The Province of Ontario announced changes to the land use planning appeals system this morning. Although the Province had publicly indicated it would not abolish the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.), these changes will do just that, replacing the O.M.B. with a body referred to as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

The new tribunal's mandate will result in greater deference to local decision makers. The appeal process is also proposed to change with the elimination of de novo hearings and restrictions on the types of appeals that can be filed altogether. The restrictions on appeals are proposed to include those pertaining to new Official Plans, major Official Plan updates, and plans to support growth in major transit areas.

A new Local Planning Appeal Support Centre is also proposed with a mandate of providing information, support and representation to unrepresented members of the public during the appeal process. There will also be mandatory case conference requirements for complex hearings.

More detailed aspects of the changes, regulations, and rules are expected to be available later this month when the legislation is introduced. In the meantime the Province of Ontario's news release detailing the changes may be found here, and the backgrounder with further information may be found here.