Guelph/Eramosa to increase planning service fee by 17.6%

Current fee hasn’t been changed since 2018

BRUCEDALE – It’s not happening all at once, but Guelph/Eramosa council is taking steps toward full cost recovery when it comes to Planning Act applications.

At its committee of the whole meeting on March 18, council discussed a planning service fee review with Amanda Roger, planning technician and secretary-treasurer.

Roger explained the purpose of the report is to review the current fee schedule, which has not been updated since 2018.

The report also proposes changes that will help recover anticipated costs for processing Planning Act applications.

“To avoid a significant increase in planning fees that would result from seeking full cost recovery, we’re proposing to apply a 17.6 per cent increase based on the cost-of-living adjustment approved by council between 2019 and 2024,” said Roger.

The subsequent fees, identified in a draft bylaw attached to the report, are comparable to adjacent municipalities within the county.

“Today, staff are seeking direction from the committee to proceed with the scheduling of a public meeting, and to confirm which consent-related fee should be applied,” she added.

In the draft bylaw, two options were presented:

  • a $1,445 cost for consent applications to achieve full cost recovery (based on Watson and Associates initial review with the 17.6% increase applied); or
  • a $500 fee, “which obtains partial cost recovery,” explained Roger.

Mayor Chris White said “this isn’t new” and “everybody’s trying to get full cost recovery.”

Noting the increase between 2018 and 2024 in the time required to review applications, councillor Mark Bouwmeester said, “I can only summarize it as ‘welcome to doing business in Ontario.’ All these soft costs keep adding up and adding up.

“This is driven by cost recovery, and I think that’s the way to go.”

Bouwmeester explained it is not good to see costs increase every year, “but if cost recovery is what we’re striving for, then it is what it is.”

Councillor Corey Woods said the ultimate goal is full cost recovery, but he echoed Bouwmeester’s remarks.

“I think at the very least, we have to go with the cost of living; the 17.6%. But maybe we need to go with the true cost of living at [25.5%],” said Woods.

White had no question that this would be a jump, but “it is a jump fitting with the environment we are currently in.”

With current consultation requirements with the new provincial legislation, White told the Advertiser the township could do what it’s done in the past with other planning fees and “start slow and work to full cost recovery.”

However, council decided to “go all the way” to get this planning service fee to full cost recovery “so that there’s no ambiguity and nobody else is picking up the costs.”

Due to actual full cost recovery in this case raising fees by 25.5%, White said they are going to “incrementally get there.”

“I know 17.6% is a huge jump, but 25.5% is even larger, so that’s why we’re slowly trying to get the full cost recovery,” said White.

Therefore, costs for processing Planning Act applications will be increasing by 17.6% to start, and will inch upward over time.

The committee of the whole then authorized staff to proceed with the scheduling of a public meeting on April 15 in accordance with legislative requirements.

To read the full report, visit