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Ontario Municipal Board Review

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The Ontario government launched a review of the scope and effectiveness of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in June 2016.

Through the OMB review, we considered the board's scope (what it deals with) and effectiveness (how it operates) to improve how the board works within Ontario’s broader land use planning and appeal system. The review included extensive public consultation in communities across Ontario.

Updates to land use planning and appeals system 

Based on public feedback received through the review, we introduced Bill 139 - the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017. Bill 139 received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017 and makes transformative changes to Ontario's land use planning and appeal system.

Learn more about the changes

Background on the OMB review

It is important that Ontario continues to have an independent appeal tribunal that can resolve land use disputes ― not having one would result in more challenges being brought to the courts. Tribunals can support an efficient process. They are designed to be faster and less costly than the courts, and their members are subject-matter experts.

The following set of guiding principles helped frame the OMB Review: 

  • protect long-term public interests
  • maintain or enhance access to dispute resolution
  • provide transparency in hearing processes and decision-making
  • minimize impacts on the court system

Recent government initiatives on related issues, such as the Land Use Planning and Appeal System Review, the update to the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy and the Coordinated Provincial Plan Review, as well as a specific invitation for public input on the OMB, have helped to inform the priorities for discussion in this review.

The OMB review was organized according to the following five themes: 

  • OMB’s jurisdiction and powers
  • citizen participation and local perspective
  • clear and predictable decision-making
  • modern procedures and faster decisions 
  • alternative dispute resolution and fewer hearings

As part of OMB review, the Ontario government undertook extensive public consultation in communities across the province by engaging with members of the public, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and stakeholders.   

The following specific components formed part of the OMB review consultation:  

OMB review - Public consultation document

OMB Review cover page

The government released a public consultation document to support the review of the OMB. It provided context and direction. It gave background on Ontario's land use planning system and on the OMB. It set out possible changes being considered to improve the OMB's role within the system and raised questions for consideration.

The government heard from many Ontarians — more than 1,100 written submissions on the OMB review.    

The deadline to provide feedback was December 19, 2016. Thank you to everyone who provided input.

Learn more