New MNRF ruling on docks etc.

UPDATE June 1, 2017 – Ministry of Natural Resources & Forests (MNRF) have posted new regulations (Public Lands Act, Ontario Regulation 161/17)  related to the following classes of buildings, structures or things, and have included them as a “free use” of public lands that do not require a permit or occupancy requirement.  Some clarification on regulated structures was also provided, for example, a “dock” includes any associated shade structures affixed to the dock such as a gazebo or pergola.

  • docks, boat lifts, boat ramps, and marine railways
  • swim rafts
  • single-storey boathouses
  • break walls and related backfill
  • recreational boat caches which includes canoes, kayaks and motor boats
  • ramps and jumps and slalom courses
  • bridges, culverts and causeways
  • recreational camping units (21 days)
  • ice fishing huts

Please note that some of these are subject to municipal zoning or building bylaw, and/or federal regulation. Provincial work permits may still apply for the construction or installation of the above.

(For instance:  permits are required to place a structure that physically touch more than 15 square metres of shore lands (lake bottom). As such, floating and cantilever docks, boathouses with cribs less than 15 square meters and swim rafts do not require work permits)

Please see the EBR Decision 013-0211 for further details and links to related information and other changes.


Note: FOCA’s suggestion that the MNRF retain authority to regulate docks or single storey boathouses above a certain size threshold were NOT included in this regulation. MNRF indicates this is the sole and exclusive purview of local standards, established through municipal bylaws.

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