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Bill 139: Transitioning from the OMB to the LPAT

On May 30, 2017, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Attorney General introduced the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 (Bill 139). The Bill can be viewed here with general updates on the changes provided here. Bill 139 came into force on April 3, 2018.

Bill 139 substantially changes Ontario’s land use planning appeals systems, with the goal of placing more authority in the hands of local planning authorities and municipal councils. To achieve these changes, Bill 139 establishes the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). On December 7, 2017, the Minister of Municipal Affairs issued a statement clarifying the transition of planning matters from the OMB to LPAT, which can be viewed here.

The MBTW Group has extensive experience with OMB hearing processes, including providing expert testimony, and the preparation of visual evidence and expert opinion evidence for diverse OMB hearings. Our planning and urban design team has been actively following and learning about the change in legislation leading to the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, to ensure a seamless transition from the previous Ontario Municipal Board process.

Bill 139 and the transition to the LPAT represent fundamental changes to the land use planning and development process for proponents across Ontario. New limitations to tribunal hearings have been introduced, including limiting evidence to written materials and eliminating the opportunity to introduce new evidence at hearings, provide verbal testimony or examine witnesses. In light of this reform, we have revisited our approach to preparing deliverables, which could, under the new system, constitute as evidence at hearings for any given project. Our deliverables for all development applications, including planning rationale reports and urban design guidelines, will be composed in a manner that reflects the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal framework, addressing all aspects of the proposed development, with a focus on municipal staff and Council concerns, where relevant. Our deliverables will respond to the new appeal tests of consistency and conformity as they relate to the relevant provincial, regional and municipal policy documents.

If you have any questions on how the changes from Bill 139 may impact you, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Michael Hannay: