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Back to Business As Usual (Almost) During the COVID-19 Emergency - Province Issues New Rules Clarifying Planning Act Timelines

Apr 20, 2020

Before getting to the more technical aspects of the matter, it may be useful to summarize the intent and purpose of new Ontario Regulation 149/20. Firstly, it is intended to get back to Planning Act approval processes that are as close to normal as possible, given that we are still in the COVID-19 emergency period. Secondly, it is intended to clean up the uncertainty that was created between March 17 and April 15 when the steps taken generally by the provincial government to address the emergency resulted in Planning Act timelines being suspended. Presently, the emergency has been extended to May 12, 2020.

On April 14, 2020, the Planning Act was amended by the addition of section 70.11 entitled “Regulations re periods of time during emergency”. The amendment came into force on April 14, 2020. On April 15, 2020, Ontario Regulation 149/20 entitled “Special Rules Relating To Declared Emergency”, made pursuant to s.70.11, was filed and came into effect.

The provisions of O. Reg. 149/20 address procedural “periods of time” under the Planning Act (and site plan approval processes pursuant to s.114 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006). The provisions are intended to replace the blanket suspension of limitation periods and “periods of time” which was ordered (see O. Reg. 73/20 here) following the declaration of the COVID-19 emergency (see O. Reg. 50/20 here) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (the “EMCPA”) (see s.7.1(2) of the EMCPA here).

O. Reg. 149/20 does not address timelines related to procedural matters at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The LPAT is responsible for the administration of timelines related to an LPAT process and has been releasing notices regarding its approach to matters before it. Please refer to our previous blog posts for more information on LPAT (and TLAB) COVID-19 updates.

Intent of O. Reg. 149/20

O. Reg. 149/20

  • removes the application of s.7.1(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (and, in particular, O. Reg. 73/20) which suspended the “periods of time” in the Planning Act during the COVID-19 emergency (ss.2 and 3);
  • establishes a specific approach to Planning Act “periods of time”, which were originally to be suspended during the emergency, to address the following:
- the period from March 17 to the end of the emergency, once the suspension has been lifted by O. Reg. 149/20, so that the usual Planning Act “periods of time” are in effect, subject to some revisions as set out in O. Reg. 149/20 (ss.5(1) and 6), and

- the period from March 17 to April 14 during which the “periods of time” were suspended (ss.4 and 5(2)).

Application of “periods of time” during COVID-19 emergency (and beyond)

On/After March 17, 2020 to the end of the emergency (and beyond)

O. Reg. 149/20, s.3, retroactively, removes the suspension of “periods of time” under the Planning Act/s.114 City of Toronto Act, 2006 that was applied as a result of the emergency order so that the suspension “does not apply and is deemed never to have applied” to the Planning Act.

During the period of time of the emergency (and beyond), the usual “periods of time” in the Planning Act/s.114 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 apply, subject to s.5(1) of O. Reg. 149/20, which extends the end of the “periods of time” by the number of days of the emergency but only in regard to the provisions of the Acts identified in s.5(1) (see Table 1 for these provisions).

Table 1 - Application of periods of time during COVID-19 emergency - Provisions referred to in s.5(1), O. Reg. 149/20

On/After March 17, 2020 and Before April 15, 2020

Subsection 5(2) establishes rules as to how “periods of time” that ended between March 17, 2020 and April 14, 2020 are to be treated.

The following flowchart (and related Tables 2 and 3) explain the effect of these rules.


(Click chart to enlarge)

Table 2 - Application of periods of time during COVID-19 emergency - Provisions referred to in s.5(2)2, O. Reg. 149/20

Table 3 - Application of periods of time during COVID-19 emergency - Provisions referred to in s.5(2)3, O. Reg. 149/20

Rules re: Requirements re Notices of Decision - February 26 to April 14

Section 4 of O. Reg. 149/20 establishes rules in regard to the requirements under the Planning Act for the giving of notices of decision (whether related to approvals or refusals) which will apply, retroactively, to the period on/after February 26 and before April 15, 2020.

The following flowcharts (and related Table 4) explain the effect of these rules.

(Click chart to enlarge)

(Click chart to enlarge)

(Click chart to enlarge)

Table 4 - Rules re: Giving Notice (of Decision) - Provisions referred to in s.4(3), O. Reg. 149/20

Interim Control By-laws

Section 6 of O. Reg. 149/20 establishes rules that will have application for the duration of the emergency (and beyond) in regard to Interim Control By-laws.

The following flowchart explains the effect of these rules.

(Click chart to enlarge)

If you have any questions regarding the regulation or the contents of the blog, please do not hesitate to contact Dennis Wood at dwood@woodbull.ca or Sharmini Mahadevan at smahadevan@woodbull.ca.

Author(s): Dennis Wood / Sharmini Mahadevan

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