Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds


Ontario to Overhaul the Land Use Planning Appeal System and Strengthen Conservation

Ontario has introduced legislation to overhaul the province’s land use planning appeal system and better preserve our natural environment.

The Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, would, if passed, make changes to the Planning Act to give communities a stronger voice in land use planning. The new act would create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal to replace the Ontario Municipal Board and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings. The proposed changes would also create the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre. This agency would provide free information and support for citizens who want to participate in the land use planning appeal process.

The proposed legislation would also modernize the Conservation Authorities Act and guide the conservation of Ontario’s watersheds. The legislation would strengthen  oversight and accountability, provide clarity for conservation authority roles and responsibilities, encourage public engagement and modernize funding mechanisms. These proposed changes will enable conservation authorities to support future provincial priorities and give them the flexibility to address growing environmental pressures.

Improving the land use planning appeal system and preserving Ontario’s environment is part of our plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.


  • The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal would be an independent tribunal that makes decisions at arms’ length from the government. If the legislation passes, it would replace the Ontario Municipal Board, which began in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board.
  • In 2015-2016 (the most recent year for which data is available), 1,460 matters were received by the Ontario Municipal Board from across the province.
  • Ontario has 36 conservation authorities, which are local organizations that manage and protect water and other natural resources.
  • Ninety per cent of people in Ontario live in a watershed managed by a conservation authority.





“Ontario’s land use planning appeal system needs to work effectively for everyone. Our proposed legislation would help communities and municipalities better determine how their neighbourhoods develop in the future.”
— Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“Everyone in Ontario should feel that their voices are being heard when it comes to changes affecting their communities. Our proposed changes would help make planning appeals more accessible to the public and ensure everyone has access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings.”
— Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario

“As Ontario’s population continues to grow and our climate changes, the demands and challenges facing our watersheds will continue to increase. The proposed bill would create a modern framework to help Ontario’s conservation authorities respond to these pressures while delivering the services that the people of Ontario expect and rely on.”
— Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry


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