NO MORE HIGHWAYS Day of Action – July 24

No More Highways Day of Action - July 24, 2021

The Ontario government is planning two new highways through Ontario’s precious farmland and Greenbelt – Highway 413 and the Holland Marsh Highway (Bradford Bypass).

If built, the highways would pave over farms, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt and cost taxpayers upwards of $6-10 Billion. Highway 413 alone would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, at a time when cutting emissions is more urgent than ever.

Enough is enough.We need to show the province that Ontarians do not want more megahighways, we want local produce, effective public transit and livable, walkable communities.

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Ontario makes it easier for businesses to launch new bus routes

Northland Bus

TORONTO – The Ontario government is cutting red tape and making it easier for companies to provide passenger transportation services between communities in Ontario effective July 1, 2021. This is part of the province’s efforts to improve transportation options for Ontarians as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under the previous system it was difficult for businesses that offered bus service to begin operating on a new route, even in situations where there was no service being offered,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “By cutting red tape, we are making it easier for carriers to offer transportation services to communities where there is a need.”

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Province seeks input on Transportation Vision

GO Train

TORONTO – Today, the Ontario government released a discussion paper for public feedback that will inform the province’s first transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Ontario is building a better transportation system to connect communities and keep goods and people moving across the province, including in Ontario’s economic engine, the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

“We have a long-term vision for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that takes us to 2051, built on connected transportation that’s safe, seamless and accessible,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This discussion paper is an important opportunity to gain further insights that will help shape a better transportation network for our province’s future.”

Through a consultation posting on the Environmental Registry of Ontario as well as an online feedback form, the Ontario government is seeking public input on ways to achieve our vision.

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President’s Report – June 5, 2021

Hamilton, Ontario

The events of the past (over) one year once again reinforce the critical role of residents’ associations at the local level, and federations of residents associations, especially at the provincial level, to address policy issues. The mantra “municipalities are a creature of the province” is regularly demonstrated in legislation introduced and passed by the provincial government “under cover of COVID.” COVID, as they say, “consumes all the oxygen in the room,” resulting in even less public attention than usual being paid to legislative and program changes, some positive, but many with long term negative implications for such areas as cultural heritage, urban sprawl, and climate change.

The government passed legislation exempting Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) from complying with the Government’s own Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). The PPS covers a myriad of policy areas from cultural heritage to environment.

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Phasing-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants

Lennox-power-station-Bath-Ontario

The greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants will increase by more than 300% by 2030 and by 500% or more by 2040 as the province uses gas to replace aging nuclear plants and to meet growing demand for electricity from population growth and increased electrification (electric cars, home heating). If this occurs, Ontario will lose roughly 40% of the pollution reduction benefits it achieved by phasing-out its dirty coal plants.

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching a public engagement process on how Ontario can reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by phasing out its gas-fired power plants. This is your chance to tell the IESO that we need to phase out gas by 2030 to help our climate and clear our air.

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Highway 413 designated for Federal Environmental Assessment

Hwy 400 crossing the Holland Marsh

We are elated to share the News! The federal government has decided to go ahead with an environmental assessment of the controversial GTA West Highway.

Federal Environmental Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in his statement issued on Monday “after consideration of the available science, evidence and other relevant information gathered by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC), as well as the agency’s recommendation to designate the GTA West project, I have decided to designate this project under the federal impact assessment process.”  

Wilkinson said that the IAAC had identified “clear areas of federal concern related to the project. My decision is based on their finding that this project may cause adverse direct or incidental effects on federally listed species at risk and the uncertainty that officials have brought to my attention around whether these updates can be mitigated through project design or existing mechanisms.”

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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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Paving Paradise: the impact of the 413

Toronto Highway

From Environmental Defense:

We wanted to get a sense of the impact Highway 413 could have on climate change and air pollution, so we hired a transportation modelling team to add up how much pollution, and how much sprawl Ontarians could be facing if Highway 413 is built.

The evidence shows that by adding hundreds of thousands of polluting cars, SUVs and trucks to Ontario’s roads, Highway 413 will make climate change worse and harm the health of people, communities, and sensitive ecosystems. It also shows how a new highway will help developers build out and not up, abandoning sustainable, dense, vibrant cities for sprawling car-dependent subdivisions that force people to travel even farther to get where they need to go.

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