Committee of Adjustment – Board Governance Structure
Mandate and Responsibilities
The Committee of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial tribunal that hears applications for minor zoning variances and land severances.
The Committee of Adjustment is a local board of the City established under the Planning Act. It conducts itself in accordance with the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and is also governed by the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 4, “Adjustment, Committee of”.
The Committee of Adjustment is organized into hearing Panels. To make informed decisions, each Panel member is expected to:
- review materials filed with each application;
- conduct site inspections of the subject property to assess the impacts the proposal may have on the surrounding area; and
- attend and participate at all public hearings scheduled for their respective Panels, including a briefing session prior to the actual hearing.
Panel Chairs are responsible for:
- ensuring fair and timely public hearings;
- addressing matters concerning the operation and conduct of their panel membership; and
- participating as a member of the Panel Chair group to discuss issues affecting the city-wide committee membership.
Members must attend an intensive orientation and training program.
Board Size and Composition
The Committee of Adjustment consists of 28 citizen members organized into Panels corresponding to the Community Council boundaries. There are:
- 5 Panel members in Scarborough (with hearing Panels set at 5);
- 5 Panel members in Etobicoke-York (with hearing Panels set at 5);
- 8 Panel members in North York (with the maximum number of members on hearing Panels set at 5); and
- 10 Panel members in Toronto-East York (with hearing Panels set at 5).
The North York and the Toronto-East York hearing Panels will be scheduled on a rotating basis.
Committee of Adjustment Chair
The Committee of Adjustment elects a City-wide Chair from amongst its members. When the Chair is absent, the Committee may appoint another member to act as Chair.
Each Panel elects a Panel Chair from amongst its members.
Citizens are eligible for appointment to the Committee of Adjustment, and eligible to remain on the Committee of Adjustment after being appointed, if they satisfy the eligibility requirements for appointment as set out in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.
Former Council Members who served in the immediately preceding term of Council are ineligible for appointment.
A member of the Committee of Adjustment cannot act as an agent for applicants before the Committee, and would be required to resign from the Committee of Adjustment before doing so. Similarly, individuals who are agents for applicants before the Committee of Adjustment are not eligible for appointment to the Committee.
Members of the Committee of Adjustment should collectively bring the following skills and expertise to the Committee:
- demonstrate a strong interest in the complexities and challenges of city building;
- bring an understanding of the diverse neighbourhoods and communities across the city;
- have knowledge in one or more areas of: law, planning, architecture, government, economic development, community development, land development, or citizen advocacy; and
- demonstrate decision-making, communication, and mediation skills to facilitate an open and fair hearing process.
In addition, each Panel should have at least 2 members with adjudication experience and administrative public speaking and organizational skills to be able to chair public hearings and maintain order in conflict situations.
Appointments Process – Citizen Members
Citizen members are recruited through a City-wide advertised recruitment process. The appointments process is conducted according to the policies and procedures in the City’s Public Appointments Policy.
Public hearings are generally scheduled every two to three weeks depending on the application volume in each District, but may be scheduled more frequently when volumes are high.
Citizen Panel Chairs: $1,000 annually plus $350 per hearing attended.
Citizen Members: $350 per hearing attended.