This Note is part of a series of Notes on key City issues to update City Council at the start of its 2018 – 2022 term.

Issue description

Investments in modernization, business transformation and technology are necessary to realize future savings and efficiencies as well as new ways of delivering projects, which includes breaking down silos and improving co-operation, collaboration and governance across all City divisions and agencies.


The City of Toronto’s Chief Transformation Officer is undertaking two key projects to modernize how the City works with residents and businesses and how major capital projects are delivered to improve transparency, accountability and value for money:

  • An end-to-end review of the City’s development review process, which will be presented to City Council in early 2019, and
  • A review of how the City of Toronto’s manages and delivers its capital plan.

Together these projects represent real opportunities to transform how the City does business and more effectively deliver services.


The City of Toronto’s Chief Transformation Office, established in 2017, was tasked to find more effective and modern ways to deliver services, streamline processes, and increase City-wide efficiencies and effectiveness to better prepare the City for future social, environmental, and economic challenges. The Chief Transformation Officer is supporting many modernization initiatives across the City; below are two key projects being led by the Chief Transformation Officer.

Development Review Process End-to-End Review

Toronto has a robust and mature development review and approval system with an engaged public. The system has approved approximately 18,000 dwelling units and millions of square metres of non-residential development annually over the last seven years.

While the current system and processes are working, the City is committed to continuous improvement and improving the customer experience. The objective of the end-to-end review is to provide clarity and certainty to the public that the City’s development review process is efficient, effective, and results in good city building outcomes, which will be accomplished by:

  • Creating a City-wide vision and strategy for modernizing the development review and approval processes so that it is easier for the public to apply for and navigate the development review process while improving the effectiveness of City policies and standards for new development.
  • Implementing a client-centric approach by engaging City staff and members of the public who are involved in the development projects to identify how the City could increase the efficiency, clarity and transparency of the review process.
  • Integrating service delivery by identifying opportunities that make it easier for the public to collaborate with the City as a whole on development projects.
  • Improve service levels and accountability by recommending potential technology solutions that will improve communication between the various public (City, agencies, Provincial etc.), and private sector actors (homeowners, architects, lawyers, contractors, developers etc.) involved in the development review process and the management of key performance indicators (such as typical approval time for a development application).

Capital Delivery Review

The City of Toronto has a $40 billion ten-year capital plan (2018-2028), which is spent primarily on state of good repair and transit and transportation projects. Delivery of the capital program is decentralized, with individual City divisions and agencies and corporations independently managing their capital delivery programs. These organizations have different legislative and governance arrangements, mandates, strategic and operational objectives related to each class of capital assets and infrastructure.

This decentralized approach has resulted in the different maturity of capital delivery capabilities and inconsistent practices across the City. Given the scale of the City’s investment, efforts to continually review and improve planning, management and delivery capital projects are critical in improving transparency, accountability and value for money.

The objective of the Capital Delivery Review is to identify transformation and continuous improvement opportunities in the following areas:

  • Class-leading delivery approach: Establish appropriate operating models, procurement models and a capital delivery framework that provides guidance on the most effective end-to-end approach based on program and project type, complexity and value.
  • Enhanced oversight & accountability: Seek opportunities to improve project planning, development, delivery, monitoring, report and accountability practices.
  • Improved value for money: Improve the City’s performance of capital delivery and value for money.

Actions and Plans

For the End-to-End Review of the Development Review Process, the Chief Transformation Officer ran a competitive procurement process and retained an outside consultant – KPMG and Gladki Planning Associates – to provide an external objective perspective, relevant expertise conducting similar reviews, knowledge of industry-leading practices and research of other jurisdictions.

For the Capital Delivery Review, the City will be assembling a team of City staff with a range of public and private capital delivery expertise to conduct the review.