Building

If you are planning any type of construction project, whether it is building a new home or renovating an existing building, you will need a building or plumbing permit.

Building demolitions require demolition permits.

Learn more about building permit requirements for building or renovating a home.

Planning services

The Planning Services Division reviews development applications, making sure new developments follow the Zoning By-law. If you want to build a new shed, deck, or business, check with Planning Services before you apply for a permit.

We help guide land-use policy in the City. Our main guiding document is the Official Plan.

Every property in the City of Thunder Bay is in a certain zone. These zones allow different heights, coverages, uses, and more. Our goal as planners is a safe, happy, healthy, efficient, and beautiful city.

The Planning Act

The Planning Act (the Act) is provincial legislation that sets out the ground rules for land use planning in Ontario. It describes how land uses may be controlled, and who may control them.

The purpose of the Act is to:

  • promote sustainable economic development in a healthy natural environment within a provincial policy framework
  • provide for a land use planning system led by provincial policy
  • provide for planning processes that are fair by making them open, accessible, timely and efficient

The Citizen's Guide to The Planning Act offers more information.

Provincial Policy Statement

The Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 applies provincewide. Its policies set out the government's land use vision for how we settle our landscape, create our built environment, and manage our land and resources over the long term to achieve livable and resilient communities. 

Planning decisions in Ontario must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement.

Growth Plan for Northern Ontario

The Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011 is in part an economic development plan, an infrastructure investment plan, a labour market plan and a land-use plan for Northern Ontario.

Planning decisions in Northern Ontario must be consistent with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.

City of Thunder Bay Official Plan

The Official Plan is our City's key land-use document. This plan plays an important role in the development of our City. It describes what kind of community we want to become in the future. It sets goals, objectives, and policies which guide our land-use planning decisions.

On April 23, 2018, Council adopted the new Official Plan (12 MB). But, the 2002 Official Plan still applies until the new plan receives provincial approval.

Zoning By-law

The Zoning By-law sets strict rules about what you can and cannot do with land. It divides the City into zones. Each zone has a list of permitted uses and rules about how properties under that zone may develop. For example in the "R2" - Residential Zone Two, you can build a duplex, but you cannot build an office. There are other rules regarding lot size, setbacks, and parking which must be followed.

Most properties are zoned under the current Zoning By-law. Some properties have surviving paragraphs which means some parts of the previous Zoning By-law apply.

Urban design guidelines

Urban design is both visual and practical. People are more likely to visit a site, a neighbourhood, or a city if it looks good and functions well. Well-designed sites maintain their value and increase the values in their area.

The vision for Thunder Bay is a city that is attractive, accessible, walkable, and resilient. The City of Thunder Bay has two documents that guide the design of private and public lands: Urban Design Guidelines (24MB) and the Image Route Guidelines.

Planning applications and fees

If you need a planning application, you may fill out one of the forms below and bring it to the Planning Services counter. We recommend that you talk with a city planner before you submit. You don't need a planning consultant or an agent to apply. However, in many cases, a consultant can give helpful advice and improve your chances of success. If you're not sure if you need a planning application, Planning Services can help you find out.

Forms and fees

Minor Variance Application

If you wish to change your property, but cannot meet one or more of the Zoning By-law rules, you may apply for a minor variance. Minor Variances give some relief to certain rules in the by-law. They do not to make major changes. The Committee of Adjustment decides whether or not to permit a Minor Variance.

Consent to Sever Application

You may need to complete a consent to sever application if you wish to divide your property to create new lots. This is the most common case. Other cases include, adjusting a lot line, creating an easement, or leasing land for more than 21 years. The Committee of Adjustment decides whether or not to grant consent.

 

If you require a PDF in an accessible format, contact our Municipal Accessibility Specialist at 807-625-2240 or email accessibility@thunderbay.ca.

Contact Us