Introduction to the Ontario Municipal Board

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The Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”) is an independent tribunal established through provincial legislation that conducts hearings and makes decisions on matters that have been appealed to the Board. The OMB operates under the authority of many different acts and statutes. The majority of appeals arise from applications filed with municipalities under the Planning Act, such as official plans, zoning by-laws, subdivision plans, consents and minor variances, or claims for land compensation filed under the Expropriations Act, development charges, and changes to ward boundaries.

Disputes are brought to the OMB by filing an appeal. Depending on the type of dispute, there are different processes and timelines for filing an appeal. The OMB reviews the appeal and with the input, or upon the request of a party, or upon the request and consent of all parties, may stream the case into mediation, motion, pre-hearing or hearing. Most appeals are resolved by a full hearing.

The OMB holds hearings across the province, most often in the municipality where the property is located. The OMB holds hearing events by teleconference when it is appropriate, such as pre-hearings and settlement hearings. OMB hearings are generally open to the public to attend. However, to take part in a hearing, you must be a party or a participant in the hearing.

OMB Members hear the appeal and make independent decisions based on the evidence presented at the hearing, provincial law, the provincial planning policy, municipal planning documents, previous Board decisions (if applicable) and the principles of good planning.