On July 19, 2022 City Council adopted a report and Official Plan Amendment (By-law 819-2022) expanding Neighbourhood Retail and Services Uses and a zoning by-law amendment (By-law 820-2022) expanding Home Occupation uses in low-rise Neighbourhoods across the city. The amendments are now in full force and effect.


Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is a City of Toronto initiative to facilitate more low-rise housing in residential neighbourhoods to meet the needs of our growing city. The City is working to expand opportunities for “missing middle” housing forms in Toronto, ranging from duplexes to low-rise walk-up apartments. All of these housing types can be found in many parts of Toronto today, but they are also limited in where they can be newly built. Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is one solution among a range of City initiatives to increase housing choice and access and create a more equitable, sustainable city.

Priority projects endorsed by Council to be advanced:

  • permitting new types of accessory housing such as garden suites and coach houses
  • allowing more residential units in forms compatible with existing houses, such as duplexes and triplexes, where they are currently not permitted
  • zoning to allow more low-rise housing options on major streets
  • Beaches East York Pilot Project

More information and opportunities for input will be posted as these projects and other parts of the work program move forward.

Multiplexes – Draft Official Plan Amendment

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review and comment on our draft Official Plan Amendment for Multiplexes.

What’s Next?

The Multiplex Proposals Report was adopted by Planning and Housing Committee on July 5, 2022 meeting of. The report included:

  • Ongoing analysis and research supporting the Multiplex study
  • Feedback received on the Draft Official Plan Amendment so far and direction to consult further
  • Preliminary zoning directions to bring forward for consultation, to help develop zoning by-law amendments that facilitate multiplexes
  • Recommendations for further study

Consultations on the Official Plan Amendment and zoning directions will continue through the Fall of 2022. We anticipate bringing forward our recommended Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendments in early 2023.

Neighbourhood Retail & Services Uses – Draft Official Plan Amendment and Draft Zoning By-law Amendment

The Neighbourhood Retail and Service Uses Official Plan Amendment and Home Occupation Uses Zoning by-law Amendment were adopted by City Council on July 21, 2022.

Current Official Plan policies permit existing uses to be maintained in Neighbourhoods but limits the ability of new ones to be established, including by restricting their location to Major Streets on Map 3  and requiring a Zoning By-law amendment. This has contributed to a steady decline of these uses over time.

By way of the Official Plan Amendment, the team proposes that the policy be updated and simplified to support the creation of new Neighbourhood amenities.  As with other Official Plan policies, the Zoning by-law will continue to provide direction on appropriate uses, locations, and other performance standards.

Currently the Zoning By-law 569-2013 permits several types of home-based work City-wide.  These are referred to as “Home Occupation” and are defined as “a business use within a dwelling unit, where the dwelling unit is the principal residence of the business operator”.

The R zone – which is generally only found within the former City of Toronto boundaries- is the most permissive in terms of home occupation.  There are many home occupation uses that are only permitted in the R zone such as small medical offices, and personal services such as hair and beauty services, dressmaking, and tailoring. As a first step, we propose to equalize these permissions across all residential zones in the City, as outlined in the  zoning by-law amendment.

What’s Next?

Staff will draft and engage on the City-wide Zoning By-law through 2022 and into 2023. The Zoning by-law will:

  • Define appropriate locations, uses, performance standards (e.g. size) in cooperation with other EHON teams (e.g. Major Streets)
  • Home Occupation: Study the benefit of permitting additional uses
  • CL Zone: Explore possibility of adding residential permissions
  • Economic Development and Corporate finance: Explore other tools for supporting local retail and services
  • Engage internally with Toronto Building, Municipal Licensing and Standards: Sign Bylaw, Business Licenses, etc.
  • Conduct Business Outreach

Council Considerations & Decisions

PH35.1 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods – Neighbourhood Retail and Services Study Final Report Phase One (July 2022)

PH35.2 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Major Streets – Interim Report (July 2022)

PH35.3 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Multiplex Study – Proposals Report  (July 2022)

PH31.6 –  Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods – Update Report  (February 2022)

PH29.9 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Multiplex Study – Interim Report (November 2021)

PH29.8 – Neighbourhood Change and Intensification Bulletin (November 2021)

PH 25.15 – Garden Suites – Proposals Report (June 2021)

PH 20.3 – Beaches-East York Pilot Project (January 2021)

PH 15.6 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (July 2020)

PH9.4 – Focusing On Building Design Improvements (October 2019)

MM9.36 – Expanding Housing Options in Toronto – Tackling the Missing Middle and the “Yellowbelt” (July 2019)


Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (July 2020)

Missing Middle – Summary of Advice from the Planning Review Panel (December 2019)

Survey of Registered Community Associations (June 2020)

City Planning Presentation to Planning and Housing Committee (July 13, 2020)

Applicable Planning Policy

City of Toronto Official Plan

Zoning By-law 569-2013

Townhouse and Low-Rise Apartment Guidelines

Related Initiatives

Changing Lanes: The City of Toronto’s Review of Laneway Suites

Secondary Suites

Short-Term Rentals

In partnership with the City Planning Division, the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) convened the EHON Roundtable, an advisory body comprised of individuals representing a broad range of backgrounds and equity-deserving groups, that discussed changes to Neighbourhoods policies in the Official Plan, multiplex housing permissions and design considerations, the desirability of expanding local retail and services, and rezoning for Major Streets.

With the goal of elevating lived experience into housing policy, the Final Recommendations Report summarizes the work of the EHON Roundtable and includes recommendations for the City to consider through the EHON initiative.

The Official Plan and Zoning By-law work together to implement the City’s vision for future land use and development:

  • Official Plan land use designations establish the City’s general growth management policies, describing where housing can be built, where stores, offices and industry can locate and where a mix of uses is desired.
  • The Zoning By-law is the legal tool that implements policies of the Official Plan, establishing regulations for how land can be used, what types of buildings and structures can be built, as well as standards related to the location of buildings and structures, lot sizes and dimensions, parking requirements, building heights, and setbacks from property lines.

The following graphics show how much of the City of Toronto’s total area is in each Official Plan land use designation and Zoning By-law zone category. One square represents one percent of the City of Toronto’s area.

City of Toronto Official Plan Land Use Designations - 2.3% Utility Corridors, 0.7% regeneration areas, 3.6% other open space areas, 1% institutional areas, 5.2% mixed use areas, 19.7% lands not subject to official plan land use designation, 9.6% core employment areas, 3.3% general employment areas, 4.7% parks, 11.1% natural areas, 3.5% apartment neighbourhoods, 35.4% neighbourhoods.
Image 1 – Source: City of Toronto, City Planning Division: Official Plan, February 2019


Official Plan – Land Use Designation Area (square kilometres) Percentage of City of Toronto Land Area
Neighbourhoods 224.5 35.4%
Apartment Neighbourhoods 22.0 3.5%
Natural Areas 70.6 11.1%
Parks 29.7 4.7%
Other Open Space Areas (including Golf Courses, Cemeteries, Public Utilities) 22.6 3.6%
Utility Corridors 14.5 2.3%
Mixed Use Areas 32.9 5.2%
Core Employment Areas 60.7 9.6%
General Employment Areas 21.2 3.3%
Regeneration Areas 4.3 0.7%
Institutional Areas 6.1 1.0%
Special Study Areas 0.1 0.0%
Lands not subject to Official Plan Land Use Designation (e.g. roads) 125.0 19.7%
Total City of Toronto Land Area 634.0 100.0%



City of toronto - zoning by law zone categories. 15.7% employment industrial, 20.1% open space, 5.1% utility and transportation, 0.4% unassigned, 2.3% institutional, 5.9% commercial, 3.3% residential apartment, 47.1% residential.
Image 2 – Source: City of Toronto, City Planning Division: Zoning and Municipal Parcel data, August 2019


Zoning By-law – Zone Category Area (square kilometers) Percentage of City of Toronto Area
Residential 303.7 47.1%
Residential Apartment 21.2 3.3%
Utility and Transportation 33.0 5.1%
Open Space 129.9 20.1%
Commercial, Commercial Residential & Commercial Residential Employment 38.2 5.9%
Employment Industrial 101.4 15.7%
Institutional 14.7 2.3%
Unassigned 2.3 0.4%
Total City of Toronto Area 644.5 100.0%


Although zoning by-laws must generally conform to the Official Plan, the exact breakdown of land areas in land use designations and zone categories varies due to differences in how these areas are drawn and measured. For example, Official Plan land use designations do not include rights-of-way, whereas zones are based on property boundaries extended to the centreline of adjacent streets.

Residential Zones

The graphic below illustrates the percentage of the City of Toronto’s total area subject to Residential zoning (47.1%). On its own, the Residential Detached (RD) zone makes up 31.3% of the city’s total area. 15.8% of the city’s total area consists of Residential zones (R, RS, RT and RM zones), most of which permit a variety of Missing Middle housing forms. Secondary suites are permitted in all Residential zones.

City of Toronto - zoning by-law residential zoning. 47.1% of toronto's total area is zoned residential. 31.3% of toronto's total area is zoned to permit detached houses. 15.8% of toronto's total area is zoned to permit other low rise residential buildings.
Image 3: Source: City of Toronto, City Planning Division: Zoning and Municipal Parcel data, August 2019


  • Official Plan Land Use designation areas do not include rights-of-way (e.g. roadways). To account for lands not subject to a land use designation, the blank squares in Image 1 correspond to the difference in the total land area of the City of Toronto less the sum of all Official Plan designated land use areas.
  • Zone category areas are measured using parcel dimensions, including adjacent rights-of-way. Certain zoning boundaries extend into bodies of water, therefore the total zoned area (644.47 km2) is greater than the City of Toronto’s total land area (634.04 km2). Some areas of Toronto are still subject to the legacy zoning of the former pre-amalgamation municipalities. These areas were assigned to the closest matching zoning category in Zoning By-law 569-2013 for the purpose of these graphics.
  • Site or area-specific zoning may permit or restrict specific uses or modify standards.

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