Big news: amendments to the Planning Act introduced yesterday

As you may know, I have been trying for 19 years to get housekeeping amendments to section 50 of the Planning Act. Over the last two years, Ray Leclair and I have been trying to move the Ministry to make many of these changes without much success. Doug Downey, a practising real estate lawyer and new conservative MPP from Orillia has been live to the issues for years and upon his election took up our efforts to seek legislative change.

On Monday, his private member’s bill, Bill 88, an Act to amend the Planning Act, and supported by the Law Society, the OBA, FOLA, LawPro and other law associations was tabled at Queens Park. Before I tell you the changes, you do have a job to do. This is a private member’s bill at this time and it needs public support. This is a link to the names and emails of the MPPs in Ontario.

Find yours and send him or her an email and tell them that you think that Bill 88, the Planning Amendment Act, 2019 introduced on Monday March 25, 2019 is in the best interests of Ontarians, that you support it and hope that the MPP will do the same. CC the email to Doug Downey at That’s it, an email saying that you think it is good for the province to your MPP with a cc to Doug.

Among the provisions:

Clarity on exceptions to subsection 50(3) and (5)—most of them will now be in one place.

No need to search back for Planning Act contraventions beyond a rolling 20 years. This is big.

Elimination of the rule in Acchionne; one can deal with land that was conveyed with consent and land abutting land conveyed with consent.

Clarity that section 50(12) passed on March 31, 1979 is retroactive and applies to consents given before that date

Simplified partial discharge rules (subsection (16) and (17))

Simplified release rules (subsection (19))

Clarity on subsection (6); dealing with the retained land before the consented parcel is transferred

The ability to cancel a consent previously given when required on lot addition cases

The right to obtain multiple certificates of consent-one for the severed and one for the retained parcels

No inadvertent mergers on the death of a joint tenant

The right to amend consent applications up until a decision is made
Clarity on who can apply for consents

Tabling the proposed legislation is only a first step. Getting it passed either as a private member’s bill or as part of a government bill is the next challenge and Doug Downey needs every lawyer in the province regardless of political affiliation to get to their MPPs and copy him on the emails.

And then there is the bencher election. Please support me. See who else supports me and endorses me at

Once again, my disclaimer: The issues raised in this email bulletin are for information purposes only. My comments should not be relied upon to replace specific legal advice. Readers should investigate all matters independently before acting on the basis of material contained herein. I reserve the right to be wrong and to change my mind. Use at your own risk.

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