Plan Review

Land use planning in critically important to ensuring our region is the Place for Life. We review Planning Act applications to provide environmental and natural hazard protection advice to our watershed municipalities. Conservation Authorities have been delegated this responsibility by the Province of Ontario.

A comprehensive review of each application is undertaken to ensure that natural heritage will not be adversely affected by the proposed development. Natural heritage features considered include significant wetlands, significant woodlands, significant wildlife habitat, significant valley lands, environmentally sensitive areas, fish habitat, species at risk habitat, and areas of natural and scientific interest (ANSIs). We also ensure the completed project will not be adversely impacted by flooding and erosion.


When a Planning Act application is submitted to a municipality, it is determined whether it needs to be reviewed by ERCA. The municipality will either organize a pre-consultation meeting, or forward the application directly to ERCA for review. ERCA will advise what information and studies are required. Pre-consultation helps the applicant develop final plans that will meet the policies of the ERCA and other agencies, saving time and money while ensuring environmental sustainability. ERCA does not charge a fee for providing pre-consultation comments and input on applications.

The review process

Once an application has been reviewed to ensure it complies with environmental policies and regulations, ERCA will send recommendations to the municipality for consideration in its decision on the application. Plan review fees can be found here.


An applicant may also need a permit from ERCA if any construction or development work will take place in a regulated area in or near a river, stream, steep slope, wetland, floodplain or shoreline. For more information, see our Permits page. Additional permits may also be required from other agencies.