New Minister's Fee Regulation for the Proposed Modernization of Property Information Program
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Ministry of the Environment Act
Summary of Proposal:
Ontario is committed to ensuring the delivery of more efficient services, improving user experience and providing more timely responses to the public. A Minister's regulation is being proposed under the Ministry of the Environment Act to establish the Modernization of Property Information (MPI) program, a new expedited digital service for property-related information such as those related to real estate transactions and brownfields redevelopment.
Property-related information requests are used by requesters to facilitate real estate transactions in Ontario with an estimated annual value of $40 billion. By moving property information requests to a dedicated digital service, we would eliminate the need for requestors and the ministry to use the current manual paper-based freedom of information (FOI) process. This will reduce delays for the real-estate industry and property developers by allowing them to make faster and better-informed decisions to support property transactions.
Challenges with the current process:
Currently, there isn't a business channel in place for managing these requests in a way that meets the industry's needs, and property-related information requests are submitted as FOI requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Due to the volume of FOI requests received by the ministry, and the manual search process that is required to retrieve information, requests can be slow to fulfill.
Modernizing requests for property-related information:
The proposed MPI program is intended to modernize requests for property-related information by providing an online, digital service delivery system that is expected to allow the ministry to respond to requests for environmental property-related information faster.
As part of the initial phase of implementation of the proposed MPI program, an online digital form is expected to be made available for users to submit property-related information requests to the ministry, and the ministry anticipates being able to provide a response, within five business days, on whether records for a particular property exist and the type of records that are available (if any). A fee of $65 per request is being proposed to cover the costs of developing and operating this new service.
In planning for later stages of the proposed MPI program, the ministry is considering making service delivery more automated and digitally disseminating environmental property-related records.
Some users may prefer to continue requesting property-related information by submitting FOI requests under FIPPA. This regulatory proposal and the proposed MPI program will not impact their ability to do so or change the associated fees.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed regulation will introduce a fee of $65 when users request record verification as to whether the ministry holds responsive records in its custody relating to the property of interest. Users can expect to receive a response within 5 business days after which they can decide whether to initiate an FOI request. Requesting this information solely through the Freedom of Information channel is still available to users if preferred.
April 16, 2021
Comments Due Date:
May 31, 2021
Information Management and Access Branch, 12th Floor, 40 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario M4V 1M2