For Immediate Release: December 12, 2017

Long overdue Ontario Municipal Board overhaul puts municipalities back in charge of planning Ontario’s towns and cities

Toronto, Ont. – No longer will the unelected Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) overrule municipal council decisions. Today, the legislature passed Bill 139, and with the stroke of a pen the undemocratic OMB was exterminated and replaced with the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT).

“The OMB was known for expensive, adversarial and lengthy appeal hearings that shut out citizens,” said Tim Gray of Environmental Defence. “In contrast, the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) effectively takes city building away from corporations, and puts planning back in the hands of municipalities.”

Municipalities may be happy with the changes, but now they have to make decisions that conform to official plans and provincial policy directions. This may be problematic for municipalities that are used to bending the rules. “Putting municipalities fully in charge of planning outcomes may actually encourage people to attend city council meetings and vote,” continued Gray.  “It’s up to all of us to elect people who support the kind of communities we want.”

“It’s hard to predict at this point how the new rules will affect citizen participation and protection of the environment,” Gray concluded. “We’ll be watching LPAT decisions closely to see if they are consistent with provincial policies that encourage livable communities, protect the environment and reduce carbon pollution.”

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: Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, skohls@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext. 232 (work), 416-885-7847 (cell)