May 3, 2019 Novae Res Urbis Toronto newsletter notes sweeping changes in overhaul of Local Planning Appeal Tribunal

I subscribe to the Toronto edition of the Novae Res Urbis newsletter. Given that it’s a publication that supports first-rate journalism through a subscription-based business model, I make it a point not to quote at length, at the Preserved Stories website, from this publication.

For details about NRU, please visit its website.

Sweeping changes

A front-page story by Rachael Williams in the May 3, 2019 NRU Toronto newsletter notes that with Bill 108, the Ontario government is set to overhaul the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and re-establish de novo hearings.

The article adds there remain questions about the transition from the old to new LPAT rules. It reports as well that a timeline for the transition policies has not been provided, as 13 different acts must be changed, requiring 13 separate transition policies.

Practices and procedures at the tribunal will also be changed, the article notes. Among other things, changes will limit submissions by participants to written submissions only.

The article also refers to a divisional court case, involving the Rail Deck Park, where, it has been noted, principles of natural justice and procedural fairness have been the focus of discussion.

The article covers additional ground; what I have described is from the first part of it.

A note regarding Toronto Local Appeal Body

In an interview with Ron Jamieson of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association some time back, I learned that at the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB), the Toronto equivalent of LPAT, the hearings were in many respects do novo hearings. This was despite the fact the OMB Reform legislation from the previous Liberal government called for an end to de novo hearings.

As I understand, the reason that the TLAB hearings have, in practice, been conducted according to what appears to be a de novo format, is that the Toronto committees of adjustment have made it a practice to include minimal information, in written decisions, explaining how a given decision was arrived at.

In other jurisdictions in Ontario, as Ron Jamieson has noted, committees of adjustment decisions describe who attended, what the discussions entailed, and what the rationale was, according to which a decision was arrived at.

Given the lack of detail in Toronto committee of adjustment decisions, therefore, it has, as I understand, been the case that there has been no choice at TLAB hearings, except to introduce evidence all over again.

Thus, in effect, and if I understand this matter correctly, based on an interview with Ron Jamieson, the TLAB hearings have been de novo hearings all along.

In the event my understanding is askew, regarding this matter, please let me know.

Community hub development toolkit

An article by Rob Jowett on page two of the May 3, 2019 NRU Toronto newsletter highlights a community hub development toolkit developed by Social Planning Toronto and the SPACE Coalition.

From my perspective as a volunteer actively involved with community self-organizing, the toolkit appears to be a handy means for focusing advocacy.

It’s wonderful to have a place where people can meet face to face; such a location serves as a great complement to what we can learn from each other in digital realms. We can learn a lot from talking to each other via screens, but there is no substitute to what we can learn from each other by speaking in person.

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