Administrative Tribunals and Municipal Government

… a core term in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100


Andrew Sancton (reference below) notes that many provincial statutes, especially those concerned with land-use planning, provide opportunities for aggrieved local citizens to appeal to a provincial minister or to a provincial administrative tribunal.

Sancton notes (p. 32-34) that the authorities of such tribunals vary dramatically from province to province:

“The extremes are British Columbia and Ontario. In British Columbia there is no provincial appeal tribunal for local land-use planning, and general complaints about abuse of process or funds by municipalities to a single provincial official, the Inspector of Municipalities. In Ontario, there is an extremely powerful tribunal, the Ontario Municipal Board…

“There has been much rhetoric in Ontario recently about the empowerment of municipalities in general and the city of Toronto in particular. But as long as the OMB maintains its power, Ontario municipalities will be among the weakest in North America when it comes to their ability to control their own land use. Meanwhile, all the lawyers and consultants involved in OMB hearings are powerful opponents of change. So are developers – and sometimes even citizen groups – who tend to believe that OMB decision-making is more predictable and consistent than that of elected municipal councils.

“Administrative tribunals exist for local government functions other than land-use planning. For example, most provinces have some form of tribunal that regulates municipal police services, hears appeals from police officers about disciplinary issues, and investigates province-wide policing issues (investigating citizen complaints against particular officers is usually carried out by yet another body).”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Municipal Governance (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


Andrew Sancton (2011),  Central Governments and Local Governments, in Canadian Local Government: An Urban Perspective, pp. 26-40. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 29 September 2016.