Development Charges

Municipalities in Ontario use Development Charges (DCs) to recover certain costs associated with residential and non-residential growth. Companies building houses, subdivisions, shopping centres, industrial parks and other developments help the City pay for the additional municipal services required—things like new water and wastewater systems, roads and transportation infrastructure, community centres, parks, trails, fire and police facilities.

The City estimates what new services will be needed to accommodate Guelph’s growing population, and uses this information to update its Development Charge Bylaw and Development Charge rates at least every five years as required under the Ontario Development Charges Act.

Current Development Charge Rates

2018 Development Charges Background Study

The City of Guelph is conducting a Development Charges (DC) Background Study that will inform the updated bylaw and rates.

The study is being completed by Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. and a stakeholder group—comprised of local residents, developers and commercial property owners—is involved in the study to review information and ensure the process and resulting development charge rates are fair, reasonable and accountable.

The study process involves:

  • A forecast of the amount, type and location of development anticipated in the city.
  • The average capital service levels provided in the City over the ten-year period immediately preceding the preparation of the background study.
  • A review of the capital infrastructure required to accommodate the forecasted growth including an analysis of gross expenditures and the funding sources, determination of the growth-and non-growth-related components of the capital projects.
  • An examination of the long-term capital and operating costs for the capital infrastructure required for each service to which the development charges bylaws would relate.

Guelph’s proposed Development Charges are the preliminary results of the Development Charges Background Study. Policy-related matters, including types of exemptions, timing of payment collection and clarity in the bylaw language, will be considered and assessed in the remaining phase of the study. The stakeholder group will revise the capital needs and the supporting Local Service Policy that are integral to this study.

The final proposed rates are expected to be released in November 2018. A public meeting will be held in early 2019 for residents and stakeholders to provide feedback.

254 KB2018 Development Charges Background Study – The Cost of Growth, Council Workshop #2

2018 Development Charge Study

Development charges are fees levied against new development to help cover the initial capital cost of infrastructure required to service growth. This infrastructure may include water, wastewater and stormwater pipes, roads and sidewalks.

To ensure Guelph’s Development Charges reflect the population forecasted in Ontario’s Places to Grow Act—43,000 new residents and 32,000 new jobs by the year 2031—the Ontario Development Charges Act requires the City to complete a background study at least every five years. The study helps determine growth-related infrastructure needs based on residential and non-residential growth forecast, and apportion the cost of the growth-related infrastructure to the planned growth.

The previous background study took place in 2013 and was used to set the rates in the current bylaw. Guelph’s current Development Charges Bylaw (2014)-19692 will expire on March 2, 2019.

The information gathered through the Background Study will be used to calculate the amount of money that new development needs to pay in order to help cover new infrastructure and services.

Business is important to the City. The Stakeholder Group reviews, consults, and exchanges information regarding the Development Charges Background Study and its process to ensure Development Charges are levied in a fair and equitable manner. The Stakeholder Group reviews capital plans and assumptions that will inform the Development Charges study, and provides feedback relating to:

  • Local Service Policy;
  • Service standard calculation; and
  • Infrastructure needs/capital plan.

The Stakeholder Group is not a decision-making body and does not have the authority to vote, commit City resources or direct the work of employees.

Members of the Stakeholder Group:

  • Consider matters, issues or information provided by the Project Team relating to Background Study process, and provide feedback as requested.
  • Liaise with the organization they represent (if applicable) to bring forward advice, issues or comments from their organization and to return information and results to the organization from the stakeholder group.
  • Strive to operate in a consensus mode where participants openly discuss views and opinions and seek common ground
  • Embrace the City of Guelph’s Guiding Principles for Community Engagement and Community Engagement Framework when providing advice or recommendations and when interacting with the Project Team.

Stakeholder Group members are expected to serve for the full extent of the Development Charges Background Study project.

552 KBCity Responses to IBI Group Memo167 KBThe Cost of Growth, Council Workshop #2

For more information

Christel Gregson, Senior Corporate Analyst Development Charges and Long-term Planning
519-822-1260 extension 3421


Treasurer’s statements

436 KBTreasurer’s Statement 2017 157 KBTreasurer’s Statement 2016 2 MBTreasurer’s Statement 2015 3 MBTreasurer’s Statement 2014

Related plans and strategies