Is the Cabinet ready to gut the developer-friendly OMB?

The province is about to effectively get rid of the Ontario Municipal Board. This is said to be coming in a news conference Tuesday. Whether the change will be as great as is suggested in reports, remains to be seen. The OMB is a supposed appeal body which has exercised enormous authority in the actual creation of planning policy for communities. The origins of this power, often seen as pro-developer, seem to be related to fears in the early years of the 20th Century that municipalities would be anti-development.


Boom towns like Toronto have long since been overwhelmed by builders many of whom have no regard for planning. The OMB has been seen as their  friend. The enormous amounts of money to be made in high-rise development were unknown to those who conceived the OMB. Jennifer Pagliaro in the Star, says the OMB name and, more importantly, the existing process that has been called “seriously flawed” by residents groups will cease to exist if new legislation to be tabled this month is approved.


The two biggest changes would include making good on a decade-old promise to cities to let them plan their own futures and helping citizens who have said they are “woefully unprepared” to participate on equal ground against developer interests. The CBC says it has been told OMB will be replaced by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which will have less power.  The tribunal will only make decisions on whether or not a municipality has followed its planning process and land use plans. If it hasn’t, the issue will be sent back to the municipality for reconsideration. News release