Proposed framework for provincially significant employment zones

ERO number
013-4506
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 15, 2019 - February 28, 2019 (44 days) Open

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
February 28, 2019

Proposal summary

We are seeking feedback on a proposal to identify provincially significant employment zones that would receive enhanced protection for employment uses. This would support policies in the proposed amendment to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017. This proposal is linked to three others.

Proposal details

This proposal works with the following other proposals that are also currently listed on the Environmental Registry of Ontario and Ontario’s Regulatory Registry:

  1. Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017.
  2. Proposed Modifications to O. Reg. 311/06 (Transitional Matters - Growth Plans) made under the Places to Grow Act, 2005 to implement the Proposed Amendment to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017
  3. Proposed Modifications to O. Reg. 525/97 (Exemption from Approval – Official Plan Amendments) made under the Planning Act to implement the Proposed Amendment to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017

This proposal is for Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017. It is recommended that Proposed Amendment 1 be read in conjunction with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017, as it sets out proposed modifications and makes reference to definitions and policies included in the Growth Plan. To assist in reading these documents together, the Ministry has prepared the Draft Amended Growth Plan which is meant to show how the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 would read if Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 is approved.

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 (“the Growth Plan”) provides a long-term framework for growth. It aims to:

  • Increase and promote economic growth; reduce congestion and provide residents easy access to businesses and services;
  • Build communities that maximize infrastructure investments, while balancing local needs for the agricultural industry and natural areas.

The proposed amendment to the Growth Plan, 2017 would change the policy framework for protecting employment areas by allowing employment area conversions to be approved ahead of the next municipal comprehensive review. This proposed amendment would provide flexibility to municipalities who wish to support mixed use development, while maintaining employment area protections where needed. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing recognizes that municipal, business and development sectors have raised concerns about maintaining an adequate supply of employment areas, and that the flexibility between now and the next municipal comprehensive review outlined above may be seen as allowing conversions of employment areas that are significant to the provincial economy.

To ensure employment areas that are crucial to province’s economy are not converted without a more comprehensive assessment of employment land need, and the implications for economic development, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is also proposing to identify provincially significant employment zones. Employment areas within these zones would require provincial approval in order to be converted, and therefore would not be eligible for conversion during the proposed transitional period outlined above. Instead, it is anticipated that any conversions of employment lands in the zones would be considered as part of the next municipal comprehensive review.

Identifying provincially significant employment zones would also serve a longer-term purpose for the province and municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe by providing a regional picture of some of the key employment areas that make up the region’s economic land base. This would help coordinate planning and economic development efforts and drive economic growth in the region.

The proposed provincially significant employment zones have been identified in the table below as well as the attached map. For more detail on the proposed zones, please refer to the web map. The Province is seeking feedback on the zones identified, the need for additional zones and/or changes to the boundaries for any of the proposed zones.

The province is also seeking feedback on the proposed policy framework associated with the provincially significant employment zones, and comments on this can be made through the Environment Registry posting on the Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017.

Purpose of policy

The Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the fastest growing regions in North America. Its diverse vibrant economy generates over 25% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and by 2041 the area is forecasted grow to 13.5 million people and 6.3 million jobs. At the same time the region’s economy is undergoing a dramatic shift through the emergence of new kinds of knowledge-intensive industries.

To ensure the province continues to support a strong economy and maintain its global competitiveness, it is critical that it protects a robust inventory of strategic lands for employment to meet the diverse needs of current and future employers in this region.

The Province is proposing a new approach to protecting its key employment areas from conversion that involves identifying some of them as provincially significant employment zones.

The proposed provincially significant employment zones would apply to employment areas that:

  • Are designated employment areas and are inside existing settlement area boundaries (i.e., no Greenbelt lands are included in provincially significant employment zones);
  • May be vulnerable to conversion pressures (e.g. to residential conversion);
  • May be facing encroachment by sensitive land uses that could threaten the existing employment uses; or
  • Are needed in the region to attract new investment and retain existing industries.

Additional criteria related to site use may include:

  • Located near highways, railways, intermodal facilities, transit and/or other major transportation infrastructure to support the movement of people and goods;
  • High concentration of employment and/or economic output, and play an economically strategic role to the region;
  • Support industrial uses, which are sensitive to encroachment; or
  • Contiguous zones and contain large continuous developable, constraint-free lands (e.g. >10 acres).

Finally, in identifying the proposed provincially significant employment zones the province reviewed and included the agri-food support network and mapped important employment hubs identified by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Conversions of agri-food businesses to other uses within these hubs could critically impact the sector.

The mapping also takes into account the Greenbelt and specialty crop areas to ensure they are excluded from provincially significant employment zones.

Through the application of this draft criteria, the Province has identified the following provincially significant employment zones:

Ref # Proposed Zone Approximate Location and Description Municipalities
1 Durham South (Oshawa East and Clarington) Employment areas in Oshawa and Clarington, along the 401 Highway, including parts of the General Motors Plant
  • Durham (Oshawa and Clarington)
2 Durham South (Oshawa and Whitby) 401
Employment areas in Oshawa and Whitby, generally south of the 401 Highway, including parts of the General Motors Plant
  • Durham (Oshawa and Whitby)
3 Durham South (Pickering and Ajax) 401
Employment areas in Pickering and Ajax, south of the 401 Highway
  • Durham (Pickering and Ajax)
4 Canadian Pacific (South) Employment areas generally bounded by 401 Highway, Morningside Ave, Conlins Rd and Scarborough Recreational Rail Path
  • Toronto
5 Canadian Pacific (North) Finch Markham
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection Finch Ave and Markham Road
  • Toronto
6 404 407 (Milliken) Steeles/Kennedy
Employment areas generally bounded by Steeles Ave E, Midland Ave, Finch Ave and Kennedy Rd
  • Toronto
7 404 407 (Markham) 404/407
Employment areas generally around the intersection of the 404 and 407 Highways
  • York (Richmond Hill and Markham)
  • Toronto
8 Toronto (Unilever Eastern) Employment areas generally bound by Lakeshore Blvd, Don Valley Parkway, Eastern Ave and Leslie St
  • Toronto
9 400 407 (Keele Dufferin) Employment areas generally around and to the north of the Downsview Airport
  • Toronto
  • York (Vaughan)
10 400 407 (Vaughan North) 407/400
Employment areas generally to the north-east of the 407 and 400 Highways
  • York (Vaughan)
11 400 407 (Hwy 400 Corridor) 400/401
Employment areas generally along 400 Highway, between the 401 to 407 Highways
  • Toronto
  • York (Vaughan)
12 Alliston Hwy 89/ County Rd 10
Employment areas surrounding the Honda Assembly Plant
  • Simcoe (New Tecumseth)
13 427 QEW 427/QEW
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection of the 427 and QEW Highways
  • Toronto
  • Peel (Mississauga)
14 Pearson Airport Hub (Airport) 427/401, 410/407 & 403/401
Employment areas around Pearson Airport
  • Toronto
  • Peel (Mississauga and Brampton)
15 Pearson Airport Hub (Airport Hwy 50) Hwy 50/407
Employment areas proximate to Pearson Airport, generally extending along Highway 50
  • Toronto
  • York (Vaughan)
  • Peel (Brampton and Caledon)
16 Mavis and Burnhamthorpe Mavis / Burnhamthorpe
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection of Mavis and Burnhamthorpe
  • Peel (Mississauga)
17 Oakville (Oakville East) QEW
Employment areas generally along the QEW Highway, including the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant
  • Halton (Oakville)
  • Peel (Mississauga)
18 401 407 (Meadowvale) 401/407
Employment areas generally along 401 Highway from approx. Mississauga Rd to Tremaine Rd
Employment areas generally along the 407 Highway, between the 401 and 403 Highways
  • Peel (Mississauga and Brampton)
  • Halton (Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills)
19 Oakville (QEW) QEW
Employment areas generally along the QEW Highway between Kerr St and Waterdown Rd
  • Halton (Oakville and Burlington)
20 Milton Tremaine Rd/Britannia Rd
Employment areas surrounding the proposed CN Logistic Hub Project
  • Halton (Milton)
21 Guelph South Hwy 6
Employment areas generally along Highway 6. Access via 401 Highway from exits 299 and 291
  • Guelph
22 Cambridge East 401 Franklin
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection of the 401 Highway and Franklin Blvd
  • Waterloo (Cambridge)
23 Cambridge North 401/Hwy 8
Employment areas generally to the north-east of Highway 8 and the 401 Highway
  • Waterloo (Cambridge and Kitchener)
24 Waterloo Northfield/Conestoga
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection of Northfield Drive and Conestoga Pwy
  • Waterloo (Waterloo and Woolwich)
25 Hamilton (Hamilton Portlands) QEW/Red Hill Valley Parkway
Employment areas along the QEW Highway in Hamilton
  • Hamilton
26 Hamilton (Central) Employment areas generally bounded by Stone Church Rd E, Dartnall Rd, Rymal Rd E and Upper Ottawa St
  • Hamilton
27 Hamilton (Hamilton Airport) Employment areas around the Hamilton Airport
  • Hamilton
28 Haldimand County Rd 3/Riverside
Employment area in Haldimand, accessed from County Road 3 and with frontage to Lake Erie
  • Haldimand
29 Brantford 403/Wayne Gretzky
Employment areas generally surrounding the intersection of 403 Highway and Wayne Gretzky Pkwy
  • Brantford

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is seeking feedback on the zones identified, the need for additional zones and/or changes to the boundaries for any of the proposed zones.

In addition, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is interested in understanding your perspectives on:

Industrial Lands

The region’s employment areas accommodate a diverse range of commercial and industrial activities, and many offer large, unconstrained sites. Some industrial activities in the region’s employment areas are facing substantial pressures from encroachment and conversion. It is important that industry can continue to thrive in employment areas and that those of provincial significance are protected to provide a diversity of sites that are needed to support a range of industrial uses. At the same time it is important that sufficient amounts of the right types land needed to support the changing economy, especially the emergence of new knowledge-based businesses are also preserved.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is seeking feedback on whether the identified provincially significant employment zones have adequately identified employment areas that would support commercial and industrial activities and the needs of the emerging economy.

Major Transit Station Areas

The proposed provincially significant employment zones include parts of 81 major transit station areas. These major transit station areas are benefiting from substantial investments in high frequency transit service and could represent an opportunity for mixed use development and support housing development in the region. At the same time, there is need to consider preserving existing industrial uses in these major transit station areas.

The province is seeking feedback on whether employment areas that overlap with major transit station areas should be included in the provincially significant employment zones – in which case conversions could only happen at the time of the next municipal comprehensive review – or whether they should be excluded from the zones, in which case they would be eligible for conversion in advance of the municipal comprehensive review.

Other information

Questions about the proposed changes to the regulation, including the consultation process, collection of information and access to the consultation documents may be directed to: growthplanning@ontario.ca.

Feedback can be provided by

Ontario Growth Secretariat
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay Street
23rd Floor, Suite 2304 Toronto
ON M5G 2E5

The consultation closes on February 28, 2019.

Notice regarding collection of information

Any collection of personal information will be in accordance with subsection 39(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It will be collected under the authority of the Places to Grow Act, 2005 for the purpose of obtaining input on the Proposed Amendment to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017.

If you have questions about the collection, use, and disclosure of this information please contact:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Senior Information and Privacy Advisor
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E5
416-585-7094

Organizations and businesses

Comments or submissions made on behalf of an organization or business may be shared or disclosed. By submitting comments you are deemed to consent to the sharing of information contained in the comments and your business contact information. Business contact information is the name, title and contact information of anyone submitting comments in a business, professional or official capacity.

Individuals

Personal contact information will only be used to contact you and will not be shared. Please be aware that any comments provided may be shared or disclosed once personal information is removed. Personal information includes your name, home address and personal e-mail address.

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Charles O'Hara

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Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Address

777 Bay Street
c/o Business Management Division, 17th floor
Toronto ON M5G 2E5
Canada

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Contact

Charles O'Hara

Phone number
Office
Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Address

777 Bay Street
c/o Business Management Division, 17th floor
Toronto ON M5G 2E5
Canada

Office phone number

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