Proposed Legislative Amendments to the Line Fences Act

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Line Fences Act
Summary of Proposal:
The Line Fences Act (LFA) provides a dispute resolution process between the owners of adjoining properties in municipalities in Ontario that choose to use the LFA. A municipality may choose to opt-out of the LFA.

Line fences mark the boundary between properties and are often referred to as boundary or division fences.

The LFA is particularly useful in rural Ontario where larger properties are located. The LFA provides farmers with a cost-effective tool to resolve fencing disputes between adjacent property owners.

The LFA, one of the oldest pieces of Ontario legislation, has both legislative and operational parameters (e.g., logistics and administration of referee appointments) that are outdated and could be modernized to add clarity and reduce burden.

As such, the Ministry is proposing the following legislative amendments:
• Allow housekeeping amendments such as changing the Minister responsible for the Act and clarifying and removing outdated requirements.
• Allow occupants to receive a notice of an upcoming fence viewing and remove the requirement that an occupant is liable if the occupant does not inform the owner of a notice given under the Act.
• Remove the requirement that a referee may order a sum of money to be paid by the appellant.
• Mirror language and align the legislation with the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act.
• Allow notices to be sent electronically or by registered mail.
• Allow the Minister to appoint referees and deputy referees rather than the Legislative Government in Council (LGIC).
• Remove the requirement for an appeals division and remove the requirement that the LGIC may establish a Regulation to prescribe an appeals division.
• Remove the requirement for municipalities to provide stenographic services during appeals hearings.
• Removing the requirement that the commencement date of a fence must be included in an award.
• Modernize certain language and terms used throughout the Act to support readability and understanding.

These proposed changes will:
Allow the Ministry to reduce some burdens currently present in the LFA.
Modernize the LFA by aligning with the government's mandate of Building a Digital Ontario and Red Tape Reduction.
Align the legislation with the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006.
Update outdated references and modernize outdated language.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Currently municipalities that have not opted-out from the Line Fences Act, are required to send notices to homeowners through registered mail if a homeowner in a given municipality requests a fence viewing. This burdens municipalities with extra costs and time spent on printing, envelopes and postage. By removing the requirement that notices need to be sent by registered mail, this is anticipated to yield $1,500 in direct compliance cost savings over a 10-year period.

If a homeowner in a given municipality wishes to appeal the referee's decision, a hearing is required for which municipalities are required to provide stenographic services. By removing the requirement for stenographic services, this is expected to yield $1,000 in direct compliance cost savings over a 10-year period.

The total direct compliance cost savings is anticipated to be $2,500 over a 10 year period.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
April 10, 2024
Comments Due Date:
May 10, 2024
Contact Address:
Patricia Baran
Economic Development Policy Branch
1 Stone Road