Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Toronto
  • Lawyers: 23
  • Articling Students: 2
  • Summer Law Students: 0
  • Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Civil, Commercial, Corporate, Corporate Governance, Housing, Human Rights, Municipal, Planning, Provincial Offences, Real Estate, Real Property

Who we are

The Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAH) has 23 lawyers working in diverse program areas to provide a wide range of legal services to the Ministry. Counsel work on significant and often controversial municipal, planning and housing law issues in a variety of areas of law including administrative law, human rights, freedom of information and protection of privacy, corporate and commercial law, procurement law, electronic commerce, real estate/expropriation, and litigation.

What we do

Ministry activities that involve Branch counsel include:

  • Overseeing a policy-led land use planning system, including the identification and protection of provincial interests.  Together with other ministries, MAH identifies and protects provincial interests and promotes sound infrastructure planning, environmental protection, economic development and safe communities.
  • Working with municipal governments to encourage responsible decision-making and supporting provincial priorities including good government and economic competitiveness.
  • Administration of the Building Code Act, 1992 and provincial Building Code, which govern construction and demolition of buildings in the province.
  • Designing and administering affordable housing initiatives, encouraging the private sector and support agencies to produce new affordable housing and working with the federal and municipal governments to increase supply.
  • Promoting a healthy, competitive rental market, which provides protection for tenants and a fast, simple and cost dispute resolution system.

Counsel in our office are involved in all aspects of MAH program and policy work including:

  • Land use planning matters such as the implementation of the Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan as well as decisions on changes in land use under the Planning Act.
  • Local government issues, such as the implementation of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and Municipal Act, 2001, the development of municipal infrastructure programs such as the federal/provincial gas tax and public transit funding initiatives.
  • Building regulation, including the implementation of recent major changes to the Building Code Act, 1992 and Building Code.
  • Housing matters, including affordable housing program development and implementation, rent supplement programs, redevelopment and refinancing of social housing projects, and rural and native housing.

In addition, we:

  • Represent the Ministry before the Ontario Municipal Board
  • Prosecute offences under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
  • Draft legislation and regulations
  • Draft contracts and commercial agreements.

Our major cases

  • Counsel in the Planning Law Section represented Ontario in the contentious and well-publicized land use dispute regarding the planning approvals to permit the Big Bay Point Resort development on the shore of Lake Simcoe in the Town of Innisfil. This multi-faceted file involved formal negotiation through the Office of the Provincial Development Facilitator, motions regarding First Nation interests, a hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board, an appeal to Divisional Court and leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and an unprecedented cost motion against a ratepayers group and their lawyers who objected to the development in the amount of $3.2 million.
  • Counsel in the Municipal Law Section were involved in all aspects of policy development and legislative drafting of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and substantial amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001, and associated regulations, which resulted in a significant reform of local government in Ontario.  They will continue to be involved in the provincial review of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, which commenced in January 2009.
  • Counsel in the Housing Law Section are involved in the revitalization of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, a multi-year undertaking that involves transforming the neighbourhood into a mixed-housing, mixed-income area.  Housing Law Section counsel provide advice about provincial interests in the project and have contact with counsel for Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the City of Toronto.
  • The largest fine under the former Tenant Protection Act, 1997 ($75,000 plus victim surcharge of $18,750, for a total penalty of $93,750) was imposed in a prosecution conducted in 2008 by counsel in the Tenancy Law and Prosecution Section (R. v. Libra Apartments Ltd. et. al.).

What students do

The MAH students:

  • Undertake legal research and write opinions
  • Conduct corporate and commercial searches
  • Review commercial documents
  • Draft contracts
  • Assist in prosecutions and civil litigation
  • Work with Ministry policy clients on developing new regulatory and legislative initiatives and assist counsel in drafting legislation and regulations.

Students are an integral part of our office, participating in law section meetings and Branch social functions.  For students who want to gain excellent practical litigation experience, particularly in the administrative tribunal context, we give direct and meaningful exposure to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of seminars and conferences of the Ministry of the Attorney General and outside organizations such as the Ontario Bar Association and Law Society of Upper Canada.

Why choose us

We have a friendly and supportive atmosphere with counsel providing guidance and mentoring to students.  Lawyers are very approachable and take the time to provide direction on individual files and training in relevant areas of law. 

Students who complete their articles at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will have gained significant expertise and experience towards the establishment of their legal career, whether in the private or public sector.

Students receive guidance, support and feedback from supervising lawyers committed to ensuring that their work with us is an effective learning experience.

Contact us

Suzanne Graves
Deputy Director