This proposal was originally published on April 6, 2023 with the comment period ending on June 5, 2023. On May 30, 2023 the comment period was extended to August 4, 2023. This proposal notice was updated on June 16, 2023 to provide notice that natural heritage policies are ready for review and input and have been added to the proposed Provincial Planning Statement that is available under “Supporting Materials” below. See the natural heritage policies on pages 19 and 20 (section 4.1), and related definitions.
This consultation was open from:
April 6, 2023
to August 4, 2023
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is consulting on proposed policies for an integrated province-wide land use planning policy document. MMAH is seeking input on a proposed Provincial Planning Statement that takes policies from A Place to Grow and the Provincial Policy Statement to support the achievement of housing objectives.
The Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (PPS) and A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (A Place to Grow) 2019 both provide comprehensive, integrated, whole-of-government policy direction on land use planning matters including:
- Growth management, housing and economic development;
- Infrastructure planning, including sewage, water and stormwater management services, transportation, transit, energy supply and corridor protection;
- Protection and management of resources, including prime agricultural areas, aggregates, natural heritage, water, and cultural heritage; and
- Protection of public health and safety, such as mitigating potential risks due to natural and human-made hazards.
Both policy documents aim to support the achievement of liveable communities, a thriving economy, a clean and healthy environment and social equity, improving the quality of life for all Ontarians.
The PPS is issued under the Planning Act and is the primary provincial land use planning policy document, applying across Ontario. A Place to Grow is a growth plan issued under the Places to Grow Act, 2005. It provides a more detailed framework for where and how growth should be accommodated in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and it works with the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. The Provincial plans build upon the policy foundation of the PPS, providing additional land use policy direction to address issues facing specific geographic areas of Ontario. All provincial plans are to be read in conjunction with the PPS.
Under the Planning Act, planning decisions shall be consistent with policy statements such as the PPS and shall conform with provincial plans like A Place to Grow.
Given the importance of the PPS and A Place to Grow in guiding land use planning decisions in Ontario, ensuring that the policy framework is housing-supportive is integral to the implementation of the Housing Supply Action Plan and meeting the target to construct 1.5 million new homes by 2031.
In 2022, the government initiated a review on approaches for leveraging the housing supportive policies of both documents, removing barriers and continuing to protect the environment through a streamlined province-wide land use planning policy framework.
The government received feedback on the following six themes:
- Residential land supply.
- Attainable housing supply and mix
- Growth management
- Environment and natural resources
- Community infrastructure
- Streamlined planning framework
The input and recommendations received from Indigenous communities, the public, municipalities and stakeholders helped shaped the development of streamlined and housing-focused, land use planning policies. ERO # 019-6177 provides an overview of issues raised.
The Province is now seeking input on a proposed Provincial Planning Statement, that would replace the existing Provincial Policy Statement and A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Based on what the government has heard, the Province has combined the elements of A Place to Grow and the PPS into a new land use policy document that the Province is proposing for public feedback. Through this proposed new Provincial Planning Statement, the government is proposing policies grouped under five pillars:
- Generate an appropriate housing supply
- Make land available for development
- Provide infrastructure to support development
- Balance housing with resources
1. Generate an appropriate housing supply
The proposed policies would:
- Identify large/fast-growing municipalities, with specific directions to plan strategically for growth:
- Establish and meet minimum density targets for: major transit station areas, other strategic growth area (e.g., nodes and corridors), urban growth centres (transitioned from A Place to Grow)
- Encourage to plan for transit-supportive greenfield density targets
- Require municipalities to provide a range and mix of housing options with an expanded definition to include multi-unit types (laneway, garden suites, low and mid-rise apartments) and typologies (multi-generational, student)
- Require all municipalities to implement intensification policies
- Provide flexibility for municipalities to allow for more residential development in rural settlements and multi-lot residential development on rural lands, including more servicing flexibility (e.g., leveraging capacity in the private sector servicing
- Require municipalities to permit more housing on farms, including residential lot creation subject to criteria, additional residential units and housing for farm workers
- Require municipalities to align land use planning policies with housing policies, including addressing homelessness and facilitating development of a full range of housing options and affordability levels to meet local needs
2. Make land available for development
The proposed policies would:
- Provide flexibility for municipalities to use government or municipally established forecasts (at minimum), with a transition phase for municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
- Require municipalities to plan for a minimum 25-year horizon, maintain a 15-year residential land supply and maintain land with servicing capacity for a 3-year supply of residential units
- Provide a simplified and flexible approach for municipalities to undertake settlement area boundary expansions. Municipalities would be allowed to create new Settlement Areas and would not be required to demonstrate the need for expansion
- Require municipalities to plan for and protect industrial and manufacturing uses that are unsuitable for mixed use areas, using a more narrowly scoped definition of “area of employment” limited to these uses and preserving large, contiguous areas of land
- Encourage municipalities to preserve employment areas close to goods movement corridors, coordinating across administrative boundaries and consider opportunities to densify
- Provide municipalities with greater control over employment area conversions to support the forms of development and job creation that suit the local context
3. Provide infrastructure to support development
The proposed policies would:
- Require municipalities to plan for stormwater management, water and wastewater infrastructure, and waste management systems to accommodate growth
- Require municipalities to protect corridors for major infrastructure, such as highways, transit, transmission systems and encourage municipalities to provide opportunities for the development of energy supply to accommodate current and projected needs
- Require the integration of land use planning and transportation with encouragement for freight-supportive and transit-supportive development to move goods and people
- Require municipalities and school boards to integrate planning for schools and growth
4. Balance housing with resources
The proposed policies would:
- Require municipalities to designate specialty crop areas and prime agricultural areas, eliminating the requirement to use the provincially-mapped Agricultural System
- Require municipalities to protect specialty crop areas and maintain minimum separation distances between livestock operations and houses, and promote an agricultural systems approach to support the agri-food network
- Require municipalities to facilitate access to aggregate resources close to market and to protect minerals, petroleum and mineral aggregate resources
- Require municipalities to protect water resources and features and encourage watershed planning
- Update the cultural heritage policies to align with Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) amendments through Bill 108 and Bill 23, with a focus on conserving protected heritage properties
- Require municipalities to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate and develop approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality
- Require municipalities to direct development outside of hazardous lands and sites
- Natural heritage policies and associated definitions were added to the proposed Provincial Planning Statement on June 16 , 2023. The proposed policies would require municipalities in central and southern Ontario to identify natural heritage systems and protect natural heritage features and areas as they currently do under the existing policies in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020. For accuracy, an update is proposed to the definition of “significant” as it relates to wetlands, coastal wetlands, areas of natural and scientific interest and woodlands to remove/replace the reference to the “Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry” with the “province”.
The proposed policies would:
- Align with recent legislative amendments
- Require municipalities to undertake early engagement with Indigenous communities and coordinate with them on land use planning matters to facilitate knowledge-sharing, support consideration of Indigenous interests in land use decision-making and support the identification of potential impacts of decisions on the exercise of Aboriginal or treaty rights
- Affirm that efficient land-use patterns contribute to increased equitable access to housing, employment, parks and transportation, and encourage municipalities to apply an equity lens on planning matters and engage stakeholders early in the process.
- Encourage coordination, particularly on intermunicipal topics
The government is also proposing an approach to implementation of the new document, if approved. These include the proposed approach to the following:
- Effective date and transition
- Timing for official plan updates
- Various matters specific to the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Should the government adopt the policies, the government would consequentially revoke the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 and A Place to Grow, as well as amend regulations (O. Reg. 416/05 and O. Reg. 311/06) under the Places to Grow Act, 2005.
The government welcomes your feedback on the proposed policy concepts and proposed wording in the land use policy document. When reviewing the document, some questions for consideration may include:
- What are your thoughts on the policies that have been included from the PPS and A Place to Grow in the proposed policy document, including the proposed approach to implementation?
- What are your thoughts on the proposed policy direction for large and fast-growing municipalities and other municipalities?
- What are your thoughts regarding the proposed policies to generate housing supply, including an appropriate range and mix of housing options?
- What are your thoughts on the proposed policies regarding the conservation of agriculture, aggregates, natural and cultural heritage resources?
- What are your thoughts on the proposed policies regarding planning for employment?
- Are there any other barriers to, or opportunities for, accelerating development and construction (e.g., federal regulations, infrastructure planning and approvals, private/public partnerships for servicing, provincial permitting, urban design guidelines, technical standards, zoning, etc.)?
Relationship to Greenbelt Plan (2017)
The government is proposing an administrative and housing keeping amendment to the Greenbelt Plan so that that policies in the current Greenbelt Plan are maintained should the PPS, 2020 and A Place to Grow be revoked.
This scoped policy change would maintain the existing Greenbelt Plan standards and clarifies that the existing policy connections in the Greenbelt Plan (2017) to the PPS, 2020 and A Place to Grow remain in effect.
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Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.
Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.
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13th Flr, 777 Bay St
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