1 · Introduction
1.1 The Greater Golden Horseshoe
Proposed changes/additions to the context for Section 1 of the Growth Plan, if approved, would include:
- Updated profile of the regional economy and its global prominence;
- Increased focus on natural assets and the importance of protection for future generations;
- Recognition of the long history of human settlement in the area;
- Key challenges on the horizon for the fast-growing region (some of which have recently emerged or gained prominence over the past 10 years); and
- Acknowledgement of the importance of consulting with First Nations and Métis communities and the requirement to implement the Plan in a manner consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights.
The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in North America. It is the destination of choice for many people and businesses relocating from other parts of Canada and around the world. They settle here because of the high quality of life and the economic opportunities. It is a place of prosperity where, through their skills and talents, people are building a great future for themselves.
The GGH has one of the most vibrant and thriving economies in the world, is the largest urban region in Canada – generating upwards of 25 per cent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)1 – and is the economic engine of Ontario. While the GGH's competitive advantage has historically been its location in the heart of the Great Lakes region with close proximity to major United States markets, today the region is widely recognized for its highly educated workforce and uniquely multicultural population, whose social and economic diversity are critical factors for success in a knowledge-based economy. Central to the region is the City of Toronto, which is continually recognized as one of the most livable cities2 and most important financial centres3 in the world.
The GGH contains many of Ontario’s most significant ecological and hydrologic natural environments and scenic landscapes, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment and the other natural areas in the Greenbelt Area. These natural areas provide drinking water for the region’s nine million inhabitants, sustain its many resource-based industries, support recreational activities that benefit public health and overall quality of life and help moderate the impacts of climate change. The region also has some of Canada’s most important and productive farmland. Its fertile soil, moderate climate and abundant water resources support agricultural production that cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the country.
The First Nations and Métis communities within the Great Lakes region continue to shape the history and economy of the area. Ontario recognizes the unique role that Indigenous peoples have had and will continue to have in the growth and development of this region.
As the GGH grows and changes, we must continue to value what makes this region unique in order to ensure the sustained prosperity of Ontario, its people and future generations. While growth is an important component of vibrant, diversified urban and rural communities and economies, the magnitude of growth that is expected over the coming decades for the GGH presents a number of challenges:
- Rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses are on the rise in the region, in part due to growing rates of inactivity linked to low-density and automobile dependent development patterns.4
- The impacts of globalization are transforming the regional economy at a rapid pace, which makes long-term planning for employment more uncertain.
- A growing and aging population will result in the need for a more appropriate range and mix of housing options, and for health care and other amenities in accessible locations.
- Increased demand for major infrastructure investments, the need to renew aging infrastructure, continuing infrastructure deficits associated with low-density urban sprawl, and scarce financial resources means an ever greater need to plan to optimize existing assets and make the best use of limited resources by considering full life cycle costs.
- Increased traffic congestion, and the resulting delays in the movement of people and goods in the GGH, is costing billions of dollars in lost GDP every year.
- Urban sprawl can degrade the region’s air quality; water resources; natural heritage resources, such as rivers, lakes, woodlands and wetlands; and cultural heritage resources.
- The finite supply of quality agricultural lands that feed the region and beyond must be protected to ensure a vibrant rural and agricultural economy and a secure food supply for future generations.
- The impacts of climate change are already being felt. Communities and infrastructure must be adapted to be more resilient; greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy need to be reduced; and valuable water resources and natural areas need to be protected.
To address these challenges and ensure the protection and effective use of finite resources, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, together with the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan, builds on the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) to establish a unique land use planning framework for the GGH that supports the creation of resilient and sustainable complete communities, a thriving economy, a clean and healthy environment, and social equity.
In implementing these provincial plans, the Province recognizes the importance of consulting with First Nations and Métis communities on planning matters that may affect their rights and interests. Provincial plans must be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
1 Calculated from Statistics Canada (Metropolitan Gross Domestic Product, 2014) and Conference Board of Canada (Metropolitan Outlook 1 & 2, 2014)
2 "The Safe Cities Index 2015", The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015
3 "The Global Financial Centres Index 18", Qatar Financial Centre, 2015
4 "Improving Health by Design in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area. A Report of Medical Officers of Health in the GTHA", Mowat, D. et al., 2014
1.2 The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Section 1 is proposed to be restructured to clearly set out the evolution from Growth Plan, 2006 to the Proposed Growth Plan, 2016, if approved. While the original Vision Statement by the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel (Shape the Future, April 2003) would see minimal changes, the Guiding Principles would be expanded to include additional detail to reflect the proposed changes to the Growth Plan. The section on “How to Read this Plan” would be updated to align with Part III of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 (PPS) to help clarify the policy hierarchies in the provincial land use planning framework.
Places to Grow is the Ontario government's initiative to plan for growth and development in a way that supports economic prosperity, protects the environment and helps communities achieve a high quality of life. The Places to Grow Act, 2005 enables the development of regional growth plans that guide government investments and land use planning policies.
The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006 (Growth Plan, 2006) was the first growth plan to provide a framework for implementing Ontario's vision for building stronger, prosperous communities by better managing growth in this region. It established the long-term framework for where and how the region will grow, while recognizing the realities facing our cities and smaller communities and acknowledging what governments can and cannot influence. It also demonstrated leadership for improving the ways in which our cities, suburbs, towns and villages will grow over the long-term.
Vision for the GGH
More than anything, the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) will continue to be a great place to live. Its communities will be supported by the pillars of a strong economy, a clean and healthy environment, and social equity.
The GGH will offer a wide variety of choices for living. Thriving, livable, vibrant and productive urban and rural areas will foster community health and individual well-being. The region will be supported by modern, well-maintained, sustainable and resilient infrastructure built in accordance with the broad plan for managing growth. Residents will have easy access to shelter, food, education and health-care facilities, arts and recreation and information technology. Public services will be co-located in community hubs that are broadly accessible.
Getting around will be easy. An integrated transportation network will allow people choices for easy travel both within and between urban centres throughout the region. Public transit will be fast, convenient and affordable. Automobiles will be only one of a variety of effective and well-used choices for transportation. Transit and active transportation will be practical elements of our urban transportation systems.
A healthy natural environment with clean air, land and water will characterize the GGH. The Greenbelt, including significant natural features, such as the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, will continue to be enhanced and protected in perpetuity. These will form the key building blocks of the GGH's natural systems. The GGH's rivers and streams, forests and natural areas will be protected and accessible for residents to enjoy their beauty. Open spaces in our cities, towns and countryside will provide people with a sense of place.
Natural areas and agricultural lands will provide a significant contribution to the region’s resilience and our ability to adapt to a changing climate. Unique and high quality agricultural lands will be protected for the provision of healthy, local food for future generations. Farming will be productive, diverse and sustainable.
Urban centres will be characterized by vibrant and more compact settlement and development patterns, will provide a diversity of opportunities for living, working and enjoying culture and will support climate change mitigation. The evolving regional economy of the GGH will have matured into an economic powerhouse of global significance. It will function as Canada's principal international gateway.
The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) will be a thriving metropolis with an extraordinary waterfront. At the heart of this metropolis will be Toronto, a celebrated centre of influence for commerce, culture and innovation.
All of this will translate into a place where residents enjoy a high standard of living and an exceptional quality of life.
The original Vision Statement by the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel (Shape the Future, April 2003) has been updated in 2016 for the purposes of this Plan.
The implementation of the Growth Plan has been supported by the creation of Metrolinx and The Big Move (the regional transportation plan for the GTHA) to implement the Growth Plan’s transit and transportation policies. Since 2006, the Province has made significant investments in transit projects in the GTHA, and continues to invest in rapid transit projects to support the regional transit network.
Since the introduction of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2006, the region has seen a shift to more compact development patterns, a greater variety of housing types, more mixed-use development in urban growth centres and other strategic growth areas and greater integration of transit and land use planning.
Despite these early successes, there is still more work to do. Now is the time to build on the progress that has been made towards creating more complete communities that are compact, transit-supportive, and make effective use of infrastructure investments, while protecting our agricultural and natural areas and supporting climate change mitigation as Ontario moves towards net- zero communities in the long-term.
The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2016 (“this Plan”), builds upon the success of the initial Growth Plan, 2006 and responds to the key challenges that the region will continue to face over the coming decades with enhanced policy directions.
1.2.1 Guiding Principles
The successful realization of this vision for the GGH centres on effective collaboration amongst the Province, other levels of government, First Nations and Métis communities, residents, private and non-profit sectors across all industries, and other stakeholders. The policies in this Plan regarding how land is developed, resources are managed and protected, and public dollars are invested are based on the following principles:
- Design complete communities to meet people’s needs for daily living throughout an entire lifetime, and support healthy and active living.
- Prioritize intensification and higher densities to make efficient use of land and infrastructure and support transit viability.
- Provide flexibility to capitalize on new economic and employment opportunities as they emerge, while providing certainty for traditional industries, including resource-based sectors.
- Provide for a mix and range of housing types to serve all sizes, incomes and ages of households.
- Improve the integration of land use planning with planning and investment in infrastructure and public service facilities, including integrated service delivery through community hubs, by all levels of government.
- Provide for different approaches to manage growth that recognize the diversity of communities in the GGH.
- Protect and enhance natural heritage, hydrologic and landform features and functions.
- Support and enhance the long-term viability of the agricultural sector by protecting prime agricultural areas and the agricultural support network.
- Conserve and promote cultural heritage resources to support the social, economic, and cultural well-being of all communities, including First Nations and Métis communities.
- Integrate climate change considerations into planning and managing growth such as planning for more resilient infrastructure and moving towards net-zero communities by incorporating techniques to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
1.2.2 Legislative Authority
This Plan is issued under the authority of section 7 of the Places to Grow Act, 2005. It was approved through an Order in Council made under that Act and came into effect on [placeholder for effective date]. This Plan replaces the Growth Plan, 2006 that initially took effect on June 16, 2006 and was amended by Amendment 1 (January 19, 2012) and Amendment 2 (June 17, 2013).
This Plan applies to the area designated by Ontario Regulation 416/05. All decisions made on or after [placeholder for effective date] in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter will conform with this Plan, subject to any legislative or regulatory provisions providing otherwise.
1.2.3 How to Read this Plan
This Plan informs decision-making regarding growth management and environmental protection in the GGH. It consists of policies, schedules, definitions and appendices. It also includes non-policy contextual commentary to provide background and describe the purpose of the policies.
Relationship with the Provincial Policy Statement
The PPS provides overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use and development in Ontario, and applies to the GGH, except where this Plan or another provincial plan provides otherwise.
Like other provincial plans, this Plan builds upon the policy foundation provided by the PPS and provides additional and more specific land use planning policies to address issues facing specific geographic areas in Ontario. This Plan is to be read in conjunction with the PPS. The policies of this Plan take precedence over the policies of the PPS to the extent of any conflict, except where the relevant legislation provides otherwise. Where the policies in this Plan address the same, similar, related or overlapping matters as policies in the PPS, applying the more specific policies in this Plan satisfies the requirements of the more general policies in the PPS.
As provided for in the Places to Grow Act, 2005, this Plan prevails where there is a conflict between this Plan and the PPS. The only exception is where the conflict is between policies relating to the natural environment or human health. In that case, the direction that provides more protection to the natural environment or human health prevails.
Relationship with Other Provincial Plans
This Plan must also be read in conjunction with other provincial plans as defined in the Planning Act that may apply within the same geography. Within the GGH, this includes the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan, as well as the Parkway Belt West Plan and the Central Pickering Development Plan. Other plans, including the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan under the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008 and some source protection plans under the Clean Water Act, 2006, also apply within the GGH. Each of these plans applies to certain defined parts of the GGH and provides specific policy on certain matters.
As provided in the Places to Grow Act, 2005, where there is a conflict between the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation or Niagara Escarpment Plans and this Plan regarding the natural environment or human health, the direction that provides more protection to the natural environment or human health prevails. Detailed conflict provisions are set out in the Places to Grow Act, 2005.
Horizon of this Plan
While the PPS, 2014 provides for a time horizon of up to 20 years for making sufficient land available to meet projected needs, policy 1.1.2 of the PPS, 2014 provides that a provincial plan may provide an alternate time horizon for specific areas of the Province. Within the GGH, this Plan provides that the applicable time horizon for land use planning is 2041. While certain policies have specific target dates, the goals and policies of this Plan are intended to be achieved within the horizon of this Plan.
Nothing in this Plan limits the planning for infrastructure and public service facilities beyond the horizon of this Plan. However, planning for infrastructure will not predetermine the form, pattern or extent of settlement area boundary expansions. Planning authorities may also plan for the long-term protection of employment areas provided lands are not designated beyond the horizon of this Plan.
Read the Entire Plan
This Plan is to be read in its entirety and the relevant policies are to be applied to each situation. The language of each policy, including the policies in Section 5, will assist decision-makers in understanding how the policies are to be implemented.
While some policies refer to other policies for ease of use, these cross-references do not take away from the need to read the Plan as a whole. There is no implied priority in the order in which the policies appear.
Consider Specific Policy Language
Each policy provides direction on how it is to be implemented, how it is situated within this Plan, and how it relates to other policies. The choice of language in the policies is intended to distinguish between the types of policies and the nature of implementation.
Policies Represent Minimum Standards
The policies of this Plan represent minimum standards. Within the framework of the provincial policy-led planning system, decision-makers are encouraged to go beyond these minimum standards to address matters of importance, unless doing so would conflict with any policy of this Plan.
Defined Terms and Meanings
Italicized terms in this Plan are defined in Section 7. For non-italicized terms, the normal meaning of the word applies. Defined terms are intended to capture both singular and plural forms of these terms in the policies.
Guidance material and technical criteria may be issued to assist decision-makers with implementing the policies of this Plan. Information, technical criteria and approaches outlined in guidance material are meant to support, but not add to or detract from, the policies of this Plan.
2 · Where and How to Grow
Proposed changes/additions to the context for Section 2, if approved, would include:
- References to the Ontario Climate Change Strategy, 2015, and long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets to 2030 and 2050;
- Connecting how planning for “complete communities” helps Ontario move toward “net-zero communities” (a proposed new defined term); and
- Introduction of a proposed new defined term “strategic growth areas”, which would replace the term “intensification areas”.
The GGH is a dynamic and diverse area, and one of the fastest growing regions in North America. By 2041, this area is forecast to grow to 13.5 million people and 6.3 million jobs. The magnitude and pace of this growth necessitates a plan for building healthy and balanced communities and maintaining and improving our quality of life.
To better co-ordinate planning for growth across the region, this Plan provides population and employment forecasts for all upper- and single-tier municipalities in the GGH. These growth forecasts are a foundational component of this Plan. They are to be reviewed in consultation with municipalities at least every five years.
This Plan is about accommodating forecasted growth in complete communities, whether urban or rural, existing or new. These are communities that are well designed to meet people’s needs for daily living throughout an entire lifetime by providing convenient access to an appropriate mix of jobs, local services and a full range of housing to accommodate a range of incomes and household sizes. Complete communities support quality of life and human health by encouraging the use of active transportation and providing high quality public open space, adequate parkland, opportunities for recreation, and access to local and healthy food. They also support climate change mitigation by providing public transportation and options for safe, non-motorized travel, and by minimizing land consumption through compact built form.
Building more compact and complete communities, and protecting agricultural lands, water resources and natural areas will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Ontario move towards net-zero communities. Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy, 2015 reaffirms the government’s commitment to meet its long-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 37 per cent by 2030 and by 80 per cent by 2050.
To ensure the development of complete communities that are healthy and safe, choices about where and how growth occurs in the GGH need to be made carefully. Better use of land and infrastructure can be made by directing growth to settlement areas and prioritizing intensification in built-up areas, with a focus on strategic growth areas, including urban growth centres and major transit station areas, as well as brownfield sites and greyfields. Concentrating new development in these areas provides a focus for investments in transit as well as other types of infrastructure and public service facilities to support forecasted growth, while also supporting a more diverse range and mix of housing types. However, in order to protect public safety and prevent future flood risks, growth should be generally directed away from hazardous areas, including those that have been identified as special policy areas in accordance with the PPS.
The Growth Plan, 2006 identified 25 urban growth centres and this Plan continues to recognize those urban growth centres as regional focal points for accommodating population and employment growth. The continued revitalization of urban growth centres as meeting places, locations for cultural facilities, public institutions and major services and transit hubs with the potential to become more vibrant, mixed-use, transit-supportive communities is particularly important.
This Plan recognizes transit as a first priority for major transportation investments. It sets out a regional vision for transit, and seeks to align transit with growth by directing growth to major transit station areas and other strategic growth areas, including urban growth centres, and promoting transit investments in these areas. In order to optimize provincial investments in higher order transit, this Plan also identifies priority transit corridors and the Province expects municipalities to complete detailed planning for these corridors and associated mobility hubs to support planned service levels in a timely manner.
Although traditional industries will continue to play an important role, globalization and technology are transforming the GGH’s economy and increasing the significance of the service and knowledge-based sectors. Providing opportunities for a variety of types of businesses to locate and grow in the GGH is fundamental to using land wisely and ensuring a more prosperous economic future. Therefore, it is important to ensure an adequate supply of land within employment areas – both for traditional industries and for knowledge and service sector businesses that warrant such locations – and sites for a broad range of other employment uses.
Many communities in the GGH are facing issues of housing affordability, which are being driven by many factors beyond the land use planning system. As in many thriving metropolitan regions, housing demand in the GGH is driven by sustained population growth, low rental vacancy rates and other complex socio-economic factors. This Plan addresses this challenge by encouraging a mix of housing types, including affordable housing and, in particular, higher density housing types that can accommodate a range of household sizes in locations that can provide access to transit and other amenities.
Building more compact greenfield communities reduces the rate at which land is consumed. Communities need to grow at transit-supportive densities, with walkable street configurations. Compact built form and intensification efforts go hand- in-hand with more effective transit and active transportation networks and are fundamental to where and how we grow. They are necessary to ensure the viability of transit, connect people to homes, jobs and other aspects of daily living, and meet climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives. Moreover, an increased modal share for transit and active transportation ensures reduced air pollution and improved public health outcomes.
There is a large supply of land already designated for future urban development in the GGH and, in some communities, there may be more land designated for development than is required to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan. Regardless, it is important to optimize the use of the existing land supply as well as the existing building and housing stock to avoid further over-designating land for future urban development. This Plan's emphasis on optimizing the use of the existing land supply represents an intensification first approach to development and city-building in the GGH, one which concentrates more on making better use of our existing infrastructure and public service facilities, and less on continuously expanding the urban area.
Strong, healthy and prosperous rural communities are also vital to the economic success of the GGH and contribute to our quality of life. This Plan recognizes and promotes the important role of rural towns and villages as a focus of economic, cultural and social activities that support surrounding rural and agricultural areas across the GGH. Healthy rural communities are key to the vitality and well-being of the whole area.
2.2 Policies for Where and How to Grow
In some cases, the changes that are proposed for Section 2 of the Growth Plan, if approved, involve reorganizing and revising existing policy directions (e.g., policies for managing growth). In other cases, new concepts are proposed to be added (e.g., methodology for land needs assessment).
Proposed changes/additions to this section of the Growth Plan would include:
- New policy, built on existing policy direction, that would provide more detail about how the application of the policies in this Plan would support the achievement of “complete communities”;
- Additional direction and criteria for developing an integrated approach to planning and managing growth, which would be implemented through a “municipal comprehensive review”;
- New policy that requires the Minister to develop a standard methodology for assessing land needs and requiring the use of this methodology by municipalities;
- The minimum intensification target would be increased from 40 per cent to 60 per cent, and revisions would be made to the requirements and eligibility for an alternative target;
- New policies would establish specific minimum density targets for “major transit station areas”, as delineated by municipalities, which would be scaled to reflect type of transit (e.g., subways, light rail);
- New policies would support prioritizing planning and zoning for “priority transit corridors”, which would be identified in Schedule 5 (or by the Province);
- New policies would require municipalities to identify and designate suitable lands near “major goods movement facilities and corridors” as “prime employment areas” , which would be protected over the long-term for uses that are land extensive and/or have low employment densities and require such locations. Certain uses would be strictly prohibited in “prime employment areas” and these areas would not be eligible for conversion to non-employment uses;
- Municipalities would also be required to designate other “employment areas” where a wider range of employment uses would be permitted;
- New policy would direct that existing “office parks” should be planned to improve transit connectivity (including appropriate use of “transportation demand management” strategies), provide for an appropriate mix of amenities, and encourage intensification of employment uses;
- The minimum density target for “designated greenfield areas” would be increased from 50 to 80 residents and jobs per hectare, and revisions would be made to the requirements and eligibility for an alternative target.
- Additional features would be excluded when measuring this target, including floodplains, rights-of-way for certain types of linear “infrastructure” as well as “prime employment areas”;
- Where the need for a “settlement area” boundary expansion is demonstrated (based on the proposed standard methodology
for land needs assessment), there would be additional new criteria for assessing feasibility of an expansion and determining the most appropriate
- The financial viability over the life cycle of the “infrastructure” and “public service facilities” that would be needed to service growth;
- Completion of master plans for water and wastewater, informed by “watershed planning”, to protect water quality and quantity and to service growth and development in a manner that would not exceed the assimilative capacity of the receiving water body;
- Completion of “stormwater master plans” informed by “watershed planning” to address flood risk vulnerability;
- Direction to avoid where possible “natural heritage systems”, “key hydrologic areas” and “prime agricultural areas” and to minimize impact on the “agricultural system”; and
- Additional specific tests for “settlement areas” within the Protected Countryside in the “Greenbelt Area”;
- New direction to municipalities in the “outer ring” to identify and manage any “excess lands” that will not be required for growth to 2041; these municipalities would be given some flexibility to potentially expand the boundaries of “settlement areas” that are the primary focus for growth, provided all requirements for managing “excess lands” are satisfied and the total amount of lands designated for development would be reduced; and
- New policies would recognize existing employment areas on “rural lands” and clarify the parameters for planning for resource-based recreational uses.
2.2.1 Managing Growth
- Population and employment forecasts contained in Schedule 3 will be used for planning and managing growth in the GGH to the horizon of this Plan in accordance with the policies in subsection 5.2.4.
- Population and employment growth will be accommodated by:
- directing a significant portion of forecasted growth to built-up areas through intensification and focusing growth in strategic growth areas;
- building complete communities with compact built form in settlement areas;
- ensuring the availability of sufficient land for employment to support the economic competitiveness of the GGH;
- directing growth to locations within settlement areas with existing and planned public service facilities;
- focusing growth in areas with existing or planned transit, with a priority on higher order transit;
- planning and investing for a balance of jobs and housing in communities across the GGH to reduce the need for long distance commuting and to increase the modal share for transit and active transportation;
- providing convenient, multimodal access to intra- and inter-municipal transit, giving priority to connections between residents and jobs;
- directing development to settlement areas, except where permitted in accordance with policy 18.104.22.168;
- directing the vast majority of growth to settlement areas that offer municipal water and wastewater systems, and limiting growth in settlement areas that are serviced by other forms of water and wastewater systems;
- generally directing development away from hazardous lands; and
- prohibiting the establishment of new settlement areas.
- Applying the policies of this Plan will support the achievement of complete communities that:
- feature a diverse mix of land uses, including residential and employment uses, and convenient access to local stores, services and public service facilities;
- provide for a diverse range and mix of housing, including secondary suites and affordable housing, to accommodate people at all stages of life, and to accommodate the needs of all household sizes and incomes;
- integrate and sustain the viability of transit services, where such services are planned or available;
- support overall quality of life, including human health, for people of all ages and abilities through the
planning for and provision of:
- a range of transportation options, including options for the safe, comfortable and convenient use of active transportation;
- a compact built form that reduces dependence on the automobile;
- public service facilities, co-located and integrated in community hubs, that are accessible by active transportation and transit;
- convenient access to local, healthy and affordable food options, including through urban agriculture; and
- a supply of parks, trails and other recreation facilities needed to support planned population and employment growth in a timely manner, particularly as built-up areas are intensified;
- mitigate climate change impacts, build resilience, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute towards the achievement of net-zero communities;
- integrate green infrastructure and low impact development; and
- have high quality built form and publicly-accessible open spaces that are safe and accessible with site design standards that create an attractive and vibrant public realm.
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities will each develop an integrated approach to planning and managing growth to the
horizon of this Plan, which will be implemented through a municipal comprehensive review and other supporting documents and will:
- be based on forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan and the other policies in this Plan;
- consider the entire existing supply of land designated for development within the municipality;
- identify a hierarchy of settlement areas, or of areas within settlement areas, where forecasted
growth to the horizon of this Plan will be accommodated based on:
- strategic growth areas as the primary focus for accommodating growth;
- the amount of growth that can be accommodated in built-up areas and existing designated greenfield areas based on an assessment of land needs; and
- integrated planning for infrastructure and public service facilities that considers the full life cycle costs of these assets and identifies options to pay for these costs over the long-term;
- identify areas where development is to be prohibited; and
- where applicable, provide direction to lower-tier municipalities on how to implement this approach.
- The Minister will establish a methodology for assessing land needs to implement this Plan. This methodology will be used for the purposes of assessing land needs to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan.
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities in the outer ring will, in consultation with lower-tier municipalities where applicable, identify any excess lands in official plans and prohibit development on all excess lands to the horizon of this Plan.
2.2.2 Built-up Areas
- The built boundary will be delineated in official plans.
- The minimum intensification target contained in the applicable upper- or single-tier official plan that is approved and in effect as of [placeholder for effective date] will apply until the time of the next municipal comprehensive review.
- All upper- and single-tier municipalities will, at the time of their next municipal comprehensive review, increase their minimum intensification target such that a minimum of 60 per cent of all residential development occurring annually within each upper- and single-tier municipality will be within the built-up area.
- For an upper- or single-tier municipality located within the outer ring and that does not have an urban growth
- council may request an alternative minimum intensification target at the time of each municipal comprehensive review; and
- the Minister may permit an alternative minimum intensification target that is appropriate given factors such as the size, location and capacity of built-up areas.
- In planning for the intensification of built-up areas, municipalities will:
- identify the appropriate type and scale of development in strategic growth areas to support achievement of the minimum intensification target in this Plan;
- provide for an appropriate transition of built form to adjacent areas; and
- ensure the development of high quality urban form and public open spaces.
2.2.3 Urban Growth Centres
- The boundaries of urban growth centres will be delineated in official plans.
- Urban growth centres will be planned:
- as focal areas for investment in regional public service facilities, as well as commercial, recreational, cultural and entertainment uses;
- to accommodate and support the transit network at the regional scale and provide connection points for inter- and intra-regional transit;
- to serve as high-density major employment centres that will attract provincially, nationally or internationally significant employment uses; and
- to accommodate significant population and employment growth.
- Urban growth centres will be planned to achieve, by 2031 or earlier, a minimum gross density target of:
- 400 residents and jobs combined per hectare for each of the urban growth centres in the City of Toronto;
- 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare for each of the Downtown Brampton, Downtown Burlington, Downtown Hamilton, Downtown Milton, Markham Centre, Downtown Mississauga, Newmarket Centre, Midtown Oakville, Downtown Oshawa, Downtown Pickering, Richmond Hill Centre/Langstaff Gateway, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Downtown Kitchener and Uptown Waterloo urban growth centres; and
- 150 residents and jobs combined per hectare for each of the Downtown Barrie, Downtown Brantford, Downtown Cambridge, Downtown Guelph, Downtown Peterborough and Downtown St. Catharines urban growth centres.
- If an urban growth centre is already planned to achieve, or has already achieved, a gross density that exceeds the minimum density target in policy 22.214.171.124, this higher density will be considered the minimum density target for that urban growth centre.
2.2.4 Transit Corridors and Station Areas
- Priority transit corridors will be delineated in official plans.
- Planning will be prioritized for mobility hubs associated with priority transit corridors, including through updated zoning.
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities, in consultation with lower-tier municipalities, will determine the size and shape of major transit station areas and delineate their boundaries in official plans.
- Major transit station areas will be planned and designed to be transit-supportive and to achieve
multimodal access to stations and connections to nearby trip generators by providing, where appropriate:
- connections to local and regional transit services to support transit service integration;
- infrastructure to support active transportation, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes and secure bicycle parking; and
- commuter pick-up/drop-off areas.
- Major transit station areas will be planned to achieve, by 2041 or earlier, a minimum gross density target of:
- 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare for those that are served by subways;
- 160 residents and jobs combined per hectare for those that are served by light rail transit or bus rapid transit; or
- 150 residents and jobs combined per hectare for those that are served by express rail service on the GO Transit network.
- The minimum density targets in policy 126.96.36.199 do not apply to lands that have been designated as prime employment areas.
- Within major transit station areas, development will be supported by:
- planning in a timely manner, including through updated zoning, particularly along priority transit corridors;
- planning for a diverse mix of uses, including affordable housing, to support planned transit service levels;
- fostering collaboration between public and private sectors such as joint development projects, as appropriate;
- providing alternative development standards, such as reduced parking standards; and
- prohibiting land uses and built form that would adversely affect the achievement of the minimum density targets in policy 188.8.131.52, and the other policies of this Plan.
- In planning lands adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, higher order transit corridors and facilities, municipalities will identify and protect lands that may be needed for future enhancement or expansion of transit infrastructure, in consultation with Metrolinx, as appropriate.
- Lands with easy access to frequent transit service, including higher order transit, should be identified as strategic growth areas and should be planned and developed to be transit-supportive, including through setting minimum density targets to reflect existing and planned transit service levels where no minimum density target is specified in this Plan.
- The Province may identify additional priority transit corridors ormobility hubs and planning requirements
for priority transit corridors or mobility hubs, to support the optimization of transit investments across the GGH, which
- the timeframes for implementation of the planning requirements;
- the boundaries of the planning area that will be subject to the planning requirements; and
- any additional requirements that may apply in relation to these areas.
- Economic development and competitiveness in the GGH will be promoted by:
- making more efficient use of existing employment areas and vacant and underutilized employment lands, and increasing employment densities, as appropriate;
- planning to better connect areas with high employment densities to transit; and
- integrating and aligning land use planning and economic development goals and strategies to retain and attract investment and employment.
- Appropriate locations will be provided for a variety of employment uses to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan.
- Suitable lands within settlement areas that are adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, major goods movement facilities and corridors, including major highway interchanges, should be identified as prime employment areas. Upper- and single-tier municipalities may also identify other existing employment areas within settlement areas as prime employment areas, where appropriate.
- The Minister may identify other prime employment areas.
- Prime employment areas identified in accordance with policies 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 will be designated in official
plans and protected for appropriate employment uses over the long-term by:
- prohibiting residential and other sensitive land uses, institutional uses, and retail, commercial and office uses that are not ancillary to the primary employment use; and
- planning for freight-supportive land use patterns.
- With the exception of prime employment areas, employment areas within settlement areas will be designated
and planned to:
- direct any permitted commercial uses to locations that support active transportation and are serviced by transit, where that service is available;
- prohibit residential land uses and limit other sensitive land uses to preserve the long-term integrity of the employment area for uses that require those locations; and
- integrate employment areas with adjacent non-employment areas and develop vibrant, mixed-use areas and innovation hubs, where appropriate.
- The conversion of lands within prime employment areas to employment areas, or lands within employment
areas to non-employment uses may be permitted only through a municipal comprehensive review where it has been demonstrated that:
- there is a need for the conversion;
- the lands are not required over the horizon of this Plan for the employment purposes for which they are designated;
- the municipality will maintain sufficient employment lands to accommodate forecasted employment growth to the horizon of this Plan;
- the proposed uses would not adversely affect the overall viability of the prime employment area or the employment area or the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, as well as the other policies of this Plan; and
- there are existing or planned infrastructure and public service facilities to accommodate the proposed uses.
- The conversion of lands within prime employment areas to non-employment uses is prohibited.
- Major office and appropriate major institutional development will be directed to urban growth centres, major transit station areas or other strategic growth areas with existing or planned frequent transit service.
- Existing office parks should be supported by:
- improving connectivity with transit and active transportation networks;
- providing for an appropriate mix of amenities and open space to serve the workforce;
- planning for intensification of employment uses; and
- approaches to transportation demand management that reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicle use.
- In planning for employment, surface parking will be minimized and the development of active transportation networks and transit-supportive built form will be facilitated.
- In recognition of the importance of cross-border trade with the United States, this Plan recognizes a Gateway Economic Zone and Gateway Economic Centre near the Niagara-United States border. Planning and economic development in these areas will support economic diversity and promote increased opportunities for cross-border trade, movement of goods and tourism.
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities, in consultation with lower-tier municipalities, the Province and other appropriate
stakeholders, will each develop a housing strategy that:
- aligns with applicable housing and homelessness plans required under the Housing Services Act, 2011;
- identifies policies for official plans, including affordable housing targets, that address the needs of all residents, including through affordable ownership housing and rental housing; and
- plans for a diverse range of housing types and densities, including secondary suites, to support the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, as well as the other policies of this Plan.
- Notwithstanding policy 1.4.1 of the PPS, 2014, to provide for a range and mix of housing types and densities
- plan to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan;
- plan to achieve the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan;
- consider the range of housing types and densities of the existing housing stock; and
- plan to diversify their overall housing supply, to achieve complete communities.
2.2.7 Designated Greenfield Areas
- The designated greenfield area will be delineated in official plans.
- The designated greenfield area of each upper- or single-tier municipality will be planned to achieve a minimum density target that is not less than 80 residents and jobs combined per hectare within the horizon of this Plan.
- The minimum density target will be measured over the entire designated greenfield area of each upper- or single-
tier municipality, excluding the following:
- natural heritage features and areas, natural heritage systems and floodplains, provided development is prohibited in these areas;
- rights-of-way for:
- electricity transmission lines;
- energy transmission pipelines;
- freeways, as defined by and mapped as part of the Ontario Road Network; and
- railways; and
- prime employment areas that have been designated in official plans in accordance with policy 18.104.22.168.
- For an upper- or single-tier municipality that is located in the outer ring and that does not have an urban
- council may request an alternative minimum density target for the designated greenfield area at the time of each municipal comprehensive review; and
- the Minister may permit an alternative minimum density target that is appropriate given the characteristics of the municipality and adjacent communities.
- Municipalities will develop and implement official plan policies for designated greenfield areas, including phasing policies, and other strategies to achieve the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan.
- New development taking place in designated greenfield areas will be planned, designated, zoned and designed in a manner that contributes to creating complete communities in accordance with policy 22.214.171.124.
2.2.8 Settlement Area Boundary Expansions
- A settlement area boundary expansion may only occur as part of a municipal comprehensive review where it
has been demonstrated that:
- based on the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan and the land needs assessment provided for
in policy 126.96.36.199, sufficient opportunities to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan are not available through
intensification and in designated greenfield areas:
- within the upper- or single-tier municipality, and
- within the applicable lower-tier municipality to accommodate the growth allocated to the municipality under this Plan;
- the expansion makes available sufficient lands not exceeding the horizon of this Plan, based on the analysis provided for in policy 188.8.131.52 a), while minimizing land consumption; and
- the timing of the expansion and the phasing of development within the designated greenfield areas will not adversely affect the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, as well as the other policies of this Plan.
- based on the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan and the land needs assessment provided for in policy 184.108.40.206, sufficient opportunities to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan are not available through intensification and in designated greenfield areas:
- Where the need for a settlement area boundary expansion has been justified in accordance with policy 220.127.116.11, the
municipal comprehensive review will determine the feasibility of a settlement area boundary expansion and identify the most
appropriate location based on the following:
- there are existing or planned infrastructure and public services facilities to support proposed growth and the development of complete communities;
- the infrastructure and public service facilities needed would be financially viable over the full life cycle of these assets, based on mechanisms such as asset management planning and revenue generation analyses;
- the proposed expansion aligns with a water and wastewater master plan or equivalent that has been completed in accordance with the policies in subsection 3.2.6;
- the proposed expansion aligns with a stormwater master plan or equivalent that has been completed in accordance with the policies in subsection 3.2.7;
- a subwatershed plan or equivalent has demonstrated that the proposed expansion, including the associated servicing, would not negatively impact the water resource system, including the quality and quantity of water;
- key hydrologic areas and natural heritage systems should be avoided where possible;
- for settlement areas that receive their water from or discharge their sewage to inland lakes, rivers or groundwater, a completed environmental assessment for new or expanded services has identified how expanded water and wastewater treatment capacity would be addressed in a manner that is fiscally and environmentally sustainable;
- prime agricultural areas should be avoided where possible. Where prime agricultural areas cannot be
avoided, an agricultural impact assessment will be used in determining the location of the expansion based on minimizing and mitigating
the impact on the agricultural system and evaluating alternative locations across the upper-or single-tier municipality in accordance with
- the lands do not comprise specialty crop areas;
- there are no reasonable alternatives that avoid prime agricultural areas; and
- there are no reasonable alternatives on lower priority agricultural lands in prime agricultural areas;
- the settlement area to be expanded is in compliance with the minimum distance separation formulae;
- any impacts on agricultural operations and on the agricultural support network from expanding settlement areas would be avoided or, if avoidance is not possible, minimized and to the extent feasible mitigated as determined through an agricultural impact assessment;
- the policies of Sections 2 (Wise Use and Management of Resources) and 3 (Protecting Public Health and Safety) of the PPS are applied;
- the proposed expansion would meet any applicable requirements of the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation, Niagara Escarpment and Lake Simcoe Protection Plans and any applicable source protection plan; and
- within the Protected Countryside in the Greenbelt Area:
- the settlement area to be expanded is identified in the Greenbelt Plan as a Town/Village;
- the proposed expansion would be modest in size;
- the proposed expansion would be serviced by municipal water and wastewater systems; and
- expansion into the Natural Heritage System that has been identified in the Greenbelt Plan is prohibited.
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities in the outer ring that have identified excess lands in their in
effect official plan in accordance with policy 18.104.22.168, may undertake a settlement area boundary expansion only as part of a municipal
comprehensive review where it has been demonstrated that:
- the settlement area to be expanded has been identified as the primary focus for growth in the hierarchy
identified in accordance with policy 22.214.171.124 c) and the expansion will:
- be contiguous to the existing settlement area boundary; and
- be entirely identified as designated greenfield area;
- the overall quantum of excess lands are reduced by redesignation to remove development permissions and the municipality will ensure that any applicable lower-tier official plans are amended accordingly;
- development is prohibited on all excess lands to the horizon of this Plan in accordance with policy 126.96.36.199, including any lands that will become excess lands as a result of the proposed expansion;
- where appropriate, the municipality has used additional tools to reduce the land that is available for development, such as those set out in policies 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206; and
- all requirements of policies 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 have been satisfied. For the purposes of policy 22.214.171.124 a), excess lands will be considered to be not available.
- the settlement area to be expanded has been identified as the primary focus for growth in the hierarchy identified in accordance with policy 126.96.36.199 c) and the expansion will:
2.2.9 Rural Areas
- Municipalities are encouraged to plan for a variety of cultural and economic opportunities within rural settlement areas to serve the needs of rural residents and area businesses.
- Public service facilities in rural settlement areas should be co-located and integrated in community hubs, and priority should be given to maintaining and adapting existing public service facilities in community hubs to meet the needs of the community, where feasible.
- Development outside of settlement areas may be permitted on rural lands if necessary for the management or use of resources, resource-based recreational uses, or other rural land uses that are not appropriate in settlement areas, subject to the policies in Section 4.
- Where permitted on rural lands, resource-based recreational uses should be limited to tourism-related and
recreational uses that are compatible with the scale, character and capacity of the resource and the surrounding rural landscape, and may
- commercial uses to serve the needs of visitors; and
- where appropriate, resource-based recreational dwellings for seasonal accommodation.
- Existing employment areas outside of settlement areas on rural lands with approved zoning or designation in an official plan for employment uses as of June 16, 2006 may continue to be permitted. Expansions to these existing employment areas may be permitted only if necessary to support the immediate needs of existing businesses and if compatible with the surrounding uses.
- New multiple lots or units for residential development will be directed to settlement areas, but may be allowed on rural lands in site-specific locations with approved zoning or designation in an official plan that permitted this type of development as of June 16, 2006.
3 · Infrastructure to Support Growth
Proposed changes/additions to the context for Section 3, if approved, would include:
- New details on stormwater management to emphasize the connections between preparing for extreme weather events and adapting to a changing climate; and
- Updated references to Building Together, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015, the Ontario Great Lakes Strategy and the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015.
Well planned and accessible infrastructure is essential to the viability of Ontario’s communities and critical to economic competitiveness, quality of life and the delivery of public services. This Plan provides the framework to guide and prioritize infrastructure planning and investments in the GGH to support and accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan and beyond.
The infrastructure framework in this Plan requires that municipalities undertake an integrated approach to land use planning, infrastructure investments and environmental protection to achieve the outcomes of the Plan. Co-ordination of these different dimensions of planning allows municipalities to identify the most cost-effective options for sustainably accommodating forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan in support of complete communities. It is estimated that up to 30 per cent of infrastructure capital costs, and 15 per cent of operating costs, could be saved by moving from lower density development to more efficient and compact built form.5
This Plan is supported by Building Together, Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan, which was released in 2011, as well as the Municipal Infrastructure Strategy, which was launched in 2012 as part of the implementation of Building Together. The Municipal Infrastructure Strategy requires municipalities to demonstrate how projects fit within a comprehensive asset management plan and encourages municipalities to improve integration of planning for land use and infrastructure.
The Province will align its infrastructure investments with this Plan. Once in force, the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015, will ensure the Province regularly prepares long-term infrastructure plans. Under the Act, the criteria for evaluating and prioritizing proposed infrastructure projects include considering whether an infrastructure asset is included in a provincial plan or official plan and whether it supports public policy goals.
Significant cost savings can be achieved by ensuring that existing infrastructure is optimized before new infrastructure is built. This principle is integrated into the policies of this Plan and applies to all forms of infrastructure.
The transportation system for the GGH must be planned and managed for the safe and efficient movement of goods and people, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.
Transit is the first priority for transportation planning and investment. The transit network will support and facilitate improved linkages between strategic growth areas and other areas planned for a mix of uses and transit-supportive densities. System users will benefit from improved linkages between and within municipalities as well as transit service integration.
A comprehensive and continuous active transportation network will offer a viable alternative to the private automobile for personal travel. Using a complete streets approach to roadway design will ensure that the needs and safety of all road users are considered when planning and building the street network.
To support goods movement, this Plan calls for a co-ordinated goods movement network that links major goods movement facilities and corridors to the provincial highway network and areas of significant commercial activity. This Plan also calls for the long-term protection of planned corridors and the co-location of infrastructure in these corridors where appropriate.
A clean and sustainable supply of water is essential to the long-term health and prosperity of the region. There is a need to co-ordinate investment in water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to service future growth in ways that are fiscally sustainable and linked to the determination of how these systems are paid for and administered. Water infrastructure planning will be informed by watershed planning to ensure that water quality and quantity is maintained.
The importance of the Great Lakes is reflected in a number of provincial initiatives, including the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015 and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy. This Plan supports these initiatives by providing direction on watershed- based, integrated water, wastewater and stormwater master planning and by restricting future extensions of water and wastewater servicing from the Great Lakes.
Climate change poses a serious challenge for maintaining existing infrastructure and planning for new infrastructure, however, these risks can be mitigated through vulnerability assessments. Similarly, comprehensive stormwater management planning, including considering the use of low impact development, can increase the resiliency of our communities.
Investment in public service facilities – such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and schools – should be planned to keep pace with changing needs and to promote complete communities and support strategic growth areas as appropriate.
5 “Building Together: Guide for Municipal Asset Management Plans”, Ministry of Infrastructure, 2012
3.2 Policies for Infrastructure to Support Growth
For the most part, it is proposed that the existing policy directions for Infrastructure to Support Growth would be retained and, in some cases, updated and clarified.
Proposed changes/additions to this section of the Growth Plan would include:
- More direction on integrated planning for “infrastructure” and requirements for financial, environmental and “infrastructure” planning analysis;
- New policy would specifically link “infrastructure” investments to facilitate higher-density development in “strategic growth areas”;
- Goods movement policies would be updated to align with the PPS, 2014 and Ontario’s Freight-Supportive Guidelines (2016). The concept of “freight-supportive” land use planning would also be integrated throughout the Growth Plan (e.g., planning for “prime employment areas”);
- New subsection on “infrastructure” corridors would encourage the co-location of linear “infrastructure” and would ensure that “planned corridors” would be protected in accordance with the PPS, 2014;
- Planning for “infrastructure” corridors would be required to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts on the “agricultural system”, “key natural heritage features”, “key hydrologic features” and “key hydrologic areas”;
- New policy (adapted from existing policy in the Greenbelt Plan) would prevent the extension of water and wastewater services from areas that are currently serviced by an inland source to the Great Lakes, except for reasons of public health or safety. This would not apply to municipalities that have “urban growth centres”, and in these cases extension from the Great Lakes would be permitted only if there is a demonstrated need for the extension of services and there is an approved environmental assessment for the project;
- Existing criteria for the expansion of water and wastewater services would be supplemented by requiring a water and wastewater master plan, or equivalent, to demonstrate no negative impact on water quality and quantity, financial viability, and assimilative capacity;
- New policy would require municipalities to create “stormwater master plans” for serviced “settlement areas” informed by “watershed planning”;
- New policy would require large-scale development to be supported by a “stormwater management plan” or equivalent informed by a “subwatershed plan” or equivalent;
- New requirements for “low impact development” and “green infrastructure” would be incorporated throughout the Growth Plan to help address climate change; and
- The defined term “community infrastructure” would be changed to “public service facilities” to align with the PPS, 2014 and more direction would be provided for locating “public service facilities”, including community hubs, in locations that are accessible by “active transportation” and transit.
3.2.1 Integrated Planning
- Infrastructure planning, land use planning, and infrastructure investment will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan.
- Planning for new or expanded infrastructure will occur in an integrated manner, including evaluations of long-
range scenario-based land use planning and financial planning, and will be supported by infrastructure master plans, asset management
plans, community energy plans, watershed planning, environmental assessments and other relevant studies where appropriate, and should
- leveraging infrastructure investment to direct growth and development in accordance with the policies and schedules in this Plan, including the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan;
- providing sufficient infrastructure capacity in strategic growth areas;
- identifying the full life cycle costs of infrastructure to service growth and developing options to pay for these costs over the long-term; and
- considering the impacts of a changing climate.
- Infrastructure investment and other implementation tools and mechanisms will be used to facilitate intensification and higher density development in strategic growth areas. Priority will be given to infrastructure investments made by the Province that support the policies and schedules in this Plan.
- As part of municipal asset management planning, municipalities will assess infrastructure vulnerability and identify priority actions and investments to increase infrastructure resilience and adapt to a changing climate.
- The Province will work with public sector partners, including Metrolinx, to identify strategic infrastructure needs to support the implementation of this Plan through multi-year infrastructure planning for the transportation system and public service facilities.
3.2.2 Transportation - General
- Transportation system planning, land use planning, and transportation investment will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan.
- The transportation system within the GGH will be planned and managed to:
- provide connectivity among transportation modes for moving people and for moving goods;
- offer a balance of transportation choices that reduces reliance upon the automobile and promotes transit and active transportation;
- be sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the most financially and environmentally appropriate mode for trip-making;
- offer multimodal access to jobs, housing, schools, cultural and recreational opportunities, and goods and services; and
- provide for the safety of system users.
- In the design, refurbishment or reconstruction of the existing and planned street network, a complete streets approach will be adopted that ensures the needs and safety of all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit-users and operators, and drivers of cars and trucks are considered and appropriately accommodated.
- Municipalities will develop and implement transportation demand management policies in official plans or other
planning documents or programs to:
- reduce trip distance and time;
- increase the modal share of alternatives to the automobile, which may include setting modal share targets;
- prioritize active transportation, transit and goods movement over single-occupant automobiles; and
- target significant trip generators.
3.2.3 Moving People
- Public transit will be the first priority for transportation infrastructure planning and major transportation investments.
- All decisions on transit planning and investment will be made according to the following criteria:
- prioritizing areas with existing or planned higher residential and employment densities to optimize return on investment and the efficiency and viability of existing and planned transit service levels;
- increasing the capacity of existing transit systems to support strategic growth areas;
- expanding transit service to areas that have achieved, or will be planned to achieve, transit-supportive densities and provide a mix of residential, office, institutional and commercial development, wherever possible;
- facilitating improved linkages between and within municipalities from nearby neighbourhoods to urban growth centres, major transit station areas and other strategic growth areas;
- aligning with, and supporting, the priorities identified in Schedule 5;
- increasing the modal share of transit; and
- contributing towards the provincial greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
- Municipalities will work with transit operators, the Province, Metrolinx where applicable, and each other to support transit service integration within and across municipal boundaries.
- Municipalities will ensure that active transportation networks are comprehensive and integrated into
transportation planning to provide:
- safe, comfortable travel for pedestrians, bicyclists and other users of active transportation; and
- continuous linkages between strategic growth areas, adjacent neighbourhoods, key trip generators, and transit stations, including dedicated lane space for bicyclists on the major street network, where feasible, or other safe and convenient alternatives.
3.2.4 Moving Goods
- Linking major goods movement facilities and corridors, international gateways and prime employment areas to facilitate efficient goods movement will be the first priority of highway investment.
- The Province and municipalities will work with agencies and transportation service providers to:
- co-ordinate, optimize and ensure the long-term viability of major goods movement facilities and corridors;
- improve corridors for moving goods across the GGH in accordance with Schedule 6; and
- promote and better integrate multimodal goods movement and freight-supportive land use and transportation system planning.
- Municipalities will provide for the establishment of priority routes for goods movement, where feasible, to facilitate the movement of goods into and out of prime employment areas and other areas of significant commercial activity and to provide alternate routes connecting to the provincial network.
3.2.5 Infrastructure Corridors
- In planning for the development, optimization or expansion of existing and planned corridors and supporting
facilities, the Province, other public agencies and upper- and single-tier municipalities will:
- encourage the co-location of linear infrastructure where appropriate;
- ensure that existing and planned corridors identified in Schedule 5 and 6 are protected to meet current and projected needs in accordance with the transportation and infrastructure corridor protection policies in the PPS;
- where applicable, demonstrate through an environmental assessment, informed by an agricultural impact assessment or equivalent, that any impacts to the agricultural system have been avoided or, if avoidance is not possible, minimized and to the extent feasible mitigated;
- where applicable, demonstrate through an environmental assessment, that any impacts to key natural heritage features in natural heritage systems, key hydrologic features and key hydrologic areas have been avoided or, if avoidance is not possible, minimized and to the extent feasible mitigated; and
- for existing or planned corridors for transportation:
- consider increased opportunities for moving people and goods by rail;
- consider separation of modes within corridors; and
- provide opportunities for inter-modal linkages.
- The planning and design of planned corridors and the land use designations along these corridors will support the policies of this Plan, in particular that development is directed to settlement areas in accordance with policy 188.8.131.52 h).
3.2.6 Water and Wastewater Systems
- Municipalities should generate sufficient revenue to recover the full cost of providing and maintaining municipal water and wastewater systems.
- Municipal water and wastewater systems and private communal water and wastewater systems will be planned,
designed, constructed or expanded in accordance with the following:
- strategies for water conservation and other water demand management initiatives are being implemented in the existing service area;
- the system will serve growth in a manner that supports achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan;
- a comprehensive water or wastewater master plan or equivalent, informed by watershed planning has been
- demonstrate that the system will not negatively impact the quantity and quality of ground and surface water;
- identify the preferred option for servicing growth and development, subject to the hierarchy of services provided in policies 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 of the PPS, 2014, which must not exceed the assimilative capacity of the effluent receiver and available water supply for servicing and ecological needs; and
- identify the full life cycle costs of the system and develop options to pay for these costs over the long-term;
- in the case of large subsurface sewage disposal systems, the proponent has demonstrated attenuation capacity; and
- plans have been considered in the context of applicable inter-provincial, national, bi-national, or state- provincial Great Lakes Basin agreements or provincial legislation or strategies.
- For settlement areas that are serviced by rivers, inland lakes or groundwater, municipalities will not be
permitted to extend water or wastewater services from a Great Lakes source unless:
- the extension is required for reasons of public health and safety, in which case, the capacity of the water or wastewater services provided in these circumstances will be limited to that required to service the affected settlement area, including capacity for planned development within the approved settlement area boundary;
- in the case of an upper- or single-tier municipality with an urban growth centre outside of the
Greenbelt Area, the need for the extension has been demonstrated and the extension:
- will service only the growth allocated to the settlement area with the urban growth centre; and
- has been approved under an environmental assessment; or
- the extension had all necessary approvals as of [placeholder for effective date] and is only to service growth within a settlement area boundary that was approved and in effect as of that date.
- Municipalities that share an inland water source or receiving water body will co-ordinate their planning for potable water, stormwater, and wastewater systems based on watershed planning to ensure that the quality and quantity of water is protected, improved or restored.
3.2.7 Stormwater Management
- Municipalities will develop stormwater master plans or equivalent for serviced settlement areas that:
- are informed by watershed planning;
- examine the cumulative environmental impacts of stormwater from existing and planned development, including an assessment of how extreme weather events will exacerbate these impacts;
- incorporate appropriate low impact development and green infrastructure;
- identify the need for stormwater retrofits, where appropriate;
- identify the full life cycle costs of the stormwater infrastructure, including maintenance costs, and develop options to pay for these costs over the long-term; and
- include an implementation and maintenance plan.
- Proposals for large-scale development proceeding by way of secondary plans, plans of subdivision and vacant land
plans of condominium, and proposals for resort development, will be supported by a stormwater management plan or equivalent, that:
- is informed by a subwatershed plan or equivalent;
- uses an integrated approach that includes low impact development and green infrastructure;
- establishes planning, design and construction practices to minimize vegetation removal, grading and soil compaction, sediment erosion and impervious surfaces; and
- aligns with the stormwater master plan for the settlement area in accordance with policy 126.96.36.199, where applicable.
3.2.8 Public Service Facilities
- Planning for public service facilities, land use planning and investment in public service facilities will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan.
- Public service facilities and public services should be co-located in community hubs and integrated to promote cost-effectiveness.
- Priority should be given to maintaining and adapting existing public service facilities and spaces as community hubs to meet the needs of the community and optimize the long-term viability of public investments.
- Existing public service facilities that are in the vicinity of strategic growth areas and are easily accessible by active transportation and transit, where that service is available, should be the preferred location for community hubs.
- Municipalities will collaborate and consult with service planning, funding and delivery sectors to facilitate the co- ordination and planning of community hubs and other public service facilities.
- In locating new public service facilities, including hospitals and schools, preference should be given to sites that are easily accessible by active transportation and transit, where that service is available.
4 · Protecting What is Valuable
Proposed changes/additions to the context for Section 4, if approved, would include:
- New components in this section refer to the identification and protection of “water resource systems”, “natural heritage systems” and the “agricultural system” and their importance with regard to climate change;
- Recognition of the importance of “cultural heritage resources” and “mineral aggregate resources”;
- Setting out context of natural areas as carbon sinks to sequester carbon and that the Province will develop guidance materials to support municipalities in developing inventories and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of provincial emissions reduction targets and the move towards “net-zero communities”.
The GGH contains a broad array of important hydrologic and natural heritage features and areas, a vibrant and diverse agricultural system, irreplaceable cultural heritage resources, and valuable renewable and non-renewable resources. These systems, features and resources are essential for the long-term quality of life, economic prosperity, environmental health and ecological integrity of the region. They collectively provide essential ecological goods and services, including water storage and filtration, cleaner air, biodiversity, habitats, crop pollination, carbon storage and resilience to climate change.
These valuable assets must be wisely protected and managed as part of planning for future growth. This is of particular importance in the fast-growing GGH, which supports some of the most diverse vegetation and wildlife in Canada, including the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) and the Oak Ridges Moraine - two of Ontario's most significant landforms.
There are existing legislation and policies in place to identify and protect these features, areas and sites, including the Ontario Heritage Act, statements of provincial policy such as the PPS, and provincial plans such as the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation, Niagara Escarpment and Lake Simcoe Protection Plans. A balanced approach to the wise use and management of all resources, including those related to water, natural heritage, agriculture, cultural heritage and mineral aggregates, will be implemented in the GGH.
This Plan recognizes and supports the role of municipal policy in providing leadership and innovation in developing a culture of conservation and addressing climate change. As the GGH grows, so will the overall demand for water, energy, air and land. The ongoing availability of these natural resources is essential for the sustainability of all communities.
This Plan requires the identification of water resource systems and the protection of key hydrologic features and key hydrologic areas, similar to the level of protection provided in the Greenbelt. This provides a consistent framework for water protection across the GGH, and builds on existing plans and policies, including the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and source protection plans developed under the Clean Water Act, 2006. Recognizing that watersheds are the most important scale for protecting the quality and quantity of water, municipalities are required to undertake watershed planning to inform the protection of water resource systems and decisions related to planning for growth.
This Plan also provides for the identification and protection of natural heritage systems in the GGH outside of the Greenbelt Area and settlement areas. This Plan applies protections for natural heritage systems similar to those in the Greenbelt Plan in order to provide consistent and long-term protection for natural heritage systems in the GGH.
The GGH is home to some of Canada’s most important and productive farmland, which is a finite, non-renewable resource. The region’s fertile soil, favourable climate and access to water make it significant on both a national and international scale. The agricultural system includes a continuous land base, comprised of prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas and rural lands, as well as a complementary agricultural support network that helps support long-term agricultural production and the economic viability of the agri-food sector. Many of the farms within the agricultural system also contain important natural heritage and hydrologic features and farmers play a vital role in their stewardship. Protecting the agricultural system will support the viability of the agricultural sector as the region grows.
The GGH also contains important cultural heritage resources that contribute to a sense of identity, support a vibrant tourism industry and attract investment based on cultural amenities. Accommodating growth can put pressure on these resources through site alteration and development. It is necessary to plan in a way that protects and maximizes the benefits of these resources that make our communities unique and attractive places to live.
Building compact communities and the infrastructure needed to support growth requires significant mineral aggregate resources. The Aggregate Resources Act establishes the overall process for the management of mineral aggregate operations, and this Plan works within this framework to provide guidance on where and how aggregate resource extraction can occur, while balancing other planning priorities. The GGH contains significant deposits of mineral aggregate resources, which require long-term management, including aggregate reuse and recycling. Ensuring mineral aggregate resources are available in proximity to demand can support the timely provision of infrastructure and reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
The water resource systems, natural heritage systems and agricultural system in the GGH also play an important role in addressing climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions will be offset by natural areas that act as carbon sinks. Municipalities play a crucial role in managing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions and supporting adaptation to the changing climate. The Province will work with municipalities to develop approaches to inventory and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of provincial targets as we move towards net-zero communities.
4.2 Policies for Protecting What is Valuable
Significant changes to Section 4 are proposed to provide policies for the identification and protection of “natural heritage systems”, “water resource systems” and an “agricultural system” that are generally aligned with the protections in the Greenbelt Plan.
Proposed changes/additions to this Section of the Growth Plan would include:
- New policy would require municipalities to identify and protect a “water resource system”, including both “key hydrologic features” and “key hydrologic areas”; municipalities would undertake “watershed planning” as a basis for identifying and protecting the “water resource system”;
- New policy would require municipalities to incorporate a “natural heritage system” as mapped by the province in their official plans including “key natural heritage features” and their connectivity and diversity, and to apply appropriate policies;
- New policies to incorporate Green-belt level protections for “natural heritage systems”, “key natural heritage features”, “key hydrologic features” and “key hydrologic areas” outside “settlement areas”, while allowing some flexibility in order to accommodate growth;
- New policies for “mineral aggregate operations” within the “natural heritage system” would be similar to those for the Protected Countryside in the current Greenbelt Plan;
- Within “settlement areas”, the PPS, 2014 would apply for the protection of the “natural heritage system” and the “water resource system”, with the added requirement that the diversity and connectivity of the “natural heritage system” would continue to be protected;
- New policy would require the Province to identify an “agricultural system” for the GGH, which would be comprised of “prime agricultural areas”, “specialty crop areas”, “rural lands” and an “agricultural support network”;
- Municipalities would be required to minimize impacts on the “agricultural system” and implement strategies to sustain and enhance the “agricultural system” and the long-term economic prosperity and viability of the agri-food sector; and
- New policies would require municipalities to develop official plan policies to address climate change and encourage them to prepare climate change strategies and greenhouse gas inventories.
4.2.1 Water Resource Systems
- Municipalities, partnering with conservation authorities as appropriate, will ensure that watershed planning is undertaken to provide for a comprehensive, integrated and long-term approach for the protection, improvement or restoration of the quality and quantity of water within a watershed.
- Building on watershed planning, water resource systems will be identified, and the appropriate designations and policies will be applied in official plans to provide for the long-term protection of key hydrologic features, key hydrologic areas and their functions.
- Decisions on allocation of growth and planning for water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure will be
informed by watershed planning. Decisions on settlement area boundary expansions and secondary plans for designated greenfield
areas will be informed by a subwatershed plan or equivalent.
- Municipalities will consider the Great Lakes Strategy, the targets and goals of the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, and any applicable Great Lakes agreements as part of watershed planning and coastal or waterfront planning initiatives.
4.2.2 Natural Heritage Systems
- A comprehensive, integrated and long-term approach will be implemented to maintain, restore or enhance the diversity and connectivity of natural heritage features and areas in a given area, and their long-term ecological functions.
- Official plans will incorporate a natural heritage system as mapped by the Province, and will apply appropriate designations and policies to maintain, restore or improve the diversity and connectivity of the system and the long-term ecological or hydrologic functions of the features and areas as set out in the policies in this subsection and the policies in subsections 4.2.3 and 4.2.4.
- In implementing policy 188.8.131.52, a municipality may refine the boundaries of the natural heritage system in a manner that is consistent with this Plan as well as the upper-tier official plan, where applicable.
- Within the natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206:
- the full range of existing and new agricultural uses, agriculture-related uses, on-farm diversified uses and normal farm practices are permitted, subject to policy 220.127.116.11 c);
- a proposal for development or site alteration will demonstrate that:
- there will be no negative impacts on key hydrologic features or key natural heritage features and their functions;
- connectivity for the movement of plants and animals along the natural heritage system, and between key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features located within 240 metres of each other will be maintained and, where possible, enhanced;
- the removal of other natural features not identified as key natural heritage features should be avoided, and the features should be incorporated into the planning and design of proposed uses where possible;
- the disturbed area of the site, including buildings and structures, will not exceed 25 per cent (40 per cent for golf courses) of the total developable area;
- the impervious surface will not exceed 10 per cent of the total developable area;
- uses will be planned to optimize the compatibility of the project with the natural surroundings; and
- at least 30 per cent of the total developable area of the site will remain or be returned to natural self-sustaining vegetation, except where specified in accordance with the policies in subsection 4.2.8;
- new buildings or structures for agricultural uses, agriculture-related uses and on-farm diversified uses are not subject to policy 18.104.22.168 b) but are subject to the policies for key natural heritage features, key hydrologic features and adjacent lands as set out in the policies in subsections 4.2.3 and 4.2.4;
- notwithstanding policy 22.214.171.124 b), an official plan may, based on an environmental impact study, establish alternative standards for development within the natural heritage system outside of the key natural heritage features, key hydrologic features and associated vegetation protection zones, provided that any alternative standards will maintain, restore or enhance the diversity and connectivity of the system and the long-term ecological or hydrologic functions of the features.
- Policies 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 do not apply to a natural heritage system that is within a settlement area boundary as it exists as of [placeholder for effective date], but policy 2.1 of the PPS, 2014 will continue to apply.
- Where a natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 220.127.116.11 has been brought into a settlement area under the policies in subsection 2.2.8, policy 18.104.22.168 does not apply, but municipalities will establish policies and designations to ensure that the connectivity, diversity and functions of the natural heritage features and areas will be maintained, restored or enhanced.
4.2.3 Key Hydrologic Features, Key Hydrologic Areas and Key Natural Heritage Features
- Development or site alteration is not permitted in key hydrologic features or key natural
heritage features, with the exception of:
- forest, fish and wildlife management;
- conservation and flood or erosion control projects, but only if the projects have been demonstrated to be necessary, and after all alternatives have been considered;
- activities that create or maintain infrastructure authorized under an environmental assessment process;
- mineral aggregate operations and wayside pits and quarries;
- existing uses as of [placeholder for effective date], subject to the following criteria:
- expansions to existing buildings and structures, accessory structures and uses, and conversions of legally existing uses which bring the use more into conformity with this Plan are permitted subject to a demonstration that the use does not expand into the key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature or its associated vegetation protection zone, unless there is no other alternative in which case any expansion shall be limited in scope and kept within close geographical proximity to the existing structure; and
- expansions to existing buildings and structures for agricultural uses, agriculture-related uses, on-farm diversified uses and residential dwellings may be considered within key hydrologic features or key natural heritage features and their associated vegetation protection zones if it is demonstrated that there is no alternative, and the expansion in the feature is minimized and mitigated and, in the vegetation protection zone, is directed away from the feature to the maximum extent possible; and
- small scale structures for recreational uses, including boardwalks, footbridges, fences, docks and picnic facilities, if measures are taken to minimize negative impacts;
- Within a key hydrologic area, large-scale development proceeding by way of secondary plans, plans of
subdivision and vacant land plans of condominium, and resort development may be permitted where it is demonstrated that hydrologic
functions will be protected and that the development will maintain, improve, or restore the quality and quantity of water, such
- in relation to significant groundwater recharge areas, pre-development infiltration on the site will be maintained, improved, or restored;
- in relation to highly vulnerable aquifers, the quality of water infiltrating the site will be maintained; and
- in relation to significant surface water contribution areas, the quality and quantity of water, including baseflow, will be protected.
- Policies 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 do not apply within settlement area boundaries but policies 2.1 and 2.2 of the PPS, 2014 will continue to apply.
- Policy 188.8.131.52 does not apply to key natural heritage features that are not in the natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206, but policy 2.1 of the PPS, 2014 will continue to apply.
4.2.4 Lands Adjacent to Key Hydrologic Features and Key Natural Heritage Features
- A proposal for development or site alteration within 120 metres of a key natural heritage feature or key hydrologic feature will require a natural heritage evaluation or hydrologic evaluation that identifies a vegetation protection zone. The vegetation protection zone for key hydrologic features, fish habitat, and significant woodlands will be no less than 30 metres wide. The vegetation protection zone will be established to achieve and be maintained as natural, self-sustaining vegetation.
- Evaluations undertaken in accordance with policy 220.127.116.11 will identify any additional restrictions to be applied before, during and after development to protect the hydrologic functions and ecological functions of the feature.
- No development other than uses described in policy 18.104.22.168 will be permitted in the vegetation protection zone.
- Notwithstanding policies 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52:
- a natural heritage evaluation will not be required for a proposal for development or site alteration on a site where the only key natural heritage feature is the habitat of endangered species and threatened species;
- new buildings and structures for agricultural uses will be required to provide a 30 metre vegetation protection zone from a key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature, but are exempt from the requirement of establishing a condition of natural self-sustaining vegetation if the land is, and will continue to be, used for agricultural purposes. Despite this exemption, agricultural uses should pursue best management practices to protect or restore key hydrologic features or key natural heritage feature and their functions;
- a natural heritage evaluation or hydrologic evaluation is not required for new buildings and structures for
agricultural uses, agriculture-related uses and on-farm diversified uses located within 120 metres of a key hydrologic
feature or key natural heritage feature, provided that these features and their functions will be protected from the impacts of the
proposal by meeting the following conditions:
- a 30 metre vegetation protection zone is maintained in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206 b) of this Plan, and the key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature is maintained;
- connectivity between the key hydrologic features and key natural heritage features can be maintained and where feasible, improved;
- the new building or structure is located away from the key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature to the maximum extent possible, and where possible clustered with existing buildings or structures;
- best management practices are pursued to protect or restore key hydrologic features or key natural heritage features and functions;
- measures are put in place, especially for stormwater management and erosion control, so that potential impacts of the building or structure on the key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature and functions will be mitigated, before, during and after construction; and
- the municipality has considered the following in relation to determining any potential impacts of the
- the nature and purpose of the building or structure;
- the size and scale of the building or structure, including where appropriate, the cumulative impact of existing development;
- the site characteristics such as topography; and
- the sensitivity of the adjacent key hydrologic feature or key natural heritage feature.
- Outside of settlement areas and subject to municipal and agency planning requirements, minor rounding out, infill
development, redevelopment and resort development in developed shoreline areas designated or zoned for concentrations of
development as of [placeholder for effective date], is permitted if the development will:
- be in accordance with the policies of subsections 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 of this Plan;
- be integrated with existing or proposed parks and trails, and will not constrain ongoing or planned stewardship and remediation efforts;
- restore, to the maximum extent possible, the ecological features and functions in developed shoreline areas; and
- in the case of redevelopment and resort development:
- establish, or increase the extent and width of, a vegetation protection zone along the shoreline to a minimum of 30 metres, except for structures which may be permitted in the vegetation protection zone if the area occupied by such structures is minimized;
- increase the extent of fish habitat in the littoral zone;
- be planned, designed and constructed to protect hydrologic functions, minimize erosion, and avoid or mitigate sedimentation and the introduction of nutrient or other pollutants into the lake;
- exclude shoreline structures that will impede the natural flow of water or exacerbate algae concerns along the shoreline;
- enhance the ability of native plants and animals to use the shoreline as both wildlife habitat and a movement corridor;
- use lot-level stormwater controls to reduce stormwater runoff volumes and pollutant loadings;
- use natural shoreline treatments, where practical, for shoreline stabilization, erosion control or protection;
- be informed by watershed planning;
- be serviced by sewage works which reduce nutrient inputs to groundwater and the lake from baseline levels; and
- demonstrate available capacity in the receiving water body based on inputs from existing and approved development.
- Policies 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 do not apply, but policies 2.1 and 2.2 of the PPS, 2014 will continue to
- key hydrologic features that are within a settlement area boundary;
- key natural heritage features that are within a settlement area boundary;
- key natural heritage features that are outside a settlement area boundary but are not in the natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 188.8.131.52.
4.2.5 Public Open Space
- Municipalities, conservation authorities, non-governmental organizations, and other interested parties are encouraged to
develop a system of publicly accessible parkland, open space and trails, including in shoreline areas, within the GGH that:
- clearly demarcates where public access is and is not permitted;
- is based on a co-ordinated approach to trail planning and development; and
- is based on good land stewardship practices for public and private lands.
- Municipalities are encouraged to establish an open space system within settlement areas, which may include opportunities for urban agriculture, rooftop gardens, communal courtyards, and public parks.
4.2.6 Agricultural System
- The Province will identify the agricultural system for the GGH.
- Prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas, will be designated in accordance with mapping identified by the Province and these areas will be protected for long-term use for agriculture.
- Where agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses interface, land use compatibility will be promoted to avoid or minimize and, to the extent feasible, mitigate impacts on the agricultural system. This may include official plan policies to address the impacts of development in proximity to agricultural uses.
- The geographic continuity of the agricultural land base and the functional and economic connections to the agricultural support network will be maintained and enhanced.
- The retention of existing lots of record for agricultural uses is encouraged, and the use of these lots for non- agricultural uses is discouraged.
- Municipalities are encouraged to implement strategies and other approaches to sustain and enhance the agricultural
system and the long-term economic prosperity and viability of the agri-food sector, including the maintenance and improvement of the
agricultural support network by:
- providing opportunities to support local food, urban and near-urban agriculture, and promoting the sustainability of agricultural, agri-food and agri-product businesses through protecting agricultural resources and minimizing land use conflicts;
- considering the agricultural support network in planning decisions to protect or enhance critical agricultural assets. Where negative impacts on the agricultural system are unavoidable, they will be assessed and mitigated to the extent feasible;
- undertaking long-term planning for agriculture, integrating agricultural economic development, infrastructure, goods movement and freight considerations with land use planning;
- preparing regional agri-food strategies or establishing or consulting with agricultural advisory committees or liaison officers; and
- maintaining, improving and providing opportunities for agriculture-supportive infrastructure both on and off farms.
4.2.7 Cultural Heritage Resources
- Cultural heritage resources will be conserved in accordance with the policies in the PPS, to foster a sense of place and benefit communities, particularly in strategic growth areas.
- Municipalities will work with stakeholders, as well as First Nations and Métis communities, to develop and implement official plan policies and strategies for the identification, wise use and management of cultural heritage resources.
- Municipalities are encouraged to prepare and consider archaeological management plans and municipal cultural plans in their decision-making.
4.2.8 Mineral Aggregate Resources
- The Province will work with municipalities, producers of mineral aggregate resources, and other stakeholders to identify significant deposits of mineral aggregate resources in the GGH, and to develop a long-term approach to ensuring the wise use, conservation, availability and management of these resources, including the identification of opportunities for resource recovery and for co-ordinated approaches to rehabilitation where feasible.
- Municipalities will develop and implement official plan policies and other strategies to conserve mineral aggregate
- the recovery and recycling of manufactured materials derived from mineral aggregate resources for reuse in construction, manufacturing, industrial or maintenance projects as a substitute for new mineral aggregate resources; and
- the wise use of mineral aggregate resources, including utilization or extraction of on-site mineral aggregate resources prior to development occurring.
- Notwithstanding the policies of subsections 4.2.2, 4.2.3 and 4.2.4, within the natural heritage system identified
in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206, mineral aggregate operations and wayside pits and quarries are subject to the following:
- no new mineral aggregate operation and no wayside pit and quarry, or any ancillary or accessory use
thereto will be permitted in the following key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features:
- significant wetlands;
- habitat of endangered species and threatened species; and
- significant woodlands unless the woodland is occupied by young plantation or early successional habitat, as defined by the Province, in which case, the application must demonstrate that policies 220.127.116.11 b) and c) and 18.104.22.168 c) have been addressed and that they will be met by the operation;
- an application for a new mineral aggregate operation or new wayside pit and quarry may only be permitted
in key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features not identified in 22.214.171.124 a) and any vegetation protection zone
associated with such features where the application demonstrates:
- how the water resource system will be protected or enhanced; and
- that policies 126.96.36.199 b) and c) and 188.8.131.52 c) have been addressed, and that they will be met by the operation; and
- any application for a new mineral aggregate operation will be required to demonstrate:
- how the connectivity between key hydrologic features and key natural heritage features will be maintained before, during and after the extraction of mineral aggregate resources;
- how the operator could immediately replace any habitat that would be lost from the site with equivalent habitat on another part of the site or on adjacent lands; and
- how the water resource system will be protected or enhanced; and
- an application to expand an existing mineral aggregate operation may be approved in the natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206, including key hydrologic features and key natural heritage features, and in any associated vegetation protection zone only if the related decision is consistent with the PPS, 2014 and satisfies the rehabilitation requirements of this section.
- no new mineral aggregate operation and no wayside pit and quarry, or any ancillary or accessory use thereto will be permitted in the following key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features:
- In prime agricultural areas, applications for new mineral aggregate operations will be supported by an agricultural impact assessment and, where possible, will seek to maintain or improve connectivity of the agricultural system.
- When operators are undertaking rehabilitation of mineral aggregate operation sites, the following apply:
- the disturbed area of a site will be rehabilitated to a state of equal or greater ecological value and, for the entire site, long-term ecological integrity will be maintained or restored and, to the extent possible, improved;
- if there are key hydrologic features or key natural heritage features on the site, or if such
features existed on the site at the time of the application:
- the health, diversity and size of these key hydrologic features and key natural heritage features will be maintained, restored or, where possible, enhanced; and
- any permitted extraction of mineral aggregate resources that occurs in a feature will be completed, and the area will be rehabilitated, as early as possible in the life of the operation.
- aquatic areas remaining after extraction are to be rehabilitated to aquatic enhancement, which shall be representative of the natural ecosystem in that particular setting or ecodistrict, and the combined terrestrial and aquatic rehabilitation shall meet the intent of policy 220.127.116.11 b); and
- outside the natural heritage system identified in accordance with policy 18.104.22.168, and except as provided in policies 22.214.171.124 a), b) and c), final rehabilitation will appropriately reflect the long-term land use of the general area, taking into account applicable policies of this Plan and, to the extent permitted under this Plan, existing municipal and provincial policies. In prime agricultural areas, on prime agricultural lands, the site will be rehabilitated back to an agricultural condition, in accordance with policy 2.5.4 of the PPS, 2014.
- Final rehabilitation for new mineral aggregate operations in the natural heritage system identified in
accordance with policy 126.96.36.199 will meet these additional criteria:
- where there is no underwater extraction, an amount of land equal to that under natural vegetated cover prior to extraction, and no less than 35 per cent of the land subject to each license in the natural heritage system, is to be rehabilitated to forest cover, which shall be representative of the natural ecosystem in that particular setting or ecodistrict;
- where there is underwater extraction, no less than 35 per cent of the non-aquatic portion of the land subject to each license in the natural heritage system is to be rehabilitated to forest cover, which shall be representative of the natural ecosystem in that particular setting or ecodistrict; and
- rehabilitation will be implemented so that the connectivity of the key hydrologic features and the key natural heritage features on the site and on adjacent lands will be maintained or restored and, to the extent possible, improved.
4.2.9 A Culture of Conservation
- Municipalities will develop and implement official plan policies and other strategies in support of the following
- water conservation, including through:
- water demand management for the efficient use of water; and
- water recycling to maximize the reuse and recycling of water;
- energy conservation for existing buildings and planned developments, including municipally owned facilities,
- identification of opportunities for conservation, energy efficiency and demand management, as well as district energy, renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems generation and distribution through community, municipal and regional energy planning processes, and in the development of conservation and demand management plans;
- land use patterns and urban design standards that support energy-efficiency and demand reductions, and opportunities for alternative energy systems, including district energy systems; and
- other conservation, energy efficiency and demand management techniques to use energy wisely as well as reduce consumption;
- air quality improvement and protection, including through reduction in emissions from municipal, commercial, industrial and residential sources; and
- integrated waste management, including through:
- enhanced waste reduction, composting and recycling initiatives, and the identification of new opportunities for energy from waste, source reduction, reuse and diversion, where appropriate;
- a comprehensive plan with integrated approaches to waste management, including reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, diversion and the disposal of residual waste;
- promotion of building conservation and adaptive reuse, reuse and recycling of construction materials; and
- consideration of waste management initiatives within the context of long-term regional planning, and in collaboration with neighbouring municipalities.
- water conservation, including through:
- Municipalities are encouraged to develop soil reuse strategies as part of planning for growth and to integrate sustainable soil management practices into planning approvals.
- Municipalities and industry will use best practices for the management of excess soil and fill generated during any
development or site alteration, including infrastructure development, so as to ensure that:
- any excess soil or fill is reused on-site or locally to the maximum extent possible; and
- fill received at a site will not cause an adverse effect with regard to the current or proposed use of the property or the natural environment.
4.2.10 Climate Change
- Upper- and single-tier municipalities will develop policies in their official plans to identify actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change adaptation goals, aligned with the Ontario Climate Change Strategy, 2015 and Action Plan.
- In planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change, municipalities are encouraged
- develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve resilience to climate change through land use planning, planning for infrastructure, including transit and energy, and the conservation objectives in policy 188.8.131.52;
- develop greenhouse gas inventories for transportation, buildings, waste management and municipal operations; and
- establish municipal interim and long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that support provincial targets and reflect consideration of the goal of net-zero communities, and monitor and report on progress made towards the achievement of these targets.
5 · Implementation and Interpretation
Proposed changes/additions to the context for Section 5, if approved, would include:
- Overview of mechanisms that would help to implement the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved;
- Expectations for the role of upper- and single-tier municipalities in implementing the Growth Plan through “municipal comprehensive review”, the definition of which would be updated to clarify that it must be implemented under section 26 of the Planning Act and is to be undertaken by the upper- or single-tier municipality; and
- Clarification that the Province would ensure ongoing consultation with its partners in the implementation of the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, including First Nations and Métis communities.
Key to the success of this Plan is its effective implementation. Successful implementation will require that all levels of government, First Nations and Métis communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and citizens work together in a co-ordinated and collaborative way to implement the policies of this Plan and to realize its goals.
The timely implementation of this Plan relies on the strong leadership of upper- and single-tier municipalities to provide more specific planning direction for their respective jurisdictions through the process of a municipal comprehensive review. While it may take some time before all official plans have been amended to conform with this Plan, the Planning Act requires that all decisions in respect of planning matters shall conform with this Plan as of its effective date (subject to any legislative or regulatory provisions providing otherwise).
With the exception of some minor matters, most planning decisions have the ability to impact the achievement of the policies in this Plan. It is therefore in the best interest of all municipalities to complete their work to conform with this Plan, including all official plans and zoning by-laws, as expeditiously as possible within required timeframes.
Where a municipality must make a decision on a planning matter before its official plan has been amended to conform with this Plan, or before other applicable planning instruments have been updated accordingly, it must still consider the impact of the decision as it relates to the policies of this Plan which require comprehensive municipal implementation.
The success of this Plan is also dependant on a range of mechanisms being in place to implement this Plan’s policies. In addition to the legislative framework provided by the Places to Grow Act, 2005, this includes a wide range of complementary planning and fiscal tools, including instruments found in the Planning Act and the Municipal Act, 2001.
In order to continue to make steady progress towards the desired outcomes, the Province will provide information to build understanding of growth management and facilitate informed involvement in the implementation of this Plan. The Province will also ensure ongoing consultation with the public, stakeholders, municipalities and First Nations and Métis communities on the implementation of this Plan.
Measuring the success of this Plan will require rigorous and consistent evaluation of its progress. The Province will work with its public sector partners, including municipalities and agencies, and other stakeholders to compile and share the base of information that is needed to support the ongoing monitoring of the implementation of this Plan.
5.2 Policies for Implementation and Interpretation
For the most part, the existing policy directions for Implementation and Interpretation would be retained and the policies in Section 5 would be updated and clarified to provide additional direction for policy implementation and interpretation. Other technical policies that are currently located in other parts of the Growth Plan are proposed to be moved to this more technical section.
Proposed changes/additions to this Section of the Growth Plan would include:
- Sub-area assessments would be changed to outline the priorities for supplementary direction to implement the Proposed Growth Plan;
- Clarification that intensification and density targets would not require or enable growth beyond what is permitted under the PPS for special policy areas and other “hazardous lands”;
- New policy would require revisiting existing alternative targets at the time of the next “municipal comprehensive review”. Future requests for alternative targets would need to be council-endorsed and approved by the Province, otherwise the minimum targets set out in the Growth Plan, 2016, would apply; and
- New policies would support the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring program for the Greater Golden Horseshoe by allowing the Province to require municipalities to provide data for the purposes of monitoring implementation of the Growth Plan.
- New policy would require that all schedules be reviewed and updated every five years.
5.2.1 General Interpretation
- The policies and schedules of this Plan should be read in a manner that recognizes this Plan as an integrated policy framework.
- Where the policies of this Plan address the same, similar, related or overlapping matters as the PPS, applying the more specific policies in this Plan satisfies the requirements of the more general policies in the PPS.
- A municipal comprehensive review that is undertaken in accordance with this Plan will be deemed to fulfill the requirements in the PPS to undertake a comprehensive review.
- Within the Greenbelt Area, policies of this Plan that address the same, similar, related or overlapping matters as the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan or the Niagara Escarpment Plan do not apply within that part of the Greenbelt Area covered by the relevant plan except where the policies of this Plan, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan or the Niagara Escarpment Plan provide otherwise.
- References to the responsibilities of the Minister set out in this Plan should be read as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, his or her assignee, his or her delegate pursuant to the Places to Grow Act, 2005, or any other member of Executive Council given responsibility for the Places to Grow Act, 2005.
- References to the responsibilities of the Province set out in this Plan should be read as one or more members of Executive Council.
5.2.2 Supplementary Direction
- In order to implement this Plan, the Minister will, where appropriate, identify, establish or update the following:
- the built boundary;
- the size and location of the urban growth centres;
- a standard methodology for land needs assessment;
- prime employment areas, where necessary; and
- data standards for monitoring implementation of this Plan.
- In order to implement this Plan, the Province will, where appropriate, identify, establish or update the following:
- priority transit corridors and planning requirements for priority transit corridors;
- mapping of the agricultural system for the GGH and related guidance;
- methodology for municipal mapping of the natural heritage system for the GGH; and
- guidance on watershed planning.
- Where this Plan indicates that supplementary direction will be provided for implementation but the direction has not yet been issued, all relevant policies of this Plan continue to apply, and any policy that relies on supplementary direction should be implemented to the fullest extent possible.
- A co-ordinated approach will be taken to implement this Plan, in particular for issues that cross municipal boundaries, both between Provincial ministries and agencies, and by the Province in its dealings with municipalities, local boards and other related planning agencies.
- Upper-tier municipalities, in consultation with lower-tier municipalities, will, through a municipal comprehensive
review, provide policy direction to implement the policies of this Plan, including:
- identifying minimum intensification targets for lower-tier municipalities based on the capacity of built-up areas, including the applicable minimum density targets for strategic growth areas in this Plan, to achieve the minimum intensification target in this Plan;
- identifying minimum density targets for strategic growth areas in accordance with this Plan;
- identifying minimum density targets for the designated greenfield areas of the lower-tier municipalities, to achieve the minimum density target for designated greenfield areas in this Plan;
- allocating forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan to the lower-tier municipalities; and
- providing policy direction on matters that cross municipal boundaries.
- Municipalities are encouraged to engage the public, First Nations and Métis communities, and stakeholders in local efforts to implement this Plan and to provide the necessary information to ensure the informed involvement of local citizens.
- In cases where lower-tier official plans are not updated to implement this Plan in a timely or appropriate manner, upper-tier municipalities are encouraged to take action in accordance with subsection 27(2) of the Planning Act.
- Single-tier municipalities in the outer ring and adjacent municipalities should ensure a co-ordinated approach to implement the policies of this Plan.
- Planning authorities are encouraged to co-ordinate planning matters with First Nations and Métis communities throughout the planning process.
- Municipalities are encouraged to build constructive, cooperative relationships with First Nations and Métis communities and to facilitate knowledge sharing in growth management and land use planning processes.
5.2.4 Growth Forecasts
- All upper- and single-tier municipalities will, at the time of their next municipal comprehensive review, apply the forecasts in Schedule 3 for planning and managing growth to the horizon of this Plan.
- The population and employment forecasts contained in the applicable upper- or single-tier official plan that is approved and in effect as of [placeholder for effective date] will apply to all planning matters in that municipality, including lower-tier planning matters where applicable, until the upper- or single-tier municipality has applied the forecasts in Schedule 3 in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206 and those forecasts are in effect in the upper- or single-tier official plan.
- All references to forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan are references to the population and employment forecasts in Schedule 3.
- The minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, including any alternative targets that have been permitted by the Minister, are minimum standards and municipalities are encouraged to go beyond these minimum targets, where appropriate, except where doing so would conflict with any policy of this Plan, the PPS or any other provincial plan.
- Except as provided in policies 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168, the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan will be measured across all lands within the relevant area, including any lands that are subject to more than one target.
- A lower-tier municipality with an urban growth centre will have a minimum intensification target that is equal to or higher than the minimum intensification target for the corresponding upper-tier municipality.
- The minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan do not require or permit:
- in a special policy area that has been approved by the Province in accordance with policy 3.1.4 of the PPS, 2014, development that is beyond what has been permitted; or
- in other hazardous lands, development that is not permitted by the PPS.
- Where alternative targets have been permitted by the Minister, these minimum targets will continue to apply until the time of a municipal comprehensive review. If no request is made, or the Minister does not permit an alternative target, the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan will apply.
5.2.6 Performance Indicators and Monitoring
- The Minister will develop a set of performance indicators to measure the implementation of the policies in this Plan. The Minister will monitor the implementation of this Plan, including reviewing performance indicators concurrent with any review of this Plan.
- Municipalities will monitor and report on the implementation of this Plan's policies within their municipality, in accordance with any reporting requirements, data standards and any other guidelines that may be issued by the Minister.
- The Minister may require municipalities and conservation authorities to provide data and information to the Minister, as collected in accordance with policy 22.214.171.124, to demonstrate progress made towards the implementation of this Plan.
5.2.7 Schedules and Appendices
- The Minister will review the schedules in this Plan, including the forecasts contained in Schedule 3, at least every five years in consultation with municipalities, and may revise the schedules, where appropriate.
- Unless otherwise stated, the boundaries and lines displayed on the schedules are not to scale and provide general direction only.
- The built boundary has been issued for the purpose of measuring the minimum intensification target in this Plan. The conceptual built-up area is shown on Schedules 2, 4, 5, and 6 for information purposes. For the actual built-up area, the built boundary that has been issued by the Minister should be consulted.
- The designated greenfield area, shown on Schedules 2, 4, 5, and 6, is conceptual. For the actual settlement area boundary, the appropriate official plans should be consulted.
- The appendices in this Plan are provided for information purposes only.
5.2.8 Other Implementation
- The identification of strategic growth areas, built-up areas and designated greenfield areas are not land use designations and their delineation does not confer any new land use designations, nor alter existing land use designations. Any development on lands within the boundary of these identified areas is still subject to the relevant provincial and municipal land use planning policies and approval processes.
- Draft plans of subdivision will include a lapsing date under subsection 51(32) of the Planning Act. When determining whether draft approval should be extended for lapsing draft plans of subdivision, the policies of this Plan must be considered in the development review process.
- If a plan of subdivision or part thereof has been registered for eight years or more and does not meet the growth management objectives of this Plan, municipalities are encouraged to use their authority under subsection 50(4) of the Planning Act to deem it not to be a registered plan of subdivision and, where appropriate, amend site-specific designations and zoning accordingly.
6 · Simcoe Sub-area
Proposed changes to the context for Section 6, if approved, would provide clarity that the policy changes to the remainder of the Growth Plan would apply in the “Simcoe Sub-area” in addition to the policies in Section 6.
While this Plan is to be read in its entirety and all policies are applicable to all municipalities within the GGH, this section provides additional, more specific direction on how this Plan's vision will be achieved in the Simcoe Sub-area. The Simcoe Sub-area is comprised of the County of Simcoe and the cities of Barrie and Orillia.
The policies in Section 6 direct a significant portion of growth within the Simcoe Sub-area to communities where development can be most effectively serviced, and where growth improves the range of opportunities for people to live, work, and play in their communities, with a particular emphasis on primary settlement areas. The City of Barrie is the principal primary settlement area. Downtown Barrie is the only urban growth centre in the Simcoe Sub-area. The policies in Section 6 recognize and support the vitality of urban and rural communities in the Simcoe Sub-area. All municipalities will play an important role in ensuring that future growth is planned for and managed in an effective and sustainable manner that conforms with this Plan. The intent is that by 2031 development for all the municipalities within Simcoe County will not exceed the overall population and employment forecasts contained in Schedule 7.
Ensuring an appropriate supply of land for employment and residential growth, and making the best use of existing infrastructure is also important to the prosperity of the Simcoe Sub-area. Section 6 identifies specific employment areas that will enable municipalities in the Simcoe Sub-area to benefit from existing and future economic opportunities. By providing further direction on where growth to 2031 is to occur in the Simcoe Sub-area, it also establishes a foundation for municipalities to align infrastructure investments with growth management, optimize the use of existing and planned infrastructure, co-ordinate water and wastewater services, and promote green infrastructure and innovative technologies.
A more livable, compact, complete urban structure with good design and built form will support the achievement of economic and environmental benefits. Through effective growth management, municipalities will ensure that the natural environment is protected from the impacts of growth in the Simcoe Sub-area, while providing amenities for the residents and visitors to this area from across the GGH and beyond.
Most of the policies in Section 6, which apply to the “Simcoe Sub-area” exclusively, would be retained. However, some changes are being proposed to clarify how the policies in this section would be implemented and to ensure alignment with the changes that are being proposed for the other Sections of the Proposed Growth Plan. This includes a sunset date for policy 126.96.36.199 (January 19, 2022) that is 10 years from the date that the policy first took effect (through Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan).
6.2 Growth Forecasts
- Notwithstanding policy 188.8.131.52 d), lower-tier municipalities in the County shall use the population and employment forecasts contained in Schedule 7 for planning and managing growth in the Simcoe Sub-area to 2031.
- Beyond 2031, Simcoe County will allocate the growth forecasts in Schedule 3 to lower-tier municipalities in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206 d) in a manner that implements the policies in this Plan, such that a significant portion of population and employment growth is directed to lower-tier municipalities that contain primary settlement areas.
- Population and employment growth in Simcoe County will be accommodated on lands for urban uses as of January 19, 2017 prior to redesignating any additional lands not for urban uses to lands for urban uses.
- The employment forecasts in this Plan include employment located in the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts.
6.3 Managing Growth
6.3.1 Primary Settlement Areas
- Primary settlement areas for the Simcoe Sub-area are identified in Schedule 8.
- Municipalities with primary settlement areas will, in their official plans and other supporting documents:
- identify primary settlement areas;
- identify and plan for strategic growth areas within primary settlement areas;
- plan to create complete communities within primary settlement areas; and
- ensure the development of high quality urban form and public open spaces within primary settlement areas through site design and urban design standards that create attractive and vibrant places that support walking and cycling for everyday activities and are transit-supportive.
- Primary settlement areas in the County will be identified in the official plan of the County of Simcoe.
- The Town of Innisfil, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of New Tecumseth will direct a significant portion of population and employment growth forecasted to the applicable primary settlement areas. The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of Innisfil, in planning to meet their employment forecasts, may direct appropriate employment to the Bradford West Gwillimbury strategic settlement employment area and the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area respectively.
6.3.2 Settlement Areas
- Notwithstanding policy 220.127.116.11, development may be approved in settlement areas in excess of what is needed to
accommodate the forecasts in Schedule 7, provided the development:
- contributes to the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets that have been identified by the Minister, subject to policy 6.5.5;
- is on lands for urban uses as of January 19, 2012;
- can be serviced in accordance with applicable provincial plans and provincial policies; and
- is in accordance with the requirements of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, 2009, if applicable.
- Notwithstanding policy 18.104.22.168, the County may approve adopted official plans or adopted official plan amendments
regarding lands within a settlement area that redesignate lands not for urban uses to lands for urban uses that are in
excess of what is needed for a time horizon of up to 20 years or to accommodate the forecasts in Schedule 7, whichever is sooner, provided it is
demonstrated that this growth:
- can be serviced in accordance with applicable provincial plans and provincial policies;
- contributes to the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets that have been identified by the Minister in accordance with policy 6.5.5;
- contributes to the development of a complete community;
- is subject to phasing policies;
- contributes to the achievement of the jobs to residents ratio in Schedule 7 for the lower-tier municipality;
- is in accordance with the requirements of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, 2009, if applicable;
- is supported by appropriate transportation infrastructure and is in accordance with any transportation guidelines and policies developed by the County of Simcoe; and
- is in accordance with any additional growth management policies specified by the County of Simcoe that do not conflict with the policies in this Plan.
- The sum of all population growth accommodated on lands for urban uses approved pursuant to policy 22.214.171.124 shall not exceed a total population of 20,000 for the County of Simcoe.
- Municipalities in the County of Simcoe may approve development on lands for urban uses approved pursuant to policies 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 prior to January 19, 2017.
- Policies 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 will apply in the County of Simcoe and its lower-tier municipalities until January 19, 2017.
- The County of Simcoe Council will monitor and report annually on approvals made pursuant to policies 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.
- The County of Simcoe and the lower-tier municipalities in the County shall establish and implement phasing policies to ensure the orderly and timely progression of development on lands for urban uses.
- The County of Simcoe will develop and implement through its official plan, policies to implement the policies in subsection 6.3.2.
6.4 Employment Lands
- The Bradford West Gwillimbury strategic settlement employment area, the Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area, the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport economic employment district and the Rama Road economic employment district are identified in Schedule 8.
- The Minister, in consultation with affected municipalities and stakeholders, has determined the location and boundaries
of strategic settlement employment areas, and has established as appropriate the following:
- permitted uses, and the mix and percentage of certain uses;
- permitted uses for specific areas within the strategic settlement employment areas;
- lot sizes; and
- any additional policies and definitions that apply to these areas.
- The Minister, in consultation with affected municipalities and stakeholders, has determined the location and boundaries, and established as appropriate the uses permitted in the economic employment districts.
- The Minister may review and amend decisions made pursuant to policies 6.4.2 and 6.4.3. Municipalities in the Simcoe Sub-area may request the Minister to consider a review.
- The County of Simcoe and lower-tier municipalities in the County in which the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are located, will delineate the areas and districts, as determined by the Minister, in their official plans.
- The lower-tier municipalities in the County in which the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are located will develop official plan policies to implement the matters determined by the Minister in accordance with policies 6.4.2, 6.4.3, and 6.4.4, as applicable.
- Although not settlement areas, the strategic settlement employment areas and economic employment districts are considered designated greenfield area for the purposes of policies 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, and 220.127.116.11.
- For lands within strategic settlement employment areas and the economic employment districts the municipality can identify the natural heritage systems, features, and areas for protection.
- The policies in Section 6 apply only to the Simcoe Sub-area.
- For the Simcoe Sub-area, where there is a conflict between policies in Section 6, Schedule 7, and Schedule 8 and the remainder of this Plan, the policies in Section 6, Schedule 7, and Schedule 8 prevail.
- Policy 18.104.22.168 will not apply to Simcoe County until such time as the County has commenced a municipal comprehensive review to allocate the growth forecasts in Schedule 3 to lower-tier municipalities in accordance with policy 6.2.2.
- Policy 22.214.171.124 will apply until January 19, 2022.
- The Minister has identified minimum intensification and density targets for lower-tier municipalities in the County of Simcoe to 2031. These minimum targets are considered to be alternative targets for the purposes of this Plan and will continue to apply subject to policy 126.96.36.199.
7 · Definitions
Proposed changes to this section would support the proposed changes to other parts of the Plan through the addition of new defined terms. Many of the new defined terms that are proposed to be added (e.g., “freight-supportive”) would be replicated from the PPS, 2014 and, where possible, would align with the terms that would be used in the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Some of the Growth Plan’s defined terms, including “complete communities” and “municipal comprehensive review” would be revised. Other defined terms (e.g., “transit-supportive”) would be updated to harmonize with the PPS, 2014.
As defined in this glossary, a number of the defined terms in this Plan have the same meaning or are based on the meaning of another provincial document, particularly the PPS, 2014. For convenience, a parenthetical note following definitions indicates where this is the case.
Human-powered travel, including but not limited to, walking, cycling, inline skating and travel with the use of mobility aids, including motorized wheelchairs and other power-assisted devices moving at a comparable speed. (PPS, 2014)
- in the case of ownership housing, the least expensive of:
- housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30 per cent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or
- housing for which the purchase price is at least 10 per cent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area;
- in the case of rental housing, the least expensive of:
- a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 per cent of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or
- a unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area.
For the purposes of this definition:
Low and moderate income households means, in the case of ownership housing, households with incomes in the lowest 60 per cent of the income distribution for the regional market area; or in the case of rental housing, households with incomes in the lowest 60 per cent of the income distribution for renter households for the regional market area.
Regional market area means an area, generally broader than a lower-tier municipality that has a high degree of social and economic interaction. In the GGH, the upper- or single-tier municipality will normally serve as the regional market area. Where a regional market area extends significantly beyond upper- or single-tier boundaries, it may include a combination of upper-, single- and/or lower-tier municipalities. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Agricultural Impact Assessment
A study that evaluates the potential impacts of non-agricultural development on agricultural operations and the agricultural system and recommends ways to avoid or, if avoidance is not possible, minimize and mitigate adverse impacts.
Agricultural Support Network
A network that is part of the agricultural system and includes elements important to the viability of the agri-food sector such as: regional agricultural infrastructure and transportation networks, on-farm buildings and infrastructure, agricultural services, farm markets, distributors and first-level processing, and vibrant, agriculture-supportive communities.
A group of inter-connected elements that collectively create a viable, thriving agricultural sector. It has two components: 1. An agricultural land base comprised of prime agricultural areas, including specialty crop areas and rural lands that together create a continuous productive land base for agriculture; 2 An agricultural support network which includes infrastructure, services and agri-food assets important to the viability of the sector.
The growing of crops, including nursery, biomass, and horticultural crops; raising of livestock; raising of other animals for food, fur or fibre, including poultry and fish; aquaculture; apiaries; agro-forestry; maple syrup production; and associated on-farm buildings and structures, including, but not limited to livestock facilities, manure storages, value-retaining facilities, and accommodation for full-time farm labour when the size and nature of the operation requires additional employment. (PPS, 2014)
Farm-related commercial and farm-related industrial uses that are directly related to the farm operations in the area, support agriculture, benefit from being in close proximity to farm operations, and provide direct products and/or services to farm operations as a primary activity. (PPS, 2014)
Alternative Energy System
A system that uses sources of energy or energy conversion processes to produce power, heat and/or cooling that significantly reduces the amount of harmful emissions to the environment (air, earth and water) when compared to conventional energy systems. (PPS, 2014)
Naturally open areas of thin or no soil over essentially flat limestone, dolostone or marble rock, supporting a sparse vegetation cover of mostly shrubs and herbs. (Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Includes artifacts, archaeological sites, marine archaeological sites, as defined under the Ontario Heritage Act. The identification and evaluation of such resources are based upon archaeological fieldwork undertaken in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act. (PPS, 2014)
Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI)
Areas of land and water containing natural landscapes or features that have been identified as having life science or earth science values related to protection, scientific study or education. (PPS, 2014)
Bradford West Gwillimbury Strategic Settlement Employment Area
Location set out in Schedule 8. The Bradford West Gwillimbury strategic settlement employment area boundary is determined by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and planned for in accordance with the policies in subsection 6.4.
Undeveloped or previously developed properties that may be contaminated. They are usually, but not exclusively, former industrial or commercial properties that may be underutilized, derelict or vacant. (PPS, 2014)
The limits of the developed urban area as defined by the Minister in consultation with affected municipalities for the purpose of measuring the minimum intensification target in this Plan. The built boundary consists of delineated and undelineated built-up areas.
Built Heritage Resource
A building, structure, monument, installation or any manufactured remnant that contributes to a property’s cultural heritage value or interest as identified by a community, including an Aboriginal community. Built heritage resources are generally located on property that has been designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act, or included on local, provincial and/or federal registers. (PPS, 2014)
All land within the built boundary. Where the built boundary is undelineated, the entire settlement area is considered built-up area.
Compact Built Form
A land use pattern that encourages the efficient use of land, walkable neighbourhoods, mixed land uses (residential, retail, workplace and institutional) all within one neighbourhood, proximity to transit and reduced need for infrastructure. Compact built form can include detached and semi-detached houses on small lots as well as townhouses and walk-up apartments, multi-storey commercial developments, and apartments or offices above retail. Walkable neighbourhoods can be characterized by roads laid out in a well-connected network, destinations that are easily accessible by active transportation, sidewalks with minimal interruptions for vehicle access, and a pedestrian friendly environment along roads to encourage active transportation.
Places such as mixed-use neighbourhoods or other areas within cities, towns and settlement areas that offer and support opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to conveniently access most of the necessities for daily living, including an appropriate mix of jobs, local stores and services, a full range of housing and public service facilities. Complete communities may take different shapes and forms appropriate to their contexts.
Cultural Heritage Landscape
A defined geographical area that may have been modified by human activity and is identified as having cultural heritage value or interest by a community, including an Aboriginal community. The area may involve features such as structures, spaces, archaeological sites or natural elements that are valued together for their interrelationship, meaning or association. Examples may include, but are not limited to, heritage conservation districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act; villages, parks, gardens, battlefields, mainstreets and neighbourhoods, cemeteries, trailways, viewsheds, natural areas and industrial complexes of heritage significance; and areas recognized by federal or international designation authorities (e.g., a National Historic Site or District designation, or a UNESCO World Heritage Site). (PPS, 2014)
Cultural Heritage Resources
Built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes and archaeological resources.
Designated Greenfield Area
The area within a settlement area that is required to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan and is not built-up area. Designated greenfield areas do not include excess lands.
The creation of a new lot, a change in land use, or the construction of buildings and structures requiring approval under the Planning Act, but does not include:
- activities that create or maintain infrastructure authorized under an environmental assessment process; or
- works subject to the Drainage Act.
(Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
A system of works, excluding plumbing, that is established for the purpose of providing users of the system with drinking water and that includes:
- any thing used for the collection, production, treatment, storage, supply or distribution of water;
- any thing related to the management of residue from the treatment process or the management of the discharge of a substance into the natural environment from the treatment system; and
- a well or intake that serves as the source or entry point of raw water supply for the system.
(Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002)
Economic Employment Districts
Areas that have been identified by the Minister that are to be planned and protected for locally significant employment uses. These areas are not settlement areas or prime employment areas.
Areas designated in an official plan for clusters of business and economic activities including, but not limited to, manufacturing, warehousing, offices, and associated retail and ancillary facilities. (PPS, 2014)
Energy Transmission Pipeline
A pipeline for transporting large quantities of oil or natural gas within a province or across provincial or international boundaries. Energy transmission pipelines do not include local distribution pipelines.
Lands within a settlement area that are in excess of what is required to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan.
As defined in the Fisheries Act, means spawning grounds and any other areas, including nursery, rearing, food supply, and migration areas on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes. (PPS, 2014)
In regard to land use patterns, means transportation systems and facilities that facilitate the movement of goods. This includes policies or programs intended to support efficient freight movement through the planning, design and operation of land use and transportation systems. Approaches may be recommended by the Province or based on municipal approaches that achieve the same objectives. (PPS, 2014)
A public transit service that runs at least every 15 minutes in both directions throughout the day and into the evening every day of the week.
Gateway Economic Centre
Settlement areas identified in this Plan, as conceptually depicted on Schedules 2, 5, and 6 that, due to their proximity to major international border crossings, have unique economic importance to the region and Ontario.
Gateway Economic Zone
Settlement areas identified in this Plan within the zone that is conceptually depicted on Schedules 2, 5, and 6, that, due to their proximity to major international border crossings, have unique economic importance to the region and Ontario.
Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)
The geographic area identified as the Greater Golden Horseshoe growth plan area in Ontario Regulation 416/05 under the Places to Grow Act, 2005.
Natural and human-made elements that provide ecological and hydrologic functions and processes. Green infrastructure can include components such as natural heritage features and systems, parklands, stormwater management systems, street trees, urban forests, natural channels, permeable surfaces, and green roofs. (PPS, 2014)
The geographic area identified as the Greenbelt Area in Ontario Regulation 59/05 under the Greenbelt Act, 2005.
Previously developed properties that are not contaminated. They are usually, but not exclusively, former commercial properties that may be underutilized, derelict or vacant.
Ground Water Features
Water-related features in the earth’s subsurface, including recharge/discharge areas, water tables, aquifers and unsaturated zones that can be defined by surface and subsurface hydrogeologic investigations. (PPS, 2014)
Habitat of Endangered Species and Threatened Species
- With respect to a species listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species for which a regulation made under clause 55(1)(a) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 is in force, the area prescribed by that regulation as the habitat of the species; or
- With respect to any other species listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as an endangered or threatened species, an area on which the species depends, directly or indirectly, to carry on its life processes such as reproduction, rearing, hibernation, migration or feeding, as approved by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; and
places in the areas described in clauses (a) and (b), whichever is applicable, that are used by members of the species as dens, nests, hibernacula or other residences. (PPS, 2014)
Property or lands that could be unsafe for development due to naturally occurring processes. Along the shorelines of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River System, this means the land, including that covered by water, between the international boundary, where applicable, and the furthest landward limit of the flooding hazard, erosion hazard or dynamic beach hazard limits. Along the shorelines of large, inland lakes, this means the land, including that covered by water, between a defined offshore distance or depth and the furthest landward limit of the flooding hazard, erosion hazard or dynamic beach hazard limits. Along river, stream and small inland lake systems, this means the land, including that covered by water, to the furthest landward limit of the flooding hazard or erosion hazard limits. (PPS, 2014)
Higher Order Transit
Transit that generally operates in its own dedicated right-of-way, outside of mixed traffic, and therefore can achieve a frequency of service greater than mixed-traffic transit. Higher order transit can include heavy rail (such as subways and inter-city rail), light rail, and buses in dedicated rights-of-way.
Highly Vulnerable Aquifer
An aquifer on which external sources have, or are likely to have, a significant adverse effect, including the lands above the aquifer.
The functions of the hydrological cycle that include the occurrence, circulation, distribution and chemical and physical properties of water on the surface of the land, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere, and water’s interaction with the environment including its relation to living things. (PPS, 2014)
Physical structures (facilities and corridors) that form the foundation for development. Infrastructure includes: sewage and water systems, septage treatment systems, stormwater management systems, waste management systems, electricity generation facilities, electricity transmission and distribution systems, communications/telecommunications, transit and transportation corridors and facilities, oil and gas pipelines and associated facilities. (PPS, 2014)
The geographic area consisting of the cities of Hamilton and Toronto and the Regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York.
Innisfil Heights Strategic Settlement Employment Area
Location set out in Schedule 8. The Innisfil Heights strategic settlement employment area boundary is determined by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and planned for in accordance with the policies in subsection 6.4.
The development of a property, site or area at a higher density than currently exists through:
- redevelopment, including the reuse of brownfield sites;
- the development of vacant and/or underutilized lots within previously developed areas;
- infill development; or
- the expansion or conversion of existing buildings.
Agreements entered into voluntarily between the public sector and property owners or third parties, whereby private entities share some of the costs of infrastructure improvements or contribute some benefits back to the public sector based on a mutual recognition of the benefits of such infrastructure improvements. Approaches to joint development may be recommended in guidelines developed by the Province.
Key Hydrologic Areas
Significant groundwater recharge areas, highly vulnerable aquifers and significant surface water contribution areas that are necessary for the ecological and hydrologic integrity of a watershed. The identification and delineation of key hydrologic areas will be informed by watershed planning, and other evaluations and assessments.
Key Hydrologic Features
Permanent streams, intermittent streams, inland lakes, seepage area and springs and wetlands. The identification and delineation of key hydrologic features will be informed by watershed planning, and other evaluations and assessments.
Key Natural Heritage Features
Habitat of endangered species and threatened species; fish habitat; wetlands; life science areas of natural and scientific interest (ANSIs), significant valleylands, significant woodlands; significant wildlife habitat; sand barrens, savannahs, and tallgrass prairies; and alvars. (Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Lake Simcoe Regional Airport Economic Employment District
Location set out in Schedule 8. The Lake Simcoe Regional Airport economic employment district boundary is determined by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and planned for in accordance with the policies in subsection 6.4. Major retail and residential uses are not permitted.
Lands for Urban Uses
Lands that are not designated for agricultural uses or rural uses within a settlement area identified in the approved official plan for the municipality.
Lands Not for Urban Uses
Lands that are designated for agricultural uses or rural uses within a settlement area identified in the approved official plan for the municipality.
Large Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems
Subsurface disposal systems with a design capacity in excess of 10,000 litres per day. These systems are to be designed in accordance with Section 22 of “Design Guidelines for Sewage Works, 2008”.
Low Impact Development
An approach to stormwater management that seeks to manage rain and other precipitation as close as possible to where it falls in order to mitigate the impacts of increased runoff and stormwater pollution. It comprises a set of site design strategies and distributed, small scale structural practices to mimic the natural hydrology to the greatest extent possible through infiltration, evapotranspiration, harvesting, filtration and detention of stormwater. Low impact development can include: bio-swales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, green roofs and exfiltration systems. Low impact development often employs vegetation and soil in its design, however, that does not always have to be the case.
Major Goods Movement Facilities and Corridors
The transportation facilities and corridors associated with the inter- and intra-provincial movement of goods. Examples include: inter-modal facilities, ports, airports, truck terminals, freight corridors, freight facilities, and haul routes and primary transportation corridors used for the movement of goods. Approaches that are freight-supportive may be recommended in guidelines developed by the Province or based on municipal approaches that achieve the same objectives. (PPS, 2014)
Freestanding office buildings of approximately 4,000 square metres of floorspace or greater, or with approximately 200 jobs or more.
Large-scale or large-format stand-alone retail stores or retail centres that have the primary purpose of commercial activities.
Major Transit Station Area
The area including and around any existing or planned higher order transit station or stop within a settlement area; or the area including and around a major bus depot in an urban core. Major transit station areas generally are defined as the area within an approximate 500m radius of a transit station, representing about a 10-minute walk.
Mineral Aggregate Operations
- lands under license or permit, other than for wayside pits and quarries, issued in accordance with the Aggregate Resources Act;
- for lands not designated under the Aggregate Resources Act, established pits and quarries that are not in contravention of municipal zoning by-laws and including adjacent lands under agreement with or owned by the operator, to permit continuation of the operation; and
- associated facilities used in extraction, transport, beneficiation, processing, or recycling of mineral aggregate resources and derived products, such as asphalt and concrete, or the production of secondary related products.
Mineral Aggregate Resources
Gravel, sand, clay, earth, shale, stone, limestone, dolostone, sandstone, marble, granite, rock or other material prescribed under the Aggregate Resources Act suitable for construction, industrial, manufacturing and maintenance purposes but not including metallic ores, asbestos, graphite, kyanite, mica, nepheline syenite, salt, talc, wollastonite, mine tailings or other material prescribed under the Mining Act. (PPS, 2014)
Minimum Distance Separation Formulae
Formulae and guidelines developed by the Province, as amended from time to time, to separate uses so as to reduce incompatibility concerns about odour from livestock facilities. (PPS, 2014)
Major transit station areas that are particularly significant given the level of transit service that is planned for them and the development potential around them. Mobility hubs are identified in The Big Move, a Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and can also be identified in accordance with policy 188.8.131.52.
The percentage of person-trips or of freight movements made by one travel mode, relative to the total number of such trips made by all modes.
Relating to the availability or use of more than one form of transportation, such as automobiles, walking, cycling, buses, rapid transit, rail (such as commuter and freight), trucks, air and marine. (PPS, 2014)
Municipal Comprehensive Review
A new official plan, or an official plan amendment, initiated by an upper- or single-tier municipality under section 26 of the Planning Act that comprehensively applies the policies and schedules of this Plan.
Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems
Municipal water systems, are all or part of a drinking-water system
- that is owned by a municipality or by a municipal service board established under section 195 of the Municipal Act, 2001
- that is owned by a corporation established under section 203 of the Municipal Act, 2001
- from which a municipality obtains or will obtain water under the terms of a contract between the municipality and the owner of the system or
- that is in a prescribed class of municipal drinking-water systems as defined in regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002.
And, municipal wastewater systems are any sewage works owned or operated by a municipality.
Municipalities with Primary Settlement Areas
City of Barrie, City of Orillia, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Town of Collingwood, Town of Innisfil, Town of Midland, Town of New Tecumseth, and Town of Penetanguishene.
Natural Heritage Features and Areas
Features and areas, including significant wetlands, significant coastal wetlands, other coastal wetlands in Ecoregions 5E, 6E and 7E, fish habitat, significant valleylands in Ecoregions 6E and 7E (excluding islands in Lake Huron and the St. Marys River), habitat of endangered species and threatened species, significant wildlife habitat, and significant areas of natural and scientific interest, which are important for their environmental and social values as a legacy of the natural landscapes of an area. (PPS, 2014)
Natural Heritage System
A system made up of natural heritage features and areas, and linkages intended to provide connectivity (at the regional or site level) and support natural processes which are necessary to maintain biological and geological diversity, natural functions, viable populations of indigenous species, and ecosystems. These systems can include key natural heritage features, federal and provincial parks and conservation reserves, other natural heritage features and areas, lands that have been restored or have the potential to be restored to a natural state, associated areas that support hydrologic functions, and working landscapes that enable ecological functions to continue. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Communities that meet their energy demand through low-carbon or carbon-free forms of energy and offset, preferably locally, any releases of greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be eliminated. Net-zero communities include a higher density built form, and denser and mixed-use development patterns that ensure energy efficiency, reduce distances travelled, and improve integration with transit, energy, water and wastewater systems.
New Multiple Lots or Units for Residential Development
The creation of more than three units or lots through either plan of subdivision, consent or plan of condominium.
Employment areas designated in an official plan where there are significant concentrations of offices with high employment densities.
On-farm Diversified Uses
Uses that are secondary to the principal agricultural use of the property, and are limited in area. On-farm diversified uses include, but are not limited to, home occupations, home industries, agri-tourism uses, and uses that produce value-added agricultural products. (PPS, 2014)
The geographic area consisting of the cities of Barrie, Brantford, Guelph, Kawartha Lakes, Orillia and Peterborough; the Counties of Brant, Dufferin, Haldimand, Northumberland, Peterborough, Simcoe, and Wellington; and the Regions of Niagara and Waterloo.
Corridors or future corridors which are required to meet projected needs, and are identified through this Plan, preferred alignment(s) determined through the Environmental Assessment Act process, or identified through planning studies where the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Energy, Metrolinx or Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) or any successor to those Ministries or entities, is actively pursuing the identification of a corridor. Approaches for the protection of planned corridors may be recommended in guidelines developed by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Primary Settlement Areas
Locations set out in Schedule 8. Primary settlement areas are the settlement areas of the City of Barrie, the City of Orillia, the Town of Collingwood, the Town of Midland together with the Town of Penetanguishene, and the settlement areas of the communities of Alcona in the Town of Innisfil, Alliston in the Town of New Tecumseth and Bradford in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Prime Agricultural Area
Areas where prime agricultural lands predominate. This includes areas of prime agricultural lands and associated Canada Land Inventory Class 4 through 7 lands, and additional areas where there is a local concentration of farms which exhibit characteristics of ongoing agriculture. Prime agricultural areas will be identified using guidelines and mapping developed by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
For the purposes of this definition:
Prime agricultural land includes specialty crop areas and/or Canada Land Inventory Classes 1, 2, and 3 soils, as amended from time to time, in this order of priority for protection.
Prime Employment Area
Areas of employment within settlement areas that are designated in an official plan and protected over the long-term for uses that are land extensive or have low employment densities and require these locations, including manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, and appropriate associated uses and ancillary facilities.
Priority Transit Corridors
Emerging higher order transit corridors identified as a focus for planning and intensification. Priority transit corridors are shown in Schedule 5 and can also be identified in accordance with policy 184.108.40.206.
Private Communal Water and Wastewater Systems
Private communal water systems are drinking-water systems that are not municipal water systems and that serve six or more lots or private residences, and
Private communal wastewater systems are sewage works that serve six or more lots or private residences and are not owned or operated by a municipality.
Public Service Facilities
Lands, buildings and structures for the provision of programs and services provided or subsidized by a government or other body, such as social assistance, recreation, police and fire protection, health and educational programs, and cultural services. Public service facilities do not include infrastructure. (PPS, 2014)
All spaces to which the public has unrestricted access, such as streets, parks and sidewalks.
Quality and Quantity of Water
Measured by indicators associated with hydrologic function such as minimum base flow, depth to water table, aquifer pressure, oxygen levels, suspended solids, temperature, bacteria, nutrients and hazardous contaminants, and hydrologic regime. (PPS, 2014)
Rama Road Economic Employment District
Location set out in Schedule 8. The Rama Road economic employment district boundary is determined by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and planned for in accordance with the policies in subsection 6.4. Major retail uses are not permitted.
The creation of new units, uses or lots on previously developed land in existing communities, including brownfield sites. (PPS, 2014)
Renewable Energy System
A system that generates electricity, heat and/or cooling from a renewable energy source.
For the purposes of this definition:
A renewable energy source is an energy source that is renewed by natural processes and includes wind, water, biomass, biogas, biofuel, solar energy, geothermal energy and tidal forces. (PPS, 2014).
Lands which are located outside settlement areas and which are outside prime agricultural areas. (PPS, 2014)
Land (not including land that is being used for agricultural purposes or no longer exhibits sand barren characteristics) that:
- has sparse or patchy vegetation that is dominated by plants that are:
- adapted to severe drought and low nutrient levels; and
- maintained by severe environmental limitations such as drought, low nutrient levels and periodic disturbances such as fire;
- has less than 25 per cent tree cover;
- has sandy soils (other than shorelines) exposed by natural erosion, depositional process or both; and
- has been further identified, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or by any other person, according to evaluation procedures established by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, as amended from time to time.
(Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Land (not including land that is being used for agricultural purposes or no longer exhibits savannah characteristics) that:
- has vegetation with a significant component of non-woody plants, including tallgrass prairie species that are maintained by seasonal drought, periodic disturbances such as fire, or both;
- has from 25 per cent to 60 per cent tree cover;
- has mineral soils; and
- has been further identified, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry or by any other person, according to evaluation procedures established by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, as amended from time to time.
(Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Sensitive Land Uses
Buildings, amenity areas, or outdoor spaces where routine or normal activities occurring at reasonably expected times would experience one or more adverse effects from contaminant discharges generated by nearby major facilities. Sensitive land uses may be a part of the natural or built environment. Examples may include, but are not limited to: residences, day care centres, and educational and health facilities. (PPS, 2014)
Urban areas and rural settlement areas within municipalities (such as cities, towns, villages and hamlets) that are:
- built up areas where development is concentrated and which have a mix of land uses; and
- lands which have been designated in an official plan for development.
(Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Any works for the collection, transmission, treatment and disposal of sewage or any part of such works, but does not include plumbing to which the Building Code Act, 1992 applies. (Ontario Water Resources Act)
For the purposes of this definition:
Sewage includes, but is not limited to drainage, stormwater, residential wastewater, commercial wastewater and industrial wastewater.
Significant Groundwater Recharge Area
An area that has been identified:
- as a significant groundwater recharge area by any public body for the purposes of implementing the PPS, 2014;
- as a significant groundwater recharge area in the assessment report required under the Clean Water Act, 2006; or
- as an ecologically significant groundwater recharge area delineated in a subwatershed plan or equivalent in accordance with provincial guidelines.
For the purposes of this definition, ecologically significant groundwater recharge areas are areas of land that are responsible for replenishing groundwater systems that directly support sensitive areas like cold water streams and wetlands.
Significant Surface Water Contribution Areas
Areas, generally associated with headwater catchments, that contribute to baseflow volumes which are significant to the overall surface water flow volumes within a watershed.
A wetland that has been identified as provincially significant by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Significant Wildlife Habitat
A wildlife habitat that is ecologically important in terms of features, functions, representation or amount, and contributing to the quality and diversity of an identifiable geographic area or natural heritage system. These are to be identified using criteria established by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
A woodland which is ecologically important in terms of features such as species composition, age of trees and stand history; functionally important due to its contribution to the broader landscape because of its location, size or due to the amount of forest cover in the planning area; or economically important due to site quality, species composition, or past management history. These are to be identified using criteria established by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
A valleyland which is ecologically important in terms of features, functions, representation or amount, and contributing to the quality and diversity of an identifiable geographic area or natural heritage system. These are to be identified using criteria established by the Province. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
The geographic area consisting of the County of Simcoe, the City of Barrie and the City of Orillia.
Activities, such as grading, excavation and the placement of fill that would change the landform and natural vegetative characteristics of a site. (PPS, 2014)
Specialty Crop Area
Areas designated using guidelines established by the Province, as amended from time to time. In these areas, specialty crops are predominantly grown such as tender fruits (peaches, cherries, plums), grapes, other fruit crops, vegetable crops, greenhouse crops, and crops from agriculturally developed organic soil usually resulting from:
- soils that have suitability to produce specialty crops, or lands that are subject to special climatic conditions, or a combination of both;
- farmers skilled specialty crops; and
- a long-term investment of capital in areas such as crops, drainage, infrastructure and related facilities and services to produce, store, or process specialty crops.
Stormwater Master Plan
A long range plan that outlines stormwater infrastructure requirements for new and existing development within a settlement area. Stormwater master plans are informed by watershed planning and are completed in accordance with the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.
Stormwater Management Plan
A plan that provides direction to avoid or minimize and mitigate stormwater volume, contaminant loads and impacts to receiving water courses in order to: maintain groundwater quality and flow and stream baseflow; protect water quality; minimize the disruption of pre- existing (natural) drainage patterns wherever possible; prevent increases in stream channel erosion; prevent any increase in flood risk; and protect aquatic species and their habitat.
Strategic Growth Areas
Within settlement areas, nodes, corridors and other areas that have been identified by municipalities or the Province to be the focus for accommodating intensification and higher-density mixed uses in a more compact built form. Strategic growth areas include urban growth centres, major transit station areas, mobility hubs and other major opportunities that may include infill, redevelopment, brownfield sites, the expansion or conversion of existing buildings, or greyfields. Lands along major roads, arterials or other areas with existing or planned frequent transit service or higher order transit corridors may also be identified as strategic growth areas.
Strategic Settlement Employment Areas
Areas that have been identified by the Minister that are to be planned and protected for employment uses that require large lots of land and depend upon efficient movement of goods and access to Highway 400. These are not settlement areas or prime employment areas. Major retail and residential uses are not permitted.
A plan that reflects and refines the goals, objectives, targets and assessments of watershed planning at a broader scale; is tailored to subwatershed needs and local issues; considers existing and proposed development; identifies hydrologic features, areas and functions; and provides for protecting, improving or restoring the quality and quantity of water within a subwatershed. A subwatershed plan is based on pre-development monitoring and evaluation; is integrated with natural heritage protection; and identifies specific criteria, actions and targets for development, for water and wastewater servicing, for stormwater management and to support ecological needs.
Surface Water Features
Water-related features on the earth’s surface, including headwaters, rivers, stream channels, inland lakes, seepage areas, recharge/discharge areas, springs, wetlands, and associated riparian lands that can be defined by their soil moisture, soil type, vegetation or topographic characteristics. (PPS, 2014)
Land (not including land that is being used for agricultural purposes or no longer exhibits tallgrass prairie characteristics) that:
- has vegetation dominated by non-woody plants, including tallgrass prairie species that are maintained by seasonal drought, periodic disturbances such as fire, or both;
- has less than 25 per cent tree cover;
- has mineral soils; and
- has been further identified, by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry or by any other person, according to evaluation procedures established by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, as amended from time to time.
(Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Total Developable Area
The total area of the property less the area occupied by key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features and any related vegetation protection zone. (Proposed Greenbelt Plan, 2016)
Transit Service Integration
The co-ordinated planning or operation of transit service between two or more agencies or services that contribute to the goal of seamless service for riders and could include considerations of service schedules, service routes, information, fare policy and fare payment.
Relating to development that makes transit viable and improves the quality of the experience of using transit. It often refers to compact, mixed-use development that has a high level of employment and residential densities. Approaches may be recommended in guidelines developed by the Province or based on municipal approaches that achieve the same objectives. (Based on PPS, 2014 and modified for this Plan)
Transportation Demand Management
A set of strategies that result in more efficient use of the transportation system by influencing travel behaviour by mode, time of day, frequency, trip length, regulation, route, or cost. (PPS, 2014)
A system consisting of facilities, corridors and rights-of-way for the movement of people and goods, and associated transportation facilities including transit stops and stations, sidewalks, cycle lanes, bus lanes, high occupancy vehicle lanes, rail facilities, parking facilities, park-and-ride lots, service centres, rest stops, vehicle inspection stations, inter-modal facilities, harbours, airports, marine facilities, ferries, canals and associated facilities such as storage and maintenance. (PPS, 2014)
Destinations with high population densities or concentrated activities which generate a large number of trips (e.g., urban growth centres and other downtowns, major office and office parks, major retail, employment areas, community hubs and other public service facilities and other mixed-use areas).
Urban Growth Centres
Existing or emerging downtown areas shown in Schedule 4 and as further identified by the Minister on April 2, 2008.
A natural area that occurs in a valley or other landform depression that has water flowing through or standing for some period of the year. (PPS, 2014)
Vegetation Protection Zone
A vegetated buffer area surrounding a key natural heritage feature or key hydrologic feature.
Surface and/or ground water that can be easily changed or impacted. (PPS, 2014)
Water Resource System
A system consisting of ground water features and areas and surface water features (including shoreline areas), and hydrologic functions, which provide the water resources necessary to sustain healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and human water consumption. The water resource system will comprise key hydrologic features and key hydrologic areas.
An area that is drained by a river and its tributaries. (PPS, 2014)
Planning that provides a framework for the management of human activities, land, water, aquatic life and resources within a watershed and for the assessment of cumulative, cross-jurisdictional and cross-watershed impacts.
Watershed planning typically includes: a water budget and conservation plan; nutrient loading assessments; consideration of climate change impacts and severe weather events; land and water use management strategies; an environmental monitoring plan; requirements for the use of environmental management practices and programs; criteria for evaluating the protection of quality and quantity of water; the identification and protection of hydrologic features, areas and functions and the inter-relationships between or among them; and targets for the protection and restoration of riparian areas.
Watershed planning is undertaken at many scales, and considers cross-jurisdictional and cross- watershed impacts. The level of analysis and specificity generally increases for smaller geographic areas such as subwatersheds and tributaries.
Lands that are seasonally or permanently covered by shallow water, as well as lands where the water table is close to or at the surface. In either case the presence of abundant water has caused the formation of hydric soils and has favoured the dominance of either hydrophytic plants or water tolerant plants. The four major types of wetlands are swamps, marshes, bogs and fens.
Periodically soaked or wet lands being used for agricultural purposes which no longer exhibit wetland characteristics are not considered to be wetlands for the purposes of this definition. (PPS, 2014)
Areas where plants, animals and other organisms live, and find adequate amounts of food, water, shelter and space needed to sustain their populations. Specific wildlife habitats of concern may include areas where species concentrate at a vulnerable point in their annual or life cycle; and areas which are important to migratory or non-migratory species. (PPS, 2014)
Treed areas that provide environmental and economic benefits to both the private landowner and the general public, such as erosion prevention, hydrological and nutrient cycling, provision of clean air and the long-term storage of carbon, provision of wildlife habitat, outdoor recreational opportunities, and the sustainable harvest of a wide range of woodland products. Woodlands include treed areas, woodlots or forested areas and vary in their level of significance at the local, regional and provincial levels. Woodlands may be delineated according to the Forestry Act definition or the Province’s Ecological Land Classification system definition for “forest.” (PPS, 2014)
Minimal changes are proposed for the schedules to the Growth Plan. Schedule 3 would be updated to remove the “2031A” forecasts. Schedule 4 would be updated to reflect local changes in the names for three “Urban Growth Centres”. Schedules 5 and 6 would be updated to reflect current provincial commitments to transit and goods movement infrastructure.
|Distribution of Population and Employment for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to 2041 (figures in 000s)|
Region of Durham
Region of York
City of Toronto
Region of Peel
Region of Halton
City of Hamilton
County of Northumberland
County of Peterborough
City of Peterborough
City of Kawartha Lakes
County of Simcoe
See Schedule 7
See Schedule 7
City of Barrie
City of Orillia
County of Dufferin
County of Wellington
City of Guelph
Region of Waterloo
County of Brant
City of Brantford
County of Haldimand
Region of Niagara
OUTER RING TOTAL*
Note: Numbers rounded off to nearest 10,000 for GTAH municipalities, GTAH Total and Outer Ring Total, and to nearest 1,000 for outer ring municipalities.
* Total may not add up due to rounding.
|Distribution of Population and Employment
for the City of Barrie, City of Orillia and County of Simcoe to 2031
|City of Barrie||210,000||101,000|
|City of Orillia||41,000||21,000|
|Township of Adjala-Tosorontio||13,000||1,800|
|Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury||50,500||18,000|
|Township of Clearview||19,700||5,100|
|Town of Collingwood||33,400||13,500|
|Township of Essa||21,500||9,000|
|Town of Innisfil||56,000||13,100|
|Town of Midland||22,500||13,800|
|Town of New Tecumseth||56,000||26,500|
|Township of Oro-Medonte||27,000||6,000|
|Town of Penetanguishene||11,000||6,000|
|Township of Ramara||13,000||2,200|
|Township of Severn||17,000||4,400|
|Township of Springwater||24,000||5,600|
|Township of Tay||11,400||1,800|
|Township of Tiny||12,500||1,700|
|Town of Wasaga Beach||27,500||3,500|
|TOTAL SIMCOE SUB-AREA||667,000||254,000|
How to read this section
This implementation section would not form part of the text of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2016. The section sets out actions that are proposed to be taken as part of implementing the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved.
This section includes provincial actions that are proposed to be taken as part of implementing the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved. These include –
- A proposed timeframe, to be established by the Minister, for municipalities to bring official plans into conformity with the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved; and
- A proposed approach to minimizing impacts on planning matters that may be in process at the time that the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, takes effect.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing welcomes your feedback on these proposed actions.
Proposed Timeframe for Implementation
Under section 12 of the Places to Grow Act, 2005, the official plan of a municipality must be brought into conformity with a growth plan within three years of the growth plan coming into effect. Subsection 12(3) gives the Minister the ability to set an alternate date for a municipality to meet the conformity requirements.
In order to synchronize the timeframe for municipal implementation of the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, with timeframes for implementation of the revised Greenbelt Plan and the revised Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, if approved, the Minister is proposing to extend the timeframe for Growth Plan conformity to a date that is five years after the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, takes effect.
Proposed Effective Date and Transition
In accordance with subsection 14(1) of the Places to Grow Act, 2005, all decisions made under the Planning Act and Condominium Act, 1998 shall conform with a growth plan that applies to that growth plan area. Subsection 3(5) of the Planning Act provides that decisions in respect of planning matters shall conform with provincial plans that are in effect on the date of decision.
The effective date of the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, will be the date specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in an approval under section 10 of the Places to Grow Act, 2005. Any matter commenced, but where a decision(s) remains to be made prior to the effective date of the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, would be subject to the policies of the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved. The only proposed exceptions would relate to matters that were historically exempted from the application of the Growth Plan, 2006 by O.Reg. 311/06.
In order to facilitate implementation, it is proposed that the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, may be released to the public for a limited period of time in advance of its effective date, as was done for PPS, 2014. It is proposed that the effective date for the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, would be co-ordinated with the effective date for the Greenbelt Plan (2016), Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2016) and Niagara Escarpment Plan (2016), if approved.
Further, it is proposed that the Minister will review the existing transition regulation for the Growth Plan, O. Reg. 311/06, and consider amending the provisions that apply to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan Area to remove any provisions that are no longer needed or to clarify certain provisions, where necessary. Any changes to O. Reg. 311/06 would come into force on the same date that the Growth Plan, 2016, if approved, would take effect.
The Ontario government is seeking feedback on the proposed changes to the plans.
Provide your feedback
We want to hear your comments and feedback on the proposed changes to the plans.
Please visit www.ontario.ca/landuseplanningreview to:
- Submit or upload your feedback and comments using the online e-form by October 31, 2016.
- Learn more about attending a Public Open House in your area.
Other ways to provide feedback
You also have the option to submit comments and feedback using one of the other methods listed below.
Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at www.ontario.ca/ebr:
- Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2016. Notice #012-7194
- Proposed Greenbelt Plan (2016). Notice #012-7195
- Proposed Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2016). Notice #012-7197
- Proposed Niagara Escarpment Plan (2016). Notice #012-7228
- Proposed Amendment to the Greenbelt Area Boundary Regulation. Notice #012-7198
All comments received on proposed changes to the Niagara Escarpment Plan will also be shared with the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Comments can also be submitted directly to the Niagara Escarpment Commission at www.escarpment.org/planreview.
Regulatory Registry at Ontariocanada.com/registry:
- Proposed Amendment to the Greenbelt Area Boundary Regulation. Notice #16-MAH017
- Proposed Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2016). Notice #16-MAH016
Comments may also be mailed to:
Land Use Planning Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Ontario Growth Secretariat
777 Bay Street, Suite 425 (4th floor)
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5
Please note that the deadline for providing feedback has been extended to October 31, 2016.
Notice Regarding Collection of Information
Any collection of personal information for the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review is in accordance with subsection 39(2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It is collected under the authority of the legislation establishing the four plans for the purpose of obtaining input on revisions to the plans.
If you have questions about the collection, use, and disclosure of this information please contact:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Senior Information and Privacy Advisor
777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E5
Organizations and Businesses:
Comments or submissions made on behalf of an organization or business may be shared or disclosed. By submitting comments you are deemed to consent to the sharing of information contained in the comments and your business contact information. Business contact information is the name, title and contact information of anyone submitting comments in a business, professional or official capacity.
Personal contact information will only be used to contact you and will not be shared. Please be aware that any comments provided may be shared or disclosed once personal information is removed. Personal information includes your name, home address and personal e- mail address.