OFA agrees that Ontario Land Tribunal proceedings should advance promptly and efficiently. OFA requests that the Ministry make clear the “undue delay” criteria in which the Tribunal could dismiss a proceeding.
OFA is concerned about upholding a “loser pays” model at the Tribunal, as it is unclear when a cost awards order may be considered. To protect Ontario’s farmers as citizens who wish to appeal developments threatening the loss of farmland and agricultural viability in their communities (as protected by the PPS), OFA would like to see cost awards eliminated altogether.
OFA sees a greater need to reassess the Tribunal and reform it. Ontario farmers increasingly need an appeal process for decisions impacting agriculture, rendered by increasingly urbanizing municipalities whose councils may not apply an agricultural lens to their decision-making processes.
OFA respects the rights of citizens to launch appeals to the Tribunal based on procedures and reasons outlined in the Planning Act. We support our members and other citizens in participating in the public planning process and providing their input.
OFA maintains its stance on limiting appeals to exclude municipal decisions that conform to the PPS, provincial plan, or other, preserving the end of de novo hearings as part of the Tribunal hearing format, and limiting hearings to those based on errors in law or procedures. OFA believes the Tribunal’s sole role is to determine if the decision under appeal is the “correct” decision based on applicable laws, procedures, and policies in Ontario’s land use planning policy framework. We recommend that Tribunal decisions be based solely on conformity to the PPS, applicable provincial plan, provincial guidance material (e.g., MDS calculations), or a lower-tier Official Plan’s conformity with its upper-tier policies.
OFA recommends the provincial government reinstate the ‘Local Planning Appeal Support Centre’. OFA previously opposed this move to end the Support Centre as private citizens need information and guidance on how the Tribunal Hearing formats work, including necessary appeal-related documents and processes behind launching an appeal.