Proposed Amendments to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe - Input Needed

Date: January 21, 2019

The provincial government has introduced proposed policy changes to provincial planning directions that govern municipal planning documents and decisions within the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The intent is to establish a new framework that will be more permissive and allow more land to be developed for commercial and industrial purposes (i.e., employment land) or residential uses. Stakeholders with concerns about the level of protection for agricultural uses within the region will need to assess for themselves if this proposal is consistent with assurances that the Greenbelt, agricultural lands and agri-food sector businesses, as well as natural heritage sites, will continue to be protected. The government is seeking feedback on the proposal until February 28th.  

The amendments would reduce constraints on local municipal councils to approve residential developments in the countryside by loosening provincial prohibitions on settlement area expansions that can now only occur through comprehensive Official Plan reviews. It also specifically opens up the potential to approve housing outside settlement areas in rural areas and reduces intensification targets for different groups of urban centres. The proposal would also specifically give the provincial Minister the authority to over-ride municipal plans in the region by enabling the Minister to designate provincially significant employment lands that could be developed for commercial and industrial purposes.  Current policy direction about urban design goals intended to move the region towards less intensive carbon fuel use (through transit, walkability and densification, for example) is proposed to be replaced by less precise wording.  The objectives of the plan to limit urban sprawl would be replaced by the objective of reducing unmanaged growth.    

The proposal can be viewed online at and input submitted in several alternative ways:

Through Ontario's Environmental Registry at "Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017 (2019)" ERO Number 013-4504

By mail:
Ontario Growth Secretariat 
C/O Charles O’Hara 
Director, Growth Planning and Analysis Branch 
Ministry of Municipal Affairs 
College Park 23rd Floor 
777 Bay St. 
Toronto ON M5G 2E5

By email: