August 2017

In Ontario, the Province guides land use planning through multiple pieces of legislation, including the Planning Act and provincial plans such as the Greenbelt Plan and the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.

Municipal governments have been given the primary authority for land use planning by the Province. Municipal planning needs to balance two important priorities: it must be consistent with province-wide objectives, while also reflecting local input and priorities. At times, finding the balance can be difficult and costly.

Bill 139, if passed, would make finding that balance dramatically easier. The Bill would convert the Ontario Municipal Board into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

In regards to planning appeals:
  • The LPAT would determine if a municipal planning decision is inconsistent with a policy statement issued under section 3 (1) of the Planning Act; fails to conform with or conflicts with a provincial plan; and/or fails to conform with an applicable official plan.
  • It would not hear the application for the amendment from the start (de novo), testimony will be very limited, or in some cases, only written testimony would be considered.
  • If the LPAT identifies an inconsistency, the municipal government will be asked to make a fresh decision.
  • The LPAT will focus on provincial interest, where a notice from the Minister responsible for the Planning Act, considers the interest may be adversely affected.
  • Some types of amendments (those where the provincial approval has taken place such as fulfilling source protection plans) would not be appealable.
  • The LPAT would require case management conferences to bring the parties together in order to scope issues.
  • A Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, funded by the Province, would be established to help citizens through the appeal process, including providing legal representation.