For immediate release: May 16, 2017

REFORMS TO THE ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD EMPOWERS CITIZENS TO TAKE PART IN SHAPING THEIR COMMUNITIES
First step in bringing democracy back to planning our communities long overdue

Toronto, ON –Today, Ontario announced long awaited reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) after a six-month consultation process. The changes to the OMB will limit appeals of official plans, allow density around transit hubs, and support citizen participation in hearings.

“These changes to the OMB were long overdue and are essential to creating sustainable communities. This is a win for municipalities and citizens who want to have a say in shaping their communities,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.

The reforms announced today will:
  • Reduce the type of planning matters open to appeal
  • Allow denser planning around subway and GO transit stations
  • Improve the review process to ensure quicker, less expensive hearings
  • Provide legal advice and support for citizens to participate in OMB hearings
  • Give local planning control back to municipalities

“The OMB has been a major hurdle in building smart livable cities and stopping sprawl,” Gray continued. “We are hopeful these changes will encourage municipalities and residents to work together to build the smart, prosperous communities we need.”

In early October 2016, Ontario began a process to review the scope and effectiveness of the OMB. During the public consultation period, over 5,000 people asked the province to fix the OMB through seven recommendations covering issues such as cost awards, intervenor funding and fair hearings for citizens.

“We are pleased that the majority of our recommendations were taken into consideration,” Gray concluded. “But we will be looking to the province to ensure that the new legislation also addresses egregious cost awards that punish citizens for participating in OMB hearings.”

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For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, skohls@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext 232, 416-885-7847 (cell)