Ontario has launched a review of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and wants your feedback to help inform the government of what changes need to be made to make it more effective. The feedback will contribute to a consultation paper to be released this fall.
The OMB is an important part of the province’s land use planning system. Most matters that come before the OMB are under the Planning Act, including appeals on land use planning decision such as official plans and zoning by-laws.
In recent months, we held a series of public and stakeholder consultations on the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, the Long-term Affordable Housing Strategy, and the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review. Through these consultations, we received input on improvements that could be made to the OMB, including its role in Ontario’s land use planning system.
We took the feedback seriously and have already acted upon some of the suggested improvements. For example, changes we incorporated into the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act included giving citizens a more meaningful voice in the land use planning process, building a more accountable and transparent decision making process, and focussing on alternative dispute resolution to reduce the number of OMB hearings.
This is a good start and we’re looking at other ways to improve the effectiveness of the OMB.
We’d like to hear your views on topics such as jurisdiction and power; clarity and predictability in decision making; hearing procedures and practices; alternative dispute resolution; and timely processes and decision making. Another area of particular interest where public input would be quite valuable concerns the ways to ensure meaningful citizen participation and the 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.
We continue to see a need for an independent appeal body that can hear planning matters that are often complex, in order to protect long-term public interests. At the same time, we also recognize the need for continuous improvement to the land use planning and appeal system.
Comments can be sent to OMBReview@ontario.ca. There will be additional opportunities to engage on this topic in the fall. Your input matters and will be important to any reform we undertake.
This website is provided for your convenience. If you'd prefer to call or email, my staff and I would be happy to hear from you.
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