Bill 229 Update

Wilmot Creek

Unfortunately, Bill 229, including Schedule 6, with its attack on protections for Ontario wetlands, was passed into law on December 9, despite many protests from citizens and organizations across the province.

From Environmental Defence’s email to members:

“It can be hard to carry on the fight when it seems like the government won’t listen to reason or to the voices of its constituents. It’s crystal clear that this government is not “for the people” – but is for the special interests of a small group of influential developers and land speculators.

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Curtail the misuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders

Great Blue Heron - Tyler Butler

A Minister’s Zoning Order (MZOs) allows the Minister to directly zone land for particular purposes. The Minister does not have to give notice or consult with the public prior to issuing or revoking…

While people are dealing with the COVID pandemic, the Government of Ontario is setting the stage for development projects to proceed without public consultation or the right to appeal. Without alerting the public, the government has been issuing and revoking Minister’s Zoning Orders.

Zoning orders should be used rarely and judiciously. The recent flurry of decisions to expedite development on farmland and green space and in the City of Toronto by issuing or revoking zoning orders is a concerning trend.

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Hands off conservation authorities

Don River - by Andre Gaulin

Join an urgent push to get Schedule 6 removed to protect Conservation Authorities in Ontario.

The provincial government is voting SOON on a budget bill, Bill 229. Bill 229 is going to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on Monday, Nov 30.

The Conservative government has included Schedule 6 which is unrelated to the budget. There are numerous changes proposed – they would slash the role of Conservation Authorities (CA), disabling their role in ravine protection and enabling developers to sidestep Conservation Authorities and go directly to the Minister for permits without CA review. The Minister would also be able to overturn a conservation authority’s decision to refuse to issue a permit for development.

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Revocation of Municipalities’ Authority to use Ranked Ballots

election ballot

This is to express our strong opposition to your Bill revoking Ontario municipalities’ authority to use ranked ballots in local mayoral and council elections. The local option to use ranked ballots was instituted in 2016 by the previous government, and several municipalities, including London, have adopted it.

Furthermore this revocation is being proposed without notice, consultation or any credible rationale. And in a bill addressing pandemic issues! This is reminiscent of your 2018 slashing of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members in the middle of an election, cancelling Regional Chair elections in Niagara and York, also without notice or consultation.

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Fall 2020 Budget Consultation

Canadian coins

FUN recognizes the significant fiscal challenges facing the Government of Ontario, especially in light of the current and worsening Pandemic. We also believe that investing in and maintaining physical and social and health infrastructure, all the while addressing the Climate Emergency are critical to the future well-being of all Ontario residents. Recognizing this, our organization offers the following recommendations for inclusion in the Fall 2020 Ontario Budget.

Urban Infrastructure:

High functioning infrastructure is a key requirement to attracting and keeping businesses in Ontario. The provincial government should provide increased funding and support for urban municipalities to maintain and enhance their facilities, with an emphasis on “green” infrastructure.

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Stop the 413 – update

Stop the 413

The Ontario government proposes to build a new highway in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), from Highway 401, near Milton in the west, to Highway 400, near Kleinberg, in the east. The project, and its review, should be cancelled. The highway would cause significant negative impacts on the environment and on local communities. It would do little to ease congestion, and would consume billions of dollars that could be better spent on other transportation projects and solutions.

Environmental Defence has organizing tools and background information available now for GTA West groups opposed to Highway 413 to use and share with their networks.

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Highway 413 Information

413 map

Ontario is planning Highway 413, a redundant and unnecessary toll highway that would pave over farm, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt and cost taxpayers billions.

Right now Highway 407 (another toll highway) is underused. Yet the province is proposing to build another east-west toll highway just 15 km away.

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Proposed Changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

cycling through park on former brownfields

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on ERO 019-1680, the proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (“Growth Plan”) and ERO 019-1679, the Lands Needs Assessment Methodology (“methodology”).

The Growth Plan is a unique land-use planning framework that proposes to balance urban growth with protection of the natural environment and farmland within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)…

According to the Growth Plan, these “valuable assets must be wisely protected and managed as part of planning for future growth.”

We, the 63 undersigned organizations, believe both proposals, if implemented, would cause significant adverse effects on the GGH.

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Provincial Policy Statement 2020

new development in Toronto

The Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods responded to the request for comments on the proposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) in the fall of 2019. Almost 500 responses were received and a summary of the comments and results of the consultant on the decision are available at the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

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Growth Plan Amendments: FoNTRA Letter to Ontario Government

suburban development

According to the government, the “proposed changes address implementation challenges with the Plan that were identified by the municipal and development sectors and other stakeholders” and “are intended to provide greater flexibility and address barriers to building homes, creating jobs, attracting investments and putting in place the right infrastructure while protecting the environment.” We note for the record that FoNTRA, as one of the most significant stakeholder organization in the Province representing the interests of residents, had not been consulted.

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