Bill 73 was passed with only minor amendments from the Standing Committee. This Bill amends both the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act.

Planning Act

AMO supports much of what this Bill introduces to the land use planning process including going from a 5 year to 10 year review period for the Provincial Policy Statement, and limiting appeals to the OMB where the municipality has amended its planning documents to comply with provincial plan requirements.  The Bill provides positive changes that create stability in the local planning process, and that create efficiencies and which improves predictability.

However, there are certain key concerns which the government did not address. The requirement for upper tier planning advisory committees in southern Ontario, including one member of the public is unlikely to add value to the current process.  

AMO’s request to create some latitude for local circumstances with respect to the two year amendment freezes was accommodated. The government added clarification that councils may permit development applications by resolution during the two years.  

Development Charges Act

Some changes have been made to ensure growth pays for growth, however additional amendments would have been helpful to more fully achieve this principle but they were not adopted. An amendment was accepted to allow each phases of a two-phase development to be eligible for development charges, which is positive.

While the removal of some items from the list of services that are ineligible for full cost recovery through development charges is positive, the government missed an opportunity for consistency with its work encouraging the development of community hubs by allowing recreation facilities, libraries, and childcare facilities to be fully cost recoverable. Another opportunity was lost by restricting the eligible costs for waste to waste diversion rather than including integrated waste management and energy from waste costs.

AMO has received written assurance that the legitimacy of agreements reached outside of development charges would not be impacted by the new clause that prohibits such agreements going forward.

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