Proposal to return lands to the Greenbelt - Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act, 2023
Bill or Act:
Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act, 2023
Summary of Proposal:
In December 2022, in order to accommodate Ontario's expected growth and support the building of more homes, the government removed or redesignated 15 areas of land totaling approximately 7,400 acres from the edge of the Greenbelt Area (ERO Posting 019-6216: Proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan). At the same time, a portion of the Paris Galt Moraine was added to the Greenbelt, along with 13 Urban River Valley areas (see ERO Posting 019-4485: Growing the size of the Greenbelt), totaling 9,400 acres, for an overall expansion of approximately 2000 acres.
The government has acknowledged that the process for the 2022 Greenbelt removals was too fast and not sufficiently transparent.
In response to the feedback from Indigenous communities, the public, municipalities and stakeholders the government has introduced proposed legislative amendments that would:
Add 15 sites back to the Greenbelt that were removed/redesignated in December 2022 by incorporating the description of the Greenbelt Area and Oak Ridges Moraine Area boundaries directly into the legislation
Eliminate the authority to add or remove lands to/from the Greenbelt Area and Oak Ridges Moraine Area by regulation so that any future amendments to these Areas would require legislative change to the Greenbelt Act or the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act
Revoke the existing Greenbelt Area boundary regulation (O. Reg. 59/05) and the existing regulation that designates the Oak Ridges Moraine Area (O. Reg. 1/02)
Undo the redesignation of lands to Settlement Area in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
Provide for a concurrent amendment to the Greenbelt Plan's land use schedules to restore the same protections to lands that they had before the 2022 amendment
Continue to provide that no Plan amendments can be made that would reduce the total area in the Greenbelt Plan
Reverse the repeal of the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act, 2005
Restore the same protections for easements and covenants on the lands in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve that they had before the 2022 amendment, and
Strengthen immunity provisions.
The amendments, if passed, will maintain the lands added to the Greenbelt in 2022, which includes a total of 9,400 acres (13 additions of Urban River Valley areas and lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area). This bill would fulfill the government's commitment to fully restore these lands and provide protections to the Greenbelt moving forward. At the same time, the government remains committed to addressing Ontario's housing supply crisis and working with municipalities to achieve our shared housing targets.
Further information on the legislative proposal can be found on the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) at:
ERO - Link to DRAPA posting (MNRF leading) (All ERO links and names TBC)
Information on and mapping related to the 2022 decision to amend the Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan can be found here:
ERO #019-6216 - Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan
ERO 019-6218 Proposed redesignation of land under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan O. Reg. 140/02
Summary of Proposed Changes
Greenbelt Act, 2005
The proposed changes would:
Re-enact section 2 of the Greenbelt Act, 2005 so that the Greenbelt Area would be specified in legislation and would include the lands that had been removed from the Area on December 14, 2022. The authority to make regulatory amendments for future additions/removals of lands from the Greenbelt Area by the Lieutenant Governor in Council would also be repealed. Going forward, any proposed changes to the Greenbelt boundary would require the approval of the Ontario Legislature through an open, public and transparent legislative process.
Introduce a new section to the Act, 14.1, to restore the application of the Greenbelt Plan to the 15 areas of land that were removed or redesignated in 2022, while maintaining the 2022 lands that were added at the same time.
Re-enact and enhance section 19 of the Greenbelt Act, 2005 to ensure the province has no legal liability for matters related to the Greenbelt Act.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Act
The proposed changes would expand protections from liability.
Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001
The proposed changes would:
Re-enact section 2 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001 so that the authority to make regulatory amendments for future additions/removals of lands from the Greenbelt Area by the Lieutenant Governor in Council would be repealed. Going forward, any proposed changes to the Oak Ridges Moraine boundary would require the approval of the Ontario Legislature through an open, public and transparent legislative process.
Re-enact and enhance section 20 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001 to ensure the province has no legal liability for matters related to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act.
Introduce a new section to the Act, 26, to restore the designation of land that was redesignated in 2022.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
There is minimal direct compliance or reporting requirements associated with this proposal, and these are limited to municipal staff costs to update official plans to reflect the proposed changes to provincial plans. This proposal would support the continuation of a consistent regulatory environment for people and businesses in the Greenbelt Area.
October 16, 2023
Comments Due Date:
November 30, 2023