Conservation Authorities – Regulatory Proposals Phase 1

Path through the woods

We strongly support the combined submission of CELA, Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence, and WCS Canada in regard to this matter who:

“strongly encourage the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure that any proposed regulations do not hamper or limit the ability of Conservation Authorities (CAs) to develop and deliver watershed‐wide programs and services aimed at achieving a healthy and climate resilient Ontario. CAs should determine programs and services with local partners, based on community needs and priorities, rather than creating a rigid division between mandatory and non‐mandatory programs and services. Further, it is crucial that a stable funding model be developed that enables CAs to fully realize their legislative purpose, which is “… to provide for the organization and delivery of programs and services that further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources in watersheds in Ontario.”

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Bradford Bypass Update

Bradford Bypass Map

On May 31, 2021, the Barrie council approved a motion asking the provincial government to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment as it relates to Lake Simcoe and the surrounding watersheds. They would also like to see other potential routes for the bypass identified. Some residents and environmental groups don’t believe an environmental assessment completed in 2002 should be used for the project, and they have been asking for a new federally conducted EA.

FUN has written to the Barrie Council asking them to oppose the bypass, but it unfortunately appears that they were not willing to take that step.

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Bill 238 – Moving Ontarians More Safely Act (MOMS Act)

Toronto Streetcar

What’s in the MOMS Act?

The Act gives Toronto permission to install safety cameras on streetcars to find and fine drivers who speed by a streetcar at a transit stop, putting riders at risk.

The Act also includes Bill 148 The Doored But Not Ignored Bill to provide better protections for cyclists. Dooring is one of the most common causes of injury for cyclists, but it’s not considered a collision under the Highway Traffic Act. That means a cyclist can end up in an emergency room after being hit by a car door, but the police aren’t required to report the incident or charge the driver. If passed, this Act will mean that accidents involving a vehicle’s door coming into contact with a cyclist, bicycle or moving vehicle must be reported to the nearest police officer.

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Growing the Greenbelt – ERO Submission

Highway 401 Greenbelt

Under the leadership of Ontario Nature, a joint submission was made to Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on April 19, 2021 for ERO # 019-3136 addressing the six consultation questions. This submission was made on behalf of 120 organizations across Ontario, including the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods.

  1. What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of the Study Area of the Paris Galt Moraine?
  2. What are the considerations in moving from a Study Area to a more defined boundary of the Paris Galt Moraine?
  3. What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of adding, expanding and further protecting Urban River Valleys?
  4. Do you have suggestions for other potential areas to grow the Greenbelt?

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Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Toronto City Hall council chamber

In January, 2021, we provided information on the Public Inquiry which recommended a conflict-of-interest overhaul for municipal councillors referencing Frank Marrocco’s report – Report of the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry, Transparency and the Public Trust.  One of his recommendations is to broaden the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to expand the definition of the personal or family interest that can put a politician in a conflict of interest.

On March 5, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced it would be launching consultations with “municipal officials” to obtain input about how to strengthen accountability measures to ensure that members of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace. Those consultations will be led by Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, the Honourable Jill Dunlop.

The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation (April 14 to July 15 2021) to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct. With the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the province is working to better ensure that municipalities, councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace. 

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Letter re: Bill 257 from 120 organizations

March - Ontario marshland

NOTE: Unfortunately, Bill 257 with Schedule 3 was passed on April 12, 2921. So MZOs no longer have to be consistent with the PPS (except in the Greenbelt).

We, the 120 undersigned organizations, strongly oppose Schedule 3 of Bill 257, Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021, which proposes to amend the Planning Act so that both existing and future Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) would no longer have to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). We request that you remove this schedule from Bill 257.

By allowing the Minister to authorize developments that contravene the PPS, the proposed Schedule 3 changes would erode the very basis of planning in Ontario and would eliminate the benefits of this predictable, fair and principled planning framework for municipalities and other authorities implementing PPS policies. Given that MZOs are issued without public consultation or opportunity for appeal, these changes would also undermine the right of Ontarians to participate in important planning decisions affecting their communities.

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Bill 245 Amalgamates Five Tribunals into One – why the haste?

LPAT - view of woods

UPDATE: Bill 245 received Royal Assent on April 19, 2021 and hence the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal no longer exists. It is now within the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Our major concern with the amalgamation of five tribunals, each of which deals with specialized areas of law and practice, is the potential loss of appreciation and sensitivity to the cases dealt with by these individual tribunals. Each tribunal requires adjudicators that have specialised expertise in the subject matter of the appeals that they hear, and in the interpretation of their home statutes, in addition to adjudicative expertise. The more specialised the tribunal’s jurisdiction, the more this would be an issue.

For example for hearings before the Conservation Review Board (under the Ontario Heritage Act) you knew you would be heard by someone who was familiar with and had appreciation for built heritage and had expertise in interpreting the Ontario Heritage Act. The subject matter knowledge and appreciation, and expertise in the interpretation of its “home statute,” will be impossible to meet with such a wide span of subject legislation to be concerned with. Given the diversity of statutes and subject matter over which the Ontario Land Tribunal will have jurisdiction to hear appeals, it may be difficult to make the case that members of this Tribunal, who are arguably intended to be “generalists” dealing with a number of statutes, will develop expertise in interpreting such an array of “home statutes.”

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Bill 257

Ontario wetland - fall

NOTE: Unfortunately, Bill 257 with Schedule 3 was passed on April 12, 2921. So MZOs no longer have to be consistent with the PPS (except in the Greenbelt).

We are concerned, disappointed, and angry that you have introduced legislation that amends the Planning Act to provide that Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) are not required and are deemed to never have been required to be consistent with Provincial Policy Statements (PPS) issued under subsection 3 (1); that is, except for such orders that apply to land in the Greenbelt Area.

This legislation, sneaked in as part of an omnibus bill dealing with unrelated matters, is unjust, authoritarian, and undemocratic. It curtails the municipal planning process and facilitates non-compliance with the Provincial Policy Statements. Worse, it is applied retroactively, apparently to attempt to avoid the Provincial Government being held to account in two ongoing court challenges; Duffin’s Creek and the Foundry.

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Affordable Housing on Eastern Avenue Consultation (The Foundry)

The Foundry at night

This is in response to your Ministry’s request for input from residents’ groups and the public “on how some elements of the existing structures could inform development” of the provincially owned property at 153-185 Eastern Avenue. The request indicates that the Province of Ontario intends to “create new affordable and market housing, and community space, in response to numerous requests from the City of Toronto for increased affordable housing”.

The Court ordered the Province to continue the pause on demolition because there is compelling evidence that the Province has not met its own standards under the Ontario Heritage Act and has breached heritage-related commitments in a subdivision agreement.

We continue to oppose the use of a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) which allows the Province to bypass nearly all planning requirements set by the City. Our members are increasingly seeing a pattern of legislative activity involving the use of MZOs across the province, along with other coercive measures the Province is using to fast-track development without full and fair public consultation with those directly affected.

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GTAW Highway – letter to Town of Caledon

Our concerns can be summarized as follows:

  1. The highways, if built, would encourage and facilitate an unprecedented level of urban sprawl in the GTA, which would destroy important green spaces and prime farmland.
  2. They will incur a significant cost to taxpayers which will be borne by the Provincial Government alone (the Federal Government has indicated it will NOT cost-share).
  3. People who live along the highway route (your residents) will suffer health impacts.
  4. Commuters will see little to no benefit from these highways.  And in any case the pandemic has drastically changed our commuting patterns.

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