• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Sprawl for all – anytime, anywhere? No!

In Bill 23
May 16th, 2023

From Anne Bell, Director of Conservation and education, Ontario Nature

In keeping with many recent law and policy changes that facilitate sprawl development, the provincial government is now proposing to replace the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (PPS) and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan) with a new Provincial Planning Statement (ERO #019-6813).

This proposal is deeply concerning, given that the PPS and the Growth Plan are critical provincial policies that provide comprehensive, integrated, balanced direction on land use planning. The proposed new Provincial Planning Statement will jeopardize decades of progress on land use policy, with changes that would:

  • Eliminate mandatory intensification and greenfield density targets that were designed to rein in urban sprawl;
  • Allow municipalities to expand settlement areas without a comprehensive review of associated infrastructure needs or potential impacts on farmland and natural areas;
  • Force municipalities to allow three lots to be severed from every farm, even in prime agricultural areas;
  • Exempt lands that are the subject of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) from complying with provincial policies and official plans;
  • Remove the requirement for municipalities to undertake watershed planning; and
  • Weaken and eliminate policies that address climate change.


The government is abandoning its long-standing policy commitment to promote compact, transit-friendly development and prevent sprawl. Instead, the new policy thrust is to allow scattered residential lots and subdivisions anytime and anywhere, including on prime agricultural land.

The government’s underlying premise, that more land is needed for housing development outside existing settlement boundaries, is demonstrably false.

Please join Ontario Nature in opposing these changes. Ask the Government of Ontario to retain all PPS and Growth Plan policies designed to curb sprawl and protect farmland and natural areas.

The deadline for public comment through the Environmental Registry of Ontario is June 5, 2023.

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