Planning Primer

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Planning Primer Elective – Heritage

Due to COVID-19, session will be held virtually through Zoom.

Date: May 3, 2022

Time: 1 pm to 3 pm

Date: May 10, 2022

Time: 6 pm to 8 pm

Location: Zoom

What is Planning Primer?

The Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department is offering the Planning Primer Program to help residents become more aware of, and more involved in, the land-use planning process.

The program is a series of half-day courses. The series includes two core courses and two elective courses.

The core courses, called Primer I and Primer II, describe the legislative and policy basis under which land-use planning decisions are made, the way policy documents are amended and how to make a development application.

The program aims to:

  • Build and maintain a strong working relationship and understanding between the City of Ottawa and communities
  • Provide resources and teach skills to aid residents participating in the land-use planning process

Image of people attending the course

Who is invited to attend?

All members of the public including developers, real estate agents, lawyers, builders and community representatives are invited to attend.


Please send your questions to

Planning Primer Courses and Electives

Primer I

Topics covered:

  • What is land use planning?
  • The Planning Act and the Provincial Policy Statement
  • The Official Plan
  • The Comprehensive Zoning By-law

Primer II

Topics covered:

  • Six Most Common Types of Development Applications
  • The Decision Makers
  • Pre-consultation and Submission of Applications
  • Public Notification and Application Review
  • Issue Resolution and Report Writing
  • The Urban Design Review Panel

The core courses are led by planning staff. Electronic copies of the course materials (PowerPoint presentations and other course notes) will be available to participants electronically, or in hard copy at the sessions.

Online materials now available for Courses and Electives

Primer 1 [ PDF 1.182 MB ] Version 1 posted fall 2015

Primer II [ PDF 1.762 MB ] Version 1 posted fall 2015


Development Charges Elective [ PDF 640 KB ]

Residential Intensification and Infill Elective [ PDF 6.083 KB ]

Heritage Planning Elective [ PDF 3.550 MB ]

Secondary Planning Processes Elective [ PDF 9.959 MB ]

Natural Systems Elective [ 4.923 MB ]

Planning for Healthy Communities Elective [ PDF 3.198 MB ]

This service is currently not available in person due to COVID-19 closures. While attending the courses in person allows one to benefit from the personal knowledge shared by the presenters and the question and answer periods, these online materials will provide a useful summary for use between courses as well as for those who are unable to attend in person.

Expansion of the online Planning Primer materials is under way.

Please register to receive our e-newsletter notification to receive more information about the courses and upcoming dates.

Planning Primer Calendar

2022 Dates Times and Location

Planning Primer Elective – Heritage

May 3, 2022

1 pm to 3 pm


Planning Primer Elective – Heritage May 10, 2022

6 pm to 8 pm


Registration opens two weeks before the course date and is on a first come, first served basis. Pre-registration is not accepted.

Zoning By-laws

The Zoning By-law provides controls for the use and type of development of all land in Ottawa. The Zoning By-law also sets specific requirements for development that must be followed. These include provisions for building heights, the number of parking spaces, and the size of front, side and rear yards.

Council approved the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law, which harmonizes the existing 36 zoning by-laws from the former municipalities into one by-law.

For more information about how zoning and planning work in the City, please see Development Review.

How to find current zoning information

Property zoning information is easily accessed through a simple address search leading you to the appropriate section of the by-law. You may also telephone or visit a Development Information Officer (DIO) in any of the City's Client Service Centres.

  • City Hall Client Service Centre - 613-580-2424, ext. 28333
  • Orléans Client Service Centre - 613-580-2424, ext. 29242
  • Ben Franklin Place Client Service Centre - 613-580-2424, ext. 41250
  • Kanata Client Service Centre - 613-580-2424, ext. 33321
  • Metcalfe (Tuesdays) - 613-580-2424, ext. 20009
  • Kinburn (Wednesdays) - 613-580-2424, ext. 32226
  • North Gower (Thursdays) - 613-580-2424, ext. 31303

If you are selling or refinancing a property, you may need a compliance report, which describes the zoning of a property and comments on whether the current use is permitted. It also indicates any outstanding work orders authorized by the Ontario Building Code, and other information on the property.

How to apply for a change in Zoning or Minor Variance

If you want to develop or build on your property in a way that is not permitted in the current zoning, you can apply for a  Zoning Amendment or a Minor Variance.

If you think there's a problem

If you think a property is being used in a way that is not permitted in the Zoning By-law, you may file a complaint by calling 3-1-1. The City does zoning inspections and enforces the By-law when it receives complaints. It also undertakes Business Licence inspections to ensure businesses licensed by the City conform to the Zoning By-law.

Got Questions?

Telephone the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1.