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The Township of The Archipelago is responsible for enforcing the Ontario Building Code and issuing permits for the construction, renovation, demolition and certain changes of use of buildings, and for the installation, alteration, extension or repair of on-site sewage systems.

Building Permit applications can be emailed to, mailed or dropped off to the Township office.

For building inspection requests, please leave a detailed message with the permit number, property location, inspection type and your contact information. Inspection requests can be made at 705-746-4243 Extension 360 or email to

For building permit inquiries, please contact Jessie Langford at 705-746-4243 Extension 317 or email to

Information regarding the permit process can be found below.

To determine what is permitted on your property, please refer to the Planning Handbook and the Comprehensive Zoning By-law.  If you do not know the zoning of your property, you can find it and more on the West Parry Sound Geography Network.

Permit fee information can be found in our Building By-law.

The Township of The Archipelago's Building Officials are subject to the Code of Conduct as required by the Building Code Act.  Please refer to Building Officials Code of Conduct.

Residential Occupancy Permits 

Before you can occupy your newly constructed residence (including cottages and sleeping cabins) you are required under the building code to obtain an occupancy permit. This occupancy permit is issued by the building department once your building has reached the minimum level of completion as set out in Division C - of the Ontario Building Code.

Please refer to the excerpt from the Ontario Building Code to determine what you need to have completed to receive an occupancy permit.

Dock Permits

A permit is not required for a dock replacement of the same size, location and configuration. If you are increasing the size, changing the configuration, or constructing a brand new dock, you will require a building permit. Please refer to the Planning Handbook and Zoning By-Law for dock regulations.

MNRF Dock and Boathouse Requirements  

Depending on the size of your dock, you may require approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). On June 1st, 2017, the MNRF made changes to the Public Lands Act. As a result, most docks and single-storey boathouses that have 15 square metres or less in physical contact with the shoreland no longer require review or approval from the MNRF. Floating docks, post docks and crib docks, having less than 15 square metres in physical contact with shorelands, are included in these changes.

A work permit will still be required for certain activities on shorelands. For example, the installation of cribs having a cumulative area of more than 15 square metres in physical contact with shorelands.

Building permits are required from the Township for the construction of a new dock or boathouse or boat port and/or the expansion of an existing dock, boathouse or boatport.

Sheds Under 15sqm

As Per Ontario Building Code - Division C -
A shed is exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit under section 8 of the Building Code Act and is exempt from compliance with the Ontario Building Code, provided that the shed,
a) is not more than 15sqm in gross area,
b) is not more than one storey in building height,
c) is not attached to a building or any other structure,
d) is used only for storage purposes ancillary to a principal building on the lot, and
e) does not have plumbing.

Compliance with the Zoning By-Law is still required for such things as lot coverage, and setbacks.  The shed is not permitted to be used as a sleeping cabin.

What is a building permit?

The Township of The Archipelago is responsible for enforcing Ontario’s Building Code and issues permits for the construction, renovation, demolition and certain changes of use of buildings, and for the installation, alteration, extension or repair of on-site sewage systems.

Why do you need to obtain a building permit?

Building permits allow the municipality to protect the interest of both individuals and the community as a whole.  By reviewing and approving building plans before any work is done, the municipality can ensure that buildings comply with:

  • the Building Code, which sets standards for the design and construction of buildings to meet objectives such as health, safety, fire protection, accessibility and resource conservation,
  • the Comprehensive Zoning By-law and other planning controls on buildings,
  • other applicable legislation, including Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry approval and certain requirements under the Environmental Protection Act.

When do you need a building permit?

Types of projects which require a building permit prior to construction include, but are not limited to:

  • construct any new building over ten square metres in area (if constructing a building under this size, be sure you meet the requirements of the Comprehensive Zoning By-law in regards to building use (for example a sleeping cabin must be greater than ten square metres), setbacks, lot coverage, etc.),
  • construction of a dock,
  • make renovations or repairs or add to a building,
  • excavate or construct a foundation,
  • construction or replacement of a deck,
  • construct a seasonal building,
  • all sleeping cabins,
  • a solar collector that is mounted on a building and has a face area equal to or greater than 5 square metres,
  •  install, alter, extend or repair an on-site sewage system.

Contact the building department if you have any questions about when a building permit is required.

How do you apply for a building permit?

You can get an application for a building permit from our website or office.  It’s a good idea to talk to staff at the Township before you apply.  The building department can tell you what information, drawings and plans you will have to include with the application and whether you will need any other permits or approvals.  

What happens to your application?

The building department will review your application to confirm that the proposed work complies with the Building Code and other applicable laws set out in the Building Code, such as the Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Your application may be sent to other departments within the Township for comments.

Applications for a simple alteration or addition can be processed fairly quickly, but more complex proposals may take longer.  The Building Code requires that a municipality review a permit application within a certain time frame where the application meets the criteria set out in the Code.  For example, the time frame on a permit application for a house is 10 working days.  For a more complex building, such as a hospital, the time frame is 30 working days. Within this time frame, the Township must either issue the permit or refuse it with full reasons for denial.

In order to be issued a permit, proposed construction must comply with the Building Code and with the applicable laws (such as the zoning by-law) set out in the Building Code.  If you need a zoning change or a minor variance from the zoning by-law, or if the proposed construction does not comply with the Building Code, a permit will not be issued until the zoning change or minor variance has been obtained, or the proposed construction complies with the Building Code.

If your property is covered by a site plan control by-law, no one can undertake any development unless the Township has reviewed and approved certain plans.  Once the plans are approved, a site plan agreement is generally implemented.  This agreement contractually binds the owner to develop and maintain a site in accordance with the approved plans and terms of the agreement.

What can you do if your application is turned down?

If the Township of The Archipelago refuses your application, you will be told why.  If you can’t resolve the problems with the Township, you have a few options for appealing the decision.

  • If the problem relates to a technical requirement set out in the Building Code, you may apply to the Building Code Commission.  The Building Code Commission is an independent adjudicative tribunal of the provincial government whose mandate is to hear disputes related to compliance with the technical requirements of the Building Code.  If you wish to apply to the Building Code Commission for a hearing you can find the Building Code Commission’s application forms and their Guidelines, Policies and Procedures on the Building Code website
  • If the problem relates to compliance with other applicable laws, such as interpretation of the zoning by-law, you can appeal to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, who will review the zoning by-law.  You may want to talk to a lawyer first.

    What happens during construction?

    The Building Code sets out the stages of construction of which different types of buildings/sewage systems require inspections. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to contact the Township for an inspection when the project is at the stages of construction set out in the Building Code.  The Township’s building official is required to carry out the inspection within two working days of being notified.   For construction of a sewage system, the inspector has five working days to conduct the inspection.  During the inspection, a building inspector will inspect the work to determine if it is carried out in accordance with the Building Code, your permit and the approved plans.

You will also be required to:

  • show your permit in a window or other place where it can be easily seen,
  • keep copies of the approved plans on site,
  • tell the Township about any changes to the proposed construction, which will also have to be approved by the building department.
The inspector must always be able to see the work.  If it’s different from the work that was approved and, unless you get permission for a revision to your plans, you will be told to correct it. If you don’t, the Township can take enforcement action, such as issuing orders authorized under the Building Code Act, 1992.

What about a demolition? 

Before you take down all or part of a building, you will have to apply to the Township for a demolition permit.

What if you want to chnage a building's use?

If you want to change the way you use all or part of the building, you may need a change of use permit, even if you’re not planning any construction.  A building evaluation may have to be done to make sure that the existing building can support the proposed use.  Different uses have different Building Code requirements.

Call the building department to find out whether you will need a change of use permit.

What happens if you contravene the Building Code Act, 1992?

An individual who is charged and found guilty of an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992, such as building without a permit, can be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences.  For a corporation, a first offence could result in a maximum fine of $100,000 and $200,000 for subsequent infractions.

Failure to comply with an order from the municipal building department is also an offence under the Building Code Act, 1992.

What other approvals may be required?

In addition to the planning approvals and building permit which are required for a building project, other permits and approvals may be required in particular circumstances, for example Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or Ministry of Environment approvals. These approvals are considered applicable law. The applicable laws, which are set out in the Building Code, must be complied with for the building permit to be issued.

How can you find out more?

For more information about land use planning within the Township or the unincorporated townships within the jurisdiction of the Archipelago Area Planning Board, please contact the planning department.

For more information regarding the Ministry of Housing or the Ontario Building Code please click on the following links:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs 

Ontario Building Code 

The Township of The Archipelago is responsible for administering and enforcing the provisions of Part 8 of the Ontario Building Code for on-site sewage systems within The Archipelago and in the geographic Townships of Blair, Brown, Harrison, Henvey, Mowat and Wallbridge.

Building permits are required to construct the following sewage systems:

  • Class 2 greywater pits
  • Class 3 cesspools
  • Class 4 leaching beds, filter beds, shallow buried trench, Type A and B dispersal beds
  • Class 5 holding tanks
The building permit application can be found here.

Permit fees can be found in our building by-law.

Note:  No permit is required to construct a Class 1 system (outhouse, compost toilet).  You are required to meet the minimum construction standards and setbacks indicated in the Ontario Building Code and manufacturer's specifications.  In addition, a Class 2 system would be required for a handwashing sink.

Sewage System Maintenance

Installing a new Class 4 septic system, especially on water access properties, comes with a high price tag.  Routine maintenance can greatly increase the life expectancy of your system, which in turn, will save you money.  A properly maintained system limits the potential for environmental damages often associated with failed septic systems.  It is up to you, the owner of this system, to ensure it is maintained and functioning as intended.

Please take the time to read through the Septic Smart publication. It will provide you with some general information about standard Class 4 sewage systems, including some dos and don'ts, and maintenance tips.

If you have installed a secondary treatment unit, or a tertiary treatment unit, you should refer to that particular system's operation and maintenance requirements.

Reviewing Your Current Sewage System

Do you currently have a sewage system on your property?  Here is a self-evaluation quiz you can take to determine if you are doing your part for environmental protection. 
Rob Farrow, Chief Building Official
705-746-4243 Ext. 308
Mark Macfie, Deputy Chief Building Official
705-746-4243 Ext. 321
Jessie Langford, Building Permit Coordinator
705-746-4243 Ext. 317
705-746-4243 Ext. 360