TLAB Virtual Business Meeting, December 10, 2021

Toronto Local Appeal Body
40 Orchard View Boulevard, Suite 211
Toronto, Ontario M4B 1R9 

RE: TLAB Virtual Business Meeting, December 10, 2021: Items 34.2 Public Guide Revisions, and 34.6 TLAB Rules Principles  

Dear Chair Dino Lombardi and Members of TLAB,

We offer the following comments and suggestions regarding the above noted items: 

34.2 Public Guide Revisions 

We view the Public Guide as an important contribution to public education especially as it relates to self-represented parties and/or parties appearing for the first time at TLAB.

The Public Guide Revisions include both revised material and several new sections including Adjournment Requests, Motions, Affidavits and Recovering Hearing Costs.

We would like to provide feedback on several of the new areas covered in the Public Guide Revisions.

Page 14 – Applicants Disclosure of proposed revisions

  • The issue of disclosure has been identified several times in the TLAB RULE PRINCIPLES.
  • The importance of the Applicant’s Disclosure requirements should be emphasized in the Guide.

Page 16 – Sign-in Sheet at hearing events

  • The discussion of hearing events on this page and elsewhere in the guide assumes in-Person hearings virtual hearings are the normal practice today.
  • There is also a reference to ‘teleconferencing’ on Page 30.
  • The subject of virtual hearings should be addressed somewhere in the Guide, or by reference to some other document.

Page 19 – Ratepayers’ Organization

  • The term ‘ratepayer’ originates with and relates to the ownership form of tenure, which predominant and thus in common use about 50 years ago. This term has been replaced by most non-for-profit organizations representing residents … as such “Residents’ Organizations” would be more appropriate.
  • Most Residents’ Organizations who appear at TLAB are incorporated, and the guide should highlight any specific requirements related to the need for incorporation.

Page 32 – Filing of Motions at the start of the hearing

  • We support the direction that all changes to the key elements in the Appeal should require the filing of Form 7 – Notice of Motion.  In fact we suggest that this direction be included in the TLAB Rules and Procedures, as well as the Guide.
  • The filing of unplanned motions at the start of the hearing should be discouraged as it provides an unfair advantage to the filer (e.g., the ability to reference case law).
  • The mandatory use of the Form 7 document will also allow the Panel Member to properly reference the decision that was granted with respect to a motion. Oftentimes, in the flurry of the activity at the start of a hearing, the recording of the motion decision is overlooked.

Other Comments:

  • The Guide refers to the Applicant’s Disclosure also to Applicants Disclosure. The same term should be used if the same meaning is implied.
  • The term ‘insurance’ is used occasionally as with ‘By way of insurance” when if might be more appropriate to say “In order to ensure”
  • Revision date of the guide should read “December 10, 2021”

Once again, we would like to that express our appreciation in the work effort that is evident in the updated Public Guide. We applaud any, and all, efforts in public education.

Maybe sometime in the new year, the TLAB might consider hosting an open session for the public to walk-through the changes and gather feedback on more ideas for the next edition of the Public Guide.

34.6 TLAB Rule Principles

It is interesting and helpful to see these rules published, and once approved we would suggest that the Rules be made available on the public website. We have comments on several items.

Item a) – Appeal of from a decision of the Committee of Adjustment

There should be a clear path of disclosure regarding the key elements of the COA Decision (variances and plans), the Notice of Appeal, the Applicant Disclosure and the Document Disclosure.

There are many cases where the Applicant Disclosure is not filed, and the key elements are changed in the Document Disclosure. There are other cases where revisions to key elements are identified on the first day of the hearing.

We recommend that a Motion should be required to ensure proper disclosure notice for any changes to key elements. The Public Guide (see page 31) sets out some of the rules for filing of these Motion documents.

Item e) – Exchange obligations that are to be set out in advance

There are many cases where the Applicant fails to meet the filing dates as specified in the TLAB Notice of Hearing. There are no sanctions or penalties in place. This requires opposing parties to file a Motion to adjourn or dismiss the proceedings.

Cases should be automatically adjourned when either the Appellant or Applicant fails to meet the filing deadlines. A notice period may be in place before this action is taken (e.g., 15 days).

Item f) – Full disclosure and Item g) – Early disclosure

Both items reference the importance of disclosure, in line with item a) above.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cc:  Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division
Kyle Knoeck, Acting Director, Zoning and Secretary-Treasurer Committee of Adjustment, City Planning Division