How to Issue City Permits 50% Faster Thanks to Electronic Signatures

Municipal permitting offices are always busy processing requests from Canadians who are tackling projects around their homes, from building that garage to repairing their fence to taking down the old tree in the front yard. As a result, many cities deal with a high volume of permit applications from both contractors and residents, especially during the warmer months.

Using tech to streamline the permitting process

For many cities, processing permit requests is a real challenge. Municipal permitting offices are under a lot of stress to keep up with the demand for permits, especially during Canada’s fourth season: fall, winter, spring, and construction.

The demand for permits can often lead to delays, frustrating contractors and residents and slowing the flow of permit revenue for cities. Contractors and residents don’t care about the flood of permits: they want their decks built and trees removed, and they expect fast, seamless service.

Where some cities see a challenge, others see opportunity. Imagine issuing permits faster, meeting residents’ needs better, and reducing your staff’s workload? Many cities have seized the chance to use technology, such as e-signatures, to streamline their old, inefficient processes into newer, more modern, and more convenient ones. Read on to learn how you can transition to a faster, paperless process and issue permits within 24 hours versus weeks.

Why move from old paper processes to new paperless ones?

The traditional permitting process

The current permitting process at your city might look like this one:

This process has a lot of different stakeholders, manual tasks, multiple physical trips to different locations, and lots of paperwork. Both permitting offices and permit requesters alike recognize that this traditional process is often unnecessarily complicated and that several key parts could be streamlined or even eliminated with a few simple changes:


The first and most obvious area of improvement is going paperless. The traditional paper process is long and complicated:

  • Requesters have to come to the permit office, fill out a paper application, then sign it.
  • The paper application has to be manually routed from department to department and person to person to gather the right signatures and approvals. 
  • A paper permit has to be mailed to the requester, or they have to come back to retrieve it and display it at their job site.
  • Once work is completed, an inspector needs to fill out a paper report.
  • All this paper has to be manually filed in a filing cabinet somewhere and retained for a legally required about of time. 

What a hassle! With a paperless process, made possible with e-signatures, all this trouble is eliminated without sacrificing security. No one has to travel anywhere, and document storage takes up virtually no space at all because it’s all in the cloud and supported by secure infrastructure that rivals most banks!


The second process improvement is automation. The permitting process is fairly repetitive. Rather than routing documents manually, the right e-signature application can do it for you. This reduces the likelihood of human error, frees up a massive amount of time, and lets city employees focus on more value-added tasks, not tracking down documents.

Electronic signatures

The third process improvement that ties the first two together is electronic signatures. Multiple parties need to sign several documents for a permit to be approved. Imagine each digital file getting routed to the correct signer automatically and that person signing in just seconds with a few clicks. A process that used to take days or weeks could now easily take minutes or hours. And the benefits of e-signatures don’t stop there.

The new way to issue permits

Let’s look at a new, paperless permitting process that implements the changes listed above:

Simple, efficient, traceable, and painless—all thanks to technology supported by e-signatures.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that can help do all of this and more, look no further than eZsign.

eZsign customers agree that e-signatures are very easy to use and integrate into their work. Since the number of building and alteration permits is expected to stay exceedingly high in the coming years, more and more cities will be looking for efficiencies like these. Is yours ready to take the leap?

Download The Paperless City,
our digitization guide for cities, to learn more!

Ready to discuss further? Talk to an
eZsign e-signature expert!

Contact us by phone or message today.

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