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I am a real estate lawyer practicing in Ontario and fully support the proposed changes to the Planning Act.

I definitely agree that there needs to be clarity regarding "retained lands" and for there to be the ability to transfer the abutting "retained lands" that do not have a consent schedule without first dealing with the consented parcel.

It is an important improvement to the Act to allow for owners to cancel a prior consent certificate. I have clients that are forced to go through a lengthy and costly consent process to break a prior consent and transfer a small section of land to a municipality or to an abutting property owner just so they can obtain a building permit.

Addressing the death of a joint owner is also important. Automatic merger of adjoining lands due to the death of a joint owner is equivalent to punishing the survivor. The surviving joint tenant is subject to a lengthy and costly consent process that would not be required if their spouse/child/partner was still alive. The ability to hold title as joint tenants is used by many people as an estate planning tool.

I also think it is very important to allow municipalities to extend consent condition deadlines as sometimes the deadlines are impossible to meet due to the involvement of various departments within the municipality (i.e., requirements to enter license agreements or purchase shore road allowances as consent conditions), or due to weather or other conditions outside the control of the applicant. Even when the applicant and municipal staff work together cooperatively the process to meet conditions can take a long time and the ability to extend the deadline on a case-by-case basis seems very appropriate.