Apply for a minor variance / permission

Property owners who want to use or develop their property in a way that does not comply with a Zoning By-law can apply for a minor variance

A property owner who wants to expand a legal non-conforming use or change from one legal non-conforming use to another can apply to the Committee of Adjustment for permission.

Before you begin

The Committee of Adjustment strongly encourages applicants to contact City staff to discuss their proposal prior to submitting a formal application. If you fail to consult with City staff, the Committee of Adjustment cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of your application submission which may result in processing delays.

The pre-consultation process is designed to help promote the exchange of information and development considerations early in the planning process. A key outcome of this process is a customized list of the studies and plans required in support of a development application. Topics for discussion may include land use policies and guidelines, zoning information, public consultation, transportation and engineering requirements, development review, application fees, and other issues.

Before you apply, contact a Development Information Officer to confirm the requirements of the Zoning By-law.

City Planners are also available to provide preliminary comments before you apply. They may also identify documents or information they require in addition to the Committee’s submission requirements. Depending on the proposal and the location of the property, the City’s Planning Department may require:

  • A Streetscape Character Analysis
  • Minimum Distance Separation (MDS II) calculations
  • An Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Site Assessment
  • A Heritage Impact Assessment

City Planners are assigned to one of the Committee of Adjustment’s three panels. You can contact them by email:

Panel 1– Urban:

Panel 2– Suburban:

Panel 3– Rural:

City Planners can identify potential planning concerns, but it is the applicant’s responsibility to identify all required variances or permissions accurately on their application.

Contact a City Infill Forester to discuss the impact of your proposal on trees and to confirm if a Tree Information Report is required. Trees on private property within the urban boundary and municipally owned trees are subject to the City's Tree Protection By-law.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their application with neighbours and local community associations before applying.


One application is required for each lot, existing or proposed, for which the authorization of one or more minor variances or permission is requested. After the first application, secondary application fees apply to each additional minor variance/ permission application for abutting lots under the same ownership. 

Consult the Committee of Adjustment’s application fees. Cheques are payable to the City of Ottawa.


To apply for a minor variance or permission, fill out an application form and submit it to the Committee of Adjustment along with the submission requirements outlined on the form and the required fee. A separate form must be completed for each application.

Committee staff recommend making an appointment to have your application reviewed before submitting it. 

You can submit your application in person or by mail to:

Committee of Adjustment
101 Centrepointe Drive, 4th Floor
Ottawa, ON   K2G 5K7

Information is public

In accordance with the Planning Act, the Municipal Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, applications and documents submitted to the Committee of Adjustment are made available to the public. Application documents including cover letters, plans, and tree information will be made available online. Information you choose to disclose, including your personal information, will become part of the public record, shared with any interested individual, and potentially searchable on the Internet.

What’s next

Committee staff review

Committee staff review all applications for completeness and will respond within three business days of receiving your application. You will be notified of any missing information or submission requirement.

A hearing date is not assigned until your application is deemed complete. The assignment of hearing dates must account for staff processing and statutory notification timelines. It may take up to 10 business days for Committee staff to process a complete application.

For more information, see the Committee’s guide on How to participate at a hearing.


For additional information, email Committee of Adjustment or call 613-580-2436.