Just how does an Ontario Land Tribunal operate - who are the players?

By Staff

January 23rd, 2024



There is some confusion in the community regarding roles at Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearings.

The Millcroft Greens, the company that wants to develop some of the golf club property, did not get the decision they wanted from the City planning department and appealed to the OLT for a decision.

OLT hearing have very clear rules on who takes part.

There are Parties and their are Participants; a clear understanding of the differences between Parties and Participants is important.

The City of Burlington, Conservation Halton, The Region of Halton, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance and Millcroft Against Development (MAD)  are the only parties. All parties have legal representation and expert witnesses to discuss the merits of the development application. Witnesses can only speak within their field of knowledge.  MGA is the only community group that has registered stormwater issues for the Tribunal.  For MGA flooding and storm water management is THE issue

The following information came from the OLT website.

What is a party?

Parties are fully involved in the proceedings before the OLT, and are expected to file submissions, present evidence at the hearing, question witnesses and fully understand the issues in dispute. They may also request adjournments, seek costs or a review of the decision at the end of the hearing.

What is a participant?

Participants have a limited role in the appeal, except as provided for by legislation. They do not fully take part in the proceedings and may only provide written submissions to the OLT.  Participants may not request costs, adjournments, or a review of the decision.
The first really important meeting of an OLT hearing is the Case Management Conference (CMC), the Member(s), that is the person who will make the decision based on the evidence they heard and were presented with.  The Ontario Land Tribunal is made up of a group of people who are assigned to a hearing.  The same person does not necessarily preside at every Tribunal meeting.

Bruce Kruselnicki at a City of Burlington public meeting.

Confusing, yes to the average person.  The lawyers who work regularly in this legal sector are very experienced and very much in demand.

The author of the very first textbook on how these Tribunals work was Bruce Krushelnicki, former Director of Planning for the City of Burlington. His book was based on what was at the time the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  He went on to become the Chair of the Land Tribunal and is now retired.

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3 comments to Just how does an Ontario Land Tribunal operate – who are the players?

  • Tom Muir

    I have been a participant at Hearings, and am a participant at scheduled Hearings presently. Twice I filed major submissions and was able to speak, but I was given only 20 minutes. I was told I was not an “expert” with self identified credentials.

    The two times I spoke, it was a settlement hearing and the planners and lawyers for the City said next to nothing, and the developer lawyer got to say everything, and could say whatever they wanted, opinions that anyone could have with the same evidence, and they could twist and revise facts. It really is fixed.

    With continued revisions of OLT rules, getting to speak was out for participants. There is a statement in there that you might be able to speak if the Chair wants you to.

    You pretty much have to prepare and submit a Participant Statement. My latest experience had me being questioned by the Chairman about what I said to see where I was coming from and if I had anything worthwhile to say. You pretty much have to argue the Issues List. It contains what the Parties want.

    If you are serious this can be a useful exercise if you can manage it with good ideas.

    Don’t expect to “win”. But if it’s a contested hearing, you can argue supporting Issues for the City, and they often put some issues in there you might like, and to support.

    In my view the timeline to complete the review, was very difficult at 120 days. Developers do not cooperate, like the Mayor said. They are in for the OLT and the speculative gains from the inflation in land costs and rents.

    Working the OLT as a mechanism for controlling all development, this means OLT is a delivery vehicle for Ford’s Growth Plan, as it decides everything put to it.

    It’s derived from the same corrupt process delivering the Ford Greenbelt landgrab as another ripoff decision by the Politicians for the same lies that the millions of houses that are needed Ford tells us are required for us to build, and they can create the land available for their speculator developer friends because they have the power to do so – remember the 8 billion plus dollars as a motive.

    Go back to Sharman and the Mayor again to see almost everything that is needed is missing in plans and thought by those who are wanting this done, not to mention the money.

    The problem is in the empty thought container yes, but mainly it’s the politicians at the Provincial level, the Fords and all the others who are in charge and can order what THEY WANT, to keep in power, reward donating friends, and enjoin them in the gravy train that you can see dishes out billions in speculative gains and, and in more lies tells the taxpayer that they have to pay more to get it done.

    Then there’s OLT giving developers access to power and control, and ability to shorten what has become a very long period to get a Hearing.

    What really needs to be done is that the City Council loudly and clearly call out the Province, but I think they are afraid, as they are part of the piece. Sharman is a start, like him or not.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Things may have changed at the OLB since I last appeard as a “participant”. At the time, the adjudicator allowed partipants to speak to their submission. So, be prepared if that is still the case.

    • Gary Scobie

      No, I think the OLT allows only written statements by participants. At least that’s all it did the last time I was there. They only want experts there, not citizens with fact-informed opinions. If you’re not a lawyer or a planner, forget about it. They won’t even talk to you other than to take down your presence for their record.

      Unlike our Council that promises engagement, but fails to deliver, the OLT only strives to do what the Government of Ontario wants it to do.