A Law Unto Itself

A Law Unto Itself: How the Ontario Municipal Board Has Developed and Applied Land-Use Planning Policy

John G. Chipman
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442670389
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  • Book Info
    A Law Unto Itself
    Book Description:

    Illuminates OMB practices of overturning municipal land-use planning decisions to impose its own policies, which are generally protective of private interests, and of applying provincial planning policies within the context of its own standards.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7038-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    This book is a study of the creation and application of land use planning policy by an important Canadian administrative tribunal, the Ontario Municipal Board. The board’s most significant and time-consuming role is to consider appeals from the planning decisions of municipal councils and local boards. In carrying out this role, it has interpreted and applied provincial planning policies, and, of greater significance, it has developed and applied its own policies. The analysis herein of the board’s decisions leads to the conclusion that, given the policies it has developed and applied, and the manner in which it has applied provincial...

  6. 1 The Genesis, Evolution, and Operation of the OMB
    (pp. 10-25)

    The origins of the Ontario Municipal Board lie in the late nineteenth-century movement in the United States to regulate economic activities in which there was a strong public interest. The first fruit of this movement was the creation in 1885 of the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate U.S. railways and other interstate carriers. The model established at that time was one of publicly appointed and funded commissioners given power to conduct hearings into the operation of the affected industry and to make binding decisions with respect to such matters as fares, freight rates, and standards of operation. This model was...

  7. 2 The Evaluation of Interests
    (pp. 26-56)

    Land use planning exhibits a tension between two often incompatible goals, the development of policy reflecting the interests of a substantial portion of the general public and the protection of the interests of private property owners. As a reviewer of the Planning Act Review Committee Report stated: ‘Planning is not an independent operation: it seeks to adapt the decisions of private interests (which seek their own benefit) to the decisions of public interests (which seek public benefits). To a considerable extent these interests and benefits are in opposition, and though the public sector provides a framework for private decisions, it...

  8. 3 Policy Development in a Statutory/Judicial Context
    (pp. 57-102)

    This chapter demonstrates how a regulatory tribunal has built on the limited policy directives embodied in its governing legislation to create and apply its own policies in several procedural and substantive policy areas. While it is a truism to state that a tribunal must apply the relevant law in exercising its authority, what is of real interest is how it works with and moulds the statutory language, how it applies the necessarily general statutory provisions to the facts of each application before it. Does it stick to the letter of the statute, or does it use this as a springboard...

  9. 4 Policy Development in a Public Policy Vacuum
    (pp. 103-144)

    In this chapter we examine how the Ontario Municipal Board has developed and applied policies pertaining to several substantive planning matters in which it has received no policy guidance. The Planning Act does not refer to these, nor, with limited exceptions, do policy statements or other expressions of policy. Yet these are all important planning considerations and are addressed on a regular basis by politicians, planners, proponents, and others engaged in the planning process.

    The matters selected for study are not the only substantive planning matters considered by the board, of course, but they represent a reasonable cross section of...

  10. 5 The Treatment of Provincial Policy
    (pp. 145-190)

    This chapter examines the manner in which a tribunal interprets and applies the policies of its senior level of government. It shows how the Ontario Municipal Board has addressed the provincial policies which have been in effect from time to time, and, of equal importance, how it has subordinated these policies to policies of its own.

    A central feature in the examination of the relationship between a tribunal and its senior government is the manner in which the former responds to the latter’s policy pronouncements. The results of such an examination tell us much about both the nature and the...

  11. 6 A Tribunal Out of Time
    (pp. 191-208)

    It is now time to complete the circle, to review the pertinent facts and arguments, and show how the findings arising from our analysis of the Ontario Municipal Board’s decisions lead to the conclusion that, given the nature of its policy development and application, the board has outlived its usefulness as a planning appeal tribunal.

    This analysis is important not just because of what it contributes to our understanding of regulatory activity, but because of the importance of the OMB itself. The board is unique in Canada in the breadth of its land use planning appellate jurisdiction. Other provinces have...

  12. APPENDIX: Methodology
    (pp. 209-212)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 213-240)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-248)
  15. Index of Cases
    (pp. 249-250)
  16. General Index
    (pp. 251-259)