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Ontario Seeks Public Input for Future of Southern Ontario Communities and Green Spaces

Archived News Release

Ontario Seeks Public Input for Future of Southern Ontario Communities and Green Spaces

Celebrates 10th Anniversary of World-leading Greenbelt

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Ontario is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the largest permanently protected greenbelt in the world and looking to the future by reviewing the land use plans of southern Ontario. The Greenbelt protects farmland, green space and clean water. 

The Province will hold public consultations, across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt area, on the review of four provincial land use plans to grow the Greenbelt, protect prime agricultural land, build transit friendly communities and support economic development. The province will undertake a co-ordinated review of:

  • The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
  • The Greenbelt Plan
  • The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
  • The Niagara Escarpment Plan

In addition to public consultations, like town hall meetings, Ontarians will also be able to comment through the Environmental Registry. The review, which is expected to be complete by early 2016, will also benefit from the input of an expert advisory panel, chaired by David Crombie, former federal cabinet minister and former mayor of Toronto. Other panel members include:

  • Keith Currie, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
  • Rae Horst, former CAO, Credit Valley Conservation Authority
  • John MacKenzie, Commissioner of Planning, City of Vaughan
  • Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, Grape Growers of Ontario
  • Leith Moore, Senior Vice President, Urban Fieldgate Homes

Growing the Greenbelt, building transit friendly communities and supporting growth is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The Greenbelt Plan has won many awards including the Environmental Commissioner’s Office Special Award (2007), among others.
  • Ontario’s Greenbelt is an area of permanently protected green space, vibrant rural and small communities, farmland, forests, wetlands and watersheds. It is home to more than 200 rural and small communities that provide support and infrastructure to the more than 5,500 farms on the Greenbelt.
  • The Niagara Escarpment was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1990.
  • The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe won many awards including the American Planning Association’s Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan, 2007 (the first time the award has been won outside of the U.S.), among others.
  • The four provincial land use plans work together to manage growth, protect our agricultural lands and natural environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support economic development in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt.
  • The Greater Golden Horseshoe region is one of the fastest growing regions in North America, projected to increase in population to more than 13.5 million by 2041.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“We’re proud of the legacy we started 10 years ago when we established the Greenbelt Plan to protect the lands that help this province thrive. Now it’s time for us to come together and take stock of the four plans that work to protect our natural environment, manage growth and ensure we’re building smart, compact, vibrant communities that will sustain that legacy well into the future.”

Ted McMeekin

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“We look forward to finding balanced and informed solutions that will help protect Ontario’s rich biodiversity for future generations while continuing to promote economic opportunities and outdoor recreation.”

Bill Mauro

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“Land use plans are crucial to building a sustainable future for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. I’m pleased to have this opportunity to provide input into decisions that will help this region to continue to prosper and provide a high quality of life for all who live, work and raise families here.”

David Crombie

Chair, Expert Advisory Panel

“Our government is committed to creating opportunity and working collaboratively to strengthen our agri-food sector and rural communities. The co-ordinated review provides an opportunity to discuss how land use planning can support the agriculture sector and rural communities in one of the province’s most diverse and fastest growing regions.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Media Contacts

  • Mark Cripps

    Minister’s Office


  • Conrad Spezowka



  • Todd Lane

    Minister’s Office, Natural Resources and Forestry


  • Media Desk

    Communications Services Branch, Natural Resources and Forestry




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