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Where Do You Stand On Secondary Suites?


The Town of Midland passed a by-law in April 2010, which allows for Secondary Suites in single-detached residential dwellings.

In our local lobby group’s (midlandcommunity.ca) latest e-mail blast to their party faithful, they lament:

“All of this played to a standing room only crowd in chambers, as the room was filled with residents concerned with Midland’s misguided secondary suite bylaw.  The public protest was supported by considerable correspondence arguing against another “made in Midland” litigious disaster, and Council acknowledged receiving these letters.  Why can’t we learn from recent history?  This community will no longer stand for these types of self destructive policies. The residents who showed up in force at the meeting remain concerned that some at Town Hall still hope to reverse recent progress on this file.”

This got us thinking about why a lobby group who’s primary focus is on reducing taxes should line up so passionately against a federal and provincial initiative that Midland has little option other than to adopt? We thought we would look into the issue to see what all the fuss is about.  What litigious risk are we in and what is self-destructive about this bylaw and the policies surrounding it?

What Is A Secondary Suite

Secondary SuitesA secondary suite is a private, self-contained unit within an existing dwelling. Secondary suites are also called second units, accessory apartments, granny flats, in-law suites and basement apartments (since many are found in basements). A secondary suite has its own bathroom, kitchen, living and sleeping areas but can share a number of features with the rest of the house. Shared facilities may include a yard, parking area, laundry and storage space, and sometimes a hallway.

The secondary suite is usually created in a dwelling originally designed to accommodate a single family. Builders in some markets construct houses with apartments included at the outset or houses that can be easily converted.  The video above speaks to FlexHousing concepts when building a home or renovating to accommodate changing needs of the resident or the addition of other living spaces.

The Town is requiring that all existing and new Secondary Suites to be registered under the Registry By-law 2010-32.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Creation of a garden suite for seniors and/or persons with a disability or creation of an affordable rental unit in an existing single family dwelling:

  • Must comply with local municipal building approval and Ontario Building Code requirements
  • Rents must remain affordable* for a period of 15 years *based on Average Market Rent as determined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation describes the initiative as:

Secondary suites are an important supply of rental housing in many cities, towns and rural communities across Canada. For example, in 2014, it was estimated that there were about 26,600 secondary units in Vancouver, forming about a fifth of the rental stock. About a fifth of the rental stock in Edmonton is in secondary suites and accessory dwellings, as well. Rents in secondary suites are often lower than those for apartments in conventional rental buildings, and the suites can be developed with no or minimal government assistance. Secondary suites enable low- and moderate-income households to live in ground-related housing in a residential setting.

Not only are secondary suites a source of affordable rental housing, they can also provide the needed extra income to first-time homebuyers for whom that additional income makes housing affordable in high-cost areas. For older households who no longer need a large house, the addition of a suite can generate needed income and security, as well as allow them to continue to live in their neighbourhoods and age in place.

What's Your OpinionThere seems to be much commotion surrounding Midland’s secondary suite bylaw as of late with many people who are against the changes showing support by attending council meetings where the topic is on the agenda. 

Where do you stand on this issue and why?  Weigh in below in the comments.  What’s all the fuss about?





  1. Very necessary in all Canadian communities especially as the poverty rate among seniors is growing. Back yard “granny flats ” and in house suites.

  2. The issue is not “secondary units”…….it is about commercial duplexes being built amongst single family dwellings in new building developments. You should get your facts right. We, at Tiffin simply asked that Town staff adopt the same position as Toronto and other cities/towns. Midland Planning took their own position and adopted views…..which you now seemingly endorse…..which are contrary to the wishes of Tiffin residents. $$$$ in legal bills run up by Wes Crown and Mayor. Nobody is against “affordable housing”
    Very disappointed in your view……..so “tunnel minded”, your agenda is to run down the other community group at all costs.
    Have totally lost our support ……… have lost our support and anonymous contributions to you self serving Edgehill Park agenda.
    Cody…..lost a few votes next election.
    Totally annoyed

    1. Thanks for weighing in Gerry. We actually tried to be very objective about this since we did not know what the issues were nor who was raising them. We are not “for” or “against” secondary units and have tried to present the information that forms the rationale behind them.

      The article was designed to get input from both camps. We are glad that you shared part of the issue with us but would like to know more about your concerns, and publish them if you wish. As for your support of ourmidland.ca or assistance to any campaign we endorse, you are free to come and go and we don’t ask that any one swear allegiance. That mere fact that you read our content, regardless of whether you agree or not, means that you are still interested in opposing viewpoints and may find that you align with us in some areas. We welcome your input, comments and hope you will continue to visit and engage. We are not an alternative to the lobby group, we are news an opinion site that is young, well-read and deeply concerned about our community and the many issues both real and quasi-real that dominate our local political scene.

  3. Whoever wrote this uniformed piece of nonsense has probably lost a lot of of Tiffin development residents, who largely support your Edgehill Park position. Strongly suggest that a suitable retracation be made !!

  4. I’ve heard all about your tiffin homeowner group. You’re a bunch of snobs who think your homes and neighbourhood will be devalued if the rental riff raff are allowed to live near you or heaven forbid among you.

    Well you can take your arrogance and use it to patch up your cracking stucco. Your kind likely never supported the edgehill cause anyway since it doesn’t affect you. Good luck in YOUR fight with the town. Let’s see if being rich helps you. Bet it won’t.

    Sorry you’re having such a hard time integrating with those less fortunate who may have to “rent” near you to enjoy a view of the bay or access to the waterfront trails. I’m gonna go for a rip on my sled tonight up and down there just for you snobs. Braaaap!

  5. Mike B. Sorry you feel that way……it has nothing to do with secondary units and affordable housing…..it is about high rental rate commercial duplexes being built in a non-duplex zone (with rental incomes starting at $1,700 per month, going up to $1,900, they are hardly “äffordable”). Anyway I’ll let the Homeowners Association handle it. Town Planning twisted things around to suit their agenda….just like Edgehill…and by the way I will continue to support your endeavours.
    I am finished with this topic. Good Luck and Fortune……..oh, and I am far from being a snob, quite the opposite.
    Best regards to you,,,,, and all of Midland Community, and keep warm and keep up the good work in the community.

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Where Do You Stand On Secondary Suites?

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