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An April 11 Global News story quoted Todd Burge, Deputy City Manager for Financial and Corporate Services, as saying the City is working on a red tape white paper. What is the status of this white paper?


This white paper - the Urban Form Business Transformation initiative - was set up to improve how the City provides planning and development services. A dedicated team is working to make changes that appreciate and minimize the impact of the process on the outcomes - places to work and live. In collaboration with City building partners, the initiative responds to concerns raised around:

  • Predictability (consistency in the process steps and timelines)
  • Transparency (open communication and access to information)
  • Accountability (performance measures, continuous improvement)
  • Ease of use (process steps and progress tracking are straightforward)

Throughout 2018, the City has been working with staff and industry organizations to identify opportunities. We have already made a number of improvements with the next set moving forward in late 2018. 

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce Business Advisory Committee is one of the regular channels used to provide feedback and gather perspectives from the development industry. These quarterly meetings include the City, Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Building Owners and Managers Association, Canadian Home Builders Association and Realtors Association of Edmonton. Valuable insights have been provided and integrated into the improvements and work in progress. The initiative includes components of the Land Development Application Process Improvements Work Plan developed in cooperation with the City of Edmonton and UDI.

Completed improvements:

  • Expansion of the Expedited Development Permit Program - The program provides applicants with an opportunity to assess their own applications to get a development permit for single detached dwellings in Residential Small Lot (RSL) and Planned Lot Residential (RPL) zones. The expanded Expedited Development Permit program was available to applicants in the spring 2018 with the following benefits: 
    • A 15% increase in applications processed through the program 
    • An 82% increase in applicants 
    • The ability to reallocate staff resources to more complex applications
  • Efficient Resource Allocation for Safety Code Inspections - improving the efficiency of the allocation of resources for safety code inspections based on data and risk. Applicants with a proven track record have to complete a reduced number of footings and foundations inspections per year. This allows:
    • City inspectors to focus their time on higher-risk inspections
    • Builders to move more quickly to the next phase of construction
  • Home Improvement Permits - adding more permit options to the online self-serve improving the applicant experience for common residential improvements or construction including decks, accessory buildings (garages, sheds, and so on) and basement developments. These applications were accepted online in spring 2018, along with shifts to internal processing to increase efficiency and reduce processing time. This process change:
    • Increases convenience for applicants 
    • Reduces barriers to getting permits while still ensuring projects meet all legislative requirements
    • Allows more experienced staff to focus on complex applications
    • Benefits large scale commercial and industrial development through the integration of services for timely processing 
  • Enhanced Business License Online Service (2019) - to improve simplicity and convenience of acquiring a new business license and related permits through a streamlined process. This builds upon the online renewal process (completed end of 2017). 

Improvements on the way:

  • Commercial and Industrial Permit Applications Online (Q4 2018) - Modernizing our service by moving the permit application online and refining the process to take advantage of the digital environment better aligns with current industry practice.  Benefits include:  
    • Reduced timelines through transparency in the review process with integration of City expertise and collaboration with applicants to resolve issues
    • Potential savings over $200,000/year in printing and courier costs for applicants
    • Reductions in time spent on administrative tasks and movement of hard copy applications 
    • Clarity and guidance on application requirements and process
  • Urban Form Business Transformation (2018/19) - Together with stakeholders improving the services that build Edmonton. The next set of UFBT improvement projects, initiated in late September, will:
    • Minimize time to go from application to occupancy by reducing rework and inefficiencies
    • Apply rigor appropriate to project scale and type
    • Improve accountability and integration across services
    • Maximize value of the expertise and contributions through consistency, standards and sharing of information

More information available:

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