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Second units

A second unit also referred to as a basement apartment, in-law suite or accessory dwelling is a self-contained living space with cooking, sleeping and sanitary facilities within a detached, semi-detached house or townhouse.

All second units must meet the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law requirements and must be registered with the City as stated in the Second Units Registration By-law.

You will need a building permit if you’re planning to construct a new second unit or if your second unit was built after July 14, 1994.

Register a second unit

There is no fee to register a second unit. You may need to pay for a building permit, fire inspection fees or any professional design work and renovation costs your second unit may require.

How you register your second unit will depend on when it was built.

To register a second unit built on or before July 14, 1994, bring the following documents to the Planning and Building service counter, 3rd floor, 300 City Centre Drive, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

Once we’ve checked everything is correct we will forward the documents to fire prevention and life safety, who will contact you to arrange an inspection.

You will need to provide inspectors with a current Electrical Safety Certificate.

Once your second unit inspection is complete you will be issued a ‘clearance letter’, allowing the second unit to be registered or a ‘Fire Inspection Order’ outlining the work needed to make the second unit safe.

If the inspection reveals any additional work that requires a building permit you will need to follow the building permit process before your second unit can be registered.

To register a second unit built after July 14, 1994, bring the following documents to the Planning and Building service counter, 3rd floor, 300 City Centre Drive, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Proof of ownership such as a tax bill, title of property or tax assessment notice
  • A building permit signed off by all concerned City inspectors. If you don’t have a copy of your permit or need more information you can speak to a Permit Technician at the Planning and Building service counter.
  • Completed Second Unit Registration Form

New second units

If you plan to construct a new second unit, you will need to apply for a building permit.

To obtain a building permit, you must meet the Guidelines for Second Units listed in the Ontario Building Code.

Once a building permit has been issued and all necessary inspections completed, the second unit will be registered and added to the Second Units Registry List, which is maintained by the City and updated the first week of every month. A copy of the second unit registration certificate will be mailed to you.

Report an illegal second unit

To report an illegal second unit, first check the Second Units Registry List. If it’s registered, then call 311 (905-615-4311 from outside City limits).

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