The Government of Ontario announced this week that it will invest $19M to reduce the backlog of cases at both the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
The investment comes as part of the provincial government's More Homes For Everyone Act -- a bill that proposes a number of initiatives and changes to existing housing legislation to address Ontario's soaring home prices. The act focuses almost entirely on speeding up development processes, part of which includes clearing the OLT and LTB backlogs.
“Ontarians deserve the opportunity to find the right home for them, and government bureaucracy should never stand in the way,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “We are making even more investments in the Ontario Land Tribunal and the Landlord and Tenant Board to help clear longstanding backlogs and drive faster decisions so we can get more shovels in the ground.”
The funding directed to OLT will go towards increasing the number of full-time adjudicators and case processing staff, appointing more part-time adjudicators, more than doubling the capacity for the using expert land use planning mediators, and improving IT platforms to enhance access to online services.
"We recognize the important role the Ontario Land Tribunal plays in the province’s housing supply, and we remain committed to the principled and timely resolutions of the matters before us,” said Greg Bishop, alternate chair for the OLT. “This investment will allow the Tribunal to schedule hearing events and issue decisions quicker and more efficiently than before, and we appreciate the support of the Ontario government to allow us to provide an even higher quality of service to Ontarians.”
Investments in the LTB will similarly go towards increasing staff to what the province says will be "unprecedented new levels."
The provincial announcement comes several weeks after the Ontario’s Housing Affordability Task Force, comprised of nine housing experts, presented a 55-part proposal recommending a number of measures to address soaring home prices. It also took aim at the misuse of the OLT by development opponents, which has lead to backlog of more than 1,000 cases, while also recommending the construction of 1.5 million new homes over the next decade and increasing density in both urban and rural areas.
Responses to the More Homes For Everyone Act have been mixed, with critics noting a lack of changes to density as well as an absence of a province-wide vacant home tax. The construction industry, on the other hand, has lauded the plan as a great first step to address the housing crisis.