Zoning Certificate of Occupancy

Certification approving a change in use of land, building or structure in accordance with the town's zoning by-law.

A Zoning Certificate of Occupancy is a certificate that approves a change in use of land, building or structure in accordance with the town's zoning by-law. 

You cannot change the use of any land, building or structure until you have applied for and received an approved zoning certificate.

When a Zoning Certificate of Occupancy is required

The certificate is required when there is a proposed change in the use of land, building or structure from what was previously approved. For example, when the use of a building unit is a retail store and the proposed change is to a restaurant.

  • All non-residential uses as well as the following residential uses require the certificate:
  • Residential basement to an accessory dwelling/second suite
  • Bed and breakfast
  • Home occupation (home business)
  • Lodging house
  • Short-term accommodation

The certificate does not ensure compliance with all applicable zoning regulations, such as minimum yard or setback requirements, and floor area and height restrictions. Additional permits and approvals may be required dependent upon your project plans such as a building permit, a minor variance or other required approvals from Halton Region, Halton Conservation Authority or Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).

A Zoning Certificate of Occupancy is not an occupancy permit pursuant to Section 11 of the Building Code Act and does not give permission to construct or occupy a building or structure.

How to apply

Check the zoning of the property

Use our interactive zoning map to view the applicable zoning designation.

Zoning Map

  1. Locate the property using the search tool.
  2. Select the property to determine what zone your property is in and the associated by-law number (e.g. RL3-0 sp:10, By-law 2014-014).
  3. Select View Additional Details and links to the zoning regulations will be displayed.

Residential use examples that may require a zoning certificate include:

  • Residential basement to an accessory dwelling / second suite
  • Home occupation (home business). A business licence may be applicable.
  • Bed and breakfast establishment
  • Lodging house
  • Short-term accommodation

All non-residential uses require a zoning certificate including:

  • Expansion of an existing business
  • Business licence
  • Daycare licence
  • Vehicle sales (even if cars are not stored on the property), Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)
  • Propane distribution

The work I am planning doesn’t comply with the zoning by-law. What can I do?

If your project is not able to comply with the regulations of the zoning by-law, you have the option to submit a minor variance application to the Committee of Adjustment.

A minor variance is a small variation from the requirements of the zoning by-law. For more information, visit the Committee of Adjustment page. You may want to consult with the Planning department at 905-845-6601 before submitting an application.

Prepare your documents

Each submission for a zoning certificate requires:

  • Drawings (see below for details)
  • Letter of Use (upon request for more complex uses)
Drawings to provide

Drawings are assessed to confirm parking requirements and applicable zone regulations (i.e. maximum size for a proposed use such as an accessory dwelling or seasonal garden centre).

Label each drawing sheet with the property address, legal description and project name. Save drawings as scalable and clearly dimensioned so that staff can calculate floor area.

  • Property survey (if available)
    • Site Plan showing birds eye view of subject land
    • Building(s) footprint and overall dimensions
    • Location of unit and/or area to be occupied (including expansion if applicable), clearly identified
    • Any outdoor areas clearly labelled such as patio, outside display and sales area
    • Parking layout (including stacking spaces if applicable) or, length and width of driveway for residential properties
    • Site statistics including but not limited to: lot area, required and proposed parking, floor area including detailed breakdown if more than one use exists or is being proposed (i.e. 25 per cent office, 75 per cent warehouse, etc.)
  • Floor plan(s) including mezzanine level if applicable
    • Fully dimensioned to outside walls or centreline of party wall for multi-tenant units
    • For residential properties, internal dimensions for a private garage and/or basement
    • All rooms clearly labelled
    • Detailed area breakdown

Submission requirements

  • Save all drawings and documents as PDFs as an independent file in proper viewing orientation, black and white and formatted to a standard sheet size no larger than 11x17
  • Ensure files are extractable and not secured/password protected
  • Label files accurately and descriptively for easy navigation. Example: A101_Survey, A102_Site Plan, A201_BsmtFloorPlan, A202_FirstFloorPlan, A203_SecondFloorPlan, etc.
  • Scanned drawings and documents must also meet these minimum quality standards: no folds or creases that cause missing information, no reduction to size and no skews

Zoning certificate costs

The cost for a Zoning Certificate of Occupancy is $264. 

Fees can be paid by credit card at time of online application submission.

Submit your application online

You can now submit your zoning certificate application online. Use Chrome or Safari for the best experience.

Submit your Certificate of Occupancy application

If it is your first time using the town’s online services, you will need to create a user name and password. Select sign in and then the option to sign up. If you already have an account, you can use the same username and password.

Provide information about your application and upload your drawings and documents.

Please follow the submission standards outlined in Step Two to help us process your application quickly.


For more information, please contact a zoning officer at 905-845-6601, ext. 3955 or zoningrequests@oakville.ca.