Seeking to give residents more say about what gets built in their neighbourhoods, Toronto City Council has asked the province to free the city from the Ontario Municipal Board’s jurisdiction.
Council endorsed the proposal in 34-5 vote on Monday. The vote is expected to prompt talks with the province over how to revamp the quasi-judicial board, which hears appeals of zoning decisions and frequently overturns council.
“We’ve heard time and time again from our residents that there’s an inequitable playing field,” said Councillor Josh Matlow, who has been urging changes along with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Last Tuesday, Councillors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam introduced a motion at the Planning and Growth Committee meeting to do away with the Ontario Municipal Board. (Mississauga beat us to the punch by introducing a similar motion in June.) The committee voted unanimously in favour of asking the province to remove the OMB’s power over development approvals in the city.
On the agenda for the next City of Toronto Planning and Growth Management Committee meeting on Nov. 8 is a motion to abolish the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Under the current system, developers have little incentive to negotiate in good faith with the city, a process they see simply as a formality en route to a developer-friendly OMB appeal hearing. As a result, city councillors, city staff with expertise in planning and development, and citizens have little say over planning decisions that affect the future and development of Toronto neighbourhoods.