Ontario to wrest realty functions from agencies

Ontario to wrest realty functions from agencies

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Ontario government is moving to wrest realty functions from 10 additional provincial agencies, including the administrator of the health care system, the manager of Algonquin park, major museums and convention centres. Newly introduced legislation follows measures taken earlier this year to centralize authority for real estate management within the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Under the Reducing Inefficiencies Act, which received royal assent in May 2023, but has not yet come into force, responsibility for land and building dealings can be transferred, by regulation, to the Minister’s authority. Initially, 14 provincial entities that primarily hold or occupy office were designated.

The proposed new legislation, Bill 151, the Improving Real Estate Management Act, is presented as a means to manage real estate more efficiently and cost-effectively and to give the provincial government more flexibility to sell surplus properties that could accommodate housing or long-term care facilities. The designated entities include:

  • Ontario Health
  • Public Health Ontario
  • Niagara Escarpment Commission
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • The Royal Ontario Museum
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre Corporation
  • Ottawa Convention Centre Corporation
  • Science North
  • Algonquin Forestry Authority

As proposed, a central government authority would assume control of properties from Ontario Health, Ontario Public Health, the Ontario Science Centre and the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Administrators of the museums, convention centres and Algonquin park would need to obtain government approval to acquire or dispose of freehold property.

“If passed, this legislation would create a more centralized approach to how government manages and makes decisions about real estate so that we can continue to build Ontario and deliver the services that families and individuals need,” says Kinga Surma, the Minister of Infrastructure.

Bill 151 is posted on Ontario’s regulatory registry for public comment until December 31, 2023.

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