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Ontario Welcomes Report on Greenbelt and Smart Growth

News Release

Ontario Welcomes Report on Greenbelt and Smart Growth

Province Reviewing Plans to Protect Greenbelt and Build Complete Communities

Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Ontario has received recommendations on how to build more complete communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area - Canada's fastest-growing urban region, the province's economic engine and the home of the Greenbelt.

Today Ontario received the 'Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015 - 2041' report [PDF 25MB]. The Greater Golden Horseshoe is forecasted to grow by over four million more people over the next 25 years. The panel provides 87 recommendations about how to build communities in this fast-growing region with changing land use and housing needs, better access to services such as transportation, and better public spaces. The report recommends that the province grow the region in a responsible way by focusing on:

  • Investing in transit and infrastructure
  • Supporting agriculture investments and viability
  • Growing the Greenbelt
  • Protecting the environment and natural heritage
  • Creating jobs
  • Responding to climate change.

The advisory panel - led by former federal Cabinet minister and former mayor of Toronto David Crombie - was asked to provide advice as part of the province's co-ordinated review of land use plans in southern Ontario. The panel's report is informed by public and stakeholder feedback from 17 town hall meetings, written submissions, research and by meetings with stakeholder groups and municipal officials.

Ontario will review the advisory panel's recommendations and seek public input on any proposed amendments to the plans in early 2016.

Building transit-friendly communities and supporting growth 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 and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • Panel members are: Keith Currie, Vice President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture; Rae Horst, former CAO, Credit Valley Conservation Authority; John MacKenzie, Deputy City Manager, Planning and Growth Management, City of Vaughan; Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, Grape Growers of Ontario; Leith Moore, Senior Vice President, Urban Fieldgate Homes.
  • The panel provided advice on how to improve: the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.
  • The number of people living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe will grow from about 9.5 million people in 2015 to 13.5 million in 2041. It is Canada’s fastest-growing urban region.
  • The Greater Golden Horseshoe accounts for 70 per cent of Ontario’s GDP.
  • The Greenbelt contains over 800,000 hectares of protected land which includes Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment.
  • The measures outlined in the province’s land use plans have slowed the rate of the loss of farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe over the past 10 years.

Additional Resources


Ted McMeekin

“I’d like to thank Mr. Crombie and the other members of the advisory panel for their hard work on the review, which supports the government’s goal of encouraging healthy, livable and prosperous communities. I look forward to a thorough review of their recommendations.”

Ted McMeekin

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Bill Mauro

“The work of this advisory panel will help guide our efforts to find a balanced and consistent approach to land use planning in this province. I would like to thank the panel for the hard work they have done consulting Ontarians.”

Bill Mauro

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“We hold a firm belief that our recommendations provide a strong foundation for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and beyond. While some of them may take longer to implement, it is essential the Province acts quickly in order to ensure the brightest future for everyone who lives and works in the region.”

David Crombie

Chair, Co-ordinated Review advisory panel

Media Contacts

  • Mark Cripps

    Minister’s Office



  • Conrad Spezowka






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