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Why consultation isn't required
The Ministry is posting this notice of exception pursuant to subsection 30(1) of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) as the environmentally significant aspects of the proposal have already been considered in a process of public participation under the EBR
A policy proposal regarding the policy framework for provincially significant employment zones was posted on the Environmental Registry in January 2019 for 45 days of consultation (ERO #013-4506).
As part of A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe 2019 (the Plan), the Minister released a new policy framework for protecting employment areas that are critical to the region’s economy. These changes provide flexibility by allowing municipalities to consider employment area conversions prior to the municipal comprehensive review while ensuring protections are in place to protect key employment areas as needed.
To ensure important employment areas are not converted during this window, the province introduced a policy providing for the identification of provincially significant employment zones within which employment areas cannot be converted prior to the municipal comprehensive review.
In the short term, provincially significant employment zones act as a back stop to protect key employment areas. This is done by requiring the conversion of any employment areas within them to occur through a municipal comprehensive review, which means that provincial approval is required. Over the longer-term, provincially significant employment zones would provide the basis of a regional economic development strategy and help drive job growth and prosperity across the region. The Ministry will consult further to obtain feedback on the potential long-term economic functions of these zones in the coming months.
On May 2, 2019 the Minister issued the map of 29 provincially significant employment zones on the Environmental Registry as a result of public consultation that took place for 45 days, from January 15, 2019 to February 28, 2019. The Ministry also held regional roundtables and meetings with stakeholders during the consultation period.
Following the release of the 29 zones, the Ministry put in place a reconsideration process that allowed municipalities, landowners and stakeholders to request changes to the zones mapping. As part of this process, the Minister has identified the Ontario Food Terminal (the Terminal) as a provincially significant employment zone. The Terminal plays an important role as a key economic hub for the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. The identification of the Terminal as Zone 30 in the provincially significant employment zone mapping is a reflection of the importance of the strategic location of the Terminal and the critical role it plays in providing Ontario’s farmers with a market to get their produce to Ontario families. Further, there are many jobs that rely on the Terminal’s success, including farmers, retailers, supply chain logistic distributors, grocers, restaurants and the general public. As the largest wholesale produce market in Canada and the third largest in North America, the Terminal is an area of high economic output and impact.
We have heard from stakeholders on the importance of identifying the Terminal as a provincially significant employment zone, which is one of the considerations in assessing the establishment of a new zone.
A Place to Grow supports the government’s commitment to growth and prosperity. The provincially significant employment zones not only help create local jobs and attract investments across the region, but they also facilitate the government’s aim to have people working near where they live so that they can spend more time with their families.
As part of the reconsideration process, the Ministry will continue to review requests for updates to the mapping of existing provincially significant employment zones, as well as requests received to add new zones.
These reconsiderations will involve detailed reviews that include but are not limited to consideration of the local planning context, municipal support, and provincial interest through partner ministries.
For more detail on the zones, please refer to the web map.
The identification of the Ontario Food Terminal as a provincially significant employment zone will not have any immediate environmental implications. This policy decision is providing greater protection to an existing use. Therefore, there are not expected to be any land use changes directly as a result of this decision.
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