An easement is a “right of use” of someone else’s property by another party for a specific purpose. Toronto Water usually acquires property easements for the operation and maintenance of sewer and water infrastructure to provide safe and reliable water services.

Each easement agreement differs, but they generally prohibit any activity that will hinder the ability of City staff to access, operate and maintain the infrastructure within the easement, or any activity that may structurally damage the infrastructure. Permanent structures such as buildings, garages, retaining walls and trees are usually not permitted within easements lands, unless stated otherwise in the agreement.

To find out if there is an easement on your property, visit the provincial government’s Land Registry Office.

Only in unique cases are encroachments permitted. The process of reviewing, approving and registering an encroachment agreement can be long and expensive for the applicant.

Steps to Request an Encroachment into a Toronto Water Easement

To begin the process, you must submit payment of $1,688.55 + HST (2017 rate).

Payment must be made in person at the following City office, open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

Toronto Water Counter, 2nd Floor
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge St.
Toronto ON M2N 5V7

Payments for the application process will be accepted by credit card, debit, certified cheques or bank drafts. Accepted credit cards include Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

You need to provide a survey plan that shows the existing easement, the existing structures and the proposed encroachment(s).

The exact area of encroachment in square feet or square metres is required.

Depending on the nature of the work, you may be requested to submit an engineering report, stamped and signed by a professional engineer, certifying that the proposed works will not structurally impact the City infrastructure during construction or in the future (e.g., the report must show that the sewers can handle the additional loading).

A Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) inspection conducted at your expense and reviewed by City staff will be required prior to the start of any work within the easement.

Depending on the magnitude of the work, you may need to provide a deposit in the form of a Letter of Credit to cover the cost of construction and/or restoration of City infrastructure.

Since the encroachment will reduce the area that the City has acquired rights over, the applicant will have to pay fair market value for the encroachment area.

This amount will be determined by a Fair Market Appraisal conducted by the City.

The cost varies, but the applicant should be aware that, depending on the size and location of the encroachment, the cost could be several thousand dollars.

It may take up to two months to complete the appraisal.

Real Estate Services will prepare a report, including the fair market appraisal, and submit it to Community Council seeking authorization for the encroachment.

Only Toronto Community Councils may authorize encroachments within City easements. Even if City staff recommend the proposed encroachment, the final decision rests with Community Council.

If the Community Council authorizes the encroachment, the file (including the applicant’s contact information, survey plan and decision document from Community Council) will be given to the City’s Legal Services department.

At this time, the applicant will need to pay all of the final, required fees, including:

  • The Fair Market Appraisal.
  • The Legal Services administrative fee of $609.45 + HST.

Legal Services will contact the applicant directly with the details of where payment should be sent.

Legal Services will then:

  • Prepare the encroachment agreement.
  • Ensure the encroachment agreement is signed by both parties.
  • Register the encroachment agreement on title.

The applicant will also be responsible for any additional survey plans or information that may be required.