This notice was updated on November 24, 2022 to extend the comment period by another 15 days until December 9, 2022.
This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
December 9, 2022
A proposal to make legislative and regulatory amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act to help remove barriers to housing development by updating how heritage properties are identified and conserved by municipalities and the Province of Ontario.
Everyone in Ontario should be able to find a home that is right for them. But too many people are struggling with the rising cost of living and with finding housing that meets their family’s needs.
Ontario’s housing supply crisis is a problem which has been decades in the making. It will take both short-term strategies and long-term commitment from all levels of government, the private sector, and not-for-profits to drive change. Each entity will have to do their part to be part of the solution to this crisis.
Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.
To support More Homes Built Faster: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan 2022-23, the government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, which, if passed, would ensure that cities, towns, and rural communities grow with a mix of ownership and rental housing types that meet the needs of all Ontarians.
These changes are providing a solid foundation to address Ontario’s housing supply crisis over the long term and will be supplemented by continued action in the future.
Building on changes from the 2019 Housing Supply Action Plan: More Homes, More Choice, the government is proposing to make the following legislative and regulatory changes to the Ontario Heritage Act as part of the More Homes Built Faster: Ontario's Housing Supply Action Plan 2022-23. The goal of the proposed changes is to renew and update heritage policies, some of which haven’t been reviewed in over a decade, to reduce red tape and remove barriers that are slowing down housing construction and other priority projects while continuing to conserve and commemorate key heritage properties that matter most to local communities.
Changes affecting the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties
MCM is looking to promote sustainable development that respects, the land and buildings that are important to its history and local communities while streamlining approvals and working to support priority provincial projects by proposing changes to the processes and requirements for ministries and prescribed public bodies governed by the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties (S&Gs) issued under the authority of Part III.1 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
MCM is proposing to introduce an enabling legislative authority that provides that the process for identifying provincial heritage properties under the S&Gs may permit the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism to review, confirm and revise, the determination of cultural heritage value or interest by a ministry or prescribed public body respecting a provincial heritage property. This process for Ministerial review would be set out through a revision to the S&Gs and may be applied to determinations made on or before the change comes into effect. If Bill 23 is passed, the ministry would develop and consult further on the proposed process under the S&Gs.
MCM is proposing to introduce an enabling legislative authority so the Lieutenant Governor in Council (LGIC) may, by order, provide that the Crown in right of Ontario or a ministry or prescribed public body is not required to comply with some or all of the S&Gs in respect of a particular property, if the LGIC is of the opinion that such exemption could potentially advance one or more of the following provincial priorities: transit, housing, long-term care and other infrastructure or other prescribed provincial priorities.
New requirements for municipal registers and the inclusion of non-designated properties on the municipal register
MCM is proposing clear and transparent requirements to improve municipal practices around the inclusion of non-designated properties on a municipal register through several changes that would encourage increased information sharing and timely decision making. These proposals include the following legislative changes:
- Requiring municipalities to make an up-to-date version of the information on their municipal register available on a publicly-accessible municipal website. MCM is proposing that, if passed, proclamation of this amendment would be delayed by six months to allow municipalities time to make the necessary changes to their website.
- Allowing for property owners to use the existing process under the OHAfor objecting to the inclusion of their non-designated property on the municipal register regardless of when it was added to the municipal register.
- Increasing the standard for including a non-designated property on a municipal register by requiring that the property meet prescribed criteria. MCM is proposing to have the criteria currently included in O. Reg. 9/06 (Criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest) apply to non-designated properties included on the municipal register and is proposing that the property must meet one or more of the criteria to be included, which would be facilitated through a regulatory change. MCM is further proposing that this requirement would apply only to those non-designated properties added to the municipal register on or after the date the legislative and regulatory amendments come into force.
- Removal from the register
- If council moves to designate a listed property but a designation bylaw is not passed or is repealed on appeal, the property would have to be removed from the municipal register. MCM is further proposing that this requirement would apply where the applicable circumstance outlined in the proposed amendment occurs on or after the legislative amendments, if passed, come into force.
- Non-designated properties currently included on a municipal register would have to be removed if council does not issue a notice of intention to designate (NOID) within two years of the amendments coming into force.
- Non-designated properties included on the register after the proposed amendment comes into force would have to be removed if council does not issue a NOID within two years of the property being included.
- If removed from the register under any of the above three circumstances, the property cannot be relisted for a period of five years.
An increase in the threshold for designation of individual properties and new limitations on designation for properties subject to proposed development
MCM is proposing to provide further rigour in the designation process by increasing the threshold by requiring that a property meet two or more of the criteria prescribed in regulation. This change would be achieved through a regulatory amendment to O. Reg. 9/06 Criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest. MCM is further proposing that this requirement would apply only to properties where the notice of intention to designate (NOID) is published on or after the date the regulatory amendment comes into force.
The More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 amended the Ontario Heritage Act to establish a new 90-day timeline for issuing a NOID when the property is subject to prescribed Planning Act events. This new timeline was intended to provide improved certainty to development proponents and to encourage discussions about potential designations at an early stage, avoiding designation decisions being made late in the land use planning process. MCM is proposing to provide increased certainty and predictability to development proponents by requiring that council would only be able to issue a NOID where a property is included on the municipal heritage register as a non-designated property at the time the 90-day restriction is triggered. Therefore, if a prescribed event occurs with respect to a property, a NOID may only be issued if the property was already included in the municipal register as a non-designated property on the date of the prescribed event. The 90-day timeline for a municipality to issue a NOID following a prescribed event would then apply. This restriction would only apply where the prescribed event occurs on or after the date the legislative amendment comes into force.
Changes to Heritage Conservation Districts
MCM is proposing to increase rigour in the process of identifying and protecting heritage conservation districts (HCD) by requiring municipalities to apply prescribed criteria to determine a HCD’s cultural heritage value or interest. This would include a requirement for HCD plans to explain how the HCD meets the prescribed criteria. MCM is proposing to have the criteria currently included in O. Reg. 9/06 (Criteria for determining cultural heritage value or interest) apply to HCDs and is proposing that the HCD must meet two or more of the criteria in order to be designated, which would be achieved through a regulatory amendment. MCM is further proposing that this requirement would apply only to HCDs where the notice of the designation bylaw is published on or after the date the legislative and regulatory amendments come into force.
MCM is also proposing to introduce a regulatory authority to prescribe processes for municipalities to amend or repeal existing HCD designation and HCD plan bylaws. The proposal would help create opportunities to align existing HCDs with current government priorities and make HCDs a more flexible and iterative tool that can better facilitate development, including opportunities to support smaller scale development and the “missing middle” housing. If passed, MCM would consult on the development and details of the amendment and repeal processes at a later time.
Housekeeping and Commencement
Schedule 6 of the proposed More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 also includes proposed minor housekeeping amendments. Included among them are repealing the alternative definition of “alter” in subsection 1(2) of the OHA, which was intentionally never proclaimed, and a change within the amended, but not proclaimed, section 42 of the OHA that would facilitate bringing into force the remaining sections of Schedule 11 from Bill 108 that were not proclaimed in 2021. MCM is further proposing a transition provision in regulation clarifying that these amendments to section 42, which would speak specifically to the demolition or removal of an attribute within an HCD, would apply where an application for a heritage permit was received by the council of a municipality on or after the date these legislative amendments from Bill 108 come into force.
If the proposed More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 is passed and the regulatory proposals approved, MCM intends on bringing the legislative and regulatory amendments into force on January 1, 2023, unless otherwise noted.
Regulatory Impact Assessment
If passed, the changes resulting from Schedule 6 of the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 and accompanying proposed regulatory changes would primarily impact municipalities, with some impacts to ministries and prescribed public bodies.
Work is currently underway to analyze possible administrative and other compliance costs to municipalities and other impacted stakeholders that may result from this proposal. To inform this analysis, we encourage you to provide your feedback.
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400 University Avenue, 5th Floor
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