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Heritage Process

Note: Effective July 1, 2021, the amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) as part of Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, came into force. These amendments change the jurisdiction of the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) to process appeals of municipal decisions regarding the designation, amendment, repeal and alteration of heritage properties. The FAQs below provides information regarding the amendments to the OHA and their impact to the OLT’s appeal process.


Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) Amendments – FAQs

  1. What amendments have been made to the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA)?
  2. Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act amends the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) to change the procedure by which municipalities can designate heritage properties, as well as amend and repeal heritage designation by-laws.  The amendments also change the procedures for appealing the municipality’s decisions to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

    The amendments also provide the OLT with the authority to make a binding decision following a hearing on the appeal.  The previous OHA provisions only allowed the OLT to provide a recommendation to the municipality, who made the final decision.

  3. When did the OHA amendments take effect?
  4. The OHA amendments and the associated regulations took effect on July 1, 2021.

  5. How do the OHA amendments affect the appeal process?
  6. The following matters, if commenced on or after July 1, 2021, will be subject to the new appeal provisions:

    • A municipality’s intention to designate a property to be of cultural heritage value or interest (s. 29);
    • A municipality’s proposal to amend a designating by-law (s. 30.1);
    • A municipality’s intention to repeal a designating by-law or part thereof (s. 31);
    • An owner’s application to repeal a designating by-law or part thereof (s. 32); and
    • An owner’s application for the alteration of a designated property (OHA s.33).

    The new appeal provisions require the appellant to:

    • Submit the Notice of Appeal to the OLT and the clerk of the municipality

    All cases, whether they are subject to the old or new OHA appeal provisions, will follow the OLT’s case management process.  Cases will be reviewed and streamed for scheduling a case management conference, a mediation (where appropriate) and a hearing to assess or adjudicate the merits of the appeal.  For more information on case management conferences, mediations and hearings, please review the OLT’s Appeal Guide and the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

  7. How do I know when my matter commenced?
  8. The new transition regulations under the OHA establishes when a matter or proceeding is deemed to have been commenced as follows:

    • Notice of Intention to Designate (s. 29): Commences on the date the notice of intention to designate is published;
    • Amendment of designating by-law (s. 30.1): Commences on the date the notice of proposed amendment is published; or, if the purpose of the amendment is to clarify, correct, or otherwise revise the language of the by-law to make it consistent with the Ontario Heritage Act, commences on the day the notice of proposed amendment is received by the owner of the property;
    • Repeal of designating by-law or part thereof – Municipality’s Initiative (s. 31): Commences on the date the notice of intention to repeal a by-law is published;
    • Repeal of designating by-law or part thereof – Owner’s Initiative (s. 32): Commences on the day the application to repeal a by-law is received by the council of the municipality; and
    • Application to alter a designated property (s. 33): Commences on the day the application is received by council of the municipality.
  9. I currently have a case at the OLT. Will my case be affected by the OHA amendments?
  10. If you currently have an active case before the OLT, the Bill 108 OHA amendments will not affect your case.  These matters will continue to be processed in accordance with the legislation as it read prior to July 1, 2021.

  11. How do I file an objection to a municipality’s Notice of Intention to Designate, Notice of Proposed Amendment, or Notice of Intention to Repeal, and how will my objection be dealt with?
  12. It depends on when the municipality’s notice was published:

    • If the municipality’s notice was published prior to July 1, 2021, you must serve your notice of objection on the clerk of the municipality, who will then refer the matter to the OLT for a hearing and report.
      • Municipalities should follow the pre-Bill 108 process and refer the objection to the OLT using checklists (R11) to (R15) of the Municipal Submissions Form
    • If the municipality’s notice was published on or after July 1, 2021, you must serve your notice of objection on the clerk of the municipality. The municipality must consider your objection before making a decision on whether to withdraw the notice, or pass, amend or repeal the heritage designation by-law:
      • If the municipality passes, amends or repeals the by-law, you may appeal the decision by submitting a Notice of Appeal with the OLT and the clerk of the municipality.
      • The Notice of Appeal can be filed by completing the Appeal Form 1A
  13. How do I appeal a municipality’s decision on my application to alter my designated property, and how will my appeal be dealt with?
  14. It depends on when council of the municipality received your application to alter:

    • If council of the municipality received your application prior to July 1, 2021, you must apply to the council for a hearing. Council will then refer the matter to the OLT for a hearing and report.
      • Municipalities should follow the pre-Bill 108 process and refer the application to the OLT using checklist (R16) of the Municipal Submissions Form
    • If council of the municipality received your application on or after July 1, 2021, you may appeal the council’s decision by submitting a Notice of Appeal to the OLT and the clerk of the municipality.
    • The Notice of Appeal can be filed by completing the Appeal Form 1A
  15. Is there a fee for filing a Notice of Appeal under the amended OHA appeal process?
  16. At this time, there are no appeal fees for appeals commenced under the amended OHA provisions.

  17. How does the Bill 108 amendments impact the OLT’s authority following a hearing of the appeal?
  18. The amendments to the OHA give the OLT the power to make decisions that are binding, not just a recommendation for council’s consideration.  Following a hearing under the new OHA provisions, the OLT will have the power to dismiss the appeal, repeal or amend the by-law or direct council of the municipality to repeal or amend the by-law.

  19. What should a municipality do if they receive a Notice of Appeal under the amended OHA provisions?

Before passing, repealing or amending a heritage designation by-law, the municipality must publish notice and allow objections to be filed.  After considering any objection(s), council may decide to pass, amend or repeal the by-law which can be appealed to the OLT.  Upon receipt of a Notice of Appeal, the municipality must forward a record of their decision on the objection to the OLT within 15 days of receipt of a Notice of Appeal.  Further information regarding what materials are to be included in the record is provided in O Reg 385/21.

If you have any further questions regarding the impact of the OHA’s amendments to the OLT’s appeal process, please contact the OLT’s Citizen Liaison at OLT.CLO@ontario.ca.

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