AECO & RESCON pilot will set the stage for Ontario-wide digital approvals process

Ontario Construction News staff writer

AECO Innovation Lab, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) and the One Ontario coalition have received $2.35 million from CMHC to launch a centralized, one-window digital platform to streamline the residential development approvals process starting in Simcoe County.

The platform will have three major parts:

  • A standardized One-Window Portal that will allow applicants to submit one set of drawings and documents and be used to communicate the status of the application with the applicant.
  • An Intelligent Data Exchange Platform that ensures applications are complete and accessible to relevant staff within municipalities, the county and applicable agencies. The system will be able to track when submissions have been made, documents have been uploaded, communications have occurred, or approvals have been granted.
  • A Regional Development Application Manager which will be used for the county’s workflows, document control, drawing reviews, and other application management tools to track the applications.

If successful, the pilot could be used as a model for a more streamlined development review process across Ontario.

“This funding will enable us to move forward with a technology solution to streamline pre-construction processes and help get housing and affordable housing built faster,” says AECO CEO Arash Shahi. “The blueprint that we have developed will remove barriers, eliminate data silos, and ensure applications can be processed more quickly to improve housing affordability in the region.”

AECO’s platform will include:

  • a portal for submission
  • data exchange platform to enable transfer of information between groups
  • application tracking to support applicants and inform policy decisions
  • a workflow engine to develop a seamless process that will improve efficiency, reduce errors and improve communication

The goal is to speed up processes for residential projects by streamlining communications and provide certainty for developers. Simcoe County “is ideal for the pilot” as the county has a mix of urban, rural, and Indigenous perspectives.