A zoning (occupancy) certificate confirms that a change of use to a commercial or residential building is allowed under our zoning bylaw. We look at different factors, including if there is enough parking to support the proposed use or if there are limits to the location or size of the new use. You also need a zoning certificate to operate a home-based business.

On this page:

  1. When you need a zoning certificate
  2. Apply

When you need a zoning certificate

A property owner or proposed new tenant needs a zoning certificate if they’re proposing to change:

  • the use of a commercial building (use as defined by the zoning bylaw)
  • the previously approved gross floor area of a business or on a multi-unit residential lot
  • a fully residential dwelling to include a home-based business
  • the number of residential units on a property up to 10 units (11 or more units will require a site plan)

Examples include:

  • if a restaurant is moving out and a pharmacy is taking its place
  • when a business is increasing or decreasing the current size of its unit (example: expanding into an adjacent unit)
  • opening a home-based business like a hair salon or artisan
  • converting a single detached home into a three-unit dwelling

This is a requirement under the Ontario Planning Act and our zoning bylaw.

Residential uses

You don’t need a zoning occupancy certificate to establish a residential use for:

  • single detached dwellings
  • semi-detached dwellings
  • duplexes


Download the application form for a zoning certificate.

Mail or drop off the completed application and the applicable fee to:

Planning and housing policy division
200 King Street West
Kitchener, ON
N2G 4V6

You can also send the application by email.

If you want to pay by credit card, please note that on the application form and include a phone number. We will call you to arrange payment over the phone when we process the certificate.

Depending on your proposed use, you may also need to include:

  • floor plan (for home businesses)
  • survey (for new residential uses)
  • zoning plan (drawings showing compliance to applicable zoning regulations for the proposed use)

If you have any questions, send us an email or call 519-741-2426.