Provincial lawmakers have indicated that they are in the process of repealing and replacing the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) with an entity that is less powerful, according to reports.
Instead, a proposal is in place to institute a more restrained Local Planning Appeal Tribunal entity to serve in the place of the OMB. However, the functions of the new tribunal will be ardently similar to that of the current OMB.
Mark Cripps, the press secretary for Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, told the Toronto Business Daily that the move is still going through the legislative process.
“While the legislative process related to the proposed bill is ongoing, matters would continue to be dealt with under the current rules and processes,” Cripps said. “That said, while the government is working to see implementation of the new system occur in 2018, subject to the legislative process, it understands that a reasonable transition period would be necessary. To this end, the government would work with its stakeholders to define the appropriate transition period while it works with them throughout the legislative process and defines regulations and tribunal rules and procedures over the coming months.”
Local city councillors have also shown major support for ending the OMB in its current form. Notably, Councillor Josh Matlow of Toronto’s 22nd Ward supported the plan to change the current scheme. However, instead of providing comment, a spokesperson for Matlow’s office yielded their opinion to back that of Mauro.
"Finally the government is taking substantive steps to tip the balance of power towards communities, locally elected bodies and local planners than developers' financial interests," Matlow said, according to by CBC.
For some time, the OMB has been criticized for being unfairly tipped to benefit developers over the citizens of the communities the panel oversees. The new tribunal will have a limited ruling authority on whether a project is in line with provincial rules and the municipality’s rules regarding such affairs.
Developers have voiced opposition to the changes while local governments and constituents have shown support.