Zoning By-law & Preliminary Zoning Reviews

Reset TO

To "reset" means to begin again with the same basic principles or context while following a different process. Currently, development is reviewed on a site-by-site basis, which often forces the needs and vision of local neighbourhoods to adjust or keep pace with ongoing new development. The Development Permit System intends to "reset" the planning process by focusing on area-based plans and rules that reflect local character and distinctiveness. This process begins with community consultation that will result in a planned vision for the selected area. The Development Permit System will then be applied to ensure that development is in keeping with the local needs expressed through the community's planned vision and objectives. The result will be a more comprehensive planning process in which outcomes are predictable and align with the expectations of the community.

What is the Development Permit System?

The Development Permit System (DPS) is an alternative to the use of zoning to implement the Official Plan. Unlike the city-wide zoning by-law, the DPS is applied area by area at a neighbourhood scale. In this manner, it supports and reflects local character and distinctiveness. The process will involve the creation of a comprehensive vision for a particular area with resident participation.

The Development Permit System in Toronto will be implemented on an area-by-area basis. This means that the permitted uses and development standards will be tailored to suit the needs and opportunities specific to each area.

In Toronto, the Development Permit System begins with a comprehensive neighbourhood visioning exercise. This involves describing the character of the community, determining its needs and defining the limits of any new development. In this way, the Development Permit System supports neighbourhood planning.

The Development Permit System ensures that neighbourhood development is in keeping with the vision and objectives for the area. Specific and detailed Official Plan policies are required as a first step in implementing a Development Permit System.


Ontario Regulation O. Reg. 608/06 came into effect on January 1, 2007 to permit all local municipal councils in Ontario to establish a Development Permit System (DPS). Since then, four municipalities have adopted Development Permit By-laws: Lake of Bays, Carleton PlaceGananoque and Brampton. The development permit system offers an alternative to the zoning/minor variance/site plan approval process and may be suitable for some parts of the City.

Current Status

DPS Official Plan policies (Item PG34.4) were adopted by Council with amendments on July 8, 2014, as follows:

As noted above, on July 8, 2014, City Council endorsed the City-wide implementation of a Development Permit System through the adoption of Official Plan Amendment 258. Council also recommended that the following areas of the City receive priority consideration with regard to assessing their suitability for DPS by-law implementation: Etobicoke Centre Secondary Plan Area; Scarborough Centre Secondary Plan Area; North Yonge Secondary Plan (amended to delete the west side of Yonge Street); Yonge Eglinton Centre area and the King-Spadina Planning District. Successful motions on the part of some Councillors were also put forward at Council to have consultation undertaken in additional areas of the city for potential development of DPS by-laws, such as Bloor West Village, Eglinton Avenue West between Marlee and Spadina Avenue, and the Weston and Mount Dennis areas. Council also directed the Chief Planner to report to the Planning and Growth Management Committee on the possibility of including affordable housing in all DPS areas.

Landowners and other interested parties who raised issues with regard to OPA 258 through the public process prior to its July 11, 2014 adoption by City Council, had the right to appeal it by August 13, 2014. Official Plan Amendment 258 has since been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by 13 parties.

The OMB held its second prehearing conference on November 3, 2015. At the prehearing conference Counsel for all the parties advised that they have continued to engage in productive discussions and came to an agreement that Board-assisted mediation would be beneficial. Mediation sessions were held on March 22nd and March 23rd, 2016; however no settlement was reached on the appeal.  A hearing was scheduled starting August 22, 2016.  In advance of the hearing's commencement a motion and other matters were raised by certain parties.  The Board decided to adjourn the hearing to address the issues raised. The Board's Decision issued September 9, 2016, is available by clicking on the OMB file number at the bottom of this section.

On February 17, 2017, the Board held a further prehearing conference to address resolution of a previously raised matter between certain parties, and to schedule a motion hearing and reschedule the hearing adjourned in August 2016. The Board has scheduled a two-day motion hearing on the appellants' motion to adjourn for July 13 and 14, 2017, and rescheduled the hearing on OPA 258 appeals for two weeks starting January 15, 2018, should the appellants' adjournment motion be unsuccessful.  The Board's Decision from the prehearing conference was issued on March 16, 2017, and is available by clicking on the OMB file number at the bottom of this section.    

The City cannot proceed with taking steps to implement the DPS within any area of the city until the city wide Development Permit Official Plan policies have been approved and the final context for an implementation methodology established.

The OMB file status is available on the OMB's website under case number PL140906


Draft DPS Official Plan Policies (PG 29.5) were considered by Council on December 4, 2013, as follows:


Public consultation meetings were held across Toronto in March of 2014 to explain the purpose and intent of the proposed Official Plan policies that would allow for implementation of the Development Permit System city wide. Each meeting included a presentation which can be view by clicking on the link below:

Development Permit System Presentation

(March 2014)

A March 26, 2014 report (PG 32.10) summarizing comments and concerns expressed at the public meetings together with a staff response (PG 32.10) were considered by Planning and Growth Management Committee on April 10, 2014 as follows:



Useful Links

City of Toronto Act, 2006 

Gave the City of Toronto legislative authority to implement a DPS. Please refer to Section 114.1 of this Act.

Ontario Planning Act 

Sets out the ground rules for land use planning in Ontario and describes how land uses may be controlled, and who may control them. Section 70.2(1) provides that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may create a regulation which permits municipalities to establish a DPS.

Ontario Regulation 608/06

Issued under the Planning Act and came into effect January 1, 2007. Enables all local municipalities, including the City of Toronto, to use the DPS. The regulation prescribes minimum content that municipal Official Plans and By-laws must contain in order to implement the DPS. It also provides, among other matters, the authority to introduce additional policies to regulate development, procedures to making an application for a development permit.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 

Link to Ministry website which provides extensive background and educational information on the DPS and other useful links.