Ontario's New Planning Regime to Come Into Force on September 3, 2019

August 28, 2019

On September 3, 2019, the Province will proclaim into force key amendments to the Planning Act and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017.

Through Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, the Province introduced sweeping changes across 13 statutes, with the intention of cutting red tape, reducing costs, and increasing the supply of housing in Ontario. Although Bill 108 was passed on June 6, 2019, the vast majority of the amendments are presently not yet in effect.

The proclamation scheduled for September 3, 2019 will bring into force key amendments that reform the development process and the planning appeals regime.

These changes include:

  • Reducing planning decision timelines
    • For Official Plans, from 7 months (210 days) to 4 months (120 days);
    • For Zoning By-laws, from 5 months (150 days) to 3 months (90 days);
    • For Plans of Subdivision, from 6 months (180 days) to 4 months (120 days)
  • Empowering the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (“LPAT”) to make its decision based on the best planning outcome, rather than consistency or conformity with higher order planning instruments
  • Enabling the LPAT to make a final determination on appeals, rather than a recommendation back to Council
  • Removing existing restrictions on a party’s ability to introduce evidence and call and examine witnesses at LPAT hearings
  • Limiting third party appeals of Plans of Subdivision and approval authority non-decisions on Official Plans and Official Plan Amendments
  • Authorizing additional residential units for detached, semi-detached, and row houses in both the primary dwelling and ancillary building structure
  • Focusing the use of inclusionary zoning to areas that are generally high-growth and near higher order transit (e.g., major transit station areas and areas where a community planning permit system is required by the Minister)
  • Enabling the Minister to require the community planning permit system (formerly known as development permit system) to be used in specified areas (e.g., major transit station areas and provincially significant employment zones), and removing appeal rights related to implementing documents

Certain other amendments introduced through Bill 108—including the replacement of Section 37 density bonusing with a new “Community Benefits Charge”—will not be coming into force on September 3, 2019. Instead, these remaining amendments will be proclaimed on a future date yet to be determined.

Under the Province’s transition regulations, in general, appeals proceeding under the former regime (introduced through Bill 139, Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017) will continue under that former regime if the LPAT has scheduled a hearing on the merits of the appeal. If no merits hearing has been scheduled, then the appeal will proceed under the new Bill 108 regime, with an opportunity for appellants to provide a new notice of appeal responsive to the new regime. 

To understand how these changes affect existing appeals, development applications in the pipeline, and strategies moving forward, please contact a member of our Municipal and Land Use team.

Related Links

O. Reg. 296/19, amending O. Reg. 174/16 (Transitional Matters – General)


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