Cracking Down on Bad Builders

It will come as no surprise that our neighbourhood has more new home construction – by far – than anywhere else in the city.  The unprecedented increase in construction has brought with it a large number of “builders” who show little respect for the City’s bylaws, the neighbourhood in which they are building, or neighbours near their construction sites.  There are, of course, still some good and responsible builders, but these now appear to be in the minority.

Keeping up with the amount of construction and the number of builders not following the rules has proven to be an extreme challenge for several of the City’s departments.  For several years, John has been asking for more resources and a greater level of diligence by staff in the Building department, Transportation department and Urban Forestry.  Because he was not satisfied with the response received, John began driving the neighbourhoods with his office staff and taking photos of obvious violations.

Issues which John documented included:

  1. Illegally built houses – downsloped driveways where not permitted, homes built too tall, etc.

  2. Construction sites without proper hoarding

  3. Sidewalks and roadways obstructed by building material, mud and debris

  4. Lack of required protection for City trees

  5. Failure to collect City fees – sidewalk damage deposits, hoarding fees, etc.

John took his findings to the department heads, Deputy City Managers, the City Manager and to Council.  As a result, we have seen major improvements by the Building department and new initiatives by City Forestry staff – such as the hiring of more inspectors and the laying of fines and charges against builders.  John met recently with the new General Manager of the Transportation department and anticipates improvement there as well.

If, despite these efforts, you still see examples of builders behaving badly, please contact our office by phone at 416-395-6411 or e-mail to