Toronto, ON – We welcome today’s provincial announcement about the long overdue reform of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The OMB is broken and in need of a thorough overhaul. Its current process stifles citizen groups and erodes the role of elected officials in planning our communities. Far too many citizen groups have been penalized with substantial cost awards for participating in what should be an open public process.

Municipal decisions and official plans developed through a thoughtful public process and which follow Ontario’s Growth Plan are often overturned by the OMB, an unelected body. The hearings require expensive lawyers and planning consultants which favour wealthy development interests and make it cost prohibitive to the public. And while the province has new laws that prevent developers and others from slapping citizen groups with frivolous and pricey lawsuits, the cost awards from the OMB serve to severely discourage public participation.

The public should be enabled to be involved in planning the future of their communities. This review must address the hostility of the OMB to citizens and bring back the accountability for planning to municipalities in Ontario and uphold the principles of Ontario’s Growth Plan.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca