top of page
banner image



ERCA logo

In the Essex Region, ERCA protects more than 20 inland watersheds, 232 kilometres of shoreline and nearly 5000 homes that are built in low-lying areas. This program is of vital importance to protect property owners from the dangers of flooding and erosion. 

The Conservation Authorities Act permitting process, similar to the Building Permit process, identifies the specific site requirements prior to activities taking place. 

While housing and development is important, it is critical that new homes and businesses are located safely out of the floodplain. It is also important that one person’s development does not endanger a neighbour up or downstream. ERCA technical staff specialize in environmental planning and protection. To help prevent future risk and to protect the interests and liability of our member municipalities, the Authority enforces floodplain regulations throughout the region. In most cases, the Authority is able to work with the applicant to ensure the proposed development is safe and meets all required standards. 

To determine if you live within the floodplain, you can use ERCA’s Online Mapping Tool. Remember, before building or altering any structures on your land or in the adjacent waterway, you will need to contact ERCA’s Watershed Management Services department. 

Common Projects that Require a Permit 

Common projects for a residential property that require a Section 28 permit under the Conservation Authorities Act include: 

  • Building a new home or builidng 

  • Replacing an existing home or building 

  • Home or building additions and renovations 

  • Outbuildings/detached structures (garages, sheds, etc.) 

  • Decks, Docks, Pools, and significant hard/landscaping 

If you do not find your project listed above and are unsure if you need a permit, please contact our office at

Windsor shoreline

Development Services

By default you will be able to see whether you are in ERCA’s Limit of Regulated Area. Explore the available layers on the left to get further spatial information about your area of interest. 

Qualifier: This interactive mapping is presented for visual reference only. Data represented should not to be considered as legal boundaries. Confirmation of actual boundaries of the Limit of Regulated Area would need to be field verified by ERCA staff to ensure compliance with the text based regulations as further detailed in the “Determination of Regulation Limits” reference manual located at the ERCA office. 

Step 2: Find your area of interest by zooming in on the map 

Click the button above and select “Public”, then click the “Launch Map Viewer” button.

Step 1: Launch the map

How to Use

Online Mapping is available through ERCA’s GIS (Geographical Information System) services. This is an efficient tool for municipal planning, permitting, recreation, restoration projects and implementing watershed management priorities. 

You can use the Online Mapping Tool to help you learn if all or part of your property is regulated by ERCA. In some cases, not all of the areas described above may be mapped.  It is important to know that the Regulation still applies, whether these areas are mapped or not.  If you are unsure whether your property is regulated, please contact our technical staff. 


If your property is within an area regulated by ERCA and you want to do any construction work or development activities on it, you will need a permit. Please note that additional approvals may be required from your municipality and other agencies. If you intend to apply for a permit, you can use our mapping tool to prepare a map to attach to your permit application.  

Map Your Property

If you would like written confirmation and a more detailed review of how your property may be affected by our regulation and other ERCA policies and programs, please contact us.

Property Inquiry

Step 3

The Review Process: Once ERCA receives your completed application, staff review the plans, complete a site inspection and/or survey if required, and take the steps needed to make an informed decision. This typically takes 21 business days for standard applications not requiring an engineering review. If staff are unable to issue a permit in compliance with our approved policies and procedures, a recommendation will be made to the Board of Directors for approval, approval with conditions, or decline of your permit application.

Complete Your Application: When you are ready to apply, you will need to submit a completed application for permit and the appropriate review fee by emailing Include all drawings, studies and information required, signed and dated, as we cannot begin to process your submission until the application is complete and your application fee is paid.

Step 2

Step 1

Pre-consultation: Call and discuss your plans with us. If you are considering a project that may require a permit, we strongly encourage you to first contact our office. This consultation will help to determine if you need a permit and the information required, such as plans and studies, that may be needed for us to assess your permit application. In order to submit an application, you must be the owner of the property listed on the application or complete aLandowner Authorization Form. 

How do I Apply for a Permit?

Permit Decisions

Review times and requests for re-submissions are directly affected by the level of completion and quality of the original permit application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they have participated in a pre-consultation and that technical submissions and re-submissions meet required standards. This approach is recommended to minimize the extent and number of re-submissions needed and prevent unnecessary delays. 

When the technical review and site visits have been completed, ERCA staff prepare recommendations for decision in accordance with Ontario Regulation 41/24. If the proposal meets the approved policies by the Board of Directors, staff can issue permission. Applications that do not meet these policies will be taken to the Board of Directors with a staff recommendation. Applications that are considered minor (e.g., smaller works or those that are within the allowance), deemed to be complete and conform to approved policies are generally processed quickly and a decision is made within 28 days.

Hearings and Appeals

For applications that do not meet approved policies by the ERCA Board of Directors, or if the applicant objects to conditions of approval, a hearing will be scheduled. Under the terms of the Conservation Authorities Act, the ERCA Board of Directors acts as the Hearing Board. The Hearing Board is empowered by law to make a decision and governed by the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act. 

Attendance of Hearing Board members is recorded at the hearing. Staff will highlight the merits and concerns of the application and provide reasons to support their recommendations. The applicant and/or agent will present their case and respond to any information presented by staff. Upon hearing the presentations and evidence, the Hearing Board may grant the permission with or without conditions, or refuse the permission. 

Where the application is refused, the applicant is notified of the reasons at the meeting, as well as in writing shortly after. The applicant will be informed of their right to appeal the decision of the Hearing Board to the Ontario Lands Tribunal, within 30 days of receiving its reasons for refusal in writing. The Ontario Lands Tribunal has been assigned the authority, duties and powers to hear appeals from the decisions of conservation authorities. The Ontario Lands Tribunal may dismiss the appeal or grant permission at a hearing. 

Where the application is granted permission by the Hearing Board or Tribunal, ERCA will issue the permit final plans are received and any conditions imposed by the Hearing Board or Tribunal have been addressed. 

We receive the circulation from the municipality.

Plan Review

Frequently Asked Questions

  • You will need a permit for works taking place within the limit of regulation of the nearby water feature.  If your property is only partially within the regulated area and the works are taking place outside of the limit of regulation, a clearance will be provided assuring the municipality that a review of the proposed works has been undertaken and that a determination of no negative impact on the water feature has been verified.

  • ERCA ensures that lives and properties are safe from the risks posed by flooding, erosion and other natural hazards. This is done by administering a provincial  regulation made under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act; the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (Ontario Regulation 41/24). Under the provincial regulation, ERCA reviews and approves development proposals subject to Conservation Authority policies addressing provincial standards for preservation of natural features and protection from potential hazards like floodplains, bluffs, wetlands, rivers, lakes and drains in order to:

    • Prevent injuries and loss of life

    • Minimize property damage and restoration costs

    • Protect adjacent and downstream properties from harm cause by upstream development

    • Reduce the costs of emergency operations and evacuations

    • Minimize the hazards and expenses associated with development in floodplains and areas that are susceptible to flooding and/or erosion

    • Protect the critical natural benefits of wetlands, watercourses and shorelines

  • Within 10 days of submission, a permit will undergo a preliminary review to ensure that it is complete and that all necessary information has been provided.  From here, assuming payment has been made and barring complications or unforeseen issues, the permit can generally be issued within 21 days for standard applications not requiring an engineering review.

  • The cost of a permit will depend upon the size and scope of the project, whether a site visit is necessary and whether an engineering study must be reviewed. Please see the attached fee schedule for further details.

Policies and Guidelines

bottom of page