On October 5, the provincial government announced what communities across Ontario have been waiting for: a comprehensive review of the Ontario Municipal Board.
Over the last several years, our community learned firsthand about the problems with the Ontario Municipal Board. A dangerous 2013 ruling from the OMB against the Region of Waterloo’s official plan and the province’s Growth Plan forced the Region to appeal to divisional court. While the Region managed to negotiate a settlement that protected our community’s smart growth goals, no municipality should have its plans for smart growth threatened in this way. The Region’s OMB case made it clear to people across Waterloo Region that the OMB needs reform.
Fortunately, many of the province’s proposed changes seek to address the kinds of problems we’ve seen in Waterloo Region. The province has released a public consultation document that outlines problems they’ve identified, what they’ve done to date, and changes they’re considering. These include changes to improve public participation, support local decision-making, make things more predictable, and have fewer decisions go to the OMB.
It’s crucial that the province get these changes right. There are two main things that you can do to help:
- Attend a townhall meeting. The province has scheduled 12 townhall meetings as part of their review. The nearest is taking place in Guelph on November 1st, but of course you can attend whichever meeting works best for you. They’re asking attendees to RSVP.
- Submit your comments. Once you’ve taken a look at the proposals, you can submit your comments to the review by email at OMBReview@ontario.ca, or using the review’s online comment form. The deadline for comments is December 19, 2016.
Don’t miss this crucial opportunity to help make sure that the OMB is finally fixed for all Ontarians.