There is a growing interest for access to fresh, healthy, organic and sustainable food. This has led to the popularity of “urban agriculture”, which is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas. It can involve keeping hens in residential areas - urban hens - as a means of easy access to fresh eggs which has been taking place in a variety of urban settings in communities throughout Canada.
The Town of Georgina is setting up an Urban Hens Pilot Project to begin in spring 2020.
Details of the pilot project:
- The pilot project will run for 24 months
- A total of 15 licences will be given out – three for each ward
- A 100-metre minimum separation distance will exist between properties with hen coops
- All potential hen owners must participate in a mandatory educational workshop
Applications will be received by the Clerk’s Division from May 4 to May 18, 2020. On May 19, the applications will be reviewed and if there are more than three applications within a ward, a lottery will be conducted to determine the licensees. Those who have been selected to participate in the pilot project will be contacted by email or phone.
On Nov. 27, 2019, following the results of the consultation program, Council received a staff report and approved the recommendation to approve a by-law to enact a 24-month pilot project that will see a call out for applications to a maximum of three per ward, a 100-metre separation distance between homes and that all participants be required to attend a mandatory educational session. Council also approved a recommendation to amend the Exotic Animal By-law to recognize the implementation of a pilot project.
On Aug. 14, 2019, Council received a staff report regarding the regulation of hens in residential areas and directed staff to a conduct a public consultation program to better understand the issues and attitudes of residents about allowing urban hens.
In 2016, Council received a deputation from a resident encouraging the Town to regulate hens in residential areas.
Current Status of Zoning By-law and Animal Control Licensing By-law
Section 5.24 of the Zoning By-law only allows hens on ‘Rural’ (RU) zoned properties with a minimum lot area of 0.4 hectares (1.0 acre). This severely restricts the potential to keep hens in urban/settlement areas.
Animal Licensing By-law 2003-0072 specifies that no person, other than a veterinarian is permitted to keep poultry, except on a ‘Rural’ (RU) zoned property.
October 2019 Public Information Session
Display boards from Oct. 10, 2019 Public Information Session.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Information