Ontario’s New Growth Plan In Effect July 1, 2017

Posted May 18, 2017
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The Ontario Government today released updates to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

According to the Province, “these plans work together to:

  • Build compact, complete communities with a diverse range of housing options that better connect transit to where people live and work;
  • Retain and attract jobs;
  • Support a thriving and productive agri-food sector;
  • Strengthen protections for our natural heritage and water resource systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Provide public open spaces for recreation and enjoyment; And,
  • Help municipalities better prepare to minimize the negative impacts from a changing climate, such as more frequent and intense storms and flooding.”

The Growth Plan changes will have the most significant impact on planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Some of the changes are controversial including requirements that 50% of all residential development occur annually within the existing built–up area of a municipality until 2031 and at a rate of 60% thereafter. New development located within the greenfield areas will be required to achieve 80 persons and jobs per hectare. It is important to note that the 80 persons and jobs per hectare requirement are measured over the entire greenfield area of the upper-tier municipality. The result will likely be much higher densities in most cases. Other changes such as those related to transportation and the environment reflect recent Provincial initiatives.

The new Growth Plan comes into effect on July 1, 2017. However, there are important transition rules related to new density and intensification requirements that grandfather the current intensification rate and greenfield densities in approved upper tier Official Plans.

The new Provincial Plans will merit close study given the Province’s recent announcement that the Province will introduce legislation restricting the right to appeal Planning Act approvals to a consideration of conformity with these Provincial Plans, and relevant Official Plans. In other words, the changes to the Growth Plan and other Provincial plans, released today, will predetermine the prospects for future development in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Details of the announcement can be found at https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2017/05/creating-vibrant-complete-communities-in-the-greater-golden-horseshoe.html

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