Province Introduces Omnibus Bill – Get It Done Act

The Ontario Legislature returned from break on February 20, 2024, and the government moved quickly with Minister of Transportation, the Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria introducing Bill 162, the Get It Done Act, 2024. The proposed legislation focuses on infrastructure and affordability amending several pieces of legislation with some impacts on the municipal sector. The introduction of the bill reflects announcements made by the Province in the prior weeks and follows months of provincial efforts to get housing and infrastructure built faster.  

If passed, the bill will amend the Environmental Assessment Act to allow the purchase, lease, or expropriation of land for infrastructure before the environmental assessment (EA) process is completed. The legislation comes alongside an environmental registry posting to modify the environmental assessment process to more clearly identify where EAs are required based on project risk. The ‘proposed regulation to focus municipal environmental assessment requirements’ is open for comment until March 17, 2024. 

In 2023, the Province through the Planning Statute Law Amendment Act, reversed changes it made to several municipal official plans and asked them to submit their changes for further consideration. Following consultation with municipalities, the Get It Done Act, will reinstate some reversed changes including municipal boundary changes within official plans for the cities of Barrie, Belleville, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa, Peterborough, Wellington County, and the regions of Halton, Peel, Waterloo and York. The Province recognized the decision and resubmission would incur costs by municipalities and committed to working with impacted municipalities to assist with staffing and other related costs. The Province is seeking input on the ‘Get It Done Act, 2024 - Amending the Official Plan Adjustments Act, 2023’ by March 21, 2024. 

Finally, the bill will require a referendum on any future carbon tax, ban new tolls on provincial highways, require public consultation before considering tolls, automatically renew licence plates for one year where owners have no outstanding fines or tickets, and legislate the freeze driver's licence and photo card fees. The Province indicated the license plate renewal program will continue to support municipal fine collection and committed to working with municipalities on the program. We will continue to monitor any impacts of this initiative on municipalities such as notification of non-renewal and action for compliance including payment of fines. Corresponding regulatory postings are available for comment until March 21, 2024.

While for the most part, our colleague associations may have more technical expertise about specific impacts, from an operational perspective, some of our specific interests are related to the Provincial Offences Act and municipal fine collection.