Overview of Mediation Pilot Program
In 2016, Toronto City Council approved a trial city-wide Mediation Pilot Program with respect to minor variance and consent applications being considered by the Committee of Adjustment's Panels in Etobicoke & York, Scarborough, North York and Toronto & East York.
The Mediation Pilot Program is intended to evaluate the benefits of mediation in resolving disputes related to minor variance and consents applications.
Mediation sessions forming part of the Pilot Program will be at no cost to the applicant or other affected parties disputing an application and will be conducted in several of the City's Civic Centres.
How can I participate in the mediation process?
Participation in the mediation process will be voluntary and mediation cannot proceed without the consent and involvement of the applicant. Mediation will be offered:
1. Before the Committee of Adjustment has made a decision
The Chair of the Committee of Adjustment suggesting that disputing parties pursue mediation prior to a decision being made will trigger this option for mediation. If the Committee Chair determines that the matter may benefit from mediation, the applicant and eligible affected parties will be invited to participate (see "Eligibility criteria”).
When an applicant and affected parties indicate willingness for mediation, they will complete a mediation request form and the Committee of Adjustment will defer the matter to a subsequent hearing. A mediation session will then will be scheduled.
2. After the Committee of Adjustment has made a decision
Mediation can also occur when the applicant or other affected parties request mediation immediately after the Committee of Adjustment renders a decision, by registering with the Committee of Adjustment Panel's Deputy Secretary Treasurer and completing a mediation request form.
Requests may also be accepted after the Committee of Adjustment decision was made and before an appeal is heard by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many mediation sessions will be held per application?
Mediation will be offered on a one-time basis per application, either before or after the Committee of Adjustment makes its decision.
The Mediation Pilot Program is not intended to replace informal discussions between parties as a means to resolve disputes. Applicants are still encouraged to speak to neighbours and other interested and affected parties to address issues prior to making their formal applications.
What will happen at the mediation session and how will mediation outcomes be recorded?
The mediation sessions will be conducted privately. It will be up to the mediator to determine the style of mediation preferred in a particular dispute. If a settlement has been reached, Minutes of Settlement will be drafted by the mediator and the planner and signed by the applicant and affected party or parties. The applicant will receive the original, and all other parties will receive copies, as well as a post mediation information sheet detailing the next steps.
If a settlement is not reached, a Report of Outcome will be prepared and the applicant will receive the original, and all other parties will receive copies.
What if the mediated settlement changes the original application?
Before the Committee of Adjustment has made a decision: Mediated settlements that result in revisions to the original application will return to the Committee of Adjustment for a hearing.
The Committee of Adjustment has no obligation to accept the mediated outcome and will make its own decision on the revised application. This may result in the application being approved, approved with conditions or refused.
After the Committee of Adjustment has made a decision: A mediated resolution that follows a Committee of Adjustment decision may result in a new application (which reflects the outcomes of the mediated settlement) being submitted to the Committee of Adjustment for a new hearing. The Committee of Adjustment will make its own decision on the new application. This may result in the new application being approved, approved with conditions or refused.
The other option is to take the mediated settlement to the appeal authority. The appeal authority will make its own decision on the application.
What happens if a settlement is not reached?
If a settlement is not reached, the original application will either be heard by Committee of Adjustment for its decision or if the mediation was held after the Committee of Adjustment has made a decision the applicant or other affected parties will have the option of exercising their legislative appeal rights for the application under dispute by requesting a hearing by the Ontario Municipal Board or the Toronto Local Appeal Body (once operational).
A mediated resolution that results in an applicant choosing to file a new application, will not affect the applicant's or other affected parties' right to appeal the Committee of Adjustment's decision with regard to the original application in question.