April 9, 2014
Toronto City Councillors to Speak at Queen’s Park Committee on Bill 20: Freeing Toronto from the OMB
Media Availability at City Hall
Toronto City Councillors Wong-Tam, Matlow, Vaughan, and Layton will speak at a Queen’s Park Committee regarding a private member’s bill to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Public hearings on Bill 20, a private member’s bill, will be heard at Queen’s Park on April 10th. Should the bill move forward, it would allow Toronto, North America’s 4th largest city, to have stronger oversight of its urban development.
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Outside of Committee Room 1, 2nd Floor, City Hall
100 Queen St. W., Toronto
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Media contact: Melissa Wong, Executive Assistant to City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (416) 873-4372; firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Athanasiu, Executive Assistant to City Councillor Josh Matlow (416)892-7353; email@example.com
City Hall – The OMB is a quasi-judicial, un-elected and un-accountable provincial body that has the final say on all planning decisions in the province of Ontario. The tribunal’s powers to overrule decisions made by our elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic and often lead to planning decisions that support the interests of the development industry over those of our communities and our city’s official plan.
Tomorrow, April 10, the provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will hear deputations by Toronto City Councillors Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Adam Vaughan and Kristyn Wong-Tam in support of Bill 20 – Respect for Municipalities Act (City of Toronto), 2013. If passed, the bill would remove the City of Toronto from the purview of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
The provincial bill follows a February 2012 motion moved by Toronto City Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 – Toronto Centre Rosedale) and Josh Matlow (Ward 22 – St. Paul’s) asking for the removal of provincial oversight on planning matters. This motion was overwhelmingly supported by Toronto’s City Council.
- A 2009 study found that developers come out on top 64% of the time when facing municipalities. That number is even more advantageous for developers when facing residents’ groups without support from their city government
- Though commonly referred to as an “appeals” body, the OMB treats appeals of municipal planning decisions to the OMB as “de novo”, or new, giving little deference to the rulings of democratically elected City Councils
- OMB decisions are used as precedent for future planning decisions, essentially giving the OMB the powers to create by-laws and override elected local Council’s decision-making
- It takes a City Planner many days of preparation time for every one day of an OMB hearing. Further, they have to write long, overly technical planning reports in case they are called before the board to defend their professional opinions
- City lawyers must spend the equivalent of 1,400 days a year to prepare for, and attend, OMB hearings. In addition, City forestry, transportation, technical services staff and others are forced to waste valuable time as well.