Where can I build a tiny house in Ontario?

The question “Where can I build my tiny house in Ontario” comes to me over and over again from my readers and from people who happen on my tiny house blog or Facebook site.  The question is variable – it can mean where can I find a place to rent to put my house on wheels on?  To where can I build one on a foundation without being blocked by a building inspector?  Or it could mean where are places that I can get around the building code (as I have).

I cringe when I get these because the answer that I am forced to give is truly deflating.  Which is to say that I don’t know.

The fact is, each municipality sets its own rules.  Most have not honestly evaluated the issue of oversized housing in years and further to this, even if they had the leaders of these municipalities are under the huge misconception that large houses bring in a better and higher quality of citizenry.  This is, of course very far from the truth.  If people have to work less to pay their living expenses, they can volunteer more, spend more time in and for their community and their family.  They can travel more and have a better state of mind.  Tiny houses are NOT about evading tax.  I for one, am happy to pay taxes that are representative of the average of the community.  Tiny housers make excellent community members and would add greatly to the vitality of any community that they join.

Contrary to the misguided municipalities that make it impossible for us to settle amongst them we are not people who drain the tax base.  The tiny house movement is about living more and consuming less.  We are interested in living in sustainable and more ecologically aware housing.  That is all. Here is some information about who we are.



There have been some slivers of hope for us as the more educated municipalities begin to hear our call and bring themselves in line with Ontario’s 2011 Strong Communities Through Affordable Housing Act.

Here are some windows of hope:

Secondary Dwellings and in-law suites Ottawa

Edwardsburg/Cardinal on your own lot

Secondary dwellings AKA Garden Suites in townships north of Toronto

Secondary dwellings City of Kingston as well as Lennox and Addington 

ALMOST!!!  These folks are working on getting an intentional community together (10K investments needed)

Hamilton Ontario is working on legalizing secondary dwellings

IF YOUR ONTARIO COMMUNITY IS NOT ALLOWING SECONDARY UNITS THEY ARE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.  So if you want to build a tiny or small house on family or friends property, I suggest that you bring this up with your municipality!

Also, I have it on good authority that the municipality of Highlands East has lowered its footprint to 500 square feet.  This is not quite tiny but a right sized house for many!  [Perhaps the footprint could include a garage/storage/shed and so on, for those of you who strongly wish to maintain a tiny space???]

Thoughts on the 2011 act


More questions answered here: 

Also the Unorganized townships offer something unique because you don’t need a permit.  However, one must know and follow the Canadian Building Code (which as I mention has no size restrictions.  If you are building up there though, keep in mind that you are probably going to want a couple of things done differently.  I think very thick walls, a good job on insulation and a closed porch on every door is important.  This is simply so that in the winter you don’t lose all your heat every time you open the door.  More on building in the unorganized townships here.

Other thank what I have shared now, there is no advise I can give expect to say, PLEASE DO check and work with your municipality.  The more they know about us the better.  You may not get the answers that you hoped for yet… but it is better to know before you have invested your money in a dream that can’t be seen to fruition due to the short sighted blocks of uneducated leaders.

Stay tiny!


Please, if anyone hears or knows more about any specific municipality please let me know so that I can add this information for other hopeful tiny housers.  We are growing in numbers and there is power in that.  It is getting easier little by little.











Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Where can I build a tiny house in Ontario?

  1. Dan

    Check this out!! What I get from this current article is that people need to approach their council and start the discussion.

    Positive step…

    TLTI thinking tiny (homes)

    Wayne Lowrie

    By Wayne Lowrie, Postmedia Network

    Saturday, October 7, 2017 7:35:56 EDT PM

    An example of a tiny home is shown in Alberta in 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

    An example of a tiny home is shown in Alberta in 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

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    When it comes to new housing, the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is thinking small.

    Tiny, in fact.

    Council members decided this week to embrace the tiny-house movement that has become the darling of environmental trend-setters in the United States and Europe.

    They asked planning director Elaine Mallory to prepare a zoning bylaw amendment that would remove the minimum size requirements for new houses, and include tiny houses in the township’s definition of permissible dwellings.

    The township’s building rules now say that new houses should be at least 807 square feet in size, although houses can go as small as 484 square feet in a mobile home park.

    Tiny houses, on the other hand, can run as small as 223 square feet, plus a “wash closet” in the bachelor model.

    Council members were enthusiastic about the idea of allowing tiny houses, although several expressed concerns about where they would be permitted, whether or not they would be on wheels, and whether the township was opening the doors to mobile homes everywhere.

    Councillor John Paul Jackson said he is a strong advocate of the tiny homes, which got their start in Europe. He said a local builder sells them for between $30,000 and $60,000.

    Resident Kurt Liebe said the introduction of tiny houses is a much-awaited development in the township. In other areas, the houses are becoming desirable for single people, newlyweds and seniors seeking to downsize, he said.

    Mallory said the township has received a lot of enquiries about tiny homes, adding there seems to be a lot of interest in the trend.

    But Liebe noted that the township doesn’t propose to reduce minimum lot sizes or some septic requirements, which could make the option unaffordable for people looking for a cheap housing alternative.

    In a report, Mallory recommended maintaining the current lot sizes for rural areas, which are dictated by the requirement for septic systems. By maintaining the lot size, it would give tiny-home owners the option of switching to a septic system in the future, instead of relying on the composting toilets common to the little homes.

    Councillor Liz Huff noted that many of the tiny homes were on wheels and she wondered what makes them different from mobile homes.

    In Frontenac County, which is also considering tiny homes, they would need permanent foundations, she said.

    Jackson, too, said he was concerned about the wheels on the tiny homes. What’s to prevent homeowners in a subdivision deciding to pack up their homes in the night and move them to, say, Vancouver, leaving vacant lots in the subdivision?

    Mallory said the bylaw could require the houses to be placed on a foundation with skirting and a solid exterior finish to make the building look more permanent. Some municipalities in the U.S. require porches to make them look more permanent, she said.

    Council instructed Mallory to prepare a bylaw for the tiny homes, which would require public hearings and an amendment to the township’s official plan.

  2. Jon

    Hello Laura,

    I am working on a project trying to have our town allow us to create an area for Tiny Homes within our existing development. We have had a preliminary meeting with the Town and the good news is they did not say “no” yet so that is a good thing! They were actually somewhat open minded to the idea but feel there are still some roadblocks we will have to over come to make this possible.

    One of the things they are looking for is precedence, other municipalities that have open the door to Tiny Homes. What were the requirements, permitting process, building standards etc.? I only really know of a few such as the Bluegrass Meadows community in Terrace and Les Hameaux de la Source at Lantier, Quebec. We will be reaching out to these developments to try and get the specifications they are using along with any documentation such as guidelines or permit applications. What does a development ask for before a unit moves in? What CSA standards are acceptable and how is that monitored?

    If you or your network of colleagues know of any other jurisdictions that have allowed Tiny Homes to be legally placed I would greatly appreciate the names and locations. The more information I can compile for the town the less they will feel like they are going out on a limb here and taking a big risk. I was asked several times in the meeting, “if this is so simple why are no other towns or cities doing it?’’”. They also used the saying several times “we are okay with being the leading edge but we do not want to end up the bleeding edge”. So they are open to the idea but want to be reassured that it can work is what they were basically saying.

    It looks like if they allow them all Tiny Home that come into the development will have to be CSA approved which will eliminate some builds but at least opens the door. The CSA rating ( Z240 MH or A277) will protect the development and the town, otherwise if someone got hurt in one then everyone would be in trouble.

    Thanks for your support, if you have any other jurisdictions in mind that might serve as an example for the permitting of Tiny Homes please let me know.


  3. maddie


  4. I can tell you that there is at least one Ontario municipality where Garden Suites therefore Tiny Homes are legal as “A Right” and a few more considering it. Drop me a line.

    • Hi, Thanks for dropping me a line. Do you mean in these areas? https://tinyhouseontario.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_3434-e1399048260915.jpg or are you speaking about the Ontario legislative changes?

      I have had a look at your garden suites, wondering if you have built any or are they just theoretical.

      After a quick peek at your site, I have some thoughts. I think you could do some major design improvement on what you have got. Unfortunately, I can tell when I look at the plans that you have not lived tiny. It is easy to see this because all your plans waste a ton of space in hallways. I respectfully suggest you do some design tweaking. If people are going to consider buying one of these to live there, they want living space and not halls. You may notice that most of these structures use a side and not an end door. The reason for this. is to avoid the floor plans that eliminate tens of square feet by making them into halls. If you put the bathroom on one end with a door to it and the kitchen adjacent (corners are nice) then you have everything open after this.

      Anyway, hope you don’t mind my suggestions and I wish you well with your business.


  5. Denise Desnoyers


    How we can know that municipality is unorganized? Which region is living Karen. I live around Morrisburt, Ingleside Ontario.

  6. Gerry Thibeault

    I like your analogy of tiny home dwellers – often in the city 3-4-5000 square foot homes are divided up and shared amongst many families and only one family pays taxes – some builders even design the homes for ease of transformation eg. Several entrances and two stair cases. The Tiny Home concept is new to many and it will take some leg work to get setup. I can see it becoming more popular as people are being forced to make financial choices. My wife and I have six kids and a standard home but are planning to build a Tiny Home on a trailer in 2016 and keep it on our property. I can see Tiny Homes being a big value to society but not so much to the capitalist such as bankers. If enough people force the this issue it will happen. I enjoy your posts….Gerry

  7. Karen

    I love living in Unorganized Township. We do take our own garbage to the local dump but not limited to one bag (which I hated in the city that we came from–and only pickup every 2 weeks!) but our roads are always cleared of snow in the winter. Everything is the same otherwise but we have the FREEDOM. If we want to put up a new chicken coop or small outbuilding, no building permit required like it would be elsewhere. We’re only a few minutes to the local convenience store/gas and the beach and 20 minutes from a hosp/schools/Valumart etc. I don’t live in a ‘tiny’ house’ but with 4 people in it, it amounts to the same size per person– almost as one person would living in a ‘tiny” house!

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