General Municipal Issues

Bill 108: More Homes, More Choice Act

On June 6, 2019, the provincial government passed the The More Homes, More Choice Act (Bill 108). Through this Act, the government will significantly change 13 statutes including some that limit the tools available to municipalities to fund the development of vital public services, including parks, recreation, libraries and child care.

The following regulation changes that impact municipalities' ability to fund and acquire parks and recreation are: 
1. Reg. 82/98 (under DC Act; also affects Planning Act)

  • Changes to services eligible under the DC Act (removal of soft services)
  • Outlines Community Benefits Charge legislation and implementation dates (Jan. 1, 2020/2021)
  • Outlines change to DC freeze and interest charged on DCs by municipalities

2. Proposed new regulation pertaining to the community benefits authority (under Planning Act)

  • Changes to sections 37 and 42/51 of Planning Act (now replaced by Community Benefits Charge)

3. Proposed new regulation and regulation changes on transition matters (related to Planning Act)

After the Province released the above proposed new or updated regulations they requested feedback from stakeholders by August 21, 2019. 

PRO's Course of Action
PRO took the following course of action to determine key considerations of the proposed changes and submit a response to the Province:

    1. Established a working group from our network of municpal leaders and experts to help develop position statements and coordinate advocacy efforts.
    2. Conducted a province-wide survey directed at Senior Municipal Leaders to develop a profile of municipal parks and recreation as related to the planning tools currently in place, and to understand key concerns specific to each municipality. 
    3. Distributed a draft submission to allied organization and Ontario Heads of Council to urge they include the impact on parks and recreation in their own submissions or discussions with the Province.
    4. Finalized and delivered Submission with key considerations and recommendations on August 21, 2019.

PRO's Concerns and Recommendations 

1 A provincially set cap for a CBC requires flexibility to ensure revenue neutrality across the province is achieved.
Recommendation: That the province work with municipalities to develop a flexible community benefits approach that is calibrated to ensure it achieves revenue neutrality and responds to funding needs for municipalities today and into the future.

2. Municipalities require transition provisions to secure in-progress applications funded through the current legislation.
Recommendation: That a transition for in-progress planning applications be created so that municipalities can continue to receive the land and contributions for parkland or recreation facilities that were contemplated when the applications were received. Changes should only apply to complete applications submitted after proclamation. And specifically, that a transition provision be included related to Section 42 of the Planning Act.

3. January 1, 2021 is not enough time for many municipalities to have a CBC Strategy in place, especially if the regulation(s) is not finalized until the fall of 2019.
Recommendation: That the Province change the CBC transition date to January 1, 2022 to provide more time for municipalities to transition.

Click here to read the full submission. 

Going forward PRO will: 

1. Continue discussions with the province to advocate for parks and recreation in the development of Bill 108 regulations.
2. Provide information sessions and trainings for municipalities on interpretation of the Act once finalized. 

More Information on this issue

  • Prior to the release of the regulations, PRO delivered a submission outlining our initial and strongly suggesting alternate courses of action. The Submission was delivered on May 31, 2019. Read the submission here.
  • Click here to watch the webinar PRO hosted with the City of Toronto and click here to download the accompanying slides.
  • Click here to see the slides and the webcast hosted by OPPI and WeirFoulds.

Ontario Municipal Review

Since the establishment of Ontario's eight regional municipalities (Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, and Oxford County) in the 1970s, Ontario has seen signification population and demographic changes. In response, the government of Ontario is undertaking a review of these municipalities along with Simcoe County that intends to ensure efficiency and accountability in municipal governance and service delivery. This review will be conducted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing with the help of an advisory board.

Recommendations from the advisory board will focus on the following issues:

Municipal governance and decision-making

      1. Is the decision-making (mechanisms and priorities) of upper- and lower-tier municipalities efficiently aligned?
      2. Does the existing model support the capacity of the municipalities to make decisions efficiently?
      3. Are two-tier structures appropriate for all of these municipalities?
      4. Does the distribution of councillors represent the residents well?
      5. Do the ways that regional councillors/heads of council get elected/appointed to serve on regional council help to align lower- and upper-tier priorities?

Municipal service delivery

      1. Is there opportunity for more efficient allocation of various service responsibilities?
      2. Is there duplication of activities?
      3. Are there opportunities for cost savings?
      4. Are there barriers to making effective and responsive infrastructure and service delivery decisions?

        What is PRO Doing?

        In response to this review, PRO asked Claire Tucker-Reid to help start a discussion among the municipalities affected by the review by creating a briefing document that included lessons learned from the amalgamation of the City of Toronto.

Ms. Tucker Reid initially lead the process of amalgamation for the Parks and Recreation discipline and was subsequently hired to be the Executive Director reporting to the provincially appointed Toronto Transition Team to amalgamate two levels of government – the former Metro Toronto and 6 local municipalities (Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, North York, York and East York).

Read the briefing document here. 

In addition, PRO held an informal Roundtable at the 2019 Educational Forum. You can read a short report of that meeting here. 

PRO will take a leadership role in bringing together stakeholders in the municipalities affected by the review through:
-conference calls or webinars
-access to online resources
-sharing information with all members