Proposed Additional Delegation of Planning Decisions

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Schedule 19 of Bill 13, Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021
Summary of Proposal:
Bill 13, the proposed Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021 Act, 2021, was introduced on October 7, 2021. Schedule 19 of the Bill proposes to make changes to the Planning Act, Municipal Act, 2001 and City of Toronto Act, 2006.

The Planning Act currently allows council to delegate certain decisions (to a committee of council, to staff, or, in some cases, to a committee of adjustment); for example, decisions in respect of approval of adopted lower-tier official plan amendments, site plan, plans of subdivision and consents.

The proposed amendments would make changes to the Planning Act to expand the matters that the council of a local municipality may delegate to help streamline planning decisions. More particularly, the amendments would provide a new discretionary authority to delegate planning decisions dealing with minor amendments to zoning by-laws, subject to criteria established through official plan policies. This authority could include delegating decisions for temporary use by-laws, the lifting of holding symbols, and other minor zoning by-law amendments. It would be up to each municipality to determine whether to exercise this proposed new authority and the types of minor zoning by-law amendments decisions to delegate.

The Schedule also would make consequential amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001 and City of Toronto Act, 2006.

The proposed delegation of additional planning matters would not alter any notice or public meeting requirements or limit appeal rights. It also would not change the requirements under the Planning Act for land use planning decisions to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and to conform or not conflict with provincial plans. These documents provide policy direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning to promote strong, healthy communities, a strong economy and protect the environment.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Potential Benefits

The discretionary nature of the proposed authority to delegate additional powers would allow municipalities to determine locally whether the implementation of such delegated authority would provide benefits associated with the streamlining of the local planning process that would outweigh any costs.

Municipalities that implement the proposed changes would reduce the number of decisions that are made by council and potentially enable council to deal with other more strategic issues sooner.

Although potential savings are difficult to estimate, the ministry has been advised that where municipalities have delegated current authorities, service level timelines have improved and it is estimated that by avoiding a council reporting cycle and utilizing the new delegations some planning applications might obtain approval one to four months faster. These time savings would result in costs savings to the proponents and would accelerate development.

The ministry has been advised by senior municipal planning officials that most medium to large municipalities would likely implement at least some aspects of the proposed delegation authority.

Potential Costs

Direct Compliance Costs to Municipalities:
-Approximately 173 single-tier and 241 lower-tier municipalities in Ontario would potentially be impacted by the proposed changes. Municipal councils and staff would need to learn about the new changes, review their current processes, and assess whether changes should be implemented.
-It is estimated that the changes would result in a total direct compliance cost of approximately $59,579 for the approximately 414 municipalities.

Direct Compliance Costs to Business:
-Direct compliance costs for businesses (e.g. professional planning firms that deal with land use planning applications) as a result of the proposed changes to the processes would be limited to the amount of time it would take for these businesses to learn about the changes and familiarize themselves with the new processes, where implemented by municipalities. The total costs are estimated at $8,155.

Discretionary Costs to Municipalities:
-Compliance costs for municipalities who choose to implement the changes would include the time to update their processes, including delegation by-laws, and related applications, websites, guidance materials, etc., dealing with the lifting of holding provisions, temporary use by-laws and technical zoning by-law processes.
-For changes to be implemented through official plan policies, there would be costs for certain upper-tier municipalities as the approval authority for lower-tier official plan amendments.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 7, 2021
Comments Due Date:
November 21, 2021
Contact Address:
Municipal Affairs and Housing
13th Flr, 777 Bay St
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3