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Primer on Planning

Enroll in the Primer on Planning Course

PRIMER ON PLANNING: An OACA Correspondence Course

The first three lessons of the course provide an overview of the land use planning process in Ontario. The main planning instruments, policies and controls are introduced and described, as well as the evolving provincial-local relationship in planning. Particular attention is given to the official plan and the zoning by-law. The next two lessons represent the central core of the course and provide a detailed examination of the powers, procedures and practices of committees of adjustment, land division committees and consent authorities when considering applications for minor variances and consents. Factual situations and descriptions of pertinent case law are used to highlight the issues under discussion. The final lesson deals with validation of title and issuing a "Validation Certificate" under Section 57 of the Planning Act – what it is and when and how is it used.Among the key topics covered are:

  • The statutory framework for land use planning in Ontario
  • The nature and key components of an official plan
  • The specific stages and responsibilities in the official plan approval process
  • The nature and key components of a zoning by-law
  • The various steps and requirements in the zoning by-law approval process
  • The nature and purposes of site plan control, and how it differs from zoning
  • The appointment, powers & operating procedures of a committee of adjustment
  • The nature of a minor variance and how to evaluate one
  • The changes in use which are possible in legal non-conforming uses
  • Controlling the subdivision of land through subdivision plans or by consents
  • The appointment, powers & operating procedures of consent authorities
  • The factors to be considered in evaluating applications for consents

The course material incorporates the latest developments in the planning field and is updated to reflect changes from time to time.  

  • Enrolled Students will receive their course materials from AMCTO and will have assignments to complete for each lesson in the course.
  • These assignments are to be completed according to the submission schedule provided upon registration.
  • Once all assignments are completed, students must write and pass a final exam to complete the course.
  • Successful completion of the course will be recognized with a Certificate from the Ontario Association of Committees of Adjustment and Consent Authorities (OACA) and this course is highly recommended as one of the educational components leading to accreditation as an Accredited Committee Secretary-Treasurer (ACST) or Accredited Committee Member (ACM).