Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) about Simcoe Sub-area Amendment

  1. What will the amended Growth Plan do for the Simcoe Sub-area?  

  2. How is this plan different from the original Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006?

  3. How is this plan different from the proposed amendment that the government released for consultation in 2010? 

  4. What else has changed in the growth plan, apart from the amendment related to Simcoe?

  5. Who is the Provincial Development Facilitator and what is her role?

  6. Why did the government ask the Provincial Development Facilitator to get involved?

  7. Whom did the Provincial Development Facilitator talk to? 

  8. What did the Provincial Development Facilitator recommend to the Minister?




1. What will the amended growth plan do for the Simcoe Sub-area?  

The amended Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe provides more specific direction for municipalities in Simcoe County and the cities of Barrie and Orillia, to implement the Growth Plan. It gives the Simcoe Sub-area planning certainty to support local decision-making, provide opportunities for job creation, and support an improved quality of life, all while limiting sprawl and protecting valuable farmland and green spaces.

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2. How is this plan different from the original Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006?

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006 now contains a new section with policies, schedules and definitions that apply to the cities of Barrie and Orillia and municipalities in the County of Simcoe.

This new section will allow those municipalities to implement the Growth Plan in a way that supports communities and protects the environment at the same time.

For municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe outside of the Simcoe Sub-area, the Growth Plan's policies have not changed. 

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3. How is this plan different from the proposed amendment that the government released for consultation in 2010?

The Ministry of Infrastructure received a total of 316 submissions from residents, municipalities and other stakeholders during the consultation process, and advice from the Provincial Development Facilitator informed the final version of the amendment. The following are the key changes:

  • Greater flexibility to Simcoe municipalities in managing development on land within existing settlements. 
  • What were previously called “urban nodes” are now called “primary settlement areas” to be more consistent with terminology used in the County of Simcoe.
  • The inclusion of Alcona in the municipality of Innisfil as a primary settlement area.
  • A new policy encourages municipalities to achieve greater efficiency in water and energy conservation through green building and community design.


Policies related to growth forecasts and employment areas remain largely unchanged from the proposed amendment. 

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4. What else has changed in the growth plan, apart from the amendment related to Simcoe?

Minor changes and typographical corrections were made to the Growth Plan, for example to reflect changes in Ministry names since the initial release in 2006. The policies of the amendment do not apply outside of the Simcoe Sub-area and the Growth Plan's policies continue to apply to all municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. For more information, please see the Ministerial Order.

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5.  Who is the Provincial Development Facilitator and what is her role?

The Provincial Development Facilitator helps the Province, municipalities, developers and community groups resolve issues related to growth management, land use and infrastructure planning, and environmental protection.

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6. Why did the government ask the Provincial Development Facilitator to get involved?

Following the release of the proposed amendment in October 2010 and the public consultation that followed, the Minister of Infrastructure requested the Provincial Development Facilitator to carry out additional consultations with municipalities. The Provincial Development Facilitator provided her advice to the Minister on November 1, 2011.

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7.  Whom did the Provincial Development Facilitator talk to?

The Provincial Development Facilitator conducted 59 meetings with representatives from the County of Simcoe and its 16 municipalities.  She also conducted a number of group meetings involving municipal politicians and staff, several groups representing land owners and environmental interests, and consultations were also held with representatives of the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

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8. What did the Provincial Development Facilitator recommend to the Minister?

The Provincial Development Facilitator’s advice focused on three issues:

  • The distribution of population growth forecasts among the 16 municipalities in the County of Simcoe
  • Alternative approaches for managing and phasing development on land that had been designated for urban uses in the County of Simcoe
  • Appropriate targets for intensification and greenfield densities for the 16 municipalities in the County of Simcoe.


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