The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has had a significant impact on Ward 25 – from Yonge and Eglinton to Bayview Avenue and Don Mills, our neighbourhoods are under intense pressure because of the OMB.
The OMB is a provincially appointed, quasi-judicial administrative tribunal that hears planning appeals from the municipal level. When an application is appealed to the OMB, it’s the OMB – not the City of Toronto – that decides whether to approve the application.
The OMB Members that preside over cases are often not from Toronto and do not have the intimate knowledge and local context of our neighbourhoods that the city’s planning departments and local representatives have.
Additionally, while many jurisdictions have planning appeal bodies, none have the same power and broad rights that the OMB does. The OMB has more extensive influence over local planning-related matters than any other provincial board in Canada.
Since I became your local Councillor, nearly every major development in Ward 25 has been appealed to the OMB. This has resulted in over 3,800 residential units and 330 storeys being decided by the province, not the city.
I’ve voted four times with City Council to remove Toronto from the jurisdiction of the OMB. Although the province has not yet acted on releasing Toronto from the OMB’s grasp, they’ve launched a review of the Board’s scope and effectiveness.
You can read more about the review here.
In particular, the province is focusing on five areas:
- The OMB’s jurisdiction and powers;
- Citizen participation and local perspective;
- Clear and predictable decision-making;
- Modern procedures and faster decisions; and,
- Alternative dispute resolution and fewer hearings.