Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) Formulae Training Manual

1.1 Purpose of Training Manual

The purpose of the material in this training manual is to provide additional information and assistance with implementation of the 2006 version of the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) formulae. The manual provides guidance and direction on a number of common issues and questions that have been raised by users of the MDS formulae over time. It is also a tool to assist users in applying the new 2006 version of the MDS formulae.

The information is this document is for training purposes only, and is not to be substituted for the MDS Implementation Guidelines document for the purposes of either interpreting the 2006 version of the MDS formulae or other provincial land use policy documents, such as the Provincial Policy Statement. The material in this training manual does not form part of the MDS formulae. Throughout this document, italicized terms refer to definitions found in the MDS Formulae Implementation Guidelines, except where italicized terms related to specific pieces of legislation, or are italics are used for headings and sub-headings. This manual should be used in the context of the disclaimer outlined at the front of this document.

This training manual covers the following topics:

  • Transition and implementation issues between previous versions of the MDS formulae and the 2006 version of the MDS formulae
  • Incorporation of the 2006 version of the MDS formulae into land use planning documents
  • Sample by-law to incorporate the MDS formulae into a Comprehensive Zoning By-law
  • Schematics and diagrams regarding measurement and application of the 2006 version of the MDS formulae
  • Consideration of minor variances with respect to MDS requirements
  • Determining types of livestock facilities and manure storage systems
  • Determining livestock housing capacity
  • Determining if a livestock facility is structurally sound and reasonably capable of housing livestock; and,
  • Additional resources to assist with the implementation of the 2006 version of the MDS formulae.

For additional information, please consult the material in the last section of the training manual or contact an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Rural Planner or Agricultural Engineer. Updates to the MDS training material may also be posted over time on OMAFRA's web site. For other technical or business information regarding MDS, or other agricultural matters, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

1.2 Acknowledgments and Disclaimer


Prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

The following individuals contributed to the development of this document: John Turvey, Land Use Policy Specialist - Planning, OMAFRA; April Nix, Land Use Policy Assistant, OMAFRA; and, Hugh Fraser, Engineer - Horticultural Crop Structures and Equipment, OMAFRA.

Thanks also to the following individuals for their review of this publication: Dan Ward, Engineer - Poultry and Other Livestock Housing and Equipment, OMAFRA; Ray Valaitis, Rural Planner, OMAFRA; Donna Mundie, Land Use Policy Specialist - Resources, OMAFRA; David Hough, Business Systems and Maintenance Analyst, OMAFRA; Kyle MacIntyre, Senior Planner - Planning Reform Group, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH); Carol Mercer, Senior Policy Advisor - code Development, Legislation and Appeals, MMAH; Harold House, Engineer - Dairy and Beef Housing and Equipment, OMAFRA; Kevin McKague, Engineer - Water Quality, OMAFRA; Andrew Jamieson, Engineer - Coordinator - Farm Implements, OMAFRA; Jennifer Burdick, Marketing and Communications Officer, OMAFRA.

A special thanks also to all OMAFRA staff involved in logistics and delivery of training sessions.


The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has prepared this document to describe and provide training on the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) formulae. It will help users of the MDS formulae, including municipalities, farmers, consultants and the general public, to understand, apply and implement the MDS formulae in a local land use planning context. Municipalities are responsible for making local decisions, including compliance with any applicable statutes or regulations.

This document deals in a summary fashion with complex matters and reflects legislation, policies and practices that are subject to change. The material in this document should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice in connection with any particular matter. The material in this document should not be construed as legal advice and the user is solely responsible for any use or application of the material in this document.

Although the material in this document has been carefully prepared, the ministry does not accept any legal responsibility for the contents of the document or for any consequences, including direct or indirect liability arising from its use. The ministry is not responsible for: errors due to inaccurate or incorrect data or information, mistakes in calculation, errors arising out of modification to this information, or errors arising out of incorrect use of this information.

Contact Us

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is always working to improve our training materials and support documentation. If you have any suggested revisions which would make this document clearer, or if you have any suggestions for additional topic areas or issues that should be addressed in the MDS training material, we would appreciate your comments and feedback.

Please feel free to provide your comments to your local OMAFRA Rural Planner or Agricultural Engineer. Contact information for OMAFRA staff is outlined at the end of this document.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 October 2006
Last Reviewed: 18 August 2009