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REGULATORY RANT: Tell us your red tape horror stories in Ontario construction
January 22nd, 2018 6:21 pm     A+ | a-

Michael de Lint / RESCON

RESCON is looking for your red-tape horror stories: Kafkaesque encounters with regulatory authorities that have you scratching your head.

This is for a good cause. RESCON has started work on a best practice report focused on how to streamline and improve Ontario’s development and building approvals process. Information on regulatory problems will help us target recommendations so that they actually will improve Ontario’s approval regime, while maintaining the province’s high standards of building safety, urban design and environmental protection.

The report has three broad themes: streamlining routine planning and applicable law approvals; expanding e-permitting in Ontario; and enhancing the role of professionals in regulatory compliance.

The project’s steering committee, chaired by former BILD president Bryan Tuckey, had it’s first meeting in December. Additional meetings are already scheduled for January and February.

The red tape problems we are looking for include those related to: excessive delays; excessive costs; problems with accountability and corporate culture within regulatory agencies; unnecessary or unclear procedures, processes and requirements; as well as last-minute/surprise requirements.

These red tape horror stories should cover approvals from any regulatory bodies or agencies you deal with in the development and building approval process such as, for example:

-          Municipal agencies/approvals, including: Planning (site plan control, subdivision control, zoning, minor variances); Transportation and infrastructure planning (road widenings, drainage, entrance locations, etc.); Engineering (lot grading); Parks (land dedication, parkland impact, etc.); Heritage (heritage register); Building Department (building permits).

-          External agencies/approvals, including: Conservation Authorities (impacts on floodplains, etc.); Ministry of Transportation (impacts on provincial highways and interchanges); Regional Government (regional roads, water and sanitary sewer, landfill, etc.), Ministry of Environment (change of use, Record of Site Condition (RSC), Municipal Class Environmental Assessments, etc.).

We are looking for information based on real events and experiences, but you don’t need to name the municipalities or provincial agencies involved, or provide any other information that may trace back to a particular application. You will have an opportunity to review in advance any material we include in the report.

We want to be sure that our best practice recommendations can help fix real problems experienced by our builders and developers.

RESCON president Richard Lyall, left, at a recent RESCON health and safety event (co-hosted by OGCA).

“We have heard some of the horror stories, it’s now time to publish them in our best practices report,” said Richard Lyall, RESCON president and the 2018 chair of the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO), an umbrella groups that brings residential and infrastructure construction organizations together. Among its members are: RESCON, the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA), the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA), the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO), and the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO).

One of his goals with CDAO is to drive reforms and improvements to Ontario’s development approvals process.

“According to the World Bank, Toronto is ranked 54th globally on dealing with construction permitting for routine building approvals. That’s unacceptable. We’re asking RESCON members to provide their horror stories to help us target our efforts to streamline Ontario’s building approval regime.”

For more on Lyall’s role with CDAO, click on this link.

To contribute your red-tape horror story, please email your submission to by February 13, 2018.

Thanks in advance!


Michael de Lint is RESCON’s director of building regulatory reform and technical standards. Email him at

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