape and new technical information.

• • • •

What has caused additions to or removals from the regulation mapping?

Our Regulation remains the same, but TRCA has updated the maps showing where the Regulation applies based on:

  • Site-specific studies and field verification
  • Refined flood plain modeling
  • Refined wetland mapping
  • Refined watercourse mapping

• • • •

What makes up the regulated area?

Your property is likely regulated by TRCA if it is in or near a watercourse, river or stream valley, wetland, shoreline and/or hazardous land like a steep slope or a flood plain. Flood plains, in particular, are not always apparent. The areas of land where the Regulation applies are:

  • Watercourses
  • Valleys and steep slopes, plus 15 metres outward from the crest of slope.
  • Streams and surrounding areas subject to erosion (meander belts), plus 15 metres outward.
  • Flood plains, plus 15 metres outward from these areas.
  • Lake Ontario Shoreline, which can contain flooding, erosion and dynamic beach hazards, as well as slope instability, plus 15 metres inland
  • Wetlands
  • Areas surrounding wetlands (“areas of interference”), including 120 metres surrounding provincially significant wetlands and wetlands on the Oak Ridges Moraine, or 30 metres surrounding all other wetlands.
  • Hazardous lands, which are lands that could be unsafe for development due to flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches or unstable soil or bedrock.

diagram showing mapping of TRCA regulated area

Please refer to our glossary for definitions of the terms used above.

• • • •

Does a natural feature or area need to be mapped to be regulated?

No. The text of Ontario Regulation 166/06 determines the areas that are regulated, so features and hazards do not actually have to be shown on the mapping to be regulated.

For example: under Ontario Regulation 166/06, all wetlands and their surrounding areas are regulated. As it happens, TRCA regulation mapping does not capture small wetlands of less than 0.5 hectare. Does the Regulation apply to these small wetlands? Yes, it does.

This mapping update may capture new areas meeting the descriptions in the Regulation. These areas, however, are already regulated even if they were not previously mapped. The mapping is simply “catching up” by indicating where those areas are located.

• • • •

How is the regulated area different from a development limit?

The regulated area represents areas of interest to TRCA due to the presence of natural features and hazards. The regulated area does not represent a development limit. Instead, it indicates where:

  • Development will need to take into account possible constraints from natural hazards or features.
  • A permit is required from TRCA before a regulated activity can occur.

A development limit represents the point to which development can extend. It is established and agreed to by TRCA during the permit application process, based on the presence of natural hazards and features.

In the case of a Planning Act application, the municipality is the decision maker regarding where the development limit should fall; TRCA’s role is to advise the municipality on this decision where development affects TRCA regulated areas.

• • • •

What is an area of interference?

A wetland’s area of interference is an area adjacent to a wetland where development could potentially interfere with the hydrologic function of the wetland. It includes areas within 120 metres of all provincially significant wetlands, or wetlands on the Oak Ridges Moraine. An area of interference of 30 metres is applied around all other wetlands.

diagram showing area of interference

Hydrologic functions include:

  • Helping to prevent flooding by temporarily storing water, allowing it to soak into the ground or evaporate.
  • Acting as reservoirs for rainwater and runoff by recharging water tables and aquifers.
  • Acting as ‘natural filters’ of the water by removing toxins, sediment and other impurities.

• • • •

What services does TRCA provide to assist property owners?

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6. IMPORTANT LINKS


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