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Height and Density Bonusing (s. 37)

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An illustration of a 3 storey building.  Additional storeys are shown on top of the building, which are outlined with a dashed line to show how additional height and density could be permitted in exchange for community benefits.  In this example, the community benefits are public art, a bus shelter, and a daycare.


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Description of Tool

  • Process to allow buildings to exceed the height and density of development otherwise permitted by zoning by-laws in exchange for community benefits
  • Optional tool, requires additional official plan (OP) policies for set-up
  • Often negotiated between a developer and a municipality
  • Allows services, facilities or matters to be set out in agreements and registered on title


  • To use this tool, a municipality must have approved OP policies related to bonusing
  • A municipal council must pass a zoning by-law to authorize increases in height and density of a development in return for the provision of facilities, services, or matters of benefit to the community
  • Timeline: when the complete application is received, the approval authority has 120 days to make a decision

Potential Benefits

  • May allow facilities, services, or matters, such as public art or transit improvements to be provided to the community without increasing the financial burden on municipalities or their taxpayers
  • May support intensification, growth management, transit supportiveness and other community building objectives
  • May provide desirable visual amenities to enhance the development site and the surrounding neighbourhood

For more information contact:


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 978-1-4435-1169-8 (PDF)
ISBN 978-1-4435-1168-1 (HTML)