Additional Information

On October 25th 2022, the Government of Ontario tabled Bill 23 - The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. The Bill passed quickly. Overall, Bill 23 and associated policies removed and weakened environmental protections and diminished the role of Ontarians in land use planning and decision-making.

Now, the auditor General has completed their review of proposed Greenbelt development and plans. The report emphasizes several key findings and concerns:

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment: The report highlights the necessity of robust environmental impact assessments before any development occurs within the Greenbelt. It underscores the importance of evaluating potential consequences on biodiversity, ecosystems, and climate resilience.
  2. Climate Resilience and Natural Disaster Mitigation: The report emphasizes that Greenbelt lands play a vital role in mitigating the effects of climate change, particularly in preventing flooding and related natural disasters. Preserving these areas is crucial for safeguarding communities and maintaining ecological balance.
  3. Farmland Protection: The report underscores the significance of protecting farmland within the Greenbelt to ensure food security and control rising food costs. It advocates for strategies that maintain viable agricultural land while accommodating sustainable urban development.
  4. Indigenous Consultation: The report highlights the lack of meaningful consultation with Indigenous communities during the development and implementation of Greenbelt-related policies. This oversight raises concerns about respect for Indigenous rights and knowledge.
  5. Policy Gaps and Weaknesses: The report identifies weaknesses and gaps in existing policies related to the Greenbelt. It suggests that these gaps could undermine the effectiveness of environmental protections and sustainable land use planning.
  6. Shortcomings in Decision-Making: The report raises questions about the transparency and inclusivity of decision-making processes related to the Greenbelt. It emphasizes the importance of involving a diverse range of stakeholders in shaping policies that impact these protected areas.
  7. Advocacy for Improved Policy: The report encourages policy-makers to address the issues highlighted to ensure the long-term preservation and sustainable development of the Greenbelt. It calls for collaboration and proactive measures to strengthen environmental protections.
  8. Economic and Environmental Balance: The report underscores the need to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental preservation within the Greenbelt. It suggests that well-planned development can coexist with protection efforts.

Overall, the Auditor General's report highlights the critical importance of the Greenbelt for biodiversity, climate resilience, and food security. It also calls for a reconsideration of policies, increased consultation with Indigenous communities, and more transparent decision-making processes to ensure the Greenbelt's long-term viability for the benefit of current and future generations.