The Risks

What happens if you do not get a permit? If you start construction but do not have the necessary permits, you may be ordered to stop work, prosecuted, and even ordered to remove work already done. If you are uncertain as to whether you need a permit for your project, contact your local civic centre directly.


Anyone can make a request to the city to have your second apartment inspected (e.g. tenants, neighbours, an angry ex-girlfriend). Getting caught with an illegal apartment could result in you having to transform the home back into a single family dwelling, or may result in a lot of time and expense to legalize the apartment.


Your lender may not recognize the income associated with an apartment that isn’t considered legal


You can be sued if a flood or fire results in an accident or death in the illegal second suite – we would ALWAYS recommend that a homeowner meet electrical and fire safety standards for any second suite.


Make sure your insurance company knows what’s really going on in the house – NEVER lie to your insurance company.


Legal: The need to create affordable housing does not have to come at the expense of the occupant’s safety. We strongly advise you to review the benefits of a legal basement apartment and work towards protecting the occupants as well as your long-term investment.



Section 36 of the Ontario Building Code Act speaks to the nature of offences and the penalties associated with violation of the code. The Construction of a second suite, which does not meet the standards set out in the Ontario Building Code, may be subject to both monetary fines and criminal charges.






  1. (1) A person is guilty of an offence if the person,

(a) knowingly furnishes false information in any application under this Act, in any certificate required to be issued or in any statement or return required to be furnished under this Act or the regulations;

(b) fails to comply with an order, direction or other requirement made under this Act; or

(c) contravenes this Act, the regulations or a by-law passed under section 7. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (1); 1997, c. 30, Sched. B, s. 19; 2002, c. 9, s. 53 (1); 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 2 (8). Idem



(2) Every director or officer of a corporation who knowingly concurs in the furnishing of false information, the failure to comply or the contravention under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (2).





(3) A person who is convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 for a first offence and to a fine of not more than $100,000 for a subsequent offence. 2005, c. 33, s. 1.





(4) If a corporation is convicted of an offence, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the corporation is $100,000 for a first offence and $200,000 for a subsequent offence and not as provided in subsection (3). 2005, c. 33, s. 1.



Subsequent offence



(5) For the purposes of subsections (3) and (4), an offence is a subsequent offence if there has been a previous conviction under this Act. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (5).


Continuing offence



(6) Every person who fails to comply with an order made by a chief building official under subsection 14 (1) or clause 15.9 (6) (a) is guilty of an offence and on conviction, in addition to the penalties mentioned in subsections (3) and (4), is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 per day for every day the offence continues after the time given for complying with the order has expired. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (6); 2002, c. 9, s. 53 (2).



Power to restrain



(7) If this Act or the regulations are contravened and a conviction is entered, in addition to any other remedy and to any penalty imposed by this Act, the court in which the conviction is entered, and any court of competent jurisdiction thereafter, may make an order prohibiting the continuation or repetition of the offence by the person convicted. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (7).



Limitation period



(8) No proceeding under this section shall be commenced more than one year after the facts on which the proceeding is based first came to the knowledge of,

(a) an officer, where the proceeding is in respect of the enforcement of by-laws passed under section 15.1; or

(b) the chief building official, in any other case. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 2 (9). Same



(8.1) Subsection (8), as it read immediately before the day subsection 2 (9) of Schedule 21 to the Good Government Act, 2009 comes into force, continues to apply where the subject-matter of the proceeding arose more than one year before that day. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 2 (9).


Proceeds of fines



(9) If an offence under this section has been committed within a municipality, the proceeds of a fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the treasurer of that municipality, and section 2 of the Administration of Justice Act and section 4 of the Fines and Forfeitures Act do not apply in respect of the fine. 1992, c. 23, s. 36 (9).