The Committee of Adjustment is a body of community peers appointed by City Council, to consider requests for a minor variance (or a minor change) to the City's Zoning By-laws. The Committee of Adjustment has authority to approve, defer or deny an application for a minor variance. Members of City Council may comment on proposed variances, however they are not the approval authority for these applications.

See below for information on how the minor variance process works and how to meet the legally required timelines for submission, review and final approvals. Please note that City staff is available to assist you in making your submission and answer any questions throughout the process.

How to participate in an electronic Committee of Adjustment hearing

Until further notice Committee of Adjustment hearings will continue to be held electronically. City staff are available to answer questions by telephone and in person during our regular business hours of Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.


Interested persons may participate in an electronic hearing and provide verbal comments to the members of the Committee of Adjustment by telephone or through the Webex electronic meeting platform. To participate by telephone or Webex, select one of the following ways:


A City Development staff member will follow up to confirm your participation and advise how to connect to the hearing.


Persons who wish to speak about an agenda item must register by 4:30 pm the day before the hearing.


The applicant and/or agent must participate in the Public Hearing and will be given an opportunity to present the proposal. The Committee may defer an item to a later Public Hearing date if the applicant does not attend. At the hearing, the Chair will invite each registered person, one by one, to join the hearing via audio connection. Please ensure you provide the phone number that you wish to be contacted on your participation form.


The Committee makes its decision at the Public Hearing through a detailed review of all material submitted with the application, letters and comments received, deputations made at the public hearing and site visits. Any persons who submit comments, address the Committee or request notification, will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision.


Please be advised that your name and address will appear in the public record and will be posted on the City’s website as part of the hearing minutes.


Watch the electronic hearing live stream via the City of Pickering’s YouTube channel.

 What is a minor variance?

A minor variance is a minor variation, or change, from the specific requirements of a zoning by-law.

There are 2 specific types of zoning variances that the Committee of Adjustment for the City of Pickering may consider:

  1. The applicant seeks relief from a specific zoning by-law requirement, such as a reduction in minimum yard setback or an increase in maximum permitted building height.
  2. The applicant seeks to expand or change an existing lawful non-conforming use. A lawful non-conforming use is a use on a property which does not comply with the existing zoning by-laws, but which has been in existence prior to the by-law coming into effect. No change is permitted to a lawful non-conforming use other than complete removal and compliance with existing zoning unless a variance is granted.

The minor variance follows a legally prescribed schedule for processing. To ensure the application is processed as quickly as possible, and meets all process deadlines, your application forms, drawings and sketches should be neat, legible and as accurate as possible.  All drawing or location dimensions must be presented in metric.

Applications can usually be viewed by the public in the City Development Department during normal business hours. Contact us before attending to ensure this is possible.

Application Process

Step 1.         Applicant submits an application for a Minor Variance, together with the required application fee. City staff reviews the application to ensure the application is complete. If the application is complete, staff informs the applicant of the meeting date, time and location. If the application is incomplete, the application will be returned to the applicant, until all required material is provided.

Please note the applicant may choose to table their application prior to the meeting date, however will be responsible for payment of the Tabling Fee and Recirculation fee.

Step 2.         Once the application is complete, staff begins their review. Notice of the application and meeting date is circulated to all land owners within a 65m radius of the subject property, as well as to various City departments, Members of Council, and other public agencies such as a conservation authority, a public utility or government agency.

Step 3.         Once all comments are received (by email or standard mail), staff prepares a recommendation report for the Committee of Adjustment, summarizing all aspects of the application, comments received by commenting agencies and the public, and whether the proposed variance is supported or unsupported by City staff.

Step 4.         The Committee of Adjustment meeting is convened at the time and location indicated on the Notice and the applicant or authorized agent must attend the meeting to present the application, and respond to any questions the Committee may have.  Commenting parties may also appear at the Committee meeting to present their comments in person.

In addition, other interested parties are welcome to attend and express their views, for or against the application.

The Committee will make a decision on the application by either granting approval or refusal.  The Committee may also choose to defer or table the application if additional information is required by the applicant and/or staff. Once all outstanding information is received, the Committee will make a decision on the variance application at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee of Adjustment.

If the application is denied, the applicant may choose to accept the decision and amend the proposed design to bring it into conformity with the existing zoning, or the applicant may file an appeal as described under 'Appeal Process'. 

Step 5.         A 20 day appeal period follows the approval or denial of a minor variance.  If there are no appeals filed, the decision is deemed 'Final and Binding'. No construction should begin until the appeal period is over, and any required Building Permit is issued. See the section below for more details on the ‘Appeal Process’.

 Submission Requirements

The Application for Minor Variance form is available online or from the City Development Department. 

All relevant material, documentation and fees must be submitted with your application.

Additional information may be required to review the application.  You can also include other relevant information that you feel might assist the Committee in their consideration of the application, i.e. photographs.

Submission requirements include:

  • a recent survey showing dimensions of the lands and the location of all buildings on the subject property including proposed additions and alterations
  • elevation drawing
  • proof of ownership of the land
  • Zoning Certificate
  • application fee
 Application Timelines

There are strict deadlines that must be met by both the applicant and City staff when processing the application for minor variance.  In total, approximately 3 months is required from the time an application is filed to the completion of the 20 day appeal period.

The issuance of a Building Permit associated with the proposed variance, will be held off until after the application for variance is deemed ‘Final and Binding’.  Therefore, if you are considering a construction project on your property, it is best to consult with the City Development Department as early as possible, to ensure that your plans and drawings comply with all relevant zoning regulations. This may avoid potential disappointments or delays to your proposed construction project.

 Notice of Decision

Notice of the Committee's decision is mailed to the property owner and other interested parties who requested a copy of the decision.

The decision may be subject to the completion of certain conditions, which will be outlined in the decision. It is up to the applicant to satisfy these conditions by the required date to avoid the decision lapsing.


 Appeal Process

The applicant, the Minister or a specified person or public body (as defined by the Planning Act) may within 20 days of the Committee's decision appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). If you feel you would like to appeal a decision of the Committee of Adjustment, visit the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) website to determine if you are eligible to make an appeal. The appeal must be made within 20 days of the decision and must outline your reasons for the appeal, together with a cheque in the amount of $400.00 payable to the "Minister of Finance". A filing fee of $25.00 will also apply to each additional variance appeal filed by the same appellant against connected variance applications.

Submit your appeal to:

Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment

City Development Department

One The Esplanade, Pickering, ON L1V 6K7

Hearing Schedules, Agendas & Minutes

View the 2023 Adopted Hearing Schedule

View the 2024 Adopted Hearing Schedule

View Committee of Adjustment Agendas.

View Committee of Adjustment Minutes.