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Common Exemptions

Many projects on Niagara Escarpment Plan lands are exempt from the Development Permit process. See below for most common developments and if yours applies.

Many common projects are exempt from a Development Permit, as long as some reasonable standards are met. Some of these projects include interior and exterior changes to an existing structure, pools, additions, septic, decks, accessory structures, and solar panels.

Your self evaluation is your confirmation that the development meets the exemption criteria. It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that all requirements are met for the exemption. Proceeding with development where a permit would be required may result in compliance actions.

If you are unsure if exemption wording applies to your proposed development or not, please see refer to R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 828 or consult with NEC staff by emailing nec@ontario.ca.

Exterior Renovations

If your project will not increase the size of a structure or will not change its use, it is exempt from the NEP.

Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs

Pools, spas and hot tubs are exempt if they follow certain size and location restrictions.

Additions

Additions are exempt if they follow a certain set of criteria.

Structures annexes

The construction of an accessory building is permitted, as long as some criteria are met.

Terrasses, porches, patios et vérandas

Some developments are exempt, depending on certain criteria.

Septic

Work on exisitng septic systems, as long as they are fully contained in the property, are exempt from the NEP.

Panneaux solaires

Solar elements flush to the roof of any building or structure are exempt from the NEP.

Demolitions

Certain demolitions are exempt from the Development Permit Application process.

Interior Renovations

If your project will not change the property's use, it is exempt from the NEP.

If your development is not exempt...

If your property is within the Niagara Escarpment Plan area and your development is not exempt, visit the NEC Information System portal and follow the instructions to provide your information. Consult the NEC Information System User Guide for further direction.

Information for Municipalities

A letter confirming any of the above exemptions will not be issued by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Municipalities can use this page in discussions with developers to demonstrate how their development is exempt or could become exempt with modifications.

A property owner’s self evaluation is confirmation that the development meets the exemption criteria. It is on the onus of the property owner to meet the criteria. If a property owner proceeds in situations that do not meet the criteria, they are at risk of a compliance infraction.

An exemption does not relieve you of any other permission (e.g., Ontario Building Code, Endangered Species Act, Ontario Regulation 172/06 established under the Conservation Authorities Act, etc.).

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