July 10th, 2020

Ford’s COVID-19 bill grants authority for Ontario to seize land without hearings

TORONTO — University Rosedale MPP and NDP critic for Transit Jessica Bell says Doug Ford is giving himself the unprecedented power to take land without so much as a hearing.

“Ford is giving himself unprecedented authority to expropriate, sell, and build on land, running roughshod over municipal planning laws, and a landowners’ right to have their day in court before their home is knocked down,” Bell said.

The new Transit-Oriented-Communities Act, which is embedded in Ford’s so-called COVID-19 recovery omnibus bill — but has nothing to do with COVID-19 — grants Ford the power to strip the hearing of necessity from the expropriations process for any land they classify as “transit-oriented community land.”

Ford’s bill also changes to the Planning Act, giving the minister new powers to impose new zoning requirements on land, adding to the power Ontario already has to exempt land from municipal zoning laws.

“You don’t get transit built with a controversial, privatized, slash-and-burn approach,” said Bell. “We know what gets the job done: a solid public sector model that works with community.”

Bell and the NDP have also been urging Ford to build homes people can afford above and around transit stations.