Diverse metropolis: An overview of the by-law

Last updated March 26, 2024
Reading time: 2 min

Preserving the diverse character of our neighbourhoods and promoting access to adequate housing for everyone is the objective of the city’s By-law for a Diverse Metropolis.

Anyone who is developing a project that involves adding at least one dwelling with a residential area exceeding the threshold set in the by-lawmust sign an agreement with the city to contribute to its supply of social, affordable and family housing. The project can be a new building, an expansion or a conversion.

The threshold set in the by-law is 450 m² of added residential surface area (equivalent to about 5 dwelling units). However, until December 31, 2026, the threshold is temporarily raised to 1800 m² (equivalent to about 20 dwelling units) to take account of the economic context.  After this period, the regulatory threshold  will be restored to 450 m².

Certain exemptions are provided for in the by-law, particularly for social and affordable housing projects.  In addition, until December 31, 2026, any conversion of office use to dwelling units in area 1 of the by-law (corresponding approximately to the downtown) will also be exempted. For more details, contact the Service de l’habitation at: [email protected].

Definitions: Types of housing

The by-law defines what social housing is. In short, it is any dwelling unit owned by a non-profit organization, cooperative, government or paramunicipal corporation that is intended for people with special housing needs or households with low or modest incomes. Social housing is generally developed within the framework of government subsidy programs, but it can also be developed outside these programs.

Affordable housing, which is different from social housing, is a dwelling unit for which the selling price or rent is subject to a commitment of at least a 20-year period. Unlike social housing, affordable housing is not necessarily owned by a non-profit organization or cooperative, and is not intended for a specific clientele. Affordable housing is generally developed in the framework of government programs, but can also be developed outside these programs.

For the purpose of the by-law, a family housing unit is a dwelling unit with at least five rooms, including three bedrooms and an area that is sufficient for a family. The by-law sets this  minimum area at 86 m² or 96 m², depending on the area where the dwelling is located.

Learn more about the by-law

The Technical Guide is currently being revised.

Developer’s contribution

The developer’s contribution depends on the scope and location of the project. It can take a number of forms, including:

  • Creating social, affordable and family housing through your project
  • Transferring land or a building in exchange for a financial contribution
  • A financial contribution

Do you have a project?

As for any residential project, you must visit the permit counter in the borough where the project will be created. The permit counter staff will help you with the procedures and answer your questions.

To begin the project, complete the project sheet. 

The project sheet is required for all permit applications for projects that involve the addition of at least one dwelling.

Online service

Would you like to know which requirements apply to your project?
Find out how to use our contribution calculation tool.