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Appeals Process Before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)

The Environmental and Land Tribunals Ontario (ELTO) recently released the first of a series of guides to help understand the appeals process for appeals before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). ELTO previously released the Rules of Practice and Procedure of the LPAT which sets out the technical rules of procedure for these proceedings. “Appeal Guide A” only deals with specific appeals, such as appeals filed under Section 17(24) of the Planning Act with respect to a council decision to adopt or amend an official plan, Section 34(19) with respect a council decision to adopt a zoning bylaw or zoning amendment.

While Appeal Guide A only addresses certain specific appeals, it provides some insight into the process involved in a hearing before the LPAT. With respect to appeals filed under Sections 17(24) and 34(19) of the Planning Act, the guide sets out the following procedure during a hearing before the LPAT:

During the hearing, only parties may provide submissions of up to 75 minutes.

Submissions are to be based primarily on the record, or the information/documents that was before LPAT or the municipality/approval authority when it made its original decision.

The Member(s) will decide whether further information is needed to understand the matter before it. If so, the Member(s) may request, at the hearing, that the parties bring a witness to respond to questions from the Member(s).

Evidence cannot be presented by the parties at the hearing, and witnesses will not be examined or cross-examined by any party. Only the Tribunal Member may ask questions to a witness at the hearing.

Since Bill 139 was introduced, which proposed to replace the Ontario Municipal Board with the LPAT, there was some uncertainty as to what a LPAT hearing would look like. The new information provided by ELTO provides a clearer picture in that regard. Based on this information, hearings will be primarily submission based with no evidence being presented by the parties. The parties will have a maximum time limit on their submissions and will be prohibited from examining (or cross-examining) witnesses.

Blog Post written by Associate, Robert Di Lallo.