Subdivision Control: What is the Planning Act?

 Barenberg & Roth, LLP, Barristers & Solicitors

Section 50 of the Planning Act affects most Ontario transactions in­volving real property.  This section controls the manner in which land can be divided and dealt with.  The results of any failure to ad­here to the Act are perhaps draconian; any conveyance is void.


Section 50 is the main way municipalities divide larger pieces of land and create and control subdivisions.  For example, the breaking up of a farm into a hundred lots or the breaking up of a house lot to allow the construction of a second house.  The legislation is required because without it, a property owner could do anything he/she wanted with it even if it was inconsistent with good municipal plan­ning.


There are many prohibitions and exceptions to the prohibitions in how land is dealt with but perhaps the most notorious one is how part-lots on a plan of subdivision are dealt with. Essentially, you cannot carry out a transaction with land if that land abuts land that is not a whole lot or block on a registered plan of subdivision. In other words, you can't buy or sell a piece of land if you also own an abut­ting part-lot.


The pattern of land division significantly impacts road patterns, the provision of services and the aesthetic impact on a community so the restrictions in the Planning Act are supportable.