GRND Demolition and Excavation Toronto

Toronto's Demolition Laws: What Every Home and Business Owner Should Know

By GRND / January 31, 2024

Are you a homeowner or business owner in Toronto considering demolishing a building or structure? It’s important to understand the local laws and permit requirements.

At GRND, we’re here to help you navigate the complex world of demolition permits and regulations in Toronto. Let’s dive into what you need to know to ensure your demolition project goes smoothly and legally.
You can always give us a call or fill out a form if you would like us to guide you in the right direction for local municipality building permit requirements.

Understanding the Need for Demolition Permits

First things first, why do you need a permit for demolition? In Toronto, like in most cities, demolishing a building isn’t as simple as just tearing it down.

Permits ensure that demolitions are carried out safely, without causing harm to the community or the environment. Furthermore, they ensure that the demolition aligns with the city’s development and planning goals. Whether it’s a commercial or residential property, obtaining the right permits is a crucial first step.

Residential Demolition Permits

For residential properties, the process starts with understanding the specific requirements for a residential demolition permit. This permit is necessary if you’re planning to demolish the whole or a part of a residential building.

The City of Toronto outlines clear guidelines on their website for obtaining this permit. It includes submitting detailed plans of the existing building and the site, along with the demolition method you intend to use.

Commercial Demolition Permits

Commercial demolitions often involve larger structures and have different considerations compared to residential demolitions. The process for obtaining a commercial demolition permit in Toronto includes several steps.

These steps ensure the safety of the demolition process, especially considering the potential impact on surrounding businesses and public spaces.

The City of Toronto provides resources and guidance for business owners to navigate these requirements, ensuring that commercial demolitions are conducted responsibly and in compliance with city regulations.

Demolition permit requirements

What kind of permits do I require for demolition in Ontario?

You may need a demolition permit from your municipality, as well as an asbestos removal permit if the building contains asbestos. You may also need to follow the Ontario Heritage Act if the building is a heritage property. Demolition does not require a planning permission. (1)

What kind of permits do I require for demolition in Toronto?

Under the building code act a demolition permit, or building permit, is required for any building or part of a building greater than 10 square metres. (2) This includes sheds, decks, garages, and pools. If the structure is a heritage property, you must comply with the regulations of the Ontario Heritage Act.

You do not need a planning permission for demolition. (3)

An asbestos removal permit is required if the building contains asbestos. (4) Similarly, if the project involves the removal of trees, a Tree Removal Permit might be required.

A Street Occupation Permit might be required if the demolition project extends beyond the property line, such as using sidewalks, roadways, or public lanes. This permit is necessary for ensuring public safety and accessibility, and managing the impact of the demolition on public spaces.

Navigating the Permit Application Process

yellow and blue hard hats on a table, used for demolition safety, with several demolition tools underneath

The permit application process can seem daunting, but it’s a critical step in ensuring your demolition project is legal and safe. The application process involves submitting detailed plans, paying the applicable fees, and often includes a review by city officials.

This process ensures that all safety, environmental, and community standards are met. It’s important to be diligent in your application to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Building Code Act Demolition permit application process example

The first step in the process is to contact the city’s Building Department to schedule an inspection of the building. The inspection is required in order to obtain a permit.

Upon finishing the inspection, the next step involves handing in a completed demolition application form, accompanied by the payment of the fee, to the Building Department. Signatures from the property owner and the demolition contractor are mandatory on this form.

When the application is approved, you will be issued a demolition permit (building permit) that is valid for one year from the date it was issued.

It is important to note that the permit process is separate from the zoning and planning approval process. Additional approvals from Toronto’s Planning Department might be required before you can start the demolition work.

Working with a Professional Demolition Company

Demolition is often a dangerous and complex process. To ensure your project’s safety and adherence to local laws and regulations, it’s important to work with a professional demolition company like ours.

Our extensive expertise and experience equip us to handle the wide range of challenges that demolition projects often present.

From obtaining the necessary permits to executing the demolition safely and efficiently, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner in Toronto, understanding and complying with the city’s demolition laws and permit requirements is crucial for a successful and legal demolition project. At GRND, we’re committed to helping you navigate these requirements and ensuring your demolition project is a success.


1. Government of Ontario, Demolition Permits,

2. City of Toronto, When Do I need a Building Permit?,

3. City of Toronto, Residential Demolition Permit,

4. City of Toronto, Asbestos Management,

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