Province Passes Bill 108 Affecting Municipalities

Council voted unanimously to oppose provincial reforms under Bill 108

The Ontario legislature rose Friday for the summer.  Among the highlights was the passage of Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act).

The legislation outlines legislative, policy and regulatory changes across multiple ministries. The provincial government claims it cuts red tape, makes costs more predictable, encourages different types of housing and promotes innovative new approaches to housing design and home ownership. “Our government wants to put affordable home ownership in reach of more Ontario families, and provide more people with the opportunity to live closer to where they work” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said.

Municipalities have opposed these changes.  At its May 27 meeting, Milton Council unanimously passed a motion asking the province to halt the legislation.  “There’s not a piece of legislation this doesn’t touch,” Regional Councillor Mike Cluett told his colleagues.   Halton Regional Council passed a similar motion.

The reforms affect the way communities grow.  They include:

  • Reinstating the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) rules, which include the appeals process.  Stage 2 hearings will be eliminated, in favour of De Novo hearings where they would act as if no decision had been made.
  • Replacing the practice of bonussing, where developers would be rewarded for meeting municipal standards with a “Community Benefits Charge”, which could be used to for capital costs, and services needed for growth.  The money would depend on an appraisal value of the land.
  • A change in when Development Charges (DC)’s are collected.
  • A shift in timelines for Draft of subdivision plans to 120 days.  Timelines for Heritage designation will shift to 60 days.

Cluett is most concerned about the return to the OMB style rules.  “By reverting back to old OMB rules, it ensures the residents of Milton will have an even smaller voice on how we grow, going forward.” Cluett said in a blog post.

The legislation has been given royal assent.

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