Municipalities are playing an increasingly important role in facilitating and regulating business within their boundaries. As the primary land use planning approval authority, municipalities exercise significant power in determining the location, scope, timing and conditions of major development projects. While municipal infrastructure needs are creating new opportunities for private investment, land expropriations for such projects and potential business disturbance and losses require fair compensation. Businesses are also impacted by the expanded scope of municipal licensing and regulation and the continued expansion of municipal taxation powers, levies and other revenue generation tools.
Osler has successfully navigated its clients through the complexities of municipal law and regulation for decades. Our Municipal, Land Use Planning & Development experts have a proven track record of obtaining municipal approvals and the practical resolution of municipal disputes on behalf of a wide cross-section of private and public sector clients in downtown Toronto, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and across Ontario. We have worked with property developers, infrastructure proponents, public-private partnerships, and public and quasi-public authorities, and are extensively experienced in successfully litigating and resolving large complex development appeals before the Ontario Municipal Board (the OMB). For projects requiring inter-disciplinary advice (e.g. real estate assemblies, environmental issues, and infrastructure finance), we are able to draw upon the vast expertise and resources of our lawyers in our Real Estate, Energy, Projects, Infrastructure, and Regulatory, Environmental, Aboriginal and Land (REAL) practices.
Areas of expertise
- Land use planning, development and infrastructure approvals and dispute resolution before municipal councils, administrative tribunals such as the OMB, the Environmental Review Tribunal and the courts including:
- Municipal planning approvals for land development applications (official plan and zoning by-law amendments, subdivision and site plan approvals, minor variances, consents, development agreements);
- Planning and development approvals and permits for major infrastructure and institutional undertakings such as airports, pipelines, hydro transmission lines, electricity generation facilities and hospitals; and
- Protection of business, employment and commercial uses, and functions from conflicting land uses.
- Expropriation proceedings including hearings of necessity before Boards of Inquiry, and the resolution of claims for land compensation, business losses, disturbance damages and injurious affection before the Board of Negotiation, the OMB and the courts.
- Property assessment and municipal taxation appeals for a wide range of commercial, income, industrial and special purpose properties including:
- Assessment Review Board and court proceedings respecting property valuation, assessment equity and liability for taxation;
- Property tax allocation disputes and arbitrations; and
- Municipal tax sales litigation and dispute resolution.
- Development charges and municipal levy appeals before municipal councils, the OMB and the courts, and the negotiation of developers’ cost-sharing and front-ending agreements.
- Building permit appeals before municipal councils and the courts.
- Heritage designation disputes before municipal councils, the Conservation Review Board and the courts, and the negotiation of heritage easement agreements.
- Environmental approvals and disputes in relation to development applications, emissions, contaminated lands and sensitive environmental areas, and defending municipal by-law and provincial offences prosecutions before the courts.
- Municipal jurisdiction and by-law interpretation issues before the courts.
- Municipal law and finance advice in support of commercial transactions, infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships.