A Development Officer is employed by a Municipality to administer development controls on behalf of the Council. These controls may include subdivision regulations, subdivision by-laws, administering land use by-laws, granting development permits, processing amendments, and granting minor variances from the land use by-laws.
Not all Municipalities employ a Development Officer. Municipalities that have not adopted a municipal development plan, a land use by-law or subdivision controls are not required to employ a Development Officer. In some cases Development Officers are employed by a District Planning Commission and several municipal units.
The Development Officer should not be confused with the Industrial Development Officer who may be employed by a Municipality or a Provincial department to promote development and attract business and industry.
Distinction between the roles of the Planner and Development Officer sometimes is not clear. In some cases this is because the Planner and the Development Officer for the Municipality may be the same person. Also, some Development Officers were formally trained and hold credentials as Planners.