Proposed amendments to development permit exemptions under R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 828 for lands in the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area that is under the area of development control

ERO number
Notice type
Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
May 3, 2024 - June 17, 2024 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

May 3, 2024
to June 17, 2024

Proposal summary

We are proposing amendments to R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 828, under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, to clarify, amend and expand existing exemptions for development that do not require a development permit under the Act and exempt additional activities that are unlikely to have a significant environmental impact.

Proposal details


The purpose of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, (NEPDA) is to provide for the maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment and land in its vicinity substantially as a continuous natural environment, and to ensure only such development occurs as is compatible with that natural environment. The NEPDA established the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) and the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC). The NEP provides a framework to assess development proposals against objectives and policies aimed at the protection and the enjoyment of this important landform feature and the resources it supports. The NEC operates at arm’s length from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and oversees implementation of the NEP to maintain and enhance the vitality of the Escarpment’s unique environmental and landscape features.

Regulation 828 (Development in the Development Control Area) exempts certain development from the requirement of obtaining a development permit under the NEPDA if the proposed development is a permitted use under the NEP and is not in conflict with any existing development permit issued under the NEPDA.


We are proposing to amend R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 828 to clarify or expand exemptions for developments that would be consistent with the purpose and objectives of the NEP. The proposed changes would provide greater certainty and clarity for landowners and businesses within the NEP area on circumstances where a development permit may not be required. Some proposed changes would make it easier for conservation organizations to carry out activities that would benefit the escarpment. Most of the proposed changes are expected to have little or no environmental impact.

Not all exemptions would apply across the entirety of the NEP area. Some exemptions may be limited to only outside of certain environmentally sensitive areas or natural features.

We are also seeking feedback on conditions of the proposed exemptions, such as limits on size or distance from a sensitive area or feature.

We are considering proposed amendments to add new exemptions or modify existing exemptions for the following types of activities, subject to conditions:

Accessory structure activities, such as:

  • Construction or placement of a temporary or permanent structure accessory to a dwelling.
  • Installation of a private sewage disposal system accessory to a dwelling.

Agricultural activities, such as:

  • Installation of a farm entrance to an agricultural property from a road.
  • No minimum agricultural lot size to convert structures from one type of farming use to another.
  • The construction of a structure accessory to agricultural development, other than a dwelling
  • The installation of a single, permanent farm produce structure to sell local products.

Business activities, such as:

  • The establishment and operation of certain home occupation or home industry activities.
  • Special events that are accessory to a permitted use and which do not constitute a change in land use (e.g., change of residential use to a commercial use).

Construction and decommissioning activities, such as:

  • Demolition of all or part of a building or structure.
  • Rebuilding or repairing damaged or destroyed land, buildings, or structures.
  • Extension of a single dwelling.

Environmental management activities, such as:

  • Certain projects carried out by government or non-government conservation organizations (e.g., upgrades to trail systems, construction of boardwalks, stairs).
  • Restoration activities carried out by government or non-government conservation organizations.
  • Extend timelines from 5 years to 10 years for Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Spaces System (NEPOSS) agencies to implement exempted development identified in an approved management plan.

Forestry and vegetation management activities, such as:

  • Activities related to vegetation management (e.g., pruning, cutting, landscaping) required to facilitate certain work including work under an existing exemption or a development permit application.
  • The placement of fill or minor grading required for the construction of exempt structures or landscaping.

Infrastructure activities, such as:

  • Activities related to the construction or installation of communications equipment conducted within existing right of way.
  • Maintenance and repair road works conducted by public bodies which are approved through other processes such as an environmental assessment.

Private servicing activities, such as:

  • Installation, maintenance, or replacement of a culvert to enable vehicular access to an existing lot.
  • Installation or decommissioning of a well or cistern supplying potable water.
  • Driveway extension to an existing or new exempt structure.
  • Activities related to connecting existing services at road to an existing structure.

Other activities, such as:

  • A lot addition or lot line adjustment on existing lots outside of prime agricultural areas.
  • Construction or extension of structures accessory to an institutional use.
  • Revised size and lighting conditions for the construction of an outdoor swimming pool, spa, or hot tub, and a single outdoor sports court.

Various other administrative or minor changes to clarify the intent of existing exemptions.

Regulatory impact analysis

The proposed regulation amendments being considered are anticipated to have a neutral to positive impact on business. The proposed amendments are intended to:

  • provide greater certainty and clarity for landowners and businesses within the NEP area on circumstances where a development permit may be required.
  • maintain protection of the escarpment environment while making it easier for conservation organizations to carry out activities that will benefit the escarpment environment.
  • allow for further streamlining of development decisions and clarify approval authority.

Through this posting, the ministry is seeking input on anticipated benefits or costs to Ontario businesses to better help the ministry understand the real costs or cost savings associated with these proposed changes.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

MNRF – Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch

300 Water st
2nd floor, South Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9C 3C7


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from May 3, 2024
to June 17, 2024

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