Anyone who has ever tried to renovate a home has probably come in contact with Toronto’s building-permit system. It’s a complex thing, with applications, fees and inspections intended to make sure that new construction meets legal standards. As difficult as the process can be for builders, a report from the city’s auditor general implies that it’s sometimes confounding even for the people who make it run. The report says that, in 2012, over 98,000 open permits—67 per cent of all open permits on the books—hadn’t been touched by city inspectors for a year or more. Some of these permits date back to 1975.
In other words, some permits have just been sitting there for nearly 40 years, with nobody at the city knowing whether the proposed structures actually got built—or, if they did, whether they complied with the law.