Ontario Enhancing Greenbelt Protections
Proposal would restore previously removed lands to the Greenbelt and ensure future changes can only be made through legislation
October 16, 2023
Municipal Affairs and Housing
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TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, would restore all properties that were redesignated or removed from the Greenbelt and the Oak Ridges Moraine areas in late 2022. If passed, this legislation would also enhance protections for the Greenbelt and the Oak Ridges Moraine areas by ensuring any future boundary changes can only be made through a public and transparent process that would require the approval of the legislature. The Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act, 2023 would also restore protections previously provided by the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act.
“We are following through on our commitment to fully restore these lands and provide enhanced protections to the Greenbelt moving forward,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “At the same time, we remain focused and committed to tackling Ontario’s housing supply crisis and working with our municipal partners to achieve our shared housing targets. We know there’s more work to be done.”
At the same time that it restores all properties that were redesignated or removed, the government is proposing to keep the 9,400 acres (3,800 hectares) in the Greenbelt that were added in 2022. These include lands in the Paris Galt Moraine and in Urban River Valley areas across the Greater Toronto Area.
Restoring the protections and policies of the Greenbelt Act in its entirety includes the need for a review every 10 years, as was mandated by the previous government when the legislation was originally introduced and passed. Moving forward, this review will be led by impartial, nonpartisan experts in conservation, agriculture and environmentalism, and will include engagement with Indigenous communities and municipalities. Once final, the experts’ recommendations will be provided to the Auditor General and the Commissioner of the Environment for consultation to ensure that the review process was fair and guided by the recent recommendations to improve process.
- Ontario will ensure the public and municipalities are informed about the timing and process to pass the proposed legislation. The government is engaging directly with Indigenous communities and consulting the public, municipalities and stakeholders on the proposal to add lands back to the Greenbelt.
- Established under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the Greenbelt is a broad band of protected land that currently includes over 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) of property in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
- The Oak Ridges Moraine is a geological landform in south central Ontario that covers approximately 470,000 acres (190,000 hectares) and is part of the Greenbelt.
- The GGH is one of the fastest growing regions in North America. By 2051, its total population is forecasted to be about 15 million.
- Lands added to the Greenbelt in 2022 total 9,400 acres (3,800 hectares) including 13 Urban River Valley areas and lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area.
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