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Ontario Passes Legislation to Promote Smart Community Growth

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Ontario Passes Legislation to Promote Smart Community Growth

Province Expands Municipal Revenue Tools and Streamlines Land Use Planning and Appeals

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Today Ontario passed legislation to give the province's residents a greater say in how their communities grow and to provide municipalities with more opportunities to fund community services like transit and recycling.

The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015, which reforms the Development Charges Act and the Planning Act, will:

  • Help municipalities recover more money to pay for transit services and waste diversion
  • Give residents a meaningful say in how their communities grow by requiring municipalities to look at opportunities to better involve residents in the planning process for new developments and enhancing a planning tool that will be developed with resident and stakeholder input
  • Promote and protect green spaces by encouraging more municipalities to develop plans that help determine the need for parkland in the municipality
  • Help municipalities resolve potential planning disputes earlier at the local level, such as through alternative dispute resolution, to reduce the involvement of the Ontario Municipal Board in local disputes 
  • Make the planning and appeals process more predictable by extending the review of new municipal official plans - plans that lay out how municipalities will grow and develop - to 10 years, instead of five
  • Make the development charges system - a system for municipalities to help cover the costs necessary for growth from developers - more predictable, transparent and accountable by creating clearer reporting requirements for capital projects that municipalities are financing through development charges
  • Make the collection and use of money paid by developers for higher and denser developments, as well as for parkland, more transparent and accountable

Helping communities grow is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • The act is based on input from across Ontario including more than 20 public workshops and stakeholder meetings as well as more than 1,200 submissions on the land use planning and appeal system and the development charges system.
  • Municipalities use official plans and zoning bylaws to plan for and control development.
  • Approximately 200 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities use development charges.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“We want to grow Ontario’s communities in a way that creates vibrant towns, cities and regions. The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act provides the people of Ontario with a transparent and predictable system for planning and managing growth within their communities.”

Ted McMeekin

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

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