The controversial and secretive Ontario Municipal Board is coming under scrutiny. A comprehensive review of how the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) operates and its role in the province’s land-use planning system to help make it more efficient and more accessible to all Ontarians has been announced by the provincial government.
The OMB plays a central role in Ontario’s land-use planning process as an independent, public body through which people can appeal or defend land-use decisions that affect their property or community.
Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs, said: “We know we have to take a good look at the OMB’s role in the land-use planning system. We want to ensure that the OMB is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. We’re seeking input in a number of areas, including what can be appealed, who may appeal and how the OMB hears matters.”
Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario, said: “The decisions the OMB makes directly impact Ontario families and their communities. That’s why it’s so important that people, businesses and organizations take this opportunity to have their say about the future of the OMB and share their ideas on how the OMB can work better for them. With this input and advice, our government will develop reforms that put people and communities first.”
As part of the review, the government is consulting the public on possible changes to the OMB that, if adopted, would:
- Allow for more meaningful and affordable public participation
- Give more weight to local and provincial decisions and support alternative ways to settle disputes
- Bring fewer municipal and provincial decisions to the OMB
- Support clearer and more predictable decision making
The changes under consideration would improve everyday life for Ontarians by providing easier public access to information about the OMB and its processes through an expanded Citizen Liaison Office. The proposed changes would also better specify what can be appealed to the OMB, as well as the mechanisms through which the OMB hears these appeals.
- The OMB is an independent tribunal that makes decisions at arms’ length from the government. First established in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, it is one of Ontario’s oldest tribunals.
- The OMB has a mandate under many statutes, but the majority of its hearings relate to Planning Act matters.
- Comments must be submitted by December 19, 2016.
Ontarians wishing to participate in the consultation may submit comments online or in person at one of the town hall meetings being held across the province this fall. – CINEWS