A building permit is an official approval issued by the local government agency that allows you or your contractor to proceed with a construction or remodelling project on your property. It is intended to ensure that the project plans to comply with local standards for land use, zoning, and construction. These standards are intended to ensure the safety of current and future owners and occupants and to provide enforcement of zoning and land-use policies. As mentioned above building permit is consisting of two stages.
Building permits are necessary to ensure zoning requirements (contained in municipal by-laws), and building safety standards (contained in the Ontario Building Code) are satisfied in order to maintain or improve the health, fire and structural standards for the general safety of the public. The Ontario Building Code is a provincial regulation administered by the Building and Development Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Under the Building Code Act, local governments are given authority for the enforcement of the Ontario Building Code within their jurisdiction.
For existing buildings (commercial and residential) subject to small renovations it may take anywhere between 2 to 3 weeks. However, the timing varies a lot from city to city depending on type of the project. Some cities provide fast track process for small renovations. Please check with your city website to obtain more detailed information with regards to your building application.