Creating Vibrant, Complete Communities in Niagara and the Greater Golden Horsehoe – News from the Ontario Government

Updated Land Use Plans to Protect Quality of Life for Generations to Come

A News Release from the Government of Ontario

Posted May 18, 2017 on Niagara At Large

The Greater Golden Horseshoe in green

Ontario has released four updated land use plans that will help grow the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) in a way that protects the environment, while creating vibrant communities that are healthy and sustainable.

The changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan are the latest step in the government’s reform of Ontario’s land use planning system. The plans work together to:

  • Build compact, complete communities with a diverse range of housing options that better connect transit to where people live and work
  • Retain and attract jobs
  • Support a thriving and productive agri-food sector
  • Strengthen protections for our natural heritage and water resource systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide public open spaces for recreation and enjoyment
  • Help municipalities better prepare to minimize the negative impacts from a changing climate, such as more frequent and intense storms and flooding.

These updated plans will help ensure growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe that is sustainable by making more efficient use of land, resources and infrastructure to reduce sprawl, protect farmland, water and natural resources, and promote better-designed communities that support a high quality of life for everyone living in the region.

Building complete communities and protecting the Greenbelt is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


  • The Greater Golden Horseshoe is forecasted to grow by approximately 4 million people over the next 25 years and will be home to more than 13.5 million people, working in 6.3 million jobs by 2041.
  • The updated plans are the result of almost two years of consultation and study.
  • The updated plans build on the Provincial Policy Statement to establish a unique land-use planning framework for the GGH that supports complete communities, a thriving economy, a clean and healthy environment and social equity.
  • Other reforms to the land use planning system include releasing an updated 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, reforming the Planning Act and Development Charges Act through the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act and proposed reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board.


Protecting Quality of Life for Generations to Come


“This region will continue to experience a lot of growth in the coming years, so we need to be wise about the way we plan and build our communities. These revised plans provide a smarter approach — by making more efficient use of land, resources and infrastructure — so that we can protect our environment, preserve precious farmland, boost our economy, address climate change and develop smart, sustainable, transit-supportive communities.”  — Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“The updated Niagara Escarpment Plan will help shape the future of this world-renowned region for the next ten years, continuing the legacy of the Niagara Escarpment as a great place for Ontarians to enjoy.”  — Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

“These plans provide a framework for future growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. I congratulate the government for the work it has done. These changes will help curb sprawl, encourage the development of more complete communities, support more productive agriculture and put the region on a course to more sustainable growth.”  — David Crombie, Chair of Advisory Panel

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


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