Home Occupation Review

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

Study Background

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.

The Town's intention is 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.​

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.

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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?

​​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.​​​

Providing Comments

​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​ to Brandon Slopack or by mail to our Community Planning Division.

In addition to your general feedback, we are interested in the following:
  • Tell us a little bit about your home-based business and any challenges you've faced that the revised by-law would help address.
  • Do you have any comments or suggestions for improvements to the draft by-law?
  • 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?

Address: Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, 100 Dissette St., Unit 7&8, Bradford, ON, L3Z 2A7

Phone: 905-775-5366, Send an Email

By GHD Digital