City of Toronto Mulls Further Enhancements to Development Review Process

On Friday June 11th, 2021, the City of Toronto’s (“the City’s”) Planning and Housing Committee (“the Committee”), adopted two items which could further change its development review process to provide a more seamless and collaborative approach to its assessment of development applications. We briefly outline these items below and will continue to monitor changes to these initiatives as they arise.

New Amendments to Concept 2 Keys (C2K) Program

We previously reported on the Concept 2 Keys (“C2K”) program in May 2021. On a basic level, C2K aims to reimagine organizational structures, processes, and technology to provide for a more seamless and collaborative approach to development review. This will be done through the launch of a new online application submission tool with new user-friendly forms and templates, the expansion of the online intake portal, and the creation of dedicated application review teams made up of members from various City divisions and overseen by new application managers and coordinators. C2K is currently being piloted on affordable housing development applications and long-term care home applications.

As reported to the June 11th committee meeting, the C2K program is preparing for the launch of “Phase 2” of the program at the end of June 2021. This would expand the use of the program to application types beyond affordable housing and long-term care homes, within the Etobicoke-York District. Should these pilot programs succeed, it is intended the C2K program will be extended to the entire City..

As reported, the City is also undertaking a development fee review to improve its existing fee structure to recover the costs of service for development applications. This work is currently being performed by a consultant and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2021. Following this, City Staff will report back with recommendations to City Council in the fourth quarter.

Mandatory Pre-Application Consultations Proposed

The Committee likewise voted to implement the standardization of pre-application consultations on planning applications, and to make these consultations mandatory in order to submit a development application.

Standardization of pre-application consultations would involve facilitating interdivisional alignment on application requirements prior to an application being submitted and identifying solutions to application-related challenges.

Mandatory consultations are partially a response to the shortened statutory timelines brought in under Bill 108, for processing planning matters. These would be enacted through amendments both to Toronto’s Official plan and its Municipal Code. These two streams of work are expected to culminate in a City-wide roll-out of mandatory pre-application consultation in 2022, following a potential transition period once the aforementioned Official Plan Amendment has come into force and effect.

The Committee directed that Terms of Reference for this work should also include direction that applicants, as part of a pre-application consultation, discuss affordable housing and how the application will address the City’s policies related to providing a full range of housing.