The City is required by Provincial regulation to ensure that all of its Zoning By-laws conform with the City of Toronto Official Plan (OP). The City is working to bring its Zoning By-laws into conformity with the OP policies for Employment Areas.
In 2019, the Planning and Housing Committee (PHC) endorsed a two phased approach to bring the City’s zoning by-laws into conformity with Official Plan Amendment 231 (OPA 231). Phase 1 proposed to remove zoning permissions for sensitive uses for lands designated Employment Areas in the OP. Phase 2 proposed to bring all lands designated as Employment Areas in the OP into the City-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013 and amend the permitted uses, and associated conditions, to conform with the OP, as amended by OPA 231.
At its meeting of November 9, 2021, City Council directed City Planning to report back to the Planning and Housing Committee on the recommendations of the Zoning Conformity for the OP Employment Areas – Phase 1 review (removal of permissions for sensitive uses) at the same time as the final recommendations on Phase 2.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 are now be reviewed concurrently, and will provide further consideration of permissions for bingo halls, banquet halls, places of assembly, places of worship and sport facilities on a site or area specific basis, as requested by Council in November of 2021, and July 2022. This work is being coordinated with the current Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) regarding Employment Area policies and designations.
Employment Areas are places for businesses and economic activity. In 2020, they accommodated over 400,000 jobs, representing about 25% of all jobs in Toronto and about 87% of all manufacturing jobs in the City, which include food processing, textiles, electronics and vehicle parts.
Employment Areas provide locations for diverse employment options, keep the production of goods and shipping close to where people live, help maintain and grow the City’s economy, and help achieve a balance in the growth of population and employment.
There is a limited amount of land in Toronto that is suitable for industrial uses, which is why designated Employment Areas need to be protected.
Toronto’s OP includes extensive policies that recognize the importance of these Employment Areas. In December 2013, the City of Toronto adopted OP policies (OPA 231) to further support and protect Toronto’s Employment Areas, including restrictions on sensitive uses.
The OP states that if sensitive land uses such as schools, places of worship or community services, are introduced into Employment Areas industries may be forced to change their operations, or even relocate, for example, when complaints are made about negative effects from industrial operations. While sensitive uses can locate in nearly all other areas of the city, industrial operations are limited to operating in carefully selected Employment Areas. OPA 231 clarified and strengthened land use policies directing that sensitive and incompatible land uses be located outside of Employment Areas.
Zoning regulations in the city-wide Zoning By-law were written before the current Official Plan (OP) policies. As a result, the in-force Zoning By-laws permit many sensitive uses in what are called industrial zones. Similarly, the former general zoning by-laws permit a number of uses no longer contemplated for lands designated as Employment Areas in the OP, including many sensitive uses, such as day nurseries, places of worship, education uses and hotels.
Phase 1 of the review to achieve the required conformity began in December 2019, and involved the recommended removal of sensitive land uses, as permitted uses in Zoning By-laws for lands designated as Employment Areas. Existing uses that were lawfully established, and which are being recommended to be removed, may be considered legal non-conforming uses. Legal non-conforming uses can continue to operate, and may seek permissions to expand. The Phase 1 work was referred back to staff, and now Phase 1 will be considered concurrently with Phase 2.
Phase 2 of the Project consists of several components: full review of Zoning By-law 569-2013 and former general zoning by-law land use permissions on lands in Employment Areas; analysis of Official Plan Employment Areas policies to confirm supportable land use permissions in Employment Areas; a consultation program; development of recommendations for changes in zoning use permissions; and finalization of the process to bring zoning permissions in Employment Areas into conformity with the OP.
Additionally, Phase 2 will address lands which continue to only be subject to the zoning by-laws of the former municipalities of Toronto. Across the city, the former general zoning by-laws are still in effect, including for lands designated as Employment Areas. These permissions will be updated to ensure that land use permissions across the city are in conformity with the permissions and policies established in the OP in designated Employment Areas.
Two public consultation meetings were held on November 2 and November 4, 2020, where participants could learn more about Phase 1 of the study, ask questions and share their comments. A copy of the presentation can be requested by contacting the staff contact on this page.
Additional public and stakeholder consultation and outreach will be held as the Phase 2 work proceeds in 2023. Further details will be posted here when available.
The Planning and Housing Committee, at its meeting of October 18, 2021, received a report for information (Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas: Phase 2 Work Plan).
This report outlined the recommended approach and work plan for the next stage of the project. The work plan sets out the proposed approach to undertaking both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas concurrently, and sets out a preliminary approach to consultation on the resulting recommendations. This work will include further consideration of permissions for bingo halls, banquet halls, places of assembly, and places of worship as requested by Council in November of 2021.
City Council, at its meeting of November 9, 2021 a third supplementary report (November 5, 2021: Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas – Supplementary Report) was submitted to City Council to respond to the direction from the October 18, 2021 PHC meeting.
On November 9, 2021 City Council referred Item PH27.2 to the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to permit the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to report back to the Planning and Housing Committee on the recommendations of the Zoning Conformity for Employment Areas – Phase 1 review (removal of permissions for sensitive uses).
At the same time as the final recommendations on Phase 2 of the review of Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas including a number of motions to regarding further public consultations, communications and consideration of permissions for bingo halls/banquet halls/places of assembly, place of worship, daycares, ancillary uses associated with cultural industries and site specific considerations.
The Planning and Housing Committee, at its meeting of October 18, 2021, held the statutory public meeting under the Planning Act for the Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas – Phase 1 Final Report and Phase 2 Update. A second supplementary report (October 15, 2021: Zoning Conformity for Official Plan Employment Areas – Supplementary Report (toronto.ca) was submitted Committee to respond to additional written submissions and recommended revising the draft zoning by-law amendment for former Toronto Zoning By-law 438-86 to address the Pinewood Studios site in the Portlands.
The Committee endorsed the staff recommendations for Phase 1, including zoning by-law amendments, in the report from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, and also provided additional direction to staff to meet with the DUKE Heights BIA, to discuss the concerns set out in their correspondence to the Planning and Housing Committee, and which processes may be appropriate to resolve the concerns and prepare a supplementary report to City Council. The Committee’s decision, direction to staff, and second supplementary report (October 15, 2021) can now be viewed.
This item, including a Supplementary Report, was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on September 21, 2021. The Planning and Housing Committee postponed consideration of this item until the October 18, 2021 meeting of the Planning and Housing Committee at 10:30 a.m.
Staff prepared a final recommendations report with zoning by-law amendments for Phase 1 which was presented at the June 28, 2021 Planning and Housing Committee meeting.
The report summarizes the Phase 1 review and recommends amendments to all of the in-force zoning by-laws to remove permissions for sensitive land uses or other land uses that are not permitted in General Employment Areas or Core Employment Areas under the policy direction of OPA 231. The report also describes the next steps for Phase 2 of the review.
At its meeting of June 28, 2021, the Planning and Housing Committee adjourned the statutory public meeting under the Planning Act until the September 21, 2021 meeting of the Planning and Housing Committee, and requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to provide a supplementary report to address some additional matters.
The draft zoning by-law amendments are available online.
The Planning and Housing Committee endorsed the proposed zoning framework outlined in the Staff Report as the basis for review to be undertaken to achieve conformity with Official Plan Amendment 231. Staff were directed to conduct public consultations on Phase 1 of the proposed zoning framework, which would remove zoning permissions for sensitive uses from lands designated as Employment Areas. A Final Recommendations Report with Zoning By-law Amendments for Phase 1 is anticipated in the first half of 2021, including next steps on Phase 2 of the framework.
Map showing Official Plan Employment Area (For an alternate format of the map, please email the staff contact on this page).