Permitting secondary suites and backyard suites

On March 27, 2018 Regional Council initiated a process to consider amendments to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and all applicable community municipal planning strategies/land-use by-laws to simplify the development of secondary and backyard suites.

The draft Centre Plan(External link) is considering creating policy and regulations to widely permit secondary and backyard suites in the Centre Plan area (Halifax and Dartmouth within the Circumferential highway). While public feedback has been received on this topic to date, additional consultation is forthcoming as part of Centre Plan Package B.

The municipality is also considering widely permitting secondary suites and backyard suites throughout the region. Allowing secondary and backyard suites more broadly is intended to support the creation of complete communities as well as meet affordable housing targets for Halifax that were adopted under the Housing and Homelessness Partnership(External link). The focus of the public participation process will be on identifying public and stakeholder perspectives on where and how secondary and backyard suites could be enabled.

There are several issues that should be part of the thinking about secondary and backyard suites, such as fire and safety issues, parking and external appearance. Please read this staff report(External link) if you want to explore these issues.

Updates will continue to be posted here on Shape Your City.

Questions? Want more information? Want to discuss your concerns or suggestions?

We are also happy to come to your meeting or group to present and gather feedback on secondary and backyard suites. Please contact Alan Howell to set up an appointment:

Alan Howell, Planner III, Planning and Development
Telephone: 902-490-4871


This survey relates to all areas of the municipality, not just the Centre Plan area. As part of HRM’s approach to creating complete communities and meeting its affordable housing targets, the municipality is considering widely permitting secondary suites, sometimes called in-law suites, and backyard suites, sometimes called garden suites, across the region.

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