The Toronto Local Appeal Body

September 11, 2017

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (“TLAB”), established under Chapter 142 of the Toronto Municipal Code, came into force on May 3, 2017. The TLAB is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal that hears appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions for minor variances (s. 45 of the Planning Act) and severances (s. 53 of the Planning Act)*.

The TLAB is now the adjudicating tribunal for appeals filed on or after May 3, 2017, subject to two exceptions:

1. an appeal of the same Committee of Adjustment application has been made to the Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB”) prior to May 3, 2017; or

2. a related planning application appeal is before the OMB.

Although this appears to be a fairly straightforward distinction, we will discuss available alternative options in more detail later on in this article.

The Process

An appeal to the TLAB is commenced by way of the filing of a Notice of Appeal (Form 1). The filing of this Notice is subject to the same timeline requirements under the Planning Act as apply to appeals to the OMB.

In total, there are 21 forms included in the TLAB process. Your appeal may or may not require all of them; however, the Notice of Appeal will always be your first stop.

For the anatomy of an appeal to the TLAB, the City of Toronto provides a breakdown of the step-by-step process: Filing an Appeal.

Disclosure and Production

The hallmark qualities of the TLAB are up-front disclosure and electronic production. This is both intentional and by design.

Notably, matters before the TLAB require parties to file and serve copies of all documents that party intends to produce, refer to, or otherwise rely on in the course of the hearing within 30 days after a Notice of Hearing (Form 2) is served.

The 30-day timeline is intended to ensure that hearings are not conducted “by ambush”. Further to that point, by providing full documentary disclosure well in advance, it is hoped that more matters will settle in advance of the scheduled one-day hearing date.

All documents are to be filed, served or exchanged by email and shall be in PDF format. The TLAB’s focus on digital production permits hearings to operate on expedited timelines, as service is effective as of the day of delivery (if delivered before 4:30 PM; next day if delivered after 4:30 PM).

As a result of the foregoing, timelines for TLAB matters are both shorter and more rigid, thereby helping to streamline the process.

Forum Shopping

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, as of May 3, 2017, subject to limited exceptions, the TLAB is the de facto tribunal for appeals of minor variances and severances in the City of Toronto. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an applicant’s fate with respect to forum of appeal is sealed.

Given that the TLAB’s jurisdiction in land use matters is restricted to minor variances and severances, applicants can instead opt to apply for a rezoning or a subdivision, respectively, thereby ensuring their matter is instead heard by the OMB on appeal.

Although differences exist between the different methods of application, applying for a rezoning or a subdivision rather than a minor variance or a severance will provide you with a shelter from the TLAB should the matter be appealed.

Granted, each case will differ on its facts, the availability of options early on in the process allows you to control your application’s fate with respect to forum of adjudication on appeal.

Regardless whether your application results in an appeal before the OMB or the TLAB, we at Thomson Rogers would be happy to do the heavy lifting, advise and represent you every step of the way.

Should you have any questions with respect to anything contained in this article or any other land use matters, please do not hesitate to contact municipal lawyer Gregory Sills or any other member of the Thomson Rogers Municipal Department at 416.868.3100 or EMAIL.

*Note: There are other matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the TLAB, including the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, among others. However, for the purposes of planning matters, the aforementioned sections of the Planning Act are the relevant considerations and are the focus of this article.

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