Toronto - Following Council’s approval in July 2007, the City of Toronto has implemented two new policies within the People, Dogs and Parks Strategy that governs the use of Toronto parks, green spaces and waterfront areas by dog owners and commercial dog walkers.

The Off-Leash Policy and the Commercial Dog Walkers Permit Policy, which are designed to promote everyone’s enjoyment of Toronto parks, green spaces and waterfront areas, require:

  • all dogs be licensed
  • all dogs be on-leash when in public areas, unless they are in municipally-designated off-leash areas
  • development of a local dog owner association in order to complete an application to request the establishment of an off-leash area
  • commercial dog walkers, who walk four to a maximum of six dogs at any one time in the city parkland system, to obtain a commercial dog walker permit by completing an application form and paying the $200 permit fee.

The Commercial Dog Walker Permit Policy will be enforced beginning February 1.

“As population growth and development density increase across the city, demands on existing parks, green spaces and waterfront areas are becoming more pronounced. The People, Dogs and Parks Strategy provides a consistent approach to the provision of off-leash areas within the parks system, and takes into consideration the interests of various park users, including families and dog owners, in addition to protecting sensitive natural areas,” said Brenda Librecz, General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Comprehensive information about the People, Dogs and Parks Strategy and its policies is available on the City’s website at, including:
  • application forms
  • details on how off-leash areas may be established, operated, managed and monitored across city parkland to ensure consistency and transparency
  • the process to obtain a commercial dog walker permit and conditions of use.

    “We are grateful to the many residents who attended public meetings to assist in the development of this strategy, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue as we implement the strategy,” added Librecz.

    Parks, Forestry and Recreation will report back to Council in one year on the strategy’s effectiveness and to make any necessary revisions.