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Minor Variances

This page contains information regarding the application process, fees and procedure for obtaining a minor variance.

On This Page:

What is a Minor Variance?

A minor variance process can be pursued to provide relief to property owners from a Zoning By-law requirement(s) they may be unable to comply with. For example if a property owner wishes to build a new shed but cannot meet the minimum setback requirement for development in that zone, an option may be to apply for a minor variance. If the relief from the Zoning By-law is not “minor” it may require a zoning by-law amendment. Consultation with the Planning and Development Department is encouraged.

The procedure related to minor variance applications are outlined under the Planning Act and related regulations. Minor variance applications are heard and assessed by the Committee of Adjustment. Under the Planning Act, there are four tests, all of which are to be satisfied/met in order to approve an application:


  • be minor;
  • be desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building, or structure;
  • maintain the general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law;
  • maintain the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan.

The Committee of Adjustment also has the authority under the Planning Act to permit expansions or changes to legal non-conforming uses. Please refer to the Committee of Adjustment, as titled below, for an outline of their roles and responsibilities.

The Committee of Adjustment

The Committee of Adjustment, (COA) an appointed Committee by Council, is authorized to carry out its assigned decision making authority as prescribed under Section 45 of the Planning Act, while having regard for provincial and municipal policies.

The COA deals with minor problems in meeting by-law standards and holds a hearing on filed applications. Approval given excuses the applicant from meeting a specific requirement of the by-law, sometimes with attached conditions.

The COA renders decisions on filed applications relating to the following matters, as outlined under Section 45 of the Planning Act: Minor variance applications, where minor variance from the by-law provisions, in respect of land, building or structure or the use thereof, where in the opinion of the Committee it meets the four(4) tests:

  • it is a minor variance;
  • it is desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure;
  • it maintains the general intent and purpose of the by-law (zoning by-law/interim)
  • it maintains the general intent and purpose of the official plan

The COA carries out its assessment of filed applications by considering filed materials, staff provided information, by conducting site visits to subject properties and by considering matters heard at the public hearings (where the public and applicant have an opportunity to address the application).

Committee Decisions on filed applications are based on regarding related assessment criteria contained in the Planning Act, such as whether the application is minor and desirable, having regard for the Provincial Policy Statement issues (PPS) and Official Plan policies, the zoning by-law and consideration of related impacts of the proposal. Application processes are outlined in the Planning Act and related regulations and related fees are outlined by Township by-law.

What is the cost of filing an application?

The Township requires a processing fee of $600.00 for each application filed. Additional fees to the Health Unit and Conservation Authority may also be required.

Where can I obtain an application?

Minor Variance Application 2024

Application packages are also available from our Forms webpage and at the Main Administration Office at 6544 New Dublin Road.  Potential applicants are advised to contact the Planning & Development Department in advance of filing an application.

For more information on Minor Variances, check out the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s Citizen’s Guide to Land Use Planning at https://www.ontario.ca/document/citizens-guide-land-use-planning.

For More Information

If you wish to apply for a minor variance, or require more information on this subject you are encouraged to contact the Planning Department:

Phone: 613-345-7480 or 1-800-492-3175 (within the 613 area code)
Fax: 613-345-7235
Email: planning@ektwp.ca
Mail: Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley
6544 New Dublin Rd, RR 2 Addison, ON K0E 1A0