Development Applications

Please see updated process below for the submission of
development applications effective March 18, 2020.

  • Pre-submission Consultation meetings are still required and will be held by video or teleconference. Please contact to make arrangements. 

  • Development applications continue to be accepted in digital format. Applications received by Area Municipalities will be circulated to the Region by email. Applications submitted directly to the Region can be submitted to

Streamlining the Development Approval Process

Through the Streamline Development Approval Fund, the Province of Ontario has offered funding to 39 municipalities to modernize, streamline and accelerate processes for managing and approving housing applications.

In 2022, the Province made $500,000 in funding available for the Region of Waterloo to undertake projects related to streamlining the development approval process.

Building upon an existing Business Case for a Development Tracking System (DTS), the Region engaged Perry Group Consulting to prepare a Request for Proposal for a Digital Development Tracking system to transform the current semi-automated planning process to provide an exceptional customer experience, increase internal process efficiency and reduce the cycle time from application to approval of all development applications.

The RFP was prepared and made publicly available for bidding and can be found here.

Read Negotiated Request for Proposal for Development Tracking System

Through a Negotiated RFP process ESRI Canada was retained to implement Cityworks PLL as the core system of the DTS, which will modernize, streamline, and automate the development review and approval process. This solution will provide complete life-cycle management of the Planning Act Application Processes, including reporting, while integrating across departments. Efficiencies will be achieved as these workflows will: minimize administrative time by automating tasks and workflows; integrate and automate communications within the Region and external agencies; and provide mobile access to minimize travel for other staff including field users and remote locations.

The Region is currently implementing the system and has completed Phase 1 – Project Initiation, Planning and Configuration, which includes the requirements analysis and design, current process review and workflow mapping, base configuration as well as purchasing the necessary licenses to implement the system.

It is expected that full implementation of the system will result in the following outcomes:

  1. Reduce average elapsed time to process applications by 25%.
  2. Reduce the administration time spent by Planning staff on processing planning applications by 50% (using templated documents, tracking responses, GIS based advice analysis /alerts, online collaboration, etc.).
  3. Increase number of applications submitted online to 100% of all applications.
  4. Reduce planning status inquiries / contacts by applicant or agent to Planner by 50%.
  5. Reduce paper storage costs by 20% and paper use / costs by 50%.
  6. Increase customer/applicant satisfaction by 50% .
  7. Ability for near-real-time reporting through dashboards, KPIS, and maps-based data visualizations
  8. Reduce the number of delayed responses from application reviewers by 75%.

A portion of the funding was also used to hire temporary staff to support this initiative.

Waterloo Region is one of Canada's fastest growing municipalities. Striving to create an inclusive, thriving and sustainable community, the Region of Waterloo reviews development applications submitted under the Planning Act and is responsible for ensuring that Provincial planning regulations and Regional interests are protected through the implementation of the Regional Official Plan

Our role: 

  • Meeting Provincial Plan requirements - All planning decisions must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and conform to the Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan, and Source Water Protection Plan
  • Meeting Regional Official Plan requirements - All planning decisions must be consistent with the Regional Official Plan, including policies regarding growth management, meeting and maintaining minimum densities, protecting employment lands to maintain a prosperous and competitive economy, protecting our natural heritage and the Greenlands Network along with agricultural and rural areas, transit-oriented development, servicing our population, housing diversity, affordable housing. Implementation guidelines of the Regional Official Plan are available here for your review:
  • Approval authority for all Area Municipal Official Plans and Official Plan Amendment Applications (including the City of Kitchener), draft plans of subdivision, and draft plans of condominium (excluding the City of Kitchener)
  • Commenting agency on all Area Municipal zone change applications, site plans, consents and minor variance applications
  • Engineering approvals for any work within the Region's right-of-way or impacting Regional infrastructure related to development (e.g. infrastructure, access, utilities)
    Planning, Development and Legislative Services, through the Corridor Planning team, and Transportation and Environmental Services (Corridor Management and Design and Construction), are involved with engineering approvals. Corridor Planning reviews road access, lot grading plans and stormwater management reports, and their connection to the storm sewer in the right-of-way, Transportation Impact Studies and Transportation (road, rail) Noise Impact Studies. The majority of infrastructure review and utilities approvals are the responsibility of the Region's Transportation and Environmental Services department. 

Regional Development Charges 

Development Charges are required for all new developments in Waterloo Region. 

Community Planning contacts

Region of Waterloo staff are responsible for providing approvals and/or comments on planning applications and development related activities to ensure that development complies with Regional policies and standards. For full contact details, please see our Planning Contact List. 

Regional Development Application Processes and Submission Requirements

Regional Official Plan Amendment Process

The Regional Official Plan is a statutory document that sets out land use policy to guide future growth and development. If an owner proposes to develop a property differently than what is prescribed by the Regional Official Plan, they must apply to the Region for a Regional Official Plan Amendment. Regional Council is the approval authority for Regional Official Plan Amendments.

When you request an amendment to the Regional Official Plan:

  1. There will be a pre-consultation meeting with the applicant, consultants and planning staff to discuss the details or concepts of the application and provide general feedback on Regional policy and information about the requirements of a complete application.
  2. The applicant, planning consultant or other consultants undertake the required background studies, as discussed with staff in pre-consultation.
  3. The applicant or consultant completes a Regional Official Plan Amendment Application Form and submits the form, required background information, application fees, and all requested information to the Regional Planning, Development and Legislative Services department.
  4. Within 30 days of the submission of the application, background studies, fee, etc. the Regional Planning, Development and Legislative Services department will provide a letter to the applicant advising whether the application is complete.
  5. Within 15 days of providing an affirmative notice of a complete application, the regional staff will:
  • Circulate the application and all background studies and supporting material to all prescribed persons/bodies, other external agencies and internal departments.
  • Notify the public by way of a newspaper notice in local newspapers that a complete application has been received and the supporting documentation is available for their viewing in the Regional Planning, Development and Legislative Services department.
  1. Regional planning staff prepares a notice to hold a public meeting and publishes the notice in local newspapers at least 20 days before the meeting. This notice may be coordinated with the notice of a complete application.
  2. A peer review may be required on technical background studies such as agriculture, hydrogeology, environmental impact, retail impact, noise and vibration. The peer review is done at the owner's expense.
  3. The public meeting is held at a regular meeting of the Regional Planning and Works committee. Regional planning staff prepares and presents an information report describing the application and identifying any issues that require additional analysis.
  4. Comments from the public and agencies are received, reviewed and a further report is prepared by Regional planning staff and presented to the Planning and Works committee meeting.
  5. The Planning and Works committee's recommendation is forwarded to Regional Council. Council may recommend adoption of the amendment, or refusal of the application. Notice of the decision is issued by planning staff following the decision by Regional Council. There is a 20 day appeal period following the notice. If there are no appeals, then the amendment comes into force and effect. If an appeal is received, the amendment, record and appeal are forwarded to the Ontario Municipal Board. 

Area Municipal Official Plan Amendment Application

An Official Plan is a statutory document that sets out land use policy to guide future growth and development. If an owner proposes to develop a property differently than what is prescribed by the Area Municipal Official Plan, they must apply for an Official Plan Amendment. The Region of Waterloo approves and provides comments on Official Plan Amendment applications. Visit your City or Township's website for more information about applying for an Area Municipal Official Plan Amendment:

City of Cambridge

City of Kitchener

City of Waterloo

Township of North Dumfries

Township of Wellesley

Township of Wilmot

Township of Woolwich

Please see Region of Waterloo Development Application Fees for more information about regional fees.

Zoning By-law Amendment Application 

A Zoning By-law is a local planning document that outlines a set of regulations government land uses that help to implement policies of an Official Plan within a municipality. A Zoning By-law Amendment for individual properties is needed when a development proposal does not comply with the provisions of the approved Zoning By-law. The Region is a commenting agency for area municipalities with respect to Zoning By-law Amendment applications and reviews these applications to ensure the proposal is in keeping with Regional interests. Visit your City or Township's website for more information about applying for a Zoning By-law Amendment:

City of Cambridge

City of Kitchener

City of Waterloo

Township of North Dumfries

Township of Wellesley

Township of Wilmot

Township of Woolwich

Please see Region of Waterloo Development Application Fees for more information about regional fees.


Plans of Subdivision and Condominium Applications

Plan of Subdivision applications are typically needed when three or more parcels of land are proposed to be created/subdivided that will be sold individually, or new roads are being created, existing roads are being extended, and/or new services are being installed. 

Plan of Condominium applications are used as a form of ownership that can be applied to new or existing development. 

The Region of Waterloo is the approval authority (with the exception of the City of Kitchener) on applications for Plans of Subdivision and Condominium, which are circulated by the area municipality.

Please contact us for accessible versions of the above application forms if needed.

Please see Region of Waterloo Development Application Fees for more information about regional fees.

Consent/Severance and Minor Variance Information 

The Region will provide comments on an application where properties are adjacent to Regional roads or infrastructure, or may have Regional interests. 

Further, the area municipality must be in receipt of a letter/email from the Region providing clearance of all Regional conditions, prior to final approval. 

Please see Region of Waterloo Development Application Fees for more information about regional fees.

Site Plan Review

The Region approves Regional engineering matters in Site Plan applications for projects that impact:

  • Neighbouring Regional roads and infrastructure
  • Other Regional interests or initiatives (such as transit and source water protection areas) 
  • Environmental assessments

The Region reviews these Site Plan applications for a number of issues, including but not limited to: 

  • Road and intersection design
  • Servicing design
  • Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) approvals
  • Grading design
  • Access control
  • Utilities design
  • Pavement marking and signage design
  • Planning and legal considerations
  • Property requirements
  • Transit requirements
  • Transportation demand management requirements
  • Rapid transit requirements
  • Traffic requirements
  • Noise requirements
  • Environmental services requirements
  • Source water and wellhead protection
  • Forestry requirements

Site Plan Applications must be circulated by the area municipality in which the subject development in situated. Once the submission requirements are satisfactory to the Region and prior to final approval, the applicant must ensure all requirements have been satisfied.


Looking for a site plan application in a Waterloo Region municipality? Refer to these application links:







North Dumfries



Status of Plans

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