The OCP guides the overall future of New Westminster and provides a broad framework for managing future growth and change. In some cases, further detail on implementation of the various policy areas can be found in other plans, strategies, policies and bylaws. The City’s Affordable Housing Strategy, Master Transportation Plan, and Community Energy and Emissions Plan are examples of policy documents that work collaboratively with the OCP to help implement the vision.

The OCP is also one of the tools for translating the intent of Envision 2032, the City's Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), into the development of the community.

The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that includes more specific requirements that new development must comply with (e.g. permitted density, site coverage, land use and parking). The OCP is a high-level policy tool that is often less prescriptive than the Zoning Bylaw. The OCP includes land use designations and the Land Use Designation Map, which show the type and location of growth that Council is likely to support. Council cannot approve a rezoning application that is not consistent with the OCP.

As an example, the OCP designates the majority of East Columbia Street as Mixed Use – Low Rise. This designation allows “low rise buildings which include commercial uses (e.g. retail, office) and which may also include residential uses.” Most of the properties in this area are zoned Community Commercial Districts (C2-A), which regulates what uses are permitted (e.g. retail stores, restaurants), what density is permitted, the height the building can be (a maximum of 40 feet), and required setbacks from property lines. In this way the Zoning Bylaw helps to implement the OCP.