The City of Toronto is transforming and modernizing how it delivers services to the public. For building and sign permit applicants, this client-centric transformation is intended to provide a clear, consistent and predictable experience and timely processing of applications by the City.

On January 9, 2023, the City will begin a phased rollout of its new service delivery model, with the launch of the first phase of a new Express Services Program city-wide. Toronto Building staff will work directly with permit applicants who are proposing smaller, less complex projects, meeting a set criteria, in order to move their applications swiftly through the approvals process, reducing the amount of time for a permit to be issued.

Express Services will replace the existing Residential FASTRACK, Commercial Xpress and Sign Bylaw Unit services. The new Express Services program will be implemented in two phases. The Residential FASTRACK and Sign Bylaw Unit services will be the first to be integrated into this new model. Commercial Xpress projects will be phased into the Express Services stream in the spring of 2023.

Graphic showing the merging of the previous Residential Fast Track, Commercial Express and Sign Bylaw permit services into the new Express Services stream

Through Express Services, applications will move through the approval process more quickly as staff will work with permit applicants to tailor services to their specific needs and project scope and resolve application issues minimizing the overall time it takes to receive a permit. Permit applicants will also have access to clear guidelines and information to strengthen transparency, reduce guesswork, and improve submission quality. The new service is intended to help experienced applicants who are familiar with the process acquire the permit quickly, and new permit applicants who will benefit from the one-on-one consultation with City staff.

How This Process Helps You

  • Applications can be made via email, online or in person
  • Once an application is submitted and reviewed, a consultation (either virtual or in person) may be booked by the examiner to discuss the application if further clarification is needed to be accepted as a complete application.
    • This consultation enables the examiner to clarify requirements and advise the applicant of any missing information so the wait time between “application submission” and “intake” is minimized.
  • Once the application is deemed complete and accepted, within three days a plan examiner will review it for compliance with the Building Code and all applicable laws.
  • If further clarity or information is required following the technical review of the application, the examiner will schedule a consultation (either virtual or in person) with the applicant to review the outstanding issues.
  • Following the consultation, where possible, the examiner will mark up the drawings to issue the building permit.
  • Once the permit is issued, applicants will be able to book an inspection request online or via the telephone booking service.

Benefits of Express Services

  • A more client-centric, streamlined process with less red tape to minimize the wait time for building permit approvals.
  • Aimed at issuing permits versus working to meet legislated timelines where an application will be reviewed with three days of being accepted.
  • Greater flexibility to meet diverse client needs with options for virtual and in-person consultations with City staff.
  • A collaborative and tailored customer service experience delivered through a specialized unit of City staff.
  • Improved guidance, support and facilitation for clients to help their projects meet regulatory requirements.
  • Enhanced technology including application intake portal and remote video inspections (coming soon).

Scope of Residential Express Services* projects eligible in the Pilot Phase

  • Decks, sheds, porches
  • Garages and carports
  • Residential ancillary structures
  • Interior alterations
  • Basement walkouts and underpinning
  • Work impacting a party wall
  • Minor fire damage repair
  • One- to two-unit conversions,
    • No more than two dwelling units per building
  • Stand-alone plumbing and drain permits
  • Sign permit applications

* Please note that permit applications for additions to residential dwellings, will now proceed through the permit stream for housing, as well as permit applications for laneway suites and garden suites.

Permit Applications accepted prior to January 9, 2023 under the Residential FASTRACK and the Sign Bylaw Unit services areas will be transferred to the Express Services group, where they will continue to be reviewed without disruption.

Commercial Xpress projects will be phased into the Express Services stream in spring of 2023. Those Commercial Xpress projects currently in the system will be reviewed without disruption.

For further information, please contact ExpressServices@toronto.ca