Toronto, Ont., December 15, 2003 – Today, John Gerretsen, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, followed through on his commitment to AMO to introduce changes to the planning system.

These changes are an important signal that the government recognizes the role and responsibility of democratically elected municipal governments in planning strong communities.

AMO President Ann Mulvale said, “This is very encouraging news for municipalities and the residents they serve.  The planning system hasn’t been working well for communities and this new legislation begins to take us in the right direction.”

“Recognizing municipal planning documents as legitimate plans created by communities to guide how their municipality will develop will put  “official” back into Official Plans,” said Mulvale.

The Province also affirmed its intention to change the planning test from “have regard to” to “be consistent with” the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).  AMO reserves its comments on this change until the Province speaks to the content of the PPS.  If municipalities will be required to “be consistent with” provincial policies, it is incumbent upon the government to scope the matters of clear provincial interest.

The new legislation needs to provide some clarity around the issue of “complete applications”.  Although the longer time periods for various planning amendments will serve communities well, local participation and quality decision-making are difficult to achieve without having all the facts.  As the legislation currently stands, little documentation is required to trigger these time periods.  Municipalities need the ability to provide a definition of a “complete application” to applicants that will be required before triggering the Planning Act time periods for appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board.  

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization with member municipalities representing 95 per cent of Ontario’s population.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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