The 82 submissions received through the EBR were submitted by municipalities, Aboriginal communities and organizations, some government organizations, a wide variety of non-governmental organizations, and the general public. All of the comments were considered and analyzed in the context of possible PPS revisions.
It is important to note that the issues identified in this notice represent a range of input received from the consultations. They do not represent points of consensus amongst the various stakeholders to the PPS, as the goal of the consultation was to provide opportunities for input, identify concerns, and gather insights that can assist in determining whether refined and/or new PPS policies are needed.
Highlights of the issues raised by stakeholders are summarized below along with draft revisions to the PPS proposed in EBR Notice 011-7070 that respond to these issues. They are in no particular order of importance.
Climate Change and Sustainability: A range of stakeholders requested that more policy support be given to promoting sustainability and adaptation / mitigation of climate change. Common themes included: providing clear references to sustainability and sustainable development in the PPS, integrating sustainability principles throughout PPS policies and vision, and promoting green infrastructure.
It was recognized by many stakeholders that many policies in the PPS already incorporate the principles of sustainability, though the word “sustainability” is only specifically mentioned in relation to the agri-food sector.
Some examples of the draft policies enhancing direction on climate change include requiring planning authorities to consider the impacts of climate change (i.e. flooding due to severe weather events) and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Proposed policy revisions also encourage the use of green infrastructure, such as permeable surfaces, and strengthen stormwater management requirements.
Healthy Communities and Active Transportation: Some stakeholders requested increased consideration for the protection and promotion of human health in the PPS. Comments often were in relation to the built environment and suggested a greater promotion of active transportation, walkable and compact communities, and mixed uses.
The Province is committed to provide stronger direction on building healthy, active and sustainable communities while ensuring that natural resources are managed wisely over the long term. A number of policy revisions are proposed that would help support this commitment, including: providing increased support for active transportation and the use of transit; recognizing the importance of parks, public space, and recreation; enhancing direction for coordination between municipalities and other levels of government, agencies and boards, such as public health agencies; encouraging the coordination and co-location of public facilities, including community hubs; and encouraging the coordination of emergency management planning with other planning considerations.
Regional differences: While some stakeholders said that additional flexibility was needed to reflect regional variations throughout the province, there was a wide range of opinions on an appropriate balance between local flexibility in decision-making and providing provincial policy direction.
The policies of the PPS are designed to reflect Ontario’s diversity – recognizing it is a vast province with diverse urban, rural and northern communities, natural environments and economies. The PPS is based on good planning principles that apply in communities across Ontario. Policy changes are proposed to provide further consideration of regional differences including recognizing that there is a range in size and diversity of settlement areas, that ‘one size policy-making does not fit all’ and that some Ontario municipalities are experiencing no growth or slow growth.
Provincial plans build on the policies of the PPS for specific geographic areas in a way that further recognizes their uniqueness. For example, the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario provides more regionally-based direction on development.
Support for the farming community: Some stakeholders expressed concerns that stronger protection is needed for agricultural lands. Some stakeholders also requested additional clarity around agriculture-related and secondary uses.
The proposed draft PPS policies would strengthen the protection of prime agricultural lands by requiring prime agricultural areas to be designated by municipalities and agricultural impacts from non-farm development to be mitigated. The proposed draft policies also clarify the permitted uses allowed on farms beyond primary production, such as agri-tourism and value-added uses. Further, the draft policies support the agricultural community by providing greater flexibility for agricultural-related uses that serve agricultural operations.
Consideration of overall economic impacts: Some stakeholders gave input that the cumulative economic impact of all PPS revisions should be taken into account.
The PPS integrates economic, environmental and social factors through its policies and its scope reflects the broad range of provincial interests that are set out in the Planning Act. The proposed PPS policy changes are based on an analysis of the full range of input received as part of the five year review. The government has tried to integrate various provincial interests in developing the draft policies. Consideration of the overall economic impacts has been an important part of the review.
Implementation: Some stakeholders have identified challenges with implementation of the PPS policies. Comments also included requests for additional technical support materials for PPS policies. The government recognizes the need to help with implementation of the policies through support materials and other means.
Proposed draft policies also provide more direction on how the policies should applied, while outlining the flexibility provided; clarifying how the PPS works with other legislation, regulations, policies and provincial plans, and promoting coordinated, integrated planning processes. Please refer to EBR Notice (#011-7070) for additional information on the draft policies.