Minor exemption

What is a minor exemption?

A minor variation refers to a process the Municipal Council can use to authorize planned, ongoing or completed projects that don’t meet all the criteria set out in urban-development by-laws and regulations. Though such exceptional authorizations are at the Council’s discretion, they’re based on many criteria. 

As stated in the Act Respecting Land Use Planning and Development, minor variations can apply to overall zoning and subdivision regulations, but not to standards governing land use and land occupation density. 

Under what circumstances can I apply for a minor variation?

Minor variations can be requested under three types of circumstances :

  • Before a project begins : You submit your application once all the options for modifying your project to make it compliant have been examined.
  • When the project is underway : If a by-law violation is discovered after work on the project has started, the situation can be regularized through a minor-variation request. That said, the project must have been initially authorized by way of a municipal permit, and work must have been performed in good faith.
  • During a compliance check for an existing building : In the wake of real-estate transactions, the parties involved often discover that the property doesn’t comply with certain by-laws or regulations. The owner can therefore apply for a minor variation to regularize the matter. But again, this only applies if the work involved was permit-authorized and performed in good faith.

Stages of the application process

The application and approval process for minor variations can last up to three months.

Note that the official by-law takes precedence over this summary and that timelines are approximate.

Stage 1: Application received

The process begins once the Municipality has received the following :

  1. a duly completed copy of form VM-17-09-604-2-1.
  2. the fees for conducting the minor-variation process (as circumstances dictate) :  
    1. $550 divided as follows: $100 for the assessment, $400 for publication costs and $50 for the certificate.
    2. $100 for each additional application accompanying the main application above.
  3. detailed plans for the project
  4. any other piece of information that the officer in charge needs to get a perfectly clear picture of the work involved.

Cancellations and fee refunds

If, before your project assessment begins, you notify the officer in writing that you want to cancel your request, the Municipality will refund all your fees. If the assessment has already begun, no refund is issued.

Stage 2: Preliminary assessment

This stage involves checking that all required documents have been received and are acceptable. If some are missing or do not meet requirements, we send a notice to the property owner/applicant.

Stage 3: Inspection and analysis

This is when we visit the project site and gather the information needed for a proper assessment.

Stage 4: Report and recommendations

The building inspector writes a meticulous report centred on the application.

Stage 5: Report goes to management

The report goes to the Environment and Urban Planning Service’s (EUPS) management team.

Stage 6: Applicant notified

If the Environment and Urban Planning Service does not recommend granting a minor variation, it notifies the applicant accordingly and offers the option of submitting the application to the Urban Planning Advisory Committee (UPAC) and the Municipal Council.

Stage 7: Assessment by Urban Planning Advisory Committee (UPAC)

The CCU, which usually has seven members (one municipal councillor and six residents), assesses the application and puts forward a recommendation to the Municipal Council.

Stage 8: General Committee (GC)

The application goes before a General Committee meeting of the municipal councillors so that they can acquaint themselves with the request.

Stage 9: Public notice

A notice is published in L’Envol or Le Droit at least 15 days before the public-consultation meeting takes place.

Stage 10: Decision by Municipal Council

After examining the recommendations of both the EUPS and UPAC, and after hearing feedback on the minor variation from those attending the public-consultation meeting, Municipal Council makes its decision at a meeting whose date also appears in the public notice mentioned in Stage 9 above.

Key dates

Month UPAC sessions Submission deadline for minor-variation applications
January 11 December 17, 2021
February 8 January 14, 2022
March 8 February 4, 2022
April 12 March 18, 2022
May 10 April 8, 2022
June 14 May 13, 2022
July 12 June 10, 2022
August 9 July 8, 2022
September 13 August 5, 2022
October 13 September 9, 2022
November 8 October 7, 2022
December 13 November 11, 2022


Apply for a minor exemption

Click on this link to access the minor exemption application form and to see which information and documents you need to include.