VAUGHAN, ONT. — There are many benefits associated with e-permitting systems, but Canada still has a lot of ground to make up when it comes to investing in digital development approval platforms, according to a new research report done for the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON).
Canada still favours conservative technology solutions over innovative ones, which leads to inadequate growth in much-needed physical and digital infrastructure, the research indicates, adding the U.K., Australia, Singapore and South Korea have forged ahead with digitized systems.
The report, titled Streamlining the Development Approvals System in Ontario: Modernizing, Digitizing and E-permitting, was compiled by Kimberly Mahadeo, a McMaster university student interning at RESCON.
The report found:
- Canada’s complex regulatory system has been deemed as one of the most prominent deterrents of foreign investors in Canadian projects, and the leading barrier to global competitiveness. Redundant procedures and lengthy timelines also lead to unnecessary administrative burdens, ultimately resulting in an inefficient approvals system;
- In Ontario, obtaining a site plan approval from municipal authorities almost always exceeds the established 30-day timeline, taking up to 180 days on average and the entire approval process takes an average of 249 days, almost 100 days more than the average in other OECD countries; and
- The barriers to development significantly deter investors, lead to increasing project costs and uncertainty, as well as hindering economic growth in Ontario. Problems afforded by the antiquated approvals process in Ontario limit the development of housing supply to meet growing demand.
“The findings of this report show that we need to step up our game and improve the development approvals process by coming up with guidelines for a province-wide digital e-permitting system that is standardized and could be used by all 444 municipalities across the province to ensure everybody is on the same page,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall in a statement. “The construction industry is a major driver of our economy and we need a faster and more streamlined development approvals system.”