Proclaiming Bad News

When Provincial politicians go out of their way to help their developer friends, they do it as quietly as possible.

So it’s not surprising that you didn’t hear anything about Bill 108 being proclaimed into law September 3, complete with a clause that allows just about any developer to decide if they want their good fortune applied retroactively. And who wouldn’t want to have their appeal of a Toronto planning decision heard under a set of rules which basically takes back the city’s ability to control development, mutes community voices, and brings in a new set of developer-friendly provisions? You can find more detail on Bill 108 here.

Sadly, the ruling Conservatives aren’t the only party that’s been much too cozy with developers. The previous Liberal government did finally reform the Ontario Municipal Board, as promised. But only towards the end of their term, and with a deliberate delay that held the door open for every developer to appeal under the old rules.

So one party delayed the implementation of their own reform so that developers could avoid it. And then the next government speedily and retroactively wiped out the reforms entirely.

If only we could have such intentional respect for good planning, community voices, and the decisions of the municipal councils you elect to oversee development in our neighbourhoods.

— John Filion