A key tenet to meaningful engagement in planning is a transparent, understandable process. This has always been a challenge, but recent changes to the land use appeals process in Ontario have made this even more complicated.
Effective April 2018, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has been replaced with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). Although LPAT retains many of the features of the former OMB, its operating procedures are very different. These include new rules determining when and how to intervene in the process as well as greater emphasis on the scope and content of staff reports. The City of Toronto also established a Local Appeals Board to hear appeals to decisions by the Committee of Adjustment affecting variances and consents (referred to as T-LAB).
Both changes stem from deep-seated concerns about the OMB and its perceived negative impact on land use decision-making.
Toronto residents now have to re-learn how to interact with planning and development proposals. The City of Toronto’s Chief Planner has identified an opportunity for University of Toronto and Ryerson students to help develop a set of communications materials which can be used by the City and other stakeholders to educate and engage with individuals and communities. This is an opportunity to rethink how we might encourage engagement that leads to the development of more complete communities.
Working with representatives of the Toronto Planning Division and community groups, student participants will research and analyze how these changes affect the City’s residents. A key deliverable is to develop communication materials that explain to residents the new processes, how to deal with both minor and major changes in land use, how they can interact and engage with the process, and what resources are available if they wish to appeal decisions by T-LAB or City Council. The project will require desk research, interviews and meetings, as well as a comprehensive review of the impact of the two new pieces of legislation affecting planning and development proposals. The final deliverables will be presented to the Toronto Planning Division as input into the creation of new communications materials.
This project will also help:
Provide information on the updated planning process that is clear, simple and unbiased.
Raise awareness about how development processes can affect communities, how decisions are made and how community members can influence those decisions.
In addition to the opportunity to participate in an exciting project and expand your professional network, students will be given the opportunity to build their job skills. The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) has received funding from Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to engage with Ryerson and University of Toronto students to provide support and mentorship in key employment skills and advice on entering the city building sector. Through this project, CUI will design and deliver a series of applied professional development workshops on subjects such as community engagement, communications, project management and performance measurement. The project will also provide mentorship opportunities with planning professionals and exposure to the City of Toronto Planning Division. Upon completion of this project, students will receive a certificate in City Building Leadership from the Canadian Urban Institute.
This project will require approximately 60-70 hours of your time from September 2018 until February 2019. You will be expected to:
Join a small group team and work with the team to deliver the project. Your group will be assigned a community in Toronto to engage and test your ideas.
Participate in 4 applied, skills building workshops, an introductory meeting (which will include an exercise to self assess your skills), a mid-term check in meeting and a final presentation session.
Independently coordinate with, meet and work with your group as needed to develop, implement and monitor your project plan.
This program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.