Trucking and logistics operators flouting Brampton bylaws; complaints mount as City uncovers environmental degradation 
(City of Brampton)

Trucking and logistics operators flouting Brampton bylaws; complaints mount as City uncovers environmental degradation 

The trucking and logistics industry has become a pillar of Brampton’s economy. This sector contributes roughly $2 billion to Canada’s GDP annually, according to the City’s Economic Development Office. 

Brampton is at the centre of Canada’s major transportation corridors, and this industry is the reason so many businesses across the country were able to keep their doors open during the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with the industry growing at such a rapid rate, and one that relies on large semi-trucks and the movement and storage of a large number of shipping containers, it will inevitably cause problems. 

The lack of space in Brampton has created a significant issue for residents and City officials as these businesses are illegally using lands for operations and storage, causing a myriad of impacts related to traffic, zoning and environmental degradation. 

Existing fines and penalties have failed to deter illegal operations, with business owners seeing these as merely a slap on the wrist and the cost of doing business. City of Brampton staff are recommending the creation of an interdepartmental task force to come up with new ways to enforce existing laws to deter the expansion of these sites in Brampton. 

The growing number of these illegal sites has triggered an influx of complaints to City Hall from Brampton residents, resulting in a “pressing challenge” for Enforcement and Bylaw Services.

“This development and conversion of land without approval is inconsistent with the goals and objectives of the City’s plans, policies, and bylaws,” a staff report states, noting that these illegal operations pose public safety, environmental and municipal growth concerns. 


Illegal use of lands not designated for parking and storing trucks, trailers and shipping containers is resulting in damage to the surrounding environment as chemicals leach into the ground, contaminating nearby waterways and wildlife habitat.

(City of Brampton)


This also poses a financial risk to the City of Brampton. While money is being used to investigate and enforce existing laws against those destroying these sites, the City is not taking in the appropriate tax revenue from these sites which are not zoned for industrial use. 

This improper use also places “undue strains” on municipal utilities and infrastructure, which heighten costs of maintenance and repair to stormwater management systems and local roadways, which were not designated for this storage use and so are not designed to handle the increased pressures.

Serious threats are also posed to the environment. The report details how these illegal parking and storage operations interfere with and damage “conservation features such as valley and stream corridors, flood storage and erosion control, fish and wildlife habitat, groundwater recharge and discharge, and air and water quality.”


Illegal dumping also occurs near these sites posing risks to Brampton’s natural environment.

(City of Brampton)


The City states the aim of the task force would be to “align efforts and approaches for increased efficacy and coordination.” The taskforce would work to educate business owners, encouraging faster compliance and deterring future infractions. Because investigations into this issue are “multi-faceted” in nature, the staff report states there is a need for “an inter-departmental and multi-governmental approach” to “ensure that locations do not conflict with adjacent land use.” 

“The collaborative efforts of staff target protecting public safety, maintaining the quality of life for residents, upholding the integrity of the community, and mitigating the potential negative impacts,” the report states.


Not only are these areas not designated for storage, but some practices are improper and “unsightly,” and cause damage to the surrounding environment and wildlife.

(City of Brampton) 


The Property Standards department is collaborating with internal and external partners to enhance the “enforcement mechanisms and legal remedies used to cease the operations of illegal facilities, deter future illegal land use, and mitigate negative community impacts,” the report states. It has already “reallocated staff to manage the increased workload,” and is refining standard operating procedures to ensure complaints are handled properly and communication across the organization is improved. 


An image from the Brampton staff report shows land that is zoned as Industrial, where storage of trucks is not permitted.

(City of Brampton)


The staff report states that several factors are possibly contributing to the influx of illegal truck parking activity. This includes Brampton’s proximity to existing transportation corridors; the expansion of independent truck owners and operators and the “limited availability of long-term parking solutions.” Other possible contributing factors include the “availability of undeveloped agricultural properties”, small financial penalties and the lengthy periods of time it takes to actually undertake investigations into these sites.


Complaints about illegal truck, trailer and container parking and storage significantly increased in 2023.

(City of Brampton) 


The report states that 84 sites are currently under investigation for illegal storage or truck parking, with more than half the locations zoned as Agricultural and Residential Rural Estate and almost 40 percent located on “roadways that prohibit the movement and operation of heavy trucks.” Other violations noted involved unauthorized construction, illegal use, import and export of excess soil and fill, injury or destruction of trees without authorization, and “pollution/interference/damage to watercourses, wetlands, and storm sewers.” There are also obstructions to “natural features, hazards, and biologically sensitive areas,” such as floodplains and wildlife habitats, the report reads, as well as damage to “regional and municipal roadways and culverts.”


Illegal truck, trailer and container parking and storage in Brampton has significantly worsened in 2023. According to the City, there were 71 service requests pertaining to the matter last year whereas in 2022, there were only 10.

(City if Brampton)


According to the  Environmental Engineering department, the degradation caused on one site investigated by the City would cost approximately $4 million to fix. This illicit work included watercourses being filled and rerouted impacting habitat of local species; and improper construction creating spill and contamination risks. The assessment also revealed “turbidity concerns in nearby surface water bodies,” due to a lack of “soil compaction in the creation of the berms” which increased the risk of erosion.

Enforcement efforts up to this point have not been working. “Continued non-compliance” has resulted from the financial penalties being so low that fees are just seen as “a cost of doing business,” the staff report states.

Brampton “faces significant delays” when it comes to seeking fines and court orders to address this illegal work.

At the February 21 Committee of Council meeting, Councillor Rowena put forward a motion to hire additional bylaw officers, raising concerns with the already short-staffed department and the impact of shifting resources to support the trucking taskforce leaving other areas potentially worse off. She said residents have expressed frustration with a lack of resources and enforcement around issues plaguing the city, including potential rental licensing and secondary suites.

“I think that what we have right now is inadequate,” she said.  

Staff confirmed the City is currently in the process of hiring more bylaw officers. The motion to hire four more bylaw enforcement officers “immediately” and “on a temporary basis” carried at the meeting. 



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