Restructuring land use tribunals – Novae Res Urbis

Chris Barnett

Jun 24, 2020

In an article in Novae Res Urbis, reporter Rachael Williams discusses the creation of the Ontario Land Tribunals, a new land use tribunal body announced by the Ontario government. This new organization includes the Ontario Land Tribunal, Board of Negotiation, Conservation Review Board and Mining and Lands Tribunal. Beginning July 1, 2020, it will focus on adjudicating and mediating a range of matters, including those related to land use planning, environmental and heritage protections, expropriated land valuations and mining. The goal of the restructuring is to improve efficiencies and reduce delays where there is a dispute in the land use planning process. To determine industry reaction to the change, Williams consulted a number of sources, including Chris Barnett, a partner in Osler’s Real Estate Group who practises in the areas of administrative and regulatory law, with a focus on municipal and planning advice and environmental approvals. Chris explains that the restructuring will be particularly important given that all in-person tribunal hearings were suspended until at least June 30, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 – just as the backlog of Ontario Municipal Board legacy cases was starting to ease.

“I think they were really starting to make progress in clearing out the backlog when COVID hit,” Chris says. “They are going to start having full, contested hearings by way of video. We’re just waiting to hear confirmation of the guidelines and processes for that.

“I think the expectation is that by having one cluster of specialized tribunals, there is a better ability to focus resources and improve efficiency on the back end, both in terms of processing applications, scheduling and getting decisions out the door.”

If you have a subscription to Novae Res Urbis, you can learn more by reading Rachael Williams’ full article “Restructuring land use tribunals” in the June 24, 2020 issue. Subscribe to Novae Res Urbis here