header image
The world according to David Graham


acva bili chpc columns committee conferences elections environment essays ethi faae foreign foss guelph hansard highways history indu internet leadership legal military money musings newsletter oggo pacp parlchmbr parlcmte politics presentations proc qp radio reform regs rnnr satire secu smem statements tran transit tributes tv unity

Recent entries

  1. Trump will win in 2020 (and keep an eye on 2024)
  2. January 17th, 2020
  3. January 16th, 2020
  4. January 15th, 2020
  5. January 14th, 2020
  6. January 13th, 2020
  7. January 12th, 2020
  8. January 11th, 2020
  9. January 10th, 2020
  10. January 9th, 2020
  11. January 8th, 2020
  12. January 7th, 2020
  13. January 6th, 2020
  14. January 5th, 2020
  15. January 4th, 2020
  16. January 3rd, 2020
  17. January 2nd, 2020
  18. January 1st, 2020
  19. December 31st, 2019
  20. December 30th, 2019
  21. December 29th, 2019
  22. December 28th, 2019
  23. December 27th, 2019
  24. December 26th, 2019
  25. December 24th, 2019
  26. December 6th, 2019
  27. A podcast with Michael Geist on technology and politics
  28. Next steps
  29. On what electoral reform reforms
  30. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
  31. older entries...

Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board

Can someone please explain to me why the Ontario Municipal Board exists? Why do we elect local politicians at all if their only purpose is to express an opinion to a mysterious judicial body?

The developers of the former Lafarge property in Guelph recently told city council that they had no plans to withdraw a pre-emptive OMB case against the city because they would be appealing the city's as-yet unmade decision regardless. Not exactly the spirit of cooperation those same developers told city council not five minutes earlier they were pursuing. But it begs the question, why does such a body exist?

Why is there a body that can overrule cities' elected politicians, their decisions, and their long term plans?

As former BC premier Mike Harcourt so eloquently put it to a conference in Guelph a year ago, "First off, abolish the OMB". I couldn't agree more, it's time for this useless body to be purged from this province.

Posted at 14:28 on March 12, 2008

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

Stop paving over my generation! | politics | The NDP's new role: the tories' lackey

Cal writes at Mon Mar 17 15:57:05 EDT 2008...


The OMB exists because municipal councils can be too beholding to special interest groups and can act very unfairly. You have to be able to appeal their decisions.

Your response is that we can kick them out every election, but if you are a property owner who wants to sever, develop or rezone your property it can be very expensive and or very frustating to wait until the next election. The OMB makes sure that Municipal councils act fairly to all the parties involved not just one of the parties.

It can be argued that in the past the OMB has ignored what some municipalities wanted but were the municipalities being fair? Remember you have to balance the rights of the private property owner against that of the community. For instance if you or the city doesn't approve of the development of the former Lafarge property shouldn't the owner be bought out rather than stymied by Council? The neighbourhood wants the area turned into a park (even if they haven't said so publically they have said it in the past) and you want it turned into a transportation hub. Council can try and hold up any development without compensating the owner. What is the owner's remedy? Where would it go if the OMB didn't exist? Did Mike Harcourt offer an alternative?

David Graham (cdlu.net) writes at Mon Mar 17 16:37:54 EDT 2008...


Thanks for this.

You may be right - there may need to be an appeal mechanism for government decisions, perhaps even at all levels of government. But it also needs to be accountable. On the other hand, not having that appeal mechanism could also force developers, particularly, to negotiate with municipal governments in good faith to come up with a compromise.

I proposed one in my presentation on Lafarge which I believe is beneficial to everyone - namely, the use of the land as both a transit station and high density residential - but if there is a means to simply overrule the city with no further accountability, where is the incentive to cooperate?

The answer probably lies somewhere between the OMB and no OMB... what that would be I am not sure.

Dave writes at Mon Jul 7 17:09:49 EDT 2008...

Hi i'm not sure if i'm in the right spot, but i would like info on severing land. We want to purchase a piece of land from my wifes uncle, the land is 100' X 350'. We were told that the land couldn't be severed anymore, is there any way around this? I know there are a lot of parcels of land that are less (in size) than this. I have tried the OMB site but it's confusing, and i am looking for a faster way to resolve this matter. Thanks in advance, please email myself @ pub27@hotmail.com

David Graham (cdlu.net) writes at Mon Jul 7 17:15:46 EDT 2008...


My blog is not the appropriate venue to resolve your land issue. Please contact City Hall in your community and ask for advice.

ace myers writes at Tue Oct 14 16:44:15 EDT 2008...

The OMB is a joke. The only interest served by the OMB is special interests. Anyone indicating that it helps balance the decisions of local politick is out to lunch.... it simply allows developers to walk all over neighbourhoods and planning departments at will.

We do NOT want anymore big-box stores. We do not want inappropriate housing developments in our neighbourhoods.

The OMB is bribe-centric and should be eliminated like fecal matter.

big shoe writes at Sun Dec 21 12:03:40 EST 2008...

OMB's have long been compromised, plus the high cost of going to the OMB has discouraged many from going to the OMB. Now, if the government payed for cases going against developers, and developers pay their own way. Would help.

As well local planners decisions should have more weight. And cases going before OMB should have a stricter criteria before they can appear.

As well OMB needs reform and less powers. Plus plebsite of community can overrule OMB decisions.

G. T. writes at Sun Jan 31 22:33:01 EST 2010...

The OMB must GO. Completely unaccountable useless organization that has wreaked havoc on sensible planning for years.

(RSS) Website generating code and content © 2001-2020 David Graham <david@davidgraham.ca>, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Comments are © their respective authors.