A Proposed Approach to Update the Projection Methodology Guideline

ERO number
Notice type
Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
June 23, 2021 - September 21, 2021 (90 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

A Proposed Approach to Update the Projection Methodology Guideline was posted on June 21, 2021, for a 90-day public comment period from June 23, 2021 to September 21, 2021. This notice remains open.

This consultation was open from:

June 23, 2021
to September 21, 2021

Proposal summary

We are seeking feedback on a proposed approach to support the review and update of the Projection Methodology Guideline to reflect the current land use planning policy framework in Ontario.

Proposal details

What is the Projection Methodology Guideline?

The province issued the guideline in 1995 to outline best practices to assist municipalities in preparing population, housing and employment forecasts and related land need requirements. Since the Projection Methodology Guideline was published, it has been used by practitioners as a “best practices” document for forecasting and determining land needs during municipal official plan updates.

What is the Connection between the Projection Methodology Guideline and Land Use Planning in Ontario?

Ontario is a vast province with a diverse range of urban, rural and northern communities. The provincial land use planning framework, through the Provincial Policy Statement, promotes the development of land use patterns that can accommodate current and future needs including an appropriate range and mix of land uses, such as housing, employment, institutional, and open spaces.

Population, housing, and employment forecasts are important components for municipalities to plan their communities. This information may be used by municipalities to identify growth areas, manage infrastructure, attract economic development and coordinate public service facilities to meet short- and long-term need(s).

Why the Projection Methodology Guideline Update?

The province is proposing to update the guideline to assist municipalities in undertaking demographic and economic forecasts to plan their communities and implement provincial policies.

Municipalities make local land use planning decisions that will determine the future of their communities. However, municipal planning decisions and planning documents must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and conform or not conflict with provincial plans.

Municipal decisions are guided by planning documents, such as:

  • Official plans
    • Official plans set out the general planning goals and policies to direct current and future land uses
  • Zoning by-laws
    • Zoning by-laws set rules and regulations that control and guide development

In parts of the province, there is a two-tier municipal structure. In these situations, upper-tier municipalities (i.e. counties and regional/district municipalities), as well as planning boards, deal with broad land use planning issues that concern more than one local municipality. All upper-tier municipalities have their own official plans and have the authority to approve local official plans.

There have been recent changes to the land use planning system in Ontario - including to the Planning Act through Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019, the Provincial Policy Statement 2020, and A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The government consulted on policy changes to the Provincial Policy Statement to support the implementation of More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. The Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 is an important part of the Housing Supply Action Plan and came into effect on May 1, 2020.

An update to the 1995 Projection Methodology Guideline is needed to reflect provincial priorities and support the implementation of the new Provincial Policy Statement. Further, there may be areas that require modifications/updates as new information has become available, and assumptions and approaches have evolved with regards to projection methodologies.

An update to the guideline would:

  • Align the methodology with the current planning framework
  • Reflect government priorities and support the implementation of provincial policies
  • Provide a consistent approach to determine land need requirements over the long-term for municipalities outside of the Greater Golden Horseshoe
  • Provide an approach that is adaptable to all communities in Ontario

An updated guideline would support municipalities outside of the Greater Golden Horseshoe in making informed land use planning decisions that reflect the local context (Inside the area covered by A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Land Needs Assessment Methodology for the Greater Golden Horseshoe applies). The guideline would assist in determining the amount of land needed to accommodate future growth, including if additional land is required (settlement area boundary expansion), or if there is sufficient land to accommodate growth. The guideline could also inform decisions regarding the conversion of employment areas to non-employment uses.

Themes for the Projection Methodology Guideline Update

While there is merit to the existing methodology, there are likely parts of the 1995 Projection Methodology Guideline that require modifications and/or updates. The expertise and experience of stakeholders on key projection assumptions, appropriate policy references and best practices is instrumental. The intent is to update the guideline based on the following themes:

  • Coordination and integration with the land use planning framework
  • Adaptability to all communities in Ontario e.g. urban, rural and northern;
  • Streamlined implementation requirements
  • Technical clarifications and housekeeping updates

Questions for Your Consideration – Projection Methodology Guideline Update

The following questions are designed to establish context, and to generate ideas for updating the guideline. There may be recommendations on the issues raised, or on matters not addressed in this document. We welcome and encourage all ideas as part of this consultation.


  • Does the methodology need to include additional visuals, figures and/or examples to convey: themes, key steps, approaches, and/or geography?

Population Projections (Data):

  • Does the current guideline have data gaps that could be addressed? Which potential data sources should be considered? How should municipal data be considered?
  • What additional considerations should be included for guidance on population projections (e.g. templates, training)?
  • How should temporary populations be accounted for (e.g., non-permanent populations, seasonal residents)?

Housing Need Projections:

  • Which assumptions, inputs and considerations should be contemplated for housing need projections? For example, how should headship rates, person per unit, or other housing trends be accounted for during the projection process?
  • Should the document include a housing affordability analysis? If so, what should the analysis include?

Employment Projections:

  • Which assumptions, inputs and considerations should be contemplated in an employment projection approach?
  • How should new and emerging trends be addressed in the employment projection process, such as e-commerce, automation, and artificial intelligence?
  • How should work-from home and other non-traditional work habits be captured in an employment projection?
  • How should employment land use be categorized to reflect current and emerging employment trends?

Simpler Methodology:

  • Should the guidance document continue to include a simpler methodology for smaller municipalities?
  • Should there be thresholds established that would trigger the use of a “simpler” methodology (e.g., population, capacity, geography)?
  • How can emerging and best practices for land budgeting be incorporated into a simpler methodology?

Rural, Agricultural and Northern Municipalities:

  • What other types of direction would rural and northern municipalities benefit from?
  • What is the best approach to capture rural and agricultural employment that is outside of both settlement areas and employment lands?
  • How should resource-based recreational development be addressed? Agriculture related uses? Agri-tourism uses?

Other Considerations:

  • Does the current methodology have gaps that could be addressed? Are there any other new or supporting methodologies that should be considered?
  • What considerations should be included for guidance on net-outs? For example, a net-out could include land that cannot be developed such as highways, floodplains, abandoned mines, or provincially significant wetlands.
  • Are there any additional adjustments and assumptions that should be considered as variables in both housing need and employment projection calculations? (e.g., seasonal, cottage, recreational and resource-based recreational housing)?

Other information

*The Projection Methodology Guideline publication contains highly specialized and technical information and is available in English only under Regulation 411/97 of the French Language Services Act, which excludes the application of the Act under certain conditions. For assistance in French, please contact Hilary Black, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing by e-mail to hilary.black@ontario.ca.

*Cette publication hautement spécialisée n’est disponible qu’en anglais en vertu du règlement 411/97, qui l’exempte de l’application de la Loi sur les services en français. Pour obtenir de l’aide en français, veuillez communiquer avec le ministère des Affaires municipales et du logement, Hilary Black par courriel à hilary.black@ontario.ca

Supporting materials

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Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from June 23, 2021
to September 21, 2021

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