Land Use Compatibility Guideline

ERO number
Notice type
Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
May 4, 2021 - August 6, 2021 (94 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

On July 2, 2021, we extended the comment period for this proposal notice for another 34 days (to August 6, 2021) based on feedback and requests received by the ministry.

July 2, 2021

This consultation was open from:

May 4, 2021
to August 6, 2021

Proposal summary

We are proposing an updated Land Use Compatibility Guideline to help municipalities and planning authorities plan sensitive land uses and major facilities. This will help to avoid or minimize and mitigate potential adverse effects from odour, noise, dust and other contaminants.

Proposal details


We are proposing a new land use compatibility guideline as an update to a number of existing D-series guidelines for municipalities to use when making land use planning decisions.

We are following through on our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to update ministry guidelines to help municipalities avoid the impacts of conflicting land uses. The proposed guideline will help ensure certain land uses can co-exist and thrive for the long-term within a community, including

major industrial facilities and more sensitive residential land uses.

It will help to prevent impacts from noise, dust, odour and other potential sources of adverse effects to sensitive land uses from industries which threaten their ability to operate, and would clarify when compatibility studies related to the assessment of potential noise, odour, dust and other impacts are needed.

Land use planning decisions that address land use compatibility would reduce minor noise, odour and dust incidents requiring ministry attention, allowing the ministry to focus its resources on higher-risk incidents. In the long-term, it would help support jobs across the province by providing industrial facilities with more certainty for long-term, uninterrupted operations.

Objectives and application of the Guideline

The objectives of land use compatibility planning in the context of this Guideline are to:

  • protect employment areas (including industrial employment areas) designated for future major facilities from incompatible uses and encroachment by sensitive land uses
  • protect existing or planned major facilities from potential impacts from new sensitive land uses
  • prevent adverse effects to existing or planned sensitive land uses from new and/or expanding major facilities

The Guideline would be applied when an approval under the Planning Act is needed where the decision to be made by the planning authority raises one of the following circumstances:

  • a new or expanding sensitive land use (e.g. a residential subdivision or condominium) is proposed near an existing or planned major facility
  • a new or expanding major facility is proposed near an existing or planned sensitive land use

Highlights of the Guideline

The proposed updated Guideline would inform and clarify to municipalities and other planning authorities when compatibility studies and (if applicable) mitigation measures are required as part of land use planning decisions under the Planning Act to prevent or reduce any adverse effects. To accomplish this, the Guideline proposes:

  • area of influence (AOI) distances associated with specific types and classes of major facilities where adverse effects on sensitive land uses are moderately likely to occur (these distances have been revised from current guidelines based on newer Ministry compliance data)
  • minimum separation distances (MSD) associated with specific types and classes of major facilities where adverse effects on sensitive land uses are highly likely to occur (these distances have been revised from current guidelines based on newer Ministry compliance data)
  • that a compatibility study is required for a new or expanding major facility or a new or expanding sensitive land use proposed in an AOI or MSD, to determine appropriate setbacks and mitigation measures
  • that planning authorities should not allow sensitive uses within the MSD of a major facility except in rare circumstances
  • that a demonstration of need assessment, as required under the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (PPS) to assess whether alternate preferred locations exist in the municipality for that proposed land use, is required for a sensitive land use proposed within the AOI of a major facility where mitigation measures are required and where a sensitive land use is proposed within the MSD of a major facility
  • contents of compatibility studies and demonstrations of need, and additional direction and links to technical guidance to assist with the compatibility studies and demonstrations of need
  • guidance on how to incorporate land use compatibility policies and concepts into official plans and as part of approvals under the Planning Act
  • examples of mitigation measures that may help to reduce impacts, as demonstrated in a compatibility study, and discussion on integrating these mitigation measures as legal requirements
  • guidance on planning for land use compatibility in areas of infill and intensification
  • helpful links and information on other guidance that may apply in relation to specific types of facilities
  • guidance specifically related to land use on or near landfills and dumps, and on assessing methane hazards from landfill sites

The primary goal of this proposed Guideline is to reduce land use compatibility issues resulting from new development proposals under the Planning Act that involve sensitive land uses in proximity to major facilities.

The Guideline should also assist with reducing the encroachment of sensitive land uses on existing major facilities.

As a result of modified AOI distances in the new proposed Guideline, compatibility studies would now be required in relation to some land use proposals for which such studies are not currently required under the existing D-series guidelines. A proposed Policy and Forms Impact Analysis (PFIA) is also attached for review and comment.

Other public consultation opportunities

Concurrent with this posting, the Ministry is consulting on a draft Odour Guideline and an approach to modernize environmental compliance practices, including a draft updated Compliance Policy, referral tool and service standards. Refer to the ‘Related links’ section in this notice for additional information on these postings.

Other information

This Guideline will support implementation of the PPS, issued under section 3 of the Planning Act. The PPS includes policies directing land use planning authorities to avoid or minimize and mitigate land use compatibility concerns between major facilities (e.g. industrial uses) and surrounding sensitive land uses (e.g. residences) related to noise, odour and other contaminants.

Similar policies are in a Place to Grow: A Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2020 (APTG). These PPS and APTG policies require that these land use compatibility decisions be made in accordance with any relevant guidance by the Ministry.


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from May 4, 2021
to August 6, 2021

Connect with us


Sanjay Coelho

Phone number
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks - Environmental Policy Branch

40 St Clair Avenue West
Floor 10
Toronto, ON

Office phone number

Sign up for notifications

We will send you email notifications with any updates related to this consultation. You can change your notification preferences anytime by visiting settings in your profile page.

Follow this notice