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COVID-19 Information
for Members

We recognize this can be a stressful time for many people and we hope everyone is safe during this time. As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) rapidly changes the reality of public interaction across the Province of Ontario and Canada, OPPI is monitoring news and information coming from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and local Public Health Units, and other sources.

The business of the Institute will continue but is modified as the public health situation changes. This includes OPPI staff working from home and conducting conference calls using programs like Zoom. Voicemails left for staff are forwarded to emails so we can get back to you in a timely manner. However, should you need to reach us, please email OPPI at info@ontarioplanners.ca

As of May, OPPI continues the planning for our upcoming OPPI20 Conference in London and is working with our District Leadership Teams to provide CPL opportunities for members whether that is virtually, as a webinar or in other formats that allow members to access information from home.

OPPI will continue to monitor and this webpage will be updated with information in the drop-down items below. 

Member Resources

This Member Resource section features resources and links you can access as they are received by OPPI. This section will be updated regularly as there is information to share. If you have any questions, please contact OPPI by email at info@ontarioplanners.ca. (Updated July 30, 2020) 

As the public health situation changes and we adapt to working from home or having to complete essential work, OPPI is providing a resource list for members to access as information and articles are published. This list will grow as more resources are found and made available. If members have resources they would like to share with the membership, please email us at info@ontarioplanners.ca

Please find the following resources below:

  • Planning Resources
  • Employer Resources
  • Non-Government Resources
Planning Resources: Employer Resources: Non-Government Resources:

As the public health situation changes and we adapt to working from home or having to complete essential work, OPPI is providing a resource list for members to access as information and articles are published. This list will grow as more resources are found and made available. If members have resources they would like to share with the membership, please email us at info@ontarioplanners.ca

Please find the following resources below:

  • Meeting Tools
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Project Management Software
Meeting Tools: Collaboration Tools: Project Management Software:

As the public health situation changes and we adapt to working from home or having to complete essential work, OPPI is providing a resource list for members to access as information and articles are published. This list will grow as more resources are found and made available. If members have resources they would like to share with the membership, please email us at info@ontarioplanners.ca

Please find the following resources below:

  • Government and Public Health Agency Resources
  • Articles/Videos on Mental Health and Other Topics
  • Ways to Give and Help
Government and Public Health Agency Resources: Articles/Videos on Mental Health and Other Topics: Ways to Give and Help:

On April 14, 2020, Bill 189, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 was passed. Shortly after the passage of Bill 189, O. Reg 149/20 was issued. Based on member feedback, and working with MMAH staff, OPPI developed two guides for members to reference the timelines impacted by O. Reg 149/20 - a quick guide for the most relevant information you need immediately and a more detailed guide that provides more information on the impacts of Bill 189 and O. Reg 149/20. Thank you to MMAH for their assistance with the development of this resource. As a reminder to members, these guides are not meant to represent a legal interpretation.

Both guides are available for members to reference and share with colleagues (click on images to expand or for a PDF of both, click here):
 

Bill 189 O.Reg 149/20 Quick Timeline Guide Bill 189 O. Reg 149/20 Detailed Timeline Guide

Member Webinar Information

This Member Webinar Information section features resources and links from previous COVID-19 related webinars led by OPPI and our partners. This section will be updated regularly as more webinars are held.  (Updated May 21, 2020) 

On a bi-weekly basis, OPPI hosts timely and relevant webinars for members on the topics you want to hear more about. We will bring in guest speakers to discuss topics and issues, and it will be hosted by a member of OPPI Council and/or staff. 

For 2020, OPPI is starting with a series of nine webinars focusing on the issues and topics that are relevant to the OPPI membership. We hope you will join us on a bi-weekly basis starting May 22nd, from 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. as we explore a variety of issues and answer your questions. 

Please note: These sessions will be recorded and then posted on OPPI's Digital Learning for members to view. Members who have questions can contact OPPI at communications@ontarioplanners.ca

To learn more about our upcoming webinars, please visit our Forum Friday webpage

OPPI and WeirFoulds LLP invite members to join our expert panel on June 4, 2020, from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., for an informative session on the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020, the new Community Benefits Charge regime under Bill 108, as well as any updates on the Coronavirus Support and Protection Act, 2020 and Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Our panel will discuss the impact these legislative and policy changes will have on the planning regime in Ontario. Members are invited to submit questions to our presenters in advance of the session as you register. The presentation will be followed by a Q& A forum.
 
Speakers:

  • Denise Baker, WeirFoulds LLP
  • Jason Bevan, RPP, City of Mississauga
  • Raj Kehar, WeirFoulds LLP
  • Daryl Keleher, RPP, Altus Group
To register for this event, please click here.

On Thursday, May 7, 2020, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m., join Mike Salveta, President of Pivotal Integrated HR Solutions, OPPI's human resources firm, for a one-hour webinar where members can learn about the key benefits provided by the Federal Government under its Canada Emergency Response Plan, and how these can benefit you and your business.

Some of the key topics that will be covered include:

  • Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees
    • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
    • Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy
    • Extending the work-sharing program
  • Support for self-employed individuals
    • Canada Emergency Response Benefit
    • Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty payments until June
    • More time to pay income taxes
  • Students and recent graduates
    • Suspend repayment and interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loan
Save your spot for this informative webinar and register by clicking here.

To view the Pivotal webinar presentation, please click here

On April 24, from 12:15 - 1:15 p.m., OPPI invites members to attend our free webinar, hosted by Denise Baker and Raj Kehar of WeirFoulds LLP, focusing on amendments to the Planning Act and Development Charges Act, and some updates on the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

As many members know, recent legislative changes through the COVID-19 Support and Protection Act have led to further questions from members about the planning process and timelines.
 
Denise and Raj will provide an overview on legislative changes and the LPAT, and then open the session up for questions from members in a Q&A format. This session will be recorded for members and, once it has concluded, it will be posted on our Digital Learning portal as quickly as possible. OPPI would like to thank Denise, Raj and WeirFoulds LLP for their assistance in the development of this webinar for members.
 
Registration is required and members can visit OPPI's website for registration details. If members have any questions about this free webinar, please contact OPPI's Education Manager, Ryan Des Roches.

To register for this webinar on April 24, please click here

To view the WeirFoulds webinar presentation, please click here

Member Survey Information

This Member Survey Information section features upcoming or currently completed surveys and  a high-level overview of the results. OPPI thanks members for their assistance in filling out our surveys and providing us with valuable information we can share with the membership. This section will be updated regularly as more surveys are conducted.  (Updated May 11, 2020) 

OPPI would like to share the results of our municipal survey that ran at the end of April. As members recall, many of the questions OPPI received focused on municipal processes but we also wanted to learn about the practices related to these processes, and how they may have changed because of COVID-19. Here is a high-level overview of the results:

  • Over 60% of municipal planning departments have been declared an "essential service"
  • Some special procedures have been put in place to manage applications, this includes accepting electronic submissions and payments, virtual meetings with proponents, notices published online, and much more
  • Only 21% of municipalities have an "e-permitting" system to accept applications
  • Technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx and others are being used as a solution for internal and external meetings
  • 86% of respondents think more provincial guidelines on virtual public engagement will help
A more detailed and informative breakdown of the survey results can be viewed here. Thank you to those members who provided us with this great feedback.

OPPI would like to share with the membership the initial results of our COVID-19 survey.

Specifically, we know you want to know more about:

  • How the emergency order implicates planning/planners
  • Whether or not planning is an "essential service"
  • How the emergency order impacts LPAT and other planning mechanisms
  • Online consultation
  • E-permitting
  • CPL during this period
  • Virtual Council meetings
Here are the aggregated results so far and what is on your mind:

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Planning Legislation Updates

This Planning Legislation Updates section features resources andinformation on impacts to planning legislation and regulations. This section also includes meeting notes and resources (when available) for members to use in their roles. This section will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.  (Updated July 14, 2020) 

The Government of Ontario has introduced Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 as its cornerstone legislation aimed at growth, renewal and economic recovery coming out of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis and summary of the proposed updates in this legislation was developed by OPPI's government relations firm, StrategyCorp.
 
As a key pillar to restart the economy, the government is focusing on expediting certain public infrastructure projects, streamlining transit-oriented development and providing municipalities with revenue tools to fund growth associated with development. 
 
Some of the planning-related measures in the legislative package include: 

  • Changes to the Planning Act and Development Charges Act to enact a three-pronged framework to fund growth in municipalities (MMAH has created a short video outlining the changes which could be viewed here):
    • Development Charges are expanded to include many of the previous “soft services” and are no longer subject to the 10% discount.
    • Parkland Dedication has been entirely restored with stronger oversight measures (previously proposed to be eliminated when a CBC is used).
    • Community Benefits Charges are now an open-ended revenue tool but can only be applied to high density residential developments.
  • Further changes to the Planning Act to provide the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the additional authority to apply inclusionary zoning and address site plan matters in Minister’s Zoning Orders.
  • Changes to the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to allow procedure by-laws to provide for electronic participation in meetings and proxy voting.
  • Eliminating the requirement for hearings of necessity for expropriation of property under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act.
  • Creating a Transit-Oriented Communities Act to allow cabinet to designate land as “transit-oriented community land” with the Expropriations Act not applying to such land.
  • Many of these measures require additional details to be prescribed through regulations which have yet to be developed. OPPI will continue to monitor the development of these and other land use planning initiatives and keep members up-to-date.

The Government of Ontario has announced the creation of a new tribunal organization, the Ontario Land Tribunals, effective July 1, 2020. The new organization will include the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Environmental Review Tribunal, Board of Negotiation, Conservation Review Board and the Mining and Lands Tribunal.

The Ontario Land Tribunals will adjudicate and mediate matters related to land use planning, environmental and heritage protection, expropriated land valuation, mining and other matters. Ontario Land Tribunals will focus on land-related dispute resolution to help increase the housing supply in the province, while balancing the needs of environmental protection and conservation. Tribunals Ontario will focus on dispute resolution for 14 tribunals in the social, property assessment, safety and licensing sectors.

For more information on this announcement, please visit the Environmental and Land Tribunals Ontario website.

The Ontario Government is consulting on a proposed amendment to A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This update includes changes to the population and employment forecasts, the horizon year for planning, and other policies to increase housing supply, create jobs, attract business investment and better align with infrastructure. A link to the posting on the Environmental Registry can be found here.

The government is also consulting on a new Land Needs Assessment Methodology for the Greater Golden Horseshoe which supports the implementation of A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Information on this proposed update can be found on the Environmental Registry website

The deadline to provide input for both items is July 31, 2020. 

On June 12, a letter was issued by Minister Steve Clark to Councils and Clerks informing them of the end of the temporary suspension of Planning Act timelines starting June 22, 2020. The letter also states that "we [MMAH] encourage you to continue to use electronic and virtual channels, as appropriate, to engage and provide the public with an opportunity to make representations on planning matters, while following the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health." OPPI will share any further information we receive with members as it becomes available.

OPPI would like to thank members for providing their questions and concerns in our “How Can We Help You?” survey. On April 22, OPPI was invited to participate in a briefing session with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) which focused on Bill 189 which provided changes to development charges under the Education Act and Development Charges Act and changes to the Planning Act and regulations. 
 
A small group of OPPI members and staff participated, along with organizations such as BILD and the OHBA, and here is a summary of the questions and responses that were asked and you are thinking about. Please note the information below is a summary of OPPI's notes and should not be used as legal interpretation. As OPPI receives further information and updates from MMAH, we will share it with the membership. This information will also be found on OPPI's resource webpage.

Changes to the Education Act:

  • Education Development Charges allow school boards with enrollment pressures due to growth to collect revenues to purchase land to support school expansions.
  • In order for school boards to pass a new by-law if one is set to expire, background studies are required and boards are required to host public meetings/consultations.
  • Amendment to the Education Act allows boards with expiring by-laws to continue using existing by-law rates until six months after the emergency order is lifted in order to allow for time to pass a new by-law.
  • This legislation is intended to be permissible, and should a school board wish to pass a new by-law, they are able to proceed and hold virtual meetings.


Changes to the Development Charges Act and Q&A:
  • Some municipal development charge by-laws have or will expire in near future.
  • Amendment to the Development Charges Act allows municipalities with by-laws expiring after March 17, 2020 (when the emergency declaration was made by the province), to continue to use their existing development charge rates six months after the emergency order is lifted.
  • Allows for municipalities to focus on more pressing matters, if needed.
  • Again, the legislation is intended to be permissible, and should a municipality wish to pass a new by-law, they are able to proceed and hold virtual meetings.
Q: Does Bill 189 impact Community Benefits Charges (section 9.1) and are there any expectations for municipalities related to this? A: Ministry just finished consultations on the draft Community Benefits Charge (CBC) regulations and the CBCs are currently not in effect. Ministry staff indicated that they do not see any implications of Bill 189 on the Community Benefits Charges.
 
Q: If Bill 189 doesn’t affect Community Benefits Charges, what is the anticipated process timing of the roll-out of CBC regulations? A: Consultation continues with key stakeholders and Ministry staff have heard about the need for transitions. No decisions have been made about the timing for the implementation of CBCs regulations.
 

Changes to the Planning Act and Q&A:
  • Following the emergency order, the province received a large number of requests from municipalities asking for suspension of Planning Act timelines due to impact to municipal operations.
  • On March 20, province issued Reg. 73/20 suspending provincial timelines for tribunals and proceedings.
  • Municipalities asked for clarification if this applies to Planning Act timelines.
  • Bill 189 clarifies that O.Reg. 73/20 does not apply to Planning Act timelines around appeal rights.
  • O.Reg. 149/20 provides a full list of Planning Act timelines that are suspended.
  • The suspension is limited to the period of the emergency order (provincially declared) and timelines would be restarted at the place they were left off once the province declares the emergency over or it expires/not renewed.
  • The intention of the provision is to not have new LPAT appeals due to lack of decision during the state of emergency and allow municipalities who are having challenges with resources to focus on other priorities without being penalized.
  • Any notices of decisions since March 17, 2020, need to be reissued. The municipality has up to 15 days after the emergency declaration is lifted (or 10 days after in the case of Committee of Adjustments).
  • Nothing in the legislation inhibits a municipality from proceeding with accepting applications, reviewing and processing applications (should they wish to do so), holding virtual public meetings and make planning decisions (if they can achieve quorum virtually).
  • Types of timelines affected by new regulation – timeline for a municipality to deem an application complete, draft plan conditions, decisions on a Committee of Adjustments minor variances, Official Plan amendments, Zoning By-law amendments, holding provisions, consents, Community Planning Permits, Demolition permits, etc. as well as Interim Control By-laws in-effect at the time of the declared emergency.
  • Any appeals filed with municipalities for lack of decision dating back to March 17 would not be valid.
Q: If an appeal is made for a decision made before March 17, but appealed after March 17, does the appeal need to be re-filed? A: Rules of appeal to non-decisions apply if a notice was issued between March 17 and April 15. If a decision under the Planning Act section 22.7 was made before March 17, and notice was given of the decision, O.Reg. 149/20 suspension would not be applicable to this file – even if an appeal was filed after March 17.
 
Q: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a letter to municipalities encouraging them to do as much business as usual during the pandemic to avoid planning backlog, is the Minister considering issuing another letter reiterating this message to avoid the recent legislative changes being misinterpreted? A: It’s something of interest. The Environmental Registry has a notice posted and shared along with the legislative changes – in this notice it explains that the changes are intended to be permissible, and that municipalities that choose to continue business can do so, but that the changes provides municipalities who are struggling to balance local needs during the pandemic to focus on other issues. Ministry is in consultation with municipalities and is hearing that a large number of planning departments are doing their best to proceed with virtual meetings and administrative items like reissuing notices. There’s also interest in pointing to what others are doing as examples during this period.

Q: In reading the regulations, is there no requirement for clerks to forward records of appeal to the LPAT? A: The provincial perspective is that timelines associated with records being forwarded are suspended. The suspension is to give municipalities breathing room – not to say that they cannot or should not forward them, but recognizing that some municipalities do not have the means to do so during the emergency (e.g. records requiring original documents where certified copies need to be made).
 
Q: I received a draft condo approval on March 13 – what happens to 20-day appeal period starting March 13? Are we still subject to it? A: In this case the notice of decision will have to be reissued by the municipality including a new appeal period (same notice with a new date) the appeal period will still be 20 days but just changing the date of issuance.

Q: For municipalities that want to move forward on planning applications, how can statutory public meetings be held virtually? A: There’s nothing in the Planning Act holding a municipality back from holding a virtual public meeting or open house. In the Environmental Registry notice, a section at the end provides detail about tools that can be used to hold these meetings virtually. Local decisions need to be made about operational/technology support and approach. The notice needs to outline the virtual ‘location’ and explain how participation can happen – Ministry is seeing a lot of different ways municipalities are doing this, including sharing of options across planning departments. More municipalities with greater capacity are turning their attention to this now.
 
Q: The Planning Act section 51.32 (Draft Plan of Subdivision fulfilment of conditions) is not identified in the new regulations? What is the rational for excluding this from O.Reg. 149/20? A: Municipalities already have the means to extend these time periods. Legislative changes and regulations deal with statutory timelines defined by the Planning Act – ones at the discretion of municipalities have not been picked up as it’s left to the discretion of Councils and municipalities to manage.

Q: The 2020 Provincial Policy Statement is to take effect on May 1, 2020. Will this still be the case? What about the timing of other provincial initiatives? A: The May 1 effective date remains the effective date of PPS, the Province is not considering changing that. The rationale is that municipalities are proceeding and evaluating applications working towards that date and there is a perspective that it would cause more disruption to change the date at this time.
 
Q: Has discussion/directive been issued to LPAT to proceed with electronic meetings? A: The Ministry has flagged this question and will share it with their colleagues in the Office of the Attorney General.
 
Q: How are land title applications being treated in this situation? A: It is under the purview of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services – they will flag this question but there is no immediate information that can be shared on the impact on their legislation.
 
Q: Because you have provided municipalities with flexibility to pass by-laws – when they pass them now, are the appeal periods impacted by the new regulations? A: The regulations provide the ability to defer giving notice of decisions related to pre-regulation decisions (March 17 to April 15). Going forward, municipal decisions are subject to normal appeal period if started after the regulation was released.

Q: Are there other opportunities to allow municipalities to expedite approvals? Is the Ministry looking at any tools? A: Ministry is diving into that question to determine what can be done to support economic recovery at large and would be open to suggestions from OPPI.
 
Q: Is there any consideration to reconsider July 1, 2022 deadline for Municipal Comprehensive Reviews? A: Not aware of this being considered at this time. 

On April 14, the Ontario Government passed the COVID-19 Support & Protection Act making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and change the Development Charges Act to ensure by-laws that were set to expire during the pandemic remain in force until shortly after the emergency has ended.

Here are the significant pieces of information members need to know:

  • Planning Act amendments would authorize the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to create regulations to suspend specified timelines associated with land use planning matters. The suspension of timelines could be applied retroactively to the date the state of emergency was declared by the Province.
  • Municipalities and planning boards can still make decisions on land use planning matters during this period of suspended timelines, and they can consider using electronic and virtual channels as appropriate to engage and solicit feedback from the public.
  • Amendments would also allow municipalities that want to pause applications and direct resources elsewhere to do so without the threat of appeal.
  • A new section 9.2 of the Development Charges Act, 1997, would allow any development charge by-laws that were set to expire on or after March 17, 2020 to remain in force during the outbreak, and for a short time after, in an effort to give municipalities time to replace them.
  • Interim-control by-laws that expired since March 17 (and were not repealed by April 15) are still in effect – with a moving timeline to the end of the emergency.
The related regulations for this legislation have been posted online and can be read here. WeirFoulds has developed an outline of the changes and it can be read on their website.

For more information on this legislation, please visit the Ontario Legislature website
 

OPPI Information

This section features OPPI Information for the membership. This section will be updated regularly as there is information to share. If you have any questions, please contact OPPI by email at info@ontarioplanners.ca. (Updated July 14, 2020) 

OPPI's Annual Conference is officially scheduled and it's not just a webinar. For members who may have missed our initial save the date eblast, we have announced the dates for OPPI20.
 
Spend a few hours each Wednesday over four weeks exploring the topics of Housing and Demographics at OPPI20:
 

September 23, September 30, October 7 (+ AGM) and October 14
 
Registration details will follow shortly. Please contact OPPI at oppi@absolutevents.com if you have any questions.

OPPI is pleased to announce to members that we are coming to a screen near you by going virtual for our 2020 Conference!
 
As Ontario continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the themes of demographics and housing are more relevant now than ever before. The pandemic has forced many Ontarians to challenge and rethink established ideas. We’re challenging RPPs to rethink placemaking, housing, demographics, community cohesion and security as we move closer to recovery and a new normal.

Originally, OPPI20 was to take place in London, Ontario at RBC Place London. We’re extremely disappointed we will not be able to convene in person in London later this year; however, OPPI would like to thank the London conference team for their hard work and we cannot wait to be back in London in the future. For this year, OPPI is committed to producing an informative and exciting virtual program for members and we hope we can bring a bit of London to you.

There will be some differences this year with a virtual conference compared to previous years:

  • All sessions will be produced in webinar or other virtual/electronic formats.
  • Instead of holding OPPI on October 7 and 8, we will host sessions throughout the year to make it more convenient for members to participate, but the exact timing for OPPI20 is still to be determined.
  • We will seek opportunities for online networking and connection outside of OPPI20 sessions.
  • OPPI welcomes returning and new sponsors for OPPI20. We value our relationships with our conference sponsors, and we will continue to profile your services and products that support and sustain community planning in Ontario.
Please visit our conference webpages for more information on our upcoming program. OPPI has also developed an FAQ to answer common questions. As we continue to develop the conference program, we will share updates with the membership. 

OPPI would like members to know that after some careful discussion, and looking at what other organizations are doing, we’ve decided to postpone the awards program for one year. We will launch again in 2021. Thank you to members who expressed interest in participating on our awards jury. The members selected for the PlanON jury will be asked to serve in this capacity in 2021.

OPPI would like to congratulate the newest members on successfully completing the Professional Examination written on March 16, 2020. You will receive a formal letter of congratulations (and an RPP pin) and a framed RPP certificate sometime later this year once it is safe to resume normal business operations. Once OPPI has returned to normal business operations, and the company that processes our order forms has reopened, please complete the Order Form on OPPI’s website and email it to Director of Finance & Administration

OPPI, along with the other Provincial and Territorial Institutes and Associations (PTIAs), have issued a joint letter outlining a coordinated response and maintaining service standards for members. The letter also outlines how group meetings will be held, evaluating in-person meetings, online events and working remotely. For more information, please click here to read the letter

While members are working from home during this time, get a head start on your 2020 CPL credits by checking out OPPI's online CPL opportunities. This includes reading our Planning Exchange Blog and checking out our Digital Learning portal (member log in required) for videos and audio files. Members can also read OPPI's Y Magazine and previous issues of the Ontario Planning Journal through the Member Portal (log in required). Members can also explore the Indigenous Planning Perspectives Task Force report and supporting resources

Thank you for supporting OPPI’s CPL courses and signing up for our Spring and Fall sessions. We regret to inform you that OPPI is cancelling our Spring courses and is working to reschedule Fall courses.  Because of the spread of coronavirus, OPPI is monitoring various public health sources and is working with our Districts to provide CPL opportunities for members whether that is virtually, as a webinar or in other formats that allow members to access information from home. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

This FAQ will be updated regularly as questions are received by OPPI and there is updated information to share. If you have any questions, please contact OPPI by email at info@ontarioplanners.ca(Updated April 23, 2020) 

A: The business of the Institute continues but is modified as the public health situation changes. OPPI staff are working from home and will conduct virtual and conference calls with volunteers and members as needed. Any voicemails left for staff are forwarded to emails so we can get back to you in a timely manner. However, should you need to reach us, please email OPPI at info@ontarioplanners.ca.  

A: On March 23, the Province of Ontario announced the shutting down of non-essential services to combat COVID-19. A list was published by the Ontario government outlining the essential services that remain open during this period.
 
On March 25, the Province of Ontario announced the launch of a toll-free line (1-888-444-3659) to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
 
The province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home. The government also reminded businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

OPPI is aware of members being included in municipality crisis response teams, planning departments designated as essential, and members who have been asked to work from home. Unfortunately, there isn't a "one-size fits all answer" and it is dependent on your employer and/or workplace. OPPI will continue to provide any updates to answer this question as information change.

OPPI recommends members and employers who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A: The Province of Ontario and various public health agencies are asking Ontarians and Canadians to work from home, practice social isolation and self-isolation (if needed) during this period.
 
OPPI reminds members to follow the instructions from public health agencies to stop the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If this changes, and there is a role for members to play during this crisis, OPPI will reach out to members to let them know of these specific opportunities.
 
In some cases, in your local community, there may be volunteer opportunities to safely assist essential service providers. Members should check with their local municipalities and agencies first to see if any help is needed.

A: According to the LPAT website, effective March 17, 2020, the LPAT is suspending all scheduled appearance hearings, telephone conference calls, and mediation events until April 3, 2020 and will reschedule at a later date. New hearing events will not be scheduled during this time. All front-line counter services will remain closed until further notice. For more information, please contact the Deputy Registrar, Evelyn Dawes, by emailing LPATRegistrar@ontario.ca.
 
Based on the information coming from LPAT, any period of time for a person to initiate a proceeding with the Tribunal, or take a step in the proceeding, as set out in a statute, regulation or Tribunal Rule is also suspended by O. Reg. 73/20 for the duration of this Order. This is not meant to be a replacement for legal advice but is based on OPPI’s understanding of LPAT’s decision to suspend activities.

Starting April 6, 2020, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) will schedule settlement hearings through teleconference or written submissions, on a case-by-case basis. Parties interested in settlement hearings must submit a Settlement Request Form demonstrating that there would be no prejudice to any other party if LPAT were to proceed by teleconference or written submissions. For more information, please visit the LPAT website
 

A: We understand and appreciate members are very busy during this period but OPPI encourages members to undertake an appropriate mix of CPL activities regarding both the functional competencies (theoretical knowledge) and the enabling competencies (practical skills). Members should also make sure to regularly refresh their knowledge of the core topics of professionalism, ethics, and the public interest. We also encourage you to look into important new issues and areas of planning knowledge and practice that arise from time to time, as you may notice them or as profiled by OPPI.

As OPPI continues to support members during this period, we will continue to promote CPL activities and opportunities so members can stay up-to-date. This includes Digital Learning, Planning Exchange Blog, Y Magazine, and the Indigenous Planning Perspectives Task Force Report and resource list.

A: We've heard from members who are concerned that with CPL moving primarily online they will not be able to reach the required minimum of 9 Organized and Structured CPL Units this year. Organized and Structured Learning Units are easier to claim than you think!
 
Online courses, virtual conferences/webinars/etc. may count as Organized & Structured Learning Units. Page 8 of the CPL Program Guide contains a handy table which outlines what could be counted under Organized & Structured, and Independent & Self-Directed Learning Units. In fact, it states explicitly, “webinars, courses, videos of in-person seminars, lectures, etc. – especially if on the OPPI Digital Learning page).

A: The decision to reduce or even waive the CPL requirement for the year does not rest with OPPI. As a national standard, a joint decision by all the Provincial and Territorial Institutes and Associations (PTIAs) is required. The PTIAs are expected to convene soon to discuss this, but for now we encourage members to continue with CPL as in any other year.

As we think about the future, how to create resilient communities, we need to continue to sharpen our skills, leverage our collective knowledge and adapt to the ever evolving needs of the public. OPPI published a blog post discussing why CPL is more important now than ever.

As OPPI continues to support members during this period, we will continue to promote CPL activities and opportunities so members can stay up-to-date. This includes Digital Learning, Planning Exchange Blog, Y Magazine, and the Indigenous Planning Perspectives Task Force Report and resource list.

A: During this COVID-19 public health situation, we recognize members may be focused on other priorities. However, as the voice of the planning profession and membership association, OPPI is continuing on with the business of the Institute. As per our by-laws, each year we are required to notify members about the renewal period closing and to wrap up any non-payment of membership fees. This is an action we must take to ensure the public’s confidence in the planning profession.

OPPI is starting to close the renewal period for 2020 and we’re reaching out to any outstanding members to make them aware of this. If members have received a notice from OPPI, it is because their membership has not been renewed or an invoice has not been paid.

If members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are facing hardship and require additional time to complete renewals, please contact OPPI’s Registrar at standards@ontarioplanners.ca.