The Ontario Municipal Board: The Last Trip
The Ontario Municipal Board attracted power from the time it was formed in June 1906 to adjudicate and supervise the provincial railway sector and certain municipal financial activity. Since the 1930s and ‘40s, successive governments came to rely more and more on the OMB to oversee and adjudicate planning decisions and most financial undertakings of Ontario municipalities as well as exercise authority under a large and diverse range of statutes, estimated to number about 180 at its peak. For several years, the members of the Board each had to take his turn in the 1930s and early ‘40s acting as the quasi-minister of municipal affairs before the ministry was formed.
Since 1981, the OMB became an appellate tribunal with original authority to hear and adjudicate all contentious matters under the Expropriations Act and all appeals arising from municipal councils and planning applications to councils’ refusal to make decisions. You will read about loaded situations that seemed without solution peaceably, where two or three members of this Board would convene in the local arena or a church auditorium or the Army-Navy-Air Force meeting room in the locality where the dispute arose. Afterward, the Board gave them a reasoned solution to which all those interested had contributed publicly and openly.
This book tells the story of the OMB from its founding in 1906 to now, in its apparent last days before replacement by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The author’s conclusions as to what has happened to this Board, and why, are a shocking comment on the course of decision-making in the public sector in the 21st century and how it may affect you next week or next year.
Revised 2nd Edition
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