Media FAQ’s

Q: Have you received this appeal?

A: As soon as an appeal is recorded into our system, it should appear in the E-Status section of the OMB website. Check the municipality where the appeal is taking place to see if the appeal you are looking for is there. Sometimes appeals are sent to the municipality before coming to the Board. Depending on the type of appeal, there may be certain timelines for an appeal to be forwarded by the municipality. If you do not see the appeal you are looking for, contact your municipality to see if the appeal has been submitted to the OMB.

Q: When is the next hearing for a case?

A: The Board’s E-Status service on this website provides a summary of all active OMB cases. E-status lists the hearing date, time and location of a hearing event. Links to any decisions on the matter are also available through E-status. E-Status provides basic information about a case. For additional information, please contact OMB Communications staff.

Q: Has a decision issued in this case?

A: Decisions are posted on the OMB website under the E-Decisions link. To find a decision you can search by keyword or by case number. Decisions are usually posted online two business days after they have issued.

Q: Can the OMB provide an interpretation of the decision?

A: Like the court system, decisions issued by the OMB are considered “res ipsa loquitur” – the thing speaks for itself. It would be inappropriate for the Board’s administrative or communications staff to paraphrase or attempt to interpret decisions since that creates a risk of distorting and/or confusing the original decision. Letting the written decision speak for itself prevents potential ambiguity and confusion. For this same reason, Members do not comment on hearings or decisions.

Q: How are Members appointed to the Ontario Municipal Board?

A: The Ontario government appoints Members to the Ontario Municipal Board. Members include people from different areas of the province with diverse backgrounds such as lawyers, former elected officials, engineers, surveyors, planners and public administrators. Members are appointed for three-year terms through an Order In Council. The Public Appointments Secretariat can provide additional information about appointments. For more information on public appointments, visit http://www.pas.gov.on.ca/.

Q. What is a party and/or a participant?

A: To take part in a hearing you must be a party or a participant.

A party in a case includes an individual or corporation set out in the legislation to be parties to a matter. For example, in the case of a zoning by-law passed by a municipality and appealed to the Board, the parties may be the municipality, the applicant for the rezoning, and any persons who filed an appeal to the Board against the zoning by-law.

There are different provisions that an individual must meet in order to be granted party status. In some instances to be added as a party, one must have made oral submissions at a public meeting, or written submissions to the council, or committee of adjustment prior to a plan being adopted. Also, the Board may add a party if it is in the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body. If you are unsure, please look at the Planning Act and the specific section in which the original appeal was filed under. See this page for an overview of the responsibilities a party has at a hearing.

A participant is a person, group or corporation that may choose to attend only part of the proceedings but makes a statement to the Board on all or some of the issues in the hearing. One does not need to have given oral or written submissions at council or with the committee of adjustment to be added as a participant.

Q: Can I interview the Chair or any Member of the OMB during or after a hearing?

A: OMB adjudicators (Members) are analogous to judges and do not speak to the media. Just like a court where judges cannot be approached about cases, outside contact or relationships could compromise, or appear to compromise, the neutrality and independence of the Board and its Members.

It would be inappropriate for any Members or staff to comment on a specific case. Discussions about a case outside of the hearing room could compromise the Board’s ability to provide natural justice. Natural justice is about open and fair hearings, where parties are present for, and aware of, all discussions relevant to the case at hand.

Q: Can media attend OMB hearings?

A: Yes, OMB hearings are open to the public and the media.

The only time a hearing is not open to the public or media is when the Board is of the opinion that matters involving public security may be disclosed or intimate financial or personal matters or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing of such a nature that the desirability of avoiding disclosure outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be open to the public. Mediation meeting are also not open to the public. Please note that there are restrictions on the use of electronic devices in OMB hearings. For further information, see the Statutory Powers Procedure Act – Section 9 (1) and the Board’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Q. Can media attend a Mediation Meeting?

A: Unlike a hearing, a mediation meeting is only for the parties involved in the case and discussions at the mediation are confidential. Any settlement made at mediation is confidential. The Board may issue a mediation report. If a mediation report is issued, it will not be known until the day of issue. It should be available to view two business days after the issuing date.

Q: Can an OMB hearing be recorded and/or taped?

A: Recordings of any kind will only be permitted before proceedings begin on any given day, as it can be disruptive to the hearing process. Requests to record should be made to the Board before the date of the hearing event. For further information about recording of a hearing event, please see the OMB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, Rules number 92-98.

Q: Can someone from the OMB comment on proposed legislation changes?

A: It is not appropriate for the OMB to comment on policy or legislative matters since the OMB does not make policy or legislation. As an arms-length adjudicative tribunal, the OMB conducts its business in accordance with its legislated mandate from the province of Ontario. To this end, only a democratically elected government, through the enactment of legislation, can effect changes to the current role of the OMB. For information about legislation, please check with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or the ministry responsible for the legislation. Check the Legislation & Regulations page for a list of the common types of legislation dealt with at the Board.

For further media inquiries, please contact OMB Communications.