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In April 2019, Conservation Ontario (CO) Council endorsed the Conservation Ontario Client Service and Streamlining Initiative. This initiative identifies actions to be taken by conservation authorities (CA’s), in order to help the Province of Ontario achieve its objective of increasing housing supply while protecting public health and safety, and the environment.

These actions include:

  • a) Improve Client Service and Accountability
  • b) Increase Speed of Approvals
  • c) Reduce Red Tape and Regulatory Burden

In June 2019, (amended at Conservation Ontario Council in December 2019 based on further input from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario) Conservation Ontario developed three documents to support the initiative:

  • 1.   CA-Municipality MOU Template for Planning and Development Reviews;
  • 2.   Guideline for Client Service Standards for Conservation Authority Plan and Permit Review; and
  • 3.   Guideline for CA Fee Administration Policies for Plan Review and Permitting.

Please note, many conservation authorities already have comprehensive service delivery standards, Memorandum’s of Understanding (MOU), fee structures and associated fee policies/guidelines in place. The 2019 Conservation Ontario documents supplement existing CA documents to support the Province’s objective as noted above. Conservation Ontario used existing CA resources to form a guideline that includes best practices for client service standards. The Conservation Ontario guideline includes several best practices to assist CAs and applicants through the CA approval process. Local CA client service procedures and policies should be consistent with this Conservation Ontario guideline. The NPCA has utilized the Conservation Ontario Client Service Standards for the Conservation Authority Plan and Permit Review guidance document to create a localized standard within the watershed.

Members of the public are able to provide comments in relation to this document by emailing Darren MacKenzie, Director of Watershed Management, at

The Conservation Authority Plan and Permit Review guidance document (available here) is anticipated to be brought to the NPCA Full Authority Board of Directors at the March 2020 meeting.