Regulation Redesign: Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law

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Your input is needed on a proposed new district schedule format and language, new defined terms and removal of outdated regulations.

Regulation Redesign is modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and to make the regulations easier to find and understand. The new format and language are based on the principles of writing clear rules, using more diagrams, consolidating rules and organizing them intuitively, and applying consistent document standards. We are presenting for your feedback:

  • One new interactive district schedule format presented in four sample residential district schedules
  • Ten proposed new defined terms to clarify and simplify the language in the district schedules
  • Two outdated regulations to be considered for removal

Share your input on the proposed modernizations in 3 steps

Step 1: View the video presentation or presentation slides

Step 2: Review the documents

Step 3: Complete the survey Extended to July 13, 2021!

Telephone office hours (last day Wednesday June 30, 2021) - Completed

Connect with us by phone to ask a question or share your thoughts about the proposed new district schedule format and language, new defined terms and removal of outdated regulations. Telephone office hours for 15-minute appointments are available from June 16 - 30, 2021 on Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. At the time of your appointment, we will phone you at the telephone number you provide to us. Please register for an appointment by visiting our Eventbrite page.



Your input is needed on a proposed new district schedule format and language, new defined terms and removal of outdated regulations.

Regulation Redesign is modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law to make it easier to use and to make the regulations easier to find and understand. The new format and language are based on the principles of writing clear rules, using more diagrams, consolidating rules and organizing them intuitively, and applying consistent document standards. We are presenting for your feedback:

  • One new interactive district schedule format presented in four sample residential district schedules
  • Ten proposed new defined terms to clarify and simplify the language in the district schedules
  • Two outdated regulations to be considered for removal

Share your input on the proposed modernizations in 3 steps

Step 1: View the video presentation or presentation slides

Step 2: Review the documents

Step 3: Complete the survey Extended to July 13, 2021!

Telephone office hours (last day Wednesday June 30, 2021) - Completed

Connect with us by phone to ask a question or share your thoughts about the proposed new district schedule format and language, new defined terms and removal of outdated regulations. Telephone office hours for 15-minute appointments are available from June 16 - 30, 2021 on Wednesdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. At the time of your appointment, we will phone you at the telephone number you provide to us. Please register for an appointment by visiting our Eventbrite page.



  • Testing of the new district schedules format and language

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    Between March and April 2021, three local architectural firms with experience working with those zoning districts and a team of staff experts tested reformatted district schedules and responded to a set of questions regarding the improvements to finding and understanding the regulations. The key findings are:

      • New wayfinding features, such as colour-coded markers and quick-reference hyperlinks, are helpful to navigating the district schedule and related regulations and policies
      • Explanatory diagrams are useful to understand complex regulations
      • Information is reorganized in a way that provides clarity and succinctness
      • Support removal or updating of outdated regulations to reflect current practices


    They identified additional opportunities for further clarification and simplification of certain regulations. Some of those outcomes are presented in the sample reformatted district schedules presented on Shape Your City, June 15 – July 6, 2021. Additional regulatory updates are being developed and will be presented with the draft fully reformatted by-law for public input on Shape Your City in Spring 2022.

  • Engagement Summary

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    Since the Regulation Redesign Project launched in 2018, our engagement results have highlighted the need to modernize the zoning by-law to clearly communicate complex regulations. The issues identified through our consultation with the development industry, public and staff were consistently:

      • We can’t find the information that they need
      • Even when we can find information, it’s hard to understand
      • Information conflicts within the by-law and across regulations and policies
      • The rules are inconsistently applied


    To bring forward a modernized zoning by-law format, Regulation Redesign conducted workshops with industry members and staff to develop a set of guiding principals and objectives for a user-friendly by-law and prototype options for a new district schedule format. Virtual focus groups were held with approximately 150 industry, public and staff participants in the summer and fall of 2020 to gather feedback and further refine the district schedule prototype.

  • Background on the Regulation Redesign Project

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    Modernizing the Zoning and Development By-law is one of three work streams of the Regulation Redesign project. The current Zoning and Development By-law (the by-law) was adopted by City Council in 1956. It has been amended extensively but a comprehensive review has never been undertaken. The by-law has grown more complex over the years in order to implement the City’s goals and priorities. Some of the more than 8,000 amendments to the original 1956 by-law have introduced new terminology or regulations that have resulted in inconsistencies with other parts of the by-law or with other City by-laws. The growing complexity of the City’s land use framework including regulations, plans, policies and guidelines has made it difficult to find and understand information, which results in a complicated permit review process and long review times.

    Regulation Redesign, a priority project in the City's 2020 Corporate Plan, is a comprehensive review of our land use regulations and related policy documents. Making the City's regulations more consistent and easier for residents, businesses and staff to find and understand will assist with streamlining permit approvals.

    Key objectives of the project are to:

    • Simplify and clarify land use regulations and policies to improve ease of use and clarity in order to reduce permit processing times
    • Modernize and update the rules, language, and format or land use documents; and the processes to create/amend them
    • Improve consistency among land use policies and regulations
    • Improve external and internal communication on the land use planning framework and its systems
    • Establish a robust and enduring land use framework (including regulations, policies, protocols, and procedures) that is able to adapt well into the future


    This work is aligned with other projects to improve review processes, including the Development Process Redesign and service improvements being co-ordinated by the Development, Buildings and Licensing and Engineering Departments. The project does not include substantive zoning or policy amendments, however the project works closely with staff teams leading that work to ensure co-ordination.