Complaints & Compliments About City Services

Submit a Service Complaint

The following information describes how you may submit a service complaint to Toronto Building. To help process your complaint, information on the type of services Toronto Building provides is outlined along with key contact information including service-related links. A PDF Version of the Customer Service Complaint Protocol is also available for downloading.


Overview of Services

The mission of Toronto Building is to “ensure the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings achieves the health, safety, accessibility, conservation and environmental provisions of the Building Code Act and other applicable law.”
Key responsibilities:

  • Review permit applications
  • Issue Building, Demolition and Sign Permits
  • Conduct field inspections

Toronto Building has a mandate to impartially apply the Building Code Act, its regulations and applicable law without influence. The City of Toronto also enacted a Code of Conduct for the Chief Building Official and Inspectors which guides the day-to-day activities of Toronto Building Staff.

Other services include preliminary reviews as part of the City's development approval process and providing zoning and Building Code information to the public and technical advice to City Council, committees, divisions and agencies.

Each year, on average, Toronto Building issues 35,000 building permits and conducts 170,000 inspections.

You may check the status of your building permit application at the Building Application Status website.

For information and requests about other City services, you may visit the [311 website] or telephone 311 to speak to a customer service representative.

Complaint Policy

Toronto Building will manage complaints efficiently, fairly, effectively, and uniformly.

Complainants are encouraged to first speak directly with the service area where they have an issue, in person or by telephone. Most complaints are received this way and resolved promptly. If you are not satisfied with how your verbal complaint is handled, you may request to speak to the management in the service area. If you are still not satisfied you may submit a written complaint to Toronto Building or communicate your complaint verbally at the Customer Service Complaint office. (See contact information under complaint process below).

Once a written complaint has been submitted to Toronto Building, receipt will be acknowledged within the same day (working day). If the information regarding the complaint is incomplete, Toronto Building will contact the complainant within two days. Anonymous complaints will not be processed through this protocol.

All registered complaints will be investigated and responded to within 30 days. If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome the matter may be appealed to the Chief Building Official. Every effort will be made to resolve the matter identifying all options available to seek a resolution.

This Customer Service Complaint Protocol has been based on the corporate Complaints Handling Guidelines. Toronto Building will manage your complaint in accordance with these guidelines. Complaints will also be managed in accordance with the accessibility standards that have been established in accordance with Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). To view policy statement Click Here.

All complaints will be dealt with in a confidential manner in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of the Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

Complaint Process

Step 1

Speak directly with the service area where you have an issue, in person or by telephone.  (See contact information under service requests above). The service area representative will provide an immediate response whenever possible. If the matter requires further investigation, the service area representative will provide a response within two days. (working days)
 

Step 2

If resolution was not accomplished under Step one, you may request to speak to the management in the service area. You are entitled to discuss the matter with a Manager and/or Director in the service area. (A record of your complaint will be entered into the tracking system) Management will provide a response within seven days.
 

Step 3

If satisfaction is not reached under Step two, you may submit a complaint to the Toronto Building Complaint Office. To submit a written request, please complete the complaint form(s).

By mail:
Toronto City Hall
Customer Service Complaint Office
12th Floor, East Tower,
100 Queen Street West,
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

E-mail: talktobuilding@toronto.ca
Fax: (416) 696-4143
Telephone: (416) 392-2855 or
TTY: 416) 398-0889 (City's 311 Office general inquiry line)

Receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged within the same day. If the information regarding the complaint is incomplete, Toronto Building will contact the complainant within two days. Your complaint will be assigned a unique tracking number and logged into Toronto Building's electronic tracking system. A management representative is assigned to resolve the matter with the complainant. The management representative will undertake the investigation into the matter as soon as the information is logged and received. Confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.
 

Step 4

Once a complaint has been filed under Step three, Toronto Building will respond to the complainant with a resolution or options for resolution within 30 days. If the complaint involves a matter regarding a policy, procedure or service offered by Toronto Building, this information will be reviewed by Division management to determine if any changes or improvements should be implemented.  

Step 5

If the complainant does not reach a satisfactory resolution under Step four, the matter may be appealed in confidence to the Chief Building Official in writing. The Chief Building Official will acknowledge and obtain any further information required within seven days. The Chief Building Official will respond to the complainant with a resolution or options for resolution within 30 days.

By mail:
Toronto City Hall
Office of the Chief Building Official
12th Floor, East Tower,
100 Queen Street West,
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
 

Step 6

If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome under Step five, the matter may be directed to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is an office of last resort and should only be contacted after exhausting all means of resolution within Toronto Building and completing the process outlined in Steps one to five above.

Office of the Ombudsman
375 University Avenue, Suite 203
Toronto, ON M5G 2J5
Tel: (416)392-7062
TTY: (416) 392-7100
E-mail: ombuds@toronto.ca

Legislated Complaints and Appeals

Relevant Legislation

The Building Code Act and Regulations establish the powers and duties of the City with respect to the issuance of building permits. Building standards are established by:

  • regulations (Building Code)
  • other applicable law defined in the Building Code
  • service level standards for making decisions on building permit applications or responding to inspection requests.

Shared Jurisdiction with Province and Appeal Process

The Building Code Act establishes the right to appeal to the Divisional Court any decision of the Chief Building Official – extended to staff (e.g., a stop work order, issuance or denial of a building permit). Building Code interpretations may be appealed to the Building Code Commission (BCC). For an application for a BCC hearing Click Here.

A technical issue regarding a problem related to construction techniques can be referred to the Building Code Commission (BCC).

Period within which a Permit Shall be Issued or Refused

The Building Code specifies the following time frames for the review of complete building permit applications:

  • 10 business days for a house
  • 15 business days for a small building
  • 20 business days for a large building
  • 30 business days for a complex building

Within the specified time frame, we will either issue or refuse to issue a building permit and provide, in writing, all reasons for the refusal. (See table below for detailed timeframe If you have a dispute about the time frames not being met. You may appeal to the BCC. For an application Click Here.

Legislated Mandatory Inspections

The Building Code, Subsection 1.3.5.1, requires that an inspector provide an inspection within two days once a notice for inspection has been submitted (See Prescribed Inspections below for details) If you have a dispute about the time frames not being met you may appeal to the BCC. For an application Click Here.

Period within Which Permit Shall be Issued or Refused

BUILDING CODE (Division C Table 1.3.1.3)

Row Number Class of Building Time Period

1

(a) A detached house, semi-detached house, townhouse, or row house where no dwelling unit is located above another dwelling

(b) A detached structure that serves a building described in Clause (a) and does not exceed 55 m² in building area

(c) A tent to which Section 3.14 of Division B applies

(d) A sign to which Section 3.15 of Division B applies.

10 days

2

(a) Buildings described in Clauses 1.1.2.4.(1)(a) of Division A, other than buildings described in column 2 of any of Rows 1 and 4 of this Table.

(b) Farm buildings that do not exceed 600 m² in building area.

15 days

3

(a) Buildings described in Clauses 1.1.2.2.(1)(a) or (b) of Division A, other that buildings described in Column 2 of any of Rows 1 and 4 of this Table.

(b) Farm buildings exceeding 600m² in building area.

20 days

4

(a) Post-disaster buildings

(b) Buildings to which Subsection 3.2.6. of Division B or any provision in Articles 3.2.8.3 to 3.2.8.11. of Division B applies.

30 days

Prescribed Inspections

BUILDING CODE (Division C 1.3.5.3.)

(1) Except as provided Sentence (2), an inspector or registered code agency, as the case may be, shall not later than two days after receipt of a notice given under Sentence 1.3.5.1.(2), undertake a site inspection of the building to which the notice relates.

(2) Where a notice given under Sentence 1.3.5.1.(2) relates to matters described in Clause 1.3.5.1.(2)(k) or (l), an inspector or registered code agency, as the case may be, shall, not later than five days after receipt of the notice, undertake a site inspection of the sewage system to which the notice relates.

(3) When undertaking an inspection required under Sentence (1) and (2), the inspector or registered code agency, as the case may be, may consider reports concerning whether the building or part of the building complies with the Act or this Code.

(4) The time periods referred to in Sentences (1) and (2) shall begin on the day following the day on which the notice is given.

(5) The time periods referred to in Sentences (1) and (2) shall not include Saturdays, holidays, or all other days when the offices of the principal authority are not open for the transaction of business with the public.

Further Resources

Building Code Commission Contact for Time Period Disputes for Permit Processing and for Site Inspection:

Nella Auciello, Secretary
Building Code Commission
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Building & Development Branch
777 Bay Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5
Tel: (416) 585-6645
Fax: (416) 585-7531
Email: nella.auciello2.@ontario.ca

Related Laws and Regulations

  • City of Toronto Building Permit By-law
  • City of Toronto Sign By-law
  • Building Code Act 1992, CHAPTER 23 and Building Code