More Planning Power For Municipalities With OMB Dissolution

As of today, municipal council's will have more power on planning decisions.

The Ontario Municipal Board is being dissolved and reorganized into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

The OMB handled appeals regarding local planning issues like proposed condo buildings or new business parks.

The new tribunal comes with a different mandate as more power and responsibility on planning concerns will shift to municipal councils.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara admits there will be an adjustment period for local politicians, but feels more autonomy for municipalities is a good thing. "Folks used to say, 'Well, municipalities will wash their hands and let the OMB make the decision for them. Now it's basically, you're going to be making the decision."

McNamara feels more power comes with more accountability for local councils.  "There was always an issue with OMB that it was always big brother casting a shadow over the municipalities and for many instances there have been a lot of cases where it was frivolous — and that costs a lot of money."

McNamara also hopes moving away from the Ontario Municipal Board will speed up planning decisions. "An OMB hearing, depending on what the situation is, could be up to two years. In the meantime, it detracts from obviously the development of a municipality."

The OMB was initially created in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board before "Railway" was dropped in 1932.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act was approved in 2017 and comes into effect today.