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Committee of Adjustment

The Committee of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body that hears applications for minor zoning variances and land severances. The committee is a local board of the City established under the Planning Act. The committee conducts itself in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and is also governed by Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 4, Adjustment, Committee of.

Committee responsibilities

To make informed decisions, each panel member is expected to:

  • review materials filed with each application
  • conduct individual site inspections of the subject property to assess the impacts the proposal may have on the surrounding area
  • attend and participate at all public hearings scheduled for their respective panels, including a briefing session prior to the actual hearing

Panel chairs are responsible for:

  • ensuring fair and timely public hearings
  • addressing matters concerning the operation and conduct of their panel membership
  • participating as a member of the panel chair group to discuss issues affecting the city-wide committee membership

Appointed members must attend an intensive orientation and training program.

Term of office

The term of office for public members of the board is four years.

Composition

As of April 2019, the Committee of Adjustment consists of 35 members of the public organized into four panels corresponding to the Community Council boundaries. There are:

  • 8 members on the Etobicoke York panel
  • 10 members on the North York Panel
  • 5 members on the Scarborough panel
  • 12 members on the Toronto and East York Panel

Qualifications

In addition to the general eligibility requirements set out in the Public Appointments Policy, members should collectively bring the following skills and expertise to the committee:

  • a strong interest in the complexities and challenges of city building
  • an understanding of the diverse neighbourhoods and communities across the city
  • have knowledge in one or more areas of: law, planning, architecture, government, economic development, community development, land development, urban forestry and environmental planning, or citizen advocacy
  • demonstrate decision-making, communication, and mediation skills to facilitate an open and fair hearing process
  • each panel should have at least 2 members with adjudication experience and administrative public speaking and organizational skills to be able to chair public hearings and maintain order in conflict situations

Members cannot act as agents for applicants before the Committee of Adjustment.

Former Council members who served in the immediately preceding term of Council are ineligible for appointment as public members.

Meetings

Public hearings are generally scheduled every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the application volume in each district, but are sometimes scheduled more often when volumes are high. Meetings are held at civic centres (Etobicoke Civic Centre, North York Civic Centre, Scaborough Civic Centre, City Hall) on weekdays during daytime hours, though meetings can run into the evening if there are many applications to consider.

Remuneration

  • Panel chairs: $2,500 annually, plus full-day per diem of $460 and half-day remuneration (3.5 hours or less) of $275 for hearings, business meetings or training sessions.
  • Members: $1,500 annually, plus full-day per diem of $460 and half-day remuneration (3.5 hours or less) of $275 for hearings, business meetings or training sessions.

Related links

Membership

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Applications for the upcoming round of appointments to the Committee of Adjustment were due April 26, 2019. However, applications are always being accepted for future vacancies.