Bill 189: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act
On April 14, 2020, the Province passed Bill 189: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 (“Bill 189”)
Bill 189 received Royal Assent and came into force and effect on April 14, 2020. It amends the following pieces of legislation relevant to planning and development:
- Planning Act
- Development Charges Act, 1997
- Education Act
Bill 189 allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to make regulations governing the application of time periods under the Planning Act during the period of the emergency declared by the Province.
Pursuant to the new powers granted by Bill 189, O.Reg. 149/20 was filed on April 15, 2020 and contains the details about changes to notice provisions and time periods.
On April 21, 2020 the Province provided additional clarification on O.Reg. 149/20 via a posting on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, which can be accessed here.
O.Reg 149/20 specifies that O.Reg. 73/20, which provides for the general suspension of limitation periods and the periods of time during which any step must be taken during a proceeding, and any other order made under s. 7.1(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act made after April 15, 2020, do not apply to the Planning Act, its regulations, or s. 114 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 (site plan applications in the City of Toronto).
Decision notices for most Planning Act instruments, including Official Plans and Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-laws and Zoning By-law Amendments, Plans of Subdivision, Consents, and Community Planning Permits, given on or after February 26, 2020 and before April 15, 2020 are deemed not to have been completed. Any such decision notices and decision notices not yet sent out for decisions made on or after March 2, 2020 and before April 15, 2020 must be given no later than 15 days after the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or disallowed.
Please see s. 4(3) of O.Reg. 149/20 for a full list of Planning Act provisions affected by these new notice requirements.
Decision notices with respect to Minor Variance applications that were made on or after February 26, 2020 and before April 15, 2020 must be given no later than ten days after the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or disallowed irrespective of whether notice has already been effected. The 20-day appeal period in s. 45(12) of the Planning Act is expanded to be 20 days after receiving (or re-receiving) the notice.
Application of Periods of Time
O.Reg. 149/20 also suspends certain Planning Act and City of Toronto Act, 2006 timelines for decision making and the filing of appeals for Official Plans and Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-laws and Zoning By-law Amendments, Subdivisions, Site Plans, Minor Variance and Consents, among other matters listed in s. 5(1) of O.Reg. 149/20.
Any timelines that did not end prior to March 17, 2020 are suspended until the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or disallowed.
If certain appeals were filed on or after March 17, 2020 and before April 15, 2020, they are deemed to have not been filed. Please see s. 5(2)(2) for a full list of Planning Act and City of Toronto Act, 2006 appeals affected by this provision.
Interim Control By-laws (“ICBL”)
O.Reg. 149/20 pauses the expiry of ICBL’s that were in effect on March 17, 2020 and had not been repealed prior to April 15, 2020. The expiry date of such ICBL’s has been extended by the number of days between March 17, 2020 and the date the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or disallowed. Similarly, if an ICBL was in effect on March 17, 2020 and does not expire before the Declaration of Emergency terminates or is disallowed, the by-law is deemed to remain in effect after the day it would otherwise expire for a period equal to the number of days between March 17, 2020 and the day the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or is disallowed.
Of note – O.Reg. 149/20 states that its provisions do not limit the ability of a municipality to amend or repeal an ICBL.
Development Charges Act, 1997
All Development Charge By-laws (“DC By-laws”) that expire between March 17, 2020 and a date to be determined that is six months from the date that the Declaration of Emergency is terminated or disallowed (the “Specified Date”) shall remain in force until the earlier of the Specified Date and the day the DC By-law is repealed.
The changes to the Education Act are similar to those made to the Development Charges Act, 1997 as it relates to Education Development Charge By-laws (“EDC By-laws”) in that all EDC By-laws that expire between March 17, 2020 and the Specified Date shall remain in force until the earlier of the Specified Date and the day the EDC By-law is repealed.
These changes also state that an EDC By-law that remains in force through operation of Bill 189 cannot be amended to provide for rates that are higher than those set out in the EDC By-law on the day it would have expired.