Property Standards Committees are required and must be open to the public in Ontario

Avatar photo
| Published , updated March 27, 2024

A Property Standards Committee is a quasi-judicial body that hears appeals by registered owners of property who have received Property Standards Orders issued by City Property Standards (Bylaw) Officers for violations of the Ontario Building Code under the Ontario Building Code Act and municipal Property Standards By-Laws (eg. Belleville’s Property Standards By-Law No. 2012-79).

The committee is governed by the rules and regulations of the Building Code Act, which stipulates the creation of a Property Standards Committee, and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, which governs the processes of the Committee itself. Additional details may be found in the municipality’s Property Standards By-law and Official Plan.

The Building Code act outlines how municipalities can pass Property Standards By-laws:

The council of a municipality may pass a by-law to do the following things if an official plan that includes provisions relating to property conditions is in effect in the municipality or if the council of the municipality has adopted a policy statement as mentioned in subsection (2)

  1. Prescribing standards for the maintenance and occupancy of property within the municipality or within any defined area or areas and for prohibiting the occupancy or use of such property that does not conform with the standards.
  2. Requiring property that does not conform with the standards to be repaired and maintained to conform with the standards or the site to be cleared of all buildings, structures, debris or refuse and left in graded and levelled condition.
Section 15.1 (3) of the Building Code Act

Municipalities with a Property Standards Bylaw must have a Property Standards Committee as per the Building Code Act:

A by-law passed under section 15.1 shall provide for the establishment of a committee composed of such persons, not fewer than three, as the council considers advisable to hold office for such term and on such conditions as the by-law may establish.

Section 15.6 (1) of the Building Code Act

The committee must be made up of at least 3 members appointed by Council.

These committees are not a typical “committee of council”. They are a quasi-judicial body which adjudicates appeals of Property Standards Orders issued by the Municipality. They must have a minimum of 3 committee members who are appointed by, but separate from, the Council of the Municipality – similar to a Committee of Adjustment (some municipalities combine the two committees). The Building Code Act does not regulate who the members of the Committee can or should be.

Nothing in the Building Code Act, Municipal Act, or Statutory Powers and Procedure Act says that council members cannot serve on Property Standards Committees. Property Standards By-Laws may stipulate that members of the Committee be either Council or Citizen members.

From a cursory review of other municipalities’ Property Standards Committees, it is worth noting that most, but not all, are composed of Citizen members rather than Councillors. Further, some municipalities cross-appoint their Committees of Adjustment as their Property Standards Committees, as they are both quasi-judicial in nature.

Committee role

The Committee’s role to make an informed and impartial decision regarding any appeal of any owner who has been served an Order issued by a Municipal Property Standards Officer pursuant to the Municipality’s Property Standards By-law.

The Committee presides over hearings for Owners/occupants upon whom an order has been served by a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer, whom are not satisfied with the terms or conditions of the order.

The Committee in hearing the appeal has all the powers and functions of the By-law Enforcement Officer while the Committee is hearing an appeal to an order and may confirm the order to demolish or repair or may modify or rescind it, or may extend the time for compliance.

The Committee’s decision shall uphold the intent and purpose of the Municipality’s Property Standards By-law and of the Municipality’s Official Plan. The Committee’s decisions may be appealed to the Ontario Court (General Division) by the municipality, or the owner/occupant affected by such decision.

Meetings

Property Standards Committees hear appeals against orders issued under Property Standards Bylaws. The Committee has the authority to confirm, modify or rescind an Order and may extend the time for compliance, as long as the general intent of the by-law and the Official Plan and policy statement are maintained.

Meetings are held on an as required basis, they are scheduled once an appeal is received. The Committee must hold a hearing if an owner or occupant upon whom an Order has been served is not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the Order.

Meetings must be open to the public

Property Standards Committee meetings must be open to the public unless an exception applies according to Section 239 of the Municipal Act. This requirement may also be found in a municipality’s Procedural Bylaw:

Belleville Procedural Bylaw

Cost to file a Notice of Appeal

It typically costs $100 to $250 to submit a Notice of Appeal to the Property Standards Committee, but varies by municipality.

Typical member qualifications

  • be a qualified elector in the Municipality of Brighton pursuant to the Municipal Act
  • bring an understanding of the diverse neighbourhoods and communities across the Municipality
  • have a concern for the health and safety of Municipal residents
  • have an understanding of the Building Code Act; Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards; building practices and tribunal processes
  • have a clear understanding of the role of the Property Standards Committee
  • be available to conduct site inspections of subject properties
  • if possible, have previous experience as a member of a decision-making body
  • be able to read and understand building plans, surveys and reports
  • The Committee or its members do not have the authority to make direct representations of the Municipality to Federal or Provincial Governments.

The term of office for the Property Standards Committee will be the term of Council. However, the Committee members shall remain in their position until such time as new Committee members are appointed by a new Council following an election.

Municipal Property Standards Bylaws in Ontario

Municipal Property Standards Committees in Ontario

Here are municipalities that make the meetings, agenda and minutes available to the public:

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed prior to appearing on the site.

Rules:

  • Remember the human. No harassment, bullying, and threats of violence.
  • Be respectful. Provide constructive feedback on specific policies and actions.
  • Stay on topic. Relevance to the subject of the post or to the previous comment.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do you follow municipal politics in your area?

Join us in our Discord server!