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Protection of Second Unit Policies (s. 17 (24.1), 17(36.1), 22(7.1) & (7.2) and s. 34 (19.1) )

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An illustration of a detached house with a second unit in the basement.  


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Description of Tool

  • Enables municipalities to adopt official plan (OP) policies and zoning by-law (ZBL) provisions that permit second units in detached, semi-detached and row houses as-of-right
  • Optional tool that builds on existing OP policies and ZBLs
  • Cannot be challenged at the Ontario Municipal Board unless the OP policies are appealed at the time of a mandatory OP review


  • Municipal councils can adopt OP policies and zoning by-laws that permit second units in detached, semi-detached or row houses as-of-right

Potential Benefits

  • Can make efficient use of existing housing stock and infrastructure
  • Can support intensification and compact form
  • Can increase densities without changing the community’s character and may make transit more viable
  • May increase the supply of affordable housing units
  • Can provide a source of income for homeowners

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This sheet deals in summarized and conceptualized fashion with complex matters that reflect legislation, policies and practices that are subject to change. All illustrations represent hypothetical scenarios of the application of various tools. For these reasons, this fact sheet should not be relied upon as a substitute for the relevant legislation, regulations and policy documents, or for specialized legal or professional advice when making land-use planning decisions.

ISBN 978-1-4435-1161-2 (PDF)
ISBN 978-1-4435-1160-5 (HTML)