skip to main content





Back to all publications
Dec 12, 2017

Bill 139 Receives Royal Assent

By Patrick Harrington

Our last two updates outlined the proposed amendments to the Planning Act and the Ontario Municipal Board under Bill 139. 

Today, Bill 139 received Royal Assent and came into force as the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017

While the Act itself came into force today, the Schedules to the Act (which contain the legislative amendments) come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor. There is currently no firm date for proclamation. Indications from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is that proclamation will occur once the rules and regulations applicable to the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (the “LPAT”, which replaces the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”)) are finalized. A recent Ministry press release anticipates that this exercise will be completed in “spring 2018”. 

A key issue will be the transition between the current planning appeals system under the jurisdiction of the OMB to the new planning appeals system under the jurisdiction of the LPAT. Last week, the Province posted a summary of its proposed transition regulations on the Environmental Registry and commenced a 45-day public comment period. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Minister of the Attorney General also issued a helpful statement on transition

Assuming the transition regulation is ultimately issued as proposed, and based on the joint-Ministry statement on transition, the following is offered by Aird & Berlis LLP’s Municipal & Land Use Planning Group as a simplified summary: 

For Planning Act applications: 

  • If you have appealed to the OMB before today, your appeal will stay at the OMB.
  • If you have filed a complete application before today and you file an appeal before proclamation, your appeal will stay at the OMB.
  • If you file a complete application from this point forward, your appeal will go to the LPAT after proclamation. 
  • If you file any appeals after proclamation (decisions or non-decisions), your appeal will go to the LPAT. 

The following restrictions will apply where a decision on the relevant instrument is issued after proclamation: 

  • No appeals of Ministerial Zoning Orders. 
  • No ability to appeal an Interim Control By-law (ICBL) for one year. 
  • No ability to apply to amend an approved Secondary Plan. 

With respect to appeal and approval timelines: 

  • The extended appeal timelines (210 days for OPAs; 150 days for ZBAs; 210 days for a combined OPA/ZBA) will apply to complete applications filed from this point forward. 
  • The approval authority’s timeline in which to approve an adopted OP/OPA is 210 days from this point forward. 
Municipal authorities, ratepayer groups, consultants and landowners with questions about Bill 139 and the proposed transition from the OMB to the LPAT are encouraged to speak directly with a member of our Municipal & Land Use Planning Group. We can help simplify what promises to be a complex and at times unclear process of transition.

Areas of Expertise

Related Publications

Publications Article
Divisional Court Confirms Expropriation Claimants Not Immune to Interest and Costs Consequences By Ajay Gajaria, David P. Neligan and Rebecca Hines May 16, 2019 The Ontario Divisional Court’s recent decision in Shergar Development Inc. v. City of Windsor1 (“Shergar”) shows expropriation claimants and expropriating authorities alike that an unreasonable claimant will not be insulated from adverse interest and costs consequences in appropriate circumstance...
Publications Article
M&A and Cannabis-Related Matters By Martin Kovnats May 16, 2019 As one of the members of the Aird & Berlis Cannabis Group who deals with a lot of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), I thought that I may have something useful to add to the conversation about mergers and acquisitions within the cannabis industry. There is much speculation about capital formation an...
Publications Article
Bill 108: The Province Introduces Ministerial Oversight in Advance of School Board Expropriation Approvals By Ajay Gajaria May 10, 2019 Contained in the multitude of changes under Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choices Act, 2019, introduced for First Reading on May 2, 2019, is a seemingly small change to the Education Act that may have significant implications on the expropriation activities of school boards across the province.