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The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 (Bill 73) - In Effect Date and Regulations

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The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 (Bill 73) received Royal Assent on December 3, 2015.

In Effect Date

The changes to the Development Charges Act and a related regulation came into force on January 1, 2016.

Certain changes to the Planning Act came into force on Royal Assent. These include:

  • Subsection 1(2) of the Planning Act has been amended to restrict the ability of ministries other than the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to be added as a party to an Ontario Municipal Board appeal.    
  • Subsection 3(10) of the Planning Act has been amended to extend the review cycle of the Provincial Policy Statement from 5 to 10 years.
  • Subsections 4(1) and 4(2) of the Planning Act have been amended to remove the references to “referral”, as the Minister does not have powers for site plan approvals that could be delegated.
  • Section 22.1 has been added to the Planning Act to provide certainty that when new policies or laws come into effect, applications for official plan amendments are subject to the previous policies or laws only if the required supporting material (i.e. complete application) has been submitted prior to the transition date. 

The remaining changes to the Planning Act will come into force on July 1, 2016, as specified by proclamation.

Regulations

A number of new or revised Planning Act regulations will also come into force on July 1, 2016. These regulations provide direction on a range of matters, including giving notice of planning applications and public participation in the planning process. 

Most of the matters addressed in the regulations are needed to implement a number of the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 changes to the Planning Act.  Other changes are being made to update and simplify some of the direction in the existing regulations.

The new and revised Planning Act regulations will:

  • enhance complete application requirements for official plan and zoning by-law amendments, minister’s zoning order amendments, and plans of subdivision
  • update and simplify notice requirements to make them easier to access and understand
  • require the record sent to the Ontario Municipal Board following an appeal of a minor variance to include the minutes of a public hearing
  • change the name of the “development permit system” to “community planning permit system”, and put in place a five year “timeout” for requests to amend the system after it is established, unless permitted by the municipality
  • include technical changes to update and modernize the regulations, such as improving consistency of the language used in the regulations and in the legislation
  • set out specific rules for planning matters that are in process when the Planning Act changes come into force on July 1, 2016.

The new and revised regulations include: