QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Attorney General critic Gurratan Singh (Brampton East), and NDP Housing critic Jessica Bell (University-Rosedale) issued the following statement in response to the Doug Ford government passing a bill that consolidates five tribunals, including the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal and the Environmental Review Tribunal, to make it easier for the government to ignore the public's concerns and barge ahead with development projects:
“Doug Ford’s decision to merge five separate tribunals into a powerful Ontario Lands Tribunal (OLT) will make it harder for people to raise concerns, and easier for this government to ignore them.
By stripping the right to appeal and denying residents the right to testify on development projects that affect their neighbourhoods, Ford’s Bill 245 is a gift to developers who want to fast-track their projects – whether they hurt Ontario or not.
The Ontario NDP introduced amendments to Bill 245 that would have required OLT adjudicators to have expertise on the hearing they are overseeing, keep the right to appeal a decision, and allow third-parties (usually residents) the right to speak at a hearing.
The Ford government voted all of these amendments down, and rammed this bill into law on Wednesday. It’s clear to us: Doug Ford is here for his developer friends, not for everyday families.”
Doug Ford’s Bill 245 is an omnibus bill that also makes it easier for the government to appoint politically friendly judges.