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Bradford West Gwillimbury

Bradford West Gwillimbury > Home Occupations

​​​​​​​​​Home Occupations

To broaden the range of home-based business opportunities available to residents, the Town of BWG Office of Community Planning has embarked on a review of the Home Occupation provisions found in the Town's current Zoning By-law (2010-050). ​​​

We want your input! 

Please have a look at the information below​, including how to provide comments on the proposed amendments, then let us know your thoughts on the draft amendments to the Zoning By-Law.

 Select a topic for more information

What's going on?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was already a growing trend towards working from home. Town staff routinely received requests for new home-based business uses that the current by-law does not permit. BWG residents clearly wanted to use their homes as affordable business incubators (for things like swimming lessons, catering, e-commerce, medical offices, contracting and more), and needed more flexibility in how they used their properties (including things like conducting business on-site and using accessory buildings for storage). In response, staff initiated the process of amending the Zoning By-law at the end of 2018.

Since the pandemic hit, there has been a global acceleration towards working from home, e-commerce and associated permissions. This change is likely here to stay and to grow in coming years. 

The Office of Community Planning intends to be progressive and permissive in terms of home-based business permissions, while ensuring that these businesses remain respectful of residential neighbours. Staff have produced a draft by-law that strives to balance these two aims.​

What are the proposed changes?

The Zoning By-law that is currently in place imposes a number of restrictions on home-based businesses. ​The proposed changes will make it possible to operate more types of businesses in homes, and to use homes for more business-related activities. Please also read the explanatory document​ for a more detailed explanation of the changes, and a comparison to the existing by-law.

In brief, the draft amendments to the by-law would:
  • Allow enclosed accessory buildings to be used to conduct home occupation business and storage (including but not limited to storage of contractor materials, equipment, vehicles or even turning a garage into a home office).
  • Allow all dwelling types to use a portion of the dwelling for home-based occupations (no longer limited to detached dwellings, linked dwellings and semi-detached dwellings).
  • Broaden sales permissions to allow goods to be purchased and picked up from a home business as long as goods are not exposed (i.e., not a retail storefront) and sale is coordinated prior to attendance (similar to how one purchases items from Kijiji).
  • Allow sale of incidental goods associated with services provided by the home occupation (for example a dentist can sell electric toothbrushes; a chiropractor can sell orthotics and pillows; a fitness instructor can sell a supplement or protein shake powder, etc.).
  • Allow delivery and pick up from the home business.
  • Formally permit lessons, classes, instruction and the like (including teaching/tutoring and fitness instruction).
  • Allow outdoor swimming lessons.
  • Allow home-based catering businesses.
  • Allow home-based medical practices.

Why change the by-law and add more permissions?

There are many reasons why this is good for our community:​
  • To respond to the needs and requests of BWG residents.
  • To adapt and become resilient to a changing world.
  • To align with changes in public purchasing habits and preferred methods.
  • To reduce the carbon footprint and decrease traffic congestion caused by commuting.
  • To provide more local services, thus making BWG a more complete community.
  • To keep money in BWG.
  • To produce jobs in BWG.
  • To nurture and grow made-in-BWG businesses that will serve the community.
  • To make use of existing infrastructure.
  • To keep local talent in BWG, making this a more desirable place to live, work and play.
  • To enable a better work-life balance for residents.​​​

How do I provide comments on the proposed amendments?

Please review the draft amended portions of the by-law (we also recommend you read the explanatory document​, which demonstrates how the proposed by-law is different from the existing one and describes some of the research and decisions that went into crafting the by-law amendments), then provide your comments either by email​ or by mail to Brandon Slopack, Planner, Office of Community Planning, P.O. Box 419, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A9​.

In addition to your general feedback, we are interested in the following:

  1. Tell us a little bit about your home-based business and any challenges you’ve faced that the revised by-law would help address.
  2. Do you have any comments or suggestions for improvements to the draft by-law?
  3. Is there anything that you have learned about running a home-based business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that might apply to the draft by-law amendments?

We would appreciate receiving comments by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

What is the timeline for this process?

​When change is proposed to the Zoning By-law, the Town is legally bound to follow certain steps and procedures. This includes presenting the proposal to the public via a public meeting, and then asking for public input. Please see below for a history and anticipated timeline of this effort.

Oct. 18, 2016
​As a result of concerns from residents and home-based business owners, Council asked staff for information on what steps would be required to broaden support of home-based businesses in the Zoning By-law. (see applicable sections of current by-law​)

​May 16, 2017
Staff r​eport to Council with options as to how to proceed. Council requested Staff initiate general review. 
​Jun. 5, 2018
Staff report to Council presented findings and options for next steps. Council asked staff to begin the public consultation process including drafting proposed amendments.
​Sep. 13, 2018
Sep. 27, 2018
Advertised public information meeting date/time and info about proposed amendments in Bradford Topic
​​Sep. 20, 2018
Sep. 28, 2018
Oct. 1, 2018
Advertised Public information meeting date/time and info about proposed amendments on Facebook
Oct. 2, 2018
Public information meeting introduced propo​sed changes for public review and feedback.
Sep. 13, 2018 to
Jan. 25, ​2019​
​First round of public input on draft amendments

​2019 - 2020
​Review of input and drafting of revised by-law (impacted by COVID-19 pandemic)
Nov. 20, 2020 to
Jan. 20, 2021
​Request for second round of public input

  • ​​review of public input and revision of draft by-law
  • preparation of recommendation report and posting for public review
  • presentation of recommendation report to Council
  • final proposed amendment presented to council
  • revised by-law passed