Hand holding a pen on paper

Additional cuts to permitting red tape supports business recovery

Development permits can now be submitted online

October 15 2021 –

At a public hearing last night, City Council approved the next set of actions to help improve wait times for permits and business licensing. To help businesses recover from the pandemic, these actions will:

  • Reduce application costs
  • Give business more flexibility in using or updating their commercial spaces
  • Save nearly 3,800 weeks of application processing


Approved actions include:

  • Reducing requirements for many businesses changing use and/or occupancy: eight – 20 weeks faster
  • Allowing commercial spaces to subdivide into multiple suites without automatically triggering expensive building improvements: 17 weeks faster
  • Simplifying the permitting process for qualifying small suite applications: 17 weeks faster 

Council also heard of additional items already under way:

  • Freeing up more office staff to review applications and help clear the backlog by transferring some detailed review to inspectors in the field: four weeks faster
  • Simplifying application requirements for residential and commercial renovations drawings: one week faster

Digital development applications

As part of the Electronic Plan (ePlan) Project, development permit applications can now be accepted, paid, and processed electronically. These improvements will:

  • Save businesses time and money
  • Reduce the reliance on paper-based work and in-person visits

Apply online

Next steps 

The City Manager’s Task Force continues to review potential opportunities to reduce processing times. Recommendations to speed up permitting for residential applications will be brought to Council early next year. 

Learn more and review a complete list of actions to streamline the permit and licensing process


In a motion earlier this spring, City Council made improving wait times and clearing the application backlog (213 KB) a priority and established the City Manager’s task force with a dedicated $1 million dollars in funding. 

In June 2021, Council approved an initial set of regulatory and policy changes that are expected to save up to 10,000 hours of permit review time on residential applications. 

Last month, Council approved a ‘ground-breaking’ improvement to will help build social and rental housing faster by allowing eligible projects to receive their building permit to begin excavating and shoring earlier in the construction process.