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Citizen's Guide to Land Use Planning

Prepared by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Land use planning affects almost every aspect of life in Ontario. It helps decide where in our communities homes and factories should be built; where parks and schools should be located; and where roads, sewers and other essential services should be provided.

Land use planning means managing our land and resources. It helps each community to set goals about how it will grow and develop and to work out ways of reaching those goals while keeping important social, economic and environmental concerns in mind. It balances the interests of individual property owners with the wider interests and objectives of the whole community.

Good planning leads to orderly growth and the efficient provision of services. It touches all of us and helps us to have the kind of community we want.

But often we don't see how it affects our lives and property each day. And it often seems confusing. A series of Citizens' Guides has been prepared to help you understand how the land use planning process works in Ontario. They are intended to give general information only and are not an interpretation of the Planning Act or any other act. You should refer to the legislation for specific requirements and procedures. The titles of the guides are:


  1. The Planning Act
  2. Official Plans
  3. Zoning By-laws
  4. Subdivisions
  5. Land Severances
  6. Local Planning Appeal Tribunal
  7. Northern Ontario
  8. Building Permits
  9. The Plan Review and Approval Process
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