As of June 1, 2021, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Environmental Review Tribunal, Board of Negotiation, Conservation Review Board and the Mining and Lands Tribunal were merged into a new single tribunal called the “Ontario Land Tribunal”. Please note that new forms are available on our "Forms" page. We are continuing to update our site to reflect the new Tribunal. Thank you for your patience.

Environmental Matters

The Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hears and decides appeals or matters related to land use planning, environmental and heritage protection, land valuation, mining and other matters. The Tribunal is established by Part 2 of the OLTA.

Environmental matters before the OLT typically relate to appeals of the decision by the Director of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to issue, alter, revoke, cancel or close an order, approval, licence, permit, registration or account under the Clean Water Act, 2006, the Environmental Protection Act, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016.

Under the authority of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, the OLT also holds hearings to decide whether to grant a person’s application for leave (that is, grant permission) to appeal certain types of decisions made by a person appointed as a Director under the Environmental Protection Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.

The OLT  can also hold public hearings to assess the merits of an undertaking that will have an impact on the environment under the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act, and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act Members of the OLT are appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry as Hearing Officers to conduct hearings. The Hearing Officers issue reports or make recommendations concerning appeals of decisions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission development permit applications. Members are also appointed to conduct public hearings for the purpose of making recommendations regarding proposed Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) amendments.

Under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, the OLT also conducts Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan amendment proceedings, municipal official plan and zoning by-law amendment proceedings, and proceedings in matters that have been appealed to the OLT and stayed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

In addition, under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the OLT also conducts Greenbelt Plan amendment proceedings and proceedings in regard to matters that have been appealed to the OLT under the Planning Act and stayed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The Members of the OLT are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council for the Province of Ontario to conduct hearings and make decisions on appeals and applications. The Members have a variety of experience and include environmental lawyers, academics, planners and mediators. None of the Members of the OLT is an employee of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

 

OLT Role on Environmental Matters

The OLT is an administrative tribunal that holds hearings and issues decisions, reports or recommendations based on law, evidence and a duty to protect the environment.

The OLT resolves environmental applications and appeals under the following statutes: the Clean Water Act 2006, the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, the Environmental Protection Act, Nutrient Management Act 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016. The OLT also hears matters under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.

 

History and Jurisdiction of Environment Cases at the OLT

The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), one of the predecessor tribunals amalgamated to create the OLT, was established under the  Environmental Review Tribunal Act with the merging of the Environmental Assessment Board and the Environmental Appeal Board. All the roles of those two Boards were taken on by the ERT at that time.

When the Ontario Water Resources Act passed in 1970, the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) was created. The EHB heard some of the matters of the Ontario Water Resources Commission, established in 1956. The EHB then became the Environmental Assessment Board in 1975. It held hearings about waste or sewage disposal sites as well as environmental assessments. It also had a role in appeals from decisions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and in Joint Board hearings under the Consolidated Hearings Act (repealed).

The Environmental Appeal Board, established under the Environmental Protection Act, held hearings on appeals about decisions made by Directors of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. In 1978, this Board also took on the hearings role of the Pesticides Appeal Board, which was established in 1973.

Under the Environmental Review Tribunal Act, 2000, the Environmental Assessment Board and the Environmental Appeal Board were merged to create the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). All the roles of those two Boards were taken on by the ERT at that time.

On June 1, 2021, the Ontario Land Tribunal Act, 2021 was proclaimed, creating the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). Since that time, the OLT has assumed the role and jurisdiction of the ERT.

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