Frequently Asked Questions

Does my project require permission from the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA)?

An RRCA permit may be required if you plan to undertake work in or around the following Regulated Areas:

  • River valleys (floodplains and shorelines);
  • Watercourses (rivers, streams, creeks, etc.);
  • Hazardous lands;
  • Unstable slopes; and,
  • Wetlands.

 Which activities require a permit?

  • New construction, reconstruction, and additions or alteration to existing buildings or structures;
  • Site grading including placing, dumping or removal of fill or other material;
  • Straightening, changing, diverting, or interfering with a channel of a river, creek, stream, watercourse, or shoreline; or,
  • Changing or interfering with a wetland.

Why does the RRCA need to review my project? 

The RRCA 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 28.1 of the Conservation Authorities Act; the Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses (Ontario Regulations 41/24). Under the provincial regulation, RRCA reviews and approves development proposals subject to Conservation Authority policies addressing provincial standards for the 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.

How do I know if my property, or property I am looking to buy, is within a Regulated Area?

Current owners, prospective purchasers, or their representatives may request information about a particular property through our Property Inquiry Service. Applicants will receive a report and a series of maps outlining all identified natural hazards and features, in addition to potential impacts of development under Drinking Water Source Protection Plans and Sections 3.1 (Natural Hazards) of the Provincial Policy Statement.

What will a permit entail?

A permit will:

  1. Provide you with the steps needed to safely undertake your project.
  2. Protects you and your property from natural hazards.
  3. Helps ensure environmentally sustainable development activities.

Can I meet with someone to further discuss my project?

RRCA’s Watershed Management Team is available for a free consultation on projects. Please contact 613-938-3611 or to book your free consultation. 

How much does an RRCA permit cost?

Permit fees are based on project type as established in RRCA’s Board-approved fee schedule. Fees are reviewed and updated annually. Once you submit your application, the fee and file number will be confirmed and communicated to you by email. You are welcome to contact RRCA to discuss your project before submitting your application.

How do I pay for a permit application?

RRCA offers the following payment options: credit card; cheque; or cash.

Credit card payments can be made in person or over the phone; cash or cheque payments can be mailed, dropped off in person during RRCA's business hours, or left in the secure drop box outside of RRCA’s Administration Office. Please ensure you include your name, phone number, and property address with all payments. Please also cite your file number, if known.

How do I submit a permit application?

Completed forms can be emailed to RRCA at or mailed to RRCA’s Administration Office in Cornwall. 

What do I need to submit with my application?

Supporting documentation requirements vary according to project type and are outlined in our application form:  Applications may require photos, site plan drawings, location maps, and completed application forms.  Additional clarification on supporting documentation can also be provided throughout the consultation process with RRCA staff.

I submitted my application. What’s next?

RRCA will contact you to discuss additional details and finalize your application’s fees once it has been reviewed by staff.

How long will it take to get my permit?

RRCA’s service standards are 21 days for minor applications, 28 days for major applications, and 14 days for routine applications. These timelines commence once the application is deemed complete and the permit fee is paid. Incomplete applications or failure to submit payment will delay processing.

How long are permits valid?

Permits are valid for 24 months (two years) from the date they are issued. Expiring permits may be re-issued within six months of their expiry date. 

How will I receive my permit?

Once your permit is finalized, RRCA will email it to the property owner and agent on file. Permits can also be picked up at RRCA’s Administration Office.

Do I need to display the permit while work is in progress?

A copy of the permit must be kept at the work site and provided to any contractors. Permits should also be available for review upon request by visiting agencies.

Is there a fee if I make changes to my project?

Applications that are amended or resubmitted following RRCA approval (including modifications to previously reviewed sediment and erosion control plans) are subject to a fee of 50% of the existing project’s fees, as established by RRCA’s Board-approved fee schedule.

What should I do if I did not get a permit before starting my project?

You will still need to apply for a permit. Applying for a permit after the project has started (retroactive permits) will be subject to additional fees as outlined in RRCA’s Board-approved fee schedule. It is strongly encouraged that a permit be obtained prior to works commencing, as we may not be able to support all retroactive permits. Failure to obtain a permit is a chargable offence under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Do you regulate tree-cutting?

The RRCA has no ability under the Conservation Authorities Act to regulate or prohibit tree cutting on private property unless those lands are designated Provincially Significant Wetland. Municipalities can implement by-laws to regulate forest cover should they choose to do so. If you are concerned about the loss of forest cover in your municipality, please contact your local councillor or appropriate municipal staff.

Can I report a tip or concern to RRCA?

Residents can submit their tips and concerns to RRCA through its Conservation Compliance Review online.  Reported concerns are monitored and followed up by our Regulations Team.

Do I need a permit for a dock?

If you live along the Cornwall Waterfront and would like to put in a dock or other structure, there are administrative controls known as the Cornwall Sediment Strategy to regulate shoreline development and protect the sediments from disturbance in this area. For more than 70 years, unregulated industries near Cornwall discharged contaminants into the St. Lawrence River. These contaminants accumulated in 3 zones along the waterfront. These zones are stable but any activity in these areas requires a review to ensure these sediments are not disrupted.

Please consult your local municipality for pertinent by-laws concerning docks.

Will I need other approvals in addition to the Raisin Region Conservation Authority? 

Possibly.  A permit from the RRCA does not override any other permit requirements from any other agencies, whether federal, provincial, or municipal. You should contact your local municipality to discuss building permits and any other approvals that are required. If you are doing work in or around the water, you should also contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) regarding their permit requirements.
If you are doing work in a Source Protection Area, you should inquire about any restrictions or risk management requirements. 

You can apply for a permit from our office and a building permit from the municipality concurrently but a permit from our office must be obtained before you receive a building permit. The Conservation Authorities Act is considered “applicable law” under the Building Code and as such must be taken into consideration first, before a building permit is issued. 

Are other efforts being made to reduce the risk of development within floodplains, and nearshore areas hazard lands?

Yes. The Authority participates actively in the municipal planning process and makes recommendations to local decision-makers respecting conformity to provincial policies and the effects of their decisions respecting land use, development, and drainage.
The authority participates directly in the provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning System to provide advanced local warning of flood conditions to existing floodplain residents and to municipal officials responsible for coordinating flood contingency plans.
The Conservation Authority also operates an information and education program for the benefit of property owners, prospective purchasers, and individuals and firms engaged in the land development business and realtors.