Province Undertakes Ontario Municipal Board Review
The Ontario government has recently announced that it is undertaking a review of the scope and effectiveness of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The review of the independent tribunal tasked with making decisions under a number of statutes, including the Planning Act and the Expropriations Act, could have a significant impact on the determination of land use planning and expropriation matters throughout the province.
The province is aiming to release a consultation paper in fall 2016 for public comment. Prior to the release of consultation paper this fall, the Ontario government is requesting public input on proposed recommendations to improve how the OMB works within the broader system of land use planning, including the following topics:
- Jurisdiction and powers: this could include what matters can be appealed and who may appeal them, the use of local appeal bodies and how much deference should be given to municipal decisions.
- Meaningful citizen participation and local perspective: this could include who has access to hearings, how to ensure the ability of the public to participate, how to ensure that the process is affordable, unrepresented parties and the role of the citizen liaison office.
- Clear/predictable decision making: this could include how to ensure fairness, adjudicator education and training and standardized decision format(s)
- Hearing procedures and practices: this could include the formality of hearings, how expert evidence is heard and what evidence should be allowed at hearings.
- Alternative dispute resolution: this could include the use of mediation or other alternatives to traditional hearings or adversarial procedures as part of the appeal system.
- Timely processes and decision making: this could include the timelines for scheduling hearings and the issuing of decisions.
For more information on the Ontario Municipal Board Review and how to provide comments visit: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14965.aspx