OCLA supports opponents of Ontario’s vague and unfair planning law

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The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) sides with Ottawa residents who are challenging the constitutionality of the so-called “minor variance” bylaw-variance provision of Ontario’s Planning Act.

Dr. Hadi Salmasian’s constitutional challenge of section 45(1) of the Planning Act, his challenge of the jurisdiction of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), and his opposition against a large multi-unit building development near his home will be heard on October 3, at 10 AM, at City Hall, Keefer Room, 110 Laurier Ave. W., Cartier Square, Ottawa, ON K2P 2L7. (LPAT File No. PL180613)

Dr. Salmasian will argue that Ontario’s bylaw-variance provision (s. 45(1) of the Planning Act) is unconstitutional for violation of the doctrine of vagueness and for violation of the Charter right of equal protection and benefit from the law.

Ontario is the only province in Canada whose bylaw-variance provision in its planning act sets a jurisdictional threshold as “minor variance”, without defining “minor” and without providing the established criteria of undue harm from compliance with the bylaw and absence of injury to neighbouring properties.

As a result, the known market and political forces have free reign. The variance provision has become a committee and tribunal planning instrument in-effect without democratic oversight, and the impacts on established neighbourhoods are devastating, in Ottawa at least.

Even the fact that the subject property of the urban lot is on a former industrial landfill (in Old Ottawa East, Ward 17), with “widespread presence” of toxic heavy metals and cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was not enough for the Committee of Adjustment to consider and to follow the law (Provincial Policy Statement directives ss. 3.2.1, 3.2.2 and 4.8.3(1)) by not approving the applications until after the required studies are proven to be accomplished.

OCLA has provided legal research and litigation logistic support to the self-represented appellant Dr. Salmasian.

Key submissions of the appellant to the LPAT include:

  • Notice of Constitutional Question, dated June 5, 2018 (PDF)
  • Factual and legal submissions, dated August 31, 2018 (PDF)
  • Book of Tabs for the legal submissions, dated September 6, 2018 (PDF)
  • Book of Authorities, dated September 3, 2018 (PDF)

Both OCLA and Dr. Salmasian are available to answer questions. Please initiate contact by email.

Hadi Salmasian, PhD, appellant

Denis Rancourt, PhD, Researcher, OCLA:

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