On Wednesday March 21, 2018 the first webinar was held as a primer to address the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Two more sessions will be taking place with the same material covered in each. To register for an upcoming session, you must sign up which can be done here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/local-planning-appeal-tribunal-a-primer-webinar-registration-43485492278
The panel consisted of Dr. Bruce Krushelnicki, James McKenzie, Stan Floras and Cheryl Aylward. The last half of the session was a question and answer period which provided insight into the future of LPAT hearings. Here are some of the questions and answers that were addressed in the webinar:
Q: What are the repercussions if the Tribunal does not meet the statutorily-mandated deadlines?
A: The Regulations do not address what repercussions, if any, there would be for missing a deadline.
Q: What will the legal support centre be providing?
A: This is an organization which is independent from the Tribunal. The only information available is what the Act says about the support centre. The centre will provide support for ‘qualifying’ individuals.
Q: How will the Tribunal decide whether an hearing is to be held in writing or in person?
A: The determination will be made through the case management conference process based on submissions from parties. It will depend on the complexity of the matters and issues while facilitating a just, fair and efficient process.
Q: Appeal documents must be submitted on a USB stick. What if an appellant does not have access to technology to facilitate this?
A: If someone cannot submit the documents electronically on a USB stick, they should contact the case coordinator to make alternative arrangements. The case coordinator will be the primary contact for questions.
Q: Will there be an additional fee to file an appeal to the Tribunal after the application has been returned to the municipality/approval authority for a second decision? (a “second appeal”)
A: A second appeal is considered a new appeal so an additional $350 filing fee would be required.
Q: May the appellant submit further expert evidence to the Tribunal?
A: It is important to note that the Tribunal is not looking at the merits of the planning application like the OMB currently does in a hearing de novo. The Tribunal is assessing the approval authority’s decision to determine if it meets the consistency and conformity test. New reports are likely not permitted, but there may be the opportunity to have an expert submit his or her opinion that specifically addresses the decision itself rather than the substance of the planning application. This opinion should not include fresh evidence.
Q: What type of matter will warrant a multi-member panel?
A: The Tribunal is currently developing criteria for this. Ideally there would be more matters before more than one member, but resources need to be taken into account.
Q: Will the Tribunal provide suggestions or direction when sending an application back to the municipality?
A: The member has discretion to provide direction or suggestions when sending an application back, though it is not mandatory. It is required that the Tribunal provide reasons for their decision which may be helpful to the municipality.
Q: How will consolidated hearings be arranged when multiple acts are involved or when legacy OMB appeals are combined with newer LPAT appeals?
A: The rules do not cover this so the member will use his or her discretion based on all the factors. The different issues will be dealt with in the order that the member deems appropriate. If there are threshold issues that should be addressed by hearing one appeal before the other, the threshold case would likely be dealt with first while the other appeal is held in abeyance. For example, if there is an Official Plan Amendment application appeal, it would likely be dealt with before a Zoning By-law Amendment appeal regardless of which application was filed first.
My question, along with other questions, did not get addressed during this webinar. It was stated that a list of questions and answers would be compiled in the future.