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NVCA > Planning & Permits > Permits & Regulations

Permits & Regulations


The importance of permits

Flooding and erosion are recurring problems in areas of the Nottawasaga Valley watershed. Over $1 billion in property and more than 33,000 people are at risk.

Imagine a significant flood event. Fast flowing and high water levels flood homes, erode stream banks and shorelines, and make roads impassable. 

The NVCA guards against the risks posed by flooding, erosion and other natural hazards by regulating development in the watershed. We do this by administering a regulation made under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act known as the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation (Ontario Regulation 172/06)

Under this regulation, NVCA ensures that development proposals take into consideration natural features like floodplains, steep slopes, wetlands, rivers and lakes in order to:

  • prevent injuries and loss of life;
  • minimize property damage and restoration costs;
  • protect adjacent and downstream properties against harm caused by upstream development;
  • reduce the costs, both public and private, of emergency operations and evacuations;
  • minimize the hazards associated with development in floodplains and areas that are susceptible to erosion, which in future years may require expensive protective measures; and
  • protect the natural benefits offered by wetlands, watercourses and shorelines.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Permit Process

When do I need to contact the NVCA?

If you are planning to do any work near a lake, river, stream or wetland, you may require approval from the NVCA.

If you are unsure if this Regulation will affect your property, please contact our office at 705-424-1479 and ask to speak to our planning department.

You can also search for your property on the NVCA's interactive mapping system to see if you are in an area where a permit is required.

What activities or projects require a permit under the Regulation?

The following work requires permission in a regulated area:

  • the construction, reconstruction, erection or placing of a building or structure of any kind;
  • changes that would alter the use, or potential use, of a building or structure;
  • increase the size of a building or structure, or increase the number of dwelling units in the building or structure;
  • site grading;
  • the temporary or permanent placing, dumping or removal of any material originating on the site or elsewhere;
  • the straightening, changing or diverting or interfering with the existing channel of a river, creek, stream or watercourse;
  • the changing or interfering with a wetland.

Is my property regulated?

You can see if your property is regulated by the NVCA using the interactive property map.

By turning on the NVCA map layer, you can see all the areas regulated in the watershed (shown in yellow in the image above). Regulated areas are determined using the best available flood and erosion hazard science.

If your property, or a part of your property, is in the regulated area, you may require a permit from NVCA for any construction or landscaping project. 

Not sure if your property is in a regulated area? Give us a call to find out more about your specific situation.

How do I apply for a permit?

1—Call and discuss your plans with us.

If you are considering a project that may require a permit we strongly encourage you to first contact our office to discuss your plans. This free consultation will help you determine if you need a permit, and if you do, what to expect during the permitting process.

Call 705-424-1479 to discuss your plans over the phone or to make an appointment. We are open Monday to Friday from  8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2—Submit an application form and fee.

When you are ready to apply, you will need to submit an application form and the appropriate review fee. Application forms and the current fee schedule are available by clicking here. Any applicable fees may be paid with cash, cheque, debit card or credit card.

What's involved in the review process?

​When we receive your application, we first determine if it is complete. If it is not, we will provide you with a list of missing and needed information.

Meeting with our planning staff before you begin the permit process will help you know what drawings and studies to submit with your application and let you know what other items may be required upon a more detailed review of your plans.

After all the required materials are received, NVCA planning and engineering staff review your plans, complete a site inspection if needed, and take other steps to make an informed decision on your application. 

How long will it take?

Every proposed project is unique, so the information required for a complete application and the time required to review each application varies.

For minor applications it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to process an application from start to finish. However, the review process can take longer depending on the nature of your plans and your property.

In all cases, we strive to meet the provincial standards for Conservation Authority permit reviews. After receiving your application, we will let you know within 21 days if it is complete, and if not, what's missing. After receiving all the required information, we will make a decision on whether or not a permit will be issued within 30 days (for minor applications). 

Note that if your application is very complex and requires a full technical review (i.e., a major application), the permit review process make take considerably longer.

How long is a permit valid?

In general, permits are valid for 2 years.

​What if I am not the owner of the property?

If you are applying for a permit on behalf of the property owner, the current owner must indicate you are acting as their agent on the permit application (and sign where applicable) and provide a letter authorizing that you are acting as their agent.​ 

Are other permits required?

Approval from the NVCA does not replace building permits or any other permits required by municipalities or other agencies. 

​What happens if I don't call the NVCA for a permit?

Failure to obtain a permit is a violation of the Conservation Authorities Act. Conviction can result in fines up to $10,000.00. You may also be required to restore and rehabilitate the site to its original condition.