Houses of Parliament have Hansard. Courts have transcripts. What records does OMB provide of its deliberations?

A recent post is entitled:

Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star: Contested Development – Parts 1, 2 & 3 in series about Ontario Municipal Board “wielding its unelected power”

From my limited perspective and anecdotal evidence as a resident observing, and occasionally participating at, Committee of Adjustment and OMB hearings in recent years, my sense is that we are dealing with unelected officials who are in some cases ignorant of, or in other cases openly contemptuous of, the Official Plan and relevant Bylaws.

The fact, as the Toronto Star article notes, that transcripts of OMB hearings are in some cases unavailable, and reasons for decisions are in some cases skimpy, does not engender confidence in the integrity of the OMB decision-making process.

There is an element of farce in many of the observable aspects of the process.

A related topic concerns record-keeping and the concepts of transparency and accountability. In Houses of Parliament, we have Hansard, an official record of what takes place. We also have video and audio recording of procedures. At Toronto City Council meetings, procedures are recorded. In the court system, we have transcripts. OMB us a quasi-judicial body.

The Feb. 17, 2017 Toronto Star article notes, however, that transcripts of OMB meetings may or may not be available. Reasons for decisions may be stated in some detail, or not. As well, a judge can be removed from the bench, in the case of misconduct. A politician can be voted out of office. No such provision appears to be in place (I stand to be corrected, with regard to this point), with regard to the conduct or competence of members of Committees of Adjustment or the OMB.

These facts, in my view, reinforce the concept that we are dealing with a “failed state” approach to decision-making.

The concept and reality that elected officials can be routinely overruled (in an arbitrary and contemptuous manner, in many cases without a clearly articulated rationale) on key planning decisions by unelected officials is not, I would argue, acceptable in a society that claims to be operating in accordance with fundamental principles of democracy.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *