June 2019
Ontario Government Passes Bill 108

2019-06-06 1:29:09 PM

The Ontario government today has passed Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice, 2019. The Bill aims to increase affordable housing in Ontario. The Bill affects 13 Acts and has several municipal implications. 

Below is a brief summary of the passed legislation. Changes made to the Bill are italicized from when the Bill was initially proposed.  

Schedule 1 – Cannabis Control Act

  • Repeal the legislation that prohibits police from shutting down illegal dispensaries if the premise is being used as a residence. With this reversal, the police could exercise the same authority they already have to lock down commercial, industrial or institutional properties in the course of laying cannabis-related charges.

Schedule 2 – Conservation Authorities Act

  • Change Conservation Authorities (CA) main mandate to be:

    • Natural hazard protection and management (i.e. floods);

    • Conservation and management of conservation authority lands; and 

    • Protecting drinking water sources under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

  • CAs' current mandate is to "undertake watershed-based programs to protect people and property from flooding and other natural hazards, and to conserve natural resources for economic, social, and environment benefits."

  • Lake Simcoe Conservation Authorities has specific responsibilities relating to the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008 where standards and expectations for its core services will be set out in regulations.

  • Provide municipalities the ability to determine how conservation authorities spend the levy they receive from property tax bills.

  • Streamline and standardize CAs’ authority in municipal planning by requiring CAs to enter into a memorandum of understanding.

Schedule 3 – Development Charges Act, 1997

  • Exempt development charges (DCs) for secondary units like basement suites that are built in new homes.

  • Allow developers who are building rental or non-profit housing to delay paying DCs for up to five years.

  • Allow municipalities to fully charge for waste diversion costs (currently, capital costs for waste diversion must be reduced by 10% when determining development charges).

  • Amend rules for when DCs are payable if the development is rental housing, institutional, industrial, commercial, and non-profit housing. Unless certain exceptions apply, the charge is payable in annual instalments when occupancy takes effect: 21 instalments for non-profit housing developments and six instalments for other types of developments. Local governments may charge interest from when a building permit is issued with the interest rate determined by regulation. Front-ending payment agreements reached before the Act coming into force will be exempt from this. 

Schedule 4 – Education Act 

  • Amend Schedule 195 to require a school board to give notice to the Education Minister if it plans to acquire or expropriate land and to allow the Minister to reject the board’s plans.

  • Allow school boards to impose education development charges on all development and redevelopment of land which will be a source of funding for school boards for growth-related education and land costs.

Schedule 5 – Endangered Species Act, 2007

  • Change criteria and requirements for Ontario’s at-risk animals and plants, including:  

    • Extend the time it takes for a species to be listed and protected from three months to twelve months;

    • Remove an automatic protection for species at risk. As it currently stands, even if a review is submitted to the Environment Minister by the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) involving "credible scientific information" that suggests a species’ protection classification is wrong, the species will automatically remain to be protected. The Minister can also ask for a delay in a protection classification for up to three years based on social and economic considerations;

    • De-list an animal that is endangered if it safely exists in another nearby jurisdiction;

    • Indefinitely delay the release of Government Response Statements about species at risk and remove requirements that currently directs the government to post notices of any delays in implementing recovery or management strategies; and

    • Remove the requirement for the Minister to consider an expert opinion on whether an activity will jeopardize the survival or recovery of a species 

  • Create a new fund that would allow developers, municipalities, and others to pay fees in lieu of taking certain actions to protect and recover species at risk.

  • Give broad approval to development projects for developers who seek to build multiple projects in one area.

Schedule 6 – Environmental Assessment Act 

  • Increase exemptions for low risk activities from having to undergo an EA process, including snow plowing, constructing roadside parks and adding bike lanes.

  • Provincial exemption from a number of EA requirements relating to transit, mines, parks and real estate.

Schedule 9 – The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act

  • Reinstate the rules of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) but under the name of its replacement the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

  • The former LPAT made appeal rules that compelled adjudicators to test if a council’s decision conformed to local and planning policies. The new rules will award the tribunal the ability to override municipal decisions regardless of the council’s position on the development file.

  • Other proposals include: 

    • Limits to third party appeals of subdivision;

    • Promote mediation to resolve appeals;

    • New limits on the extent of testimony; and

    • Increase the number of staff to reduce the existing LPAT case backlog from the OMB process and transition.

Schedule 11 – Ontario Heritage Act 

  • Municipalities are required to notify owners if their properties are on a cultural heritage value list. If owners believe their lands should not designated as a heritage property, they can appeal to the municipality to remove their property from the list and challenge the designation further at the LPAT.

  • Timeframes for notices and decisions are also proposed, such as a requirement for municipalities to respond to an objection from an owner within 90 days.

Schedule 12 – Planning Act

  • Introduce a community benefits charge to replace Section 37, which would allow municipalities to impose community benefits charges against land to pay for facilities, services, and matters required to develop or re-develop the area. This would replace the parkland dedication provisions in some cases. The province will have the authority to exempt certain types of development from this charge. Before a municipality passes a community benefits charge, local governments will be required to develop a strategy and identify the facilities, services, and matters that will be funded. The amount charged will be capped as a percentage of land values.

  • Reduce the time for councils to make a decision on official plan and zoning bylaw matters before an applicant can go to the tribunal for a decision. With official plan decisions, the timeline would be reduced from 210 days to 120 days and 150 days to 90 days for zoning.

  • Allow a municipality or the Minister to initiate the use of a Community Planning Permit System (CPPS) in areas central for housing growth.

  • Change the conditions under which local governments can establish inclusionary zoning by-laws and policies including limiting inclusionary zoning areas around protected major transit stations or areas with a development permit system in place. Under this proposal, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to exercise authority to order an area to be subject to inclusionary zoning.

  • Require municipalities to authorize additional residential units for detached, semi-detached and row houses in primary dwellings and ancillary buildings or structures.


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