I think zoning is alive and well in many American cities, but the Canadian cities I'm familiar with use permitted and discretionary land use. Zoning is similar to permitted land use.
I think that permitted land uses should be used for most low-impact uses such as small industrial, commercial and residential developments. Such developments should be guided by policy.
Only those developments of a scale which could significantly impact a street or community should be discretionary and subject to discussion by stakeholders.
It's important that our planning departments not be taxed by petty development to the point where big development doesn't get properly considered.