Community Involvement

We're making permitting better

Registration branding consisting of brightly coloured geometic shapes behind the words Making It Better Connecting you to Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Each year, almost 8 million people participate in events and activities held in Toronto parks, stadiums and facilities as part of the City's permitting process. 

With the many pressures and demands on parks and facilities, the permitting process helps balance planning, scheduling and use in a fair and equitable manner for both active and passive users. Permits prevent conflict between users and contribute to the maintenance and operations of parks and facilities.

We know from what you've told us that we need to simplify the process and reduce the turnaround time for issuing permits to improve the customer experience and that's why we've begun a comprehensive review.

What we heard:

As part of our review, we have been engaging permit holders since July of 2016 through our consultation process and as a result, we've heard from almost 2000 permit holders on what they liked about the process and what they would like to see changed.

Thank you to everyone who participated in all of our consultations. Your feedback is important to us and will contribute to the changes we will be making to the permitting process. We are committed to making permitting better.

Public Consultations:

  • Two public consultations were held with permit holders in July 2016 to obtain their feedback and recommendations on how we can make the process faster, easier and friendlier.
  • From October 12 to November 30, a public survey was sent to over 5000 permit holders for which PF&R had a valid e-mail address. A total of 1529 surveys were completed for a response rate of 30%.
  • In November 2016, we held pop-up consultations at 14 locations across the City to talk with people about the permitting process, identify opportunities to improve customer service and reduce the amount of time needed to obtain a permit. We estimate that we spoke with approximately 300 people.

Survey Results Summary:

  • 72% of permit holders are satisfied with their experience. 14% are not satisfied. (The remaining 14% are neither satisfied nor unsatisfied).
  • Customers who are applying for a Special Event or One Time Use Permit are slightly more dissatisfied than those applying for a Seasonal permit. This seems to be due to the complexities of booking a Special Events permit and interpreting the numerous rules; which you've told us is daunting, especially for someone who is applying for a permit for the first time.
  • 47% of permit holders begin the process over the telephone but they would like to switch to online if it was available. The website is the primary source for information and online is the preferred channel to contact us. Not surprisingly, the more contacts people have to make to obtain a permit, the less satisfied they are with the service.
  • In general, permit holders are happy with the service they receive from the staff. 84% thought our staff were courteous and helpful and 80% found staff to be knowledgeable. In fact, many surveys mentioned staff positively by name and we aim to continue to build on that great relationship.

Key Themes:

There were four key themes identified as opportunities for improving the level of satisfaction with the permitting process and these are the areas where people would like us to focus our initial attention.

  1. Simplify the Process
  2. Deliver Consistent Information
  3. Offer More Online Capabilities
  4. Provide a Single Point of Contact

Next Steps:

  • Recommendations report in Q1 2017