Ontario Municipal Board/Local Planning Appeal Tribunal
Originally named the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, it was created in 1906 to oversee municipalities’ accounts and to supervise the rapidly growing rail transportation system between and within municipalities. It was renamed the Ontario Municipal Board in 1932. For many years, the OMB has served as is an independent tribunal that has conducted hearings and made decisions on appeals arising under the Planning Act. In December of 2017 the Ontario government passed the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act 2017. The legislation makes fundamental changes to the planning and development system in Ontario. The new legislation replaces the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The new legislation is intended to:
- reduce the number and types of matters which can be appealed;
- limit the grounds of appeal that can be advanced before the LPAT;
- eliminate the introduction of new information (no more de novo hearings), and
- limit who can participate in LPAT’s
The process of transitioning from the OMB to the LPAT will take time. On Dec 08, 2017 by Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Yasir Naqvi, Minister of the Attorney General announced regulations to guide the transition from the OMB to the LPAT. The proposed regulations set out rules for planning matters in process at the time of proclamation and those which commence after that date.
- Appeals filed prior to the date of Royal Assent of Bill 139 (Dec 12, 2017) will be subject to the existing rules and will be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board. It is anticipated that the backlog of cases could last for up to two years. These appeals will continue to include expert testimony from land use planning professionals and other experts. The Board Member who chairs the Hearing will weigh the evidence presented, in the context of Provincial and local planning policies and will determine whether to allow the appeal or rule in favour of the decision made by the approval authority. EcoVue’s Planners have appeared regularly before the OMB, assisting landowners, community groups and others to achieve the best possible planning solutions. We will continue to represent clients before the OMB during this transition time. Where Mediation Sessions are scheduled, EcoVue is available to provide expert opinion and analysis which can contribute to the quality of the compromise reached and reflected in the Minutes of Settlement issued by the parties for approval by the OMB.
- Appeals made after the new rules come into force will be subject to the new rules and heard by the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal;
- Appeals of matters between the date of Royal Assent and the date that the new rules are proclaimed into force:
- will be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board if the planning matter began (e.g. the complete application was received) before the date of Royal Assent; and
- will be heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal if the planning matter began after the date of Royal Assent.
The new tribunal will no longer hear verbal expert evidence or provide for cross-examination. Expert planning evidence will be presented for consideration through written witness statement prepared by professional planners and other technical experts. In the case of appeals involving Official Plans or Zoning By-laws, the LPAT will only be able to overturn a matter if the tribunal determines that the municipal decision is inconsistent with provincial policies and municipal plans.
- The tribunal would then be required to return the matter to the municipality with written reasons for why the decision should be overturned.
- The municipality will have 90 days to make a new decision on an application.
- The tribunal will retain the authority to make a final decision only when, on a second appeal, the municipality’s subsequent decision still fails to follow provincial policies or municipal plans.
The proposed new regulation under the Planning Act to prescribe transitional provisions for the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 (Bill 139) was posted to the Environmental Registry on December 8, 2017. The last day for comments was Jan 21, 2018. Once the Regulation is in place, the details regarding the transition to the LPAT will be known. EcoVue will monitor changes in the appeal process and will continue to provide expert planning support to our clients as we transition from the OMB regime to the new world of the LPAT.