In May of 2017, the Ontario Government announced a proposal to eliminate the Ontario Municipal Board. Under the new proposal, disputes with municipal land planning decisions will instead be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The LPAT will exist as an independent tribunal that operates at arm’s length from the government. If the LPAT finds that the planning decision of the municipality is in violation of the law, it will submit a recommendation to the municipality to amend their decision. The LPAT can only overturn a local municipal planning ruling if it continues to violate the law after the decision. Moreover, in order to have a decision overturned, landlords will need to submit a second appeal to the LPAT.
The purpose of these reforms to the Ontario planning decision and appeal process is to shorten the wait time for landlords to obtain an appeal hearing and transfer power from provincial tribunals to the municipalities. The new system limits landowners’ ability to successfully appeal municipal decisions. Whereas the Ontario Municipal Board had the power to make decisions based on best land use, the LPATs are restricted to rulings based on violations of the law. Along with eliminating the Ontario Municipal Board, the Ontario government is proposing a new office tasked with providing information and guidance to landowners intending to appeal municipal decisions to the LPAT.