3.1 Context

Ready and accessible public infrastructure is essential to the viability of Ontario’s communities and critical to economic competitiveness, quality of life and the delivery of public services. But increasing demand, low-density land-use patterns and historic underinvestment have resulted in a substantial infrastructure deficit to meet the needs of current residents as well as those of future Ontarians.

This Plan provides the framework for infrastructure investments in the GGH, so that existing infrastructure and future investments are optimized to serve growth to 2031 and beyond. The policy directions for intensification and compact urban form in this Plan guide many of the infrastructure priorities in this section. It is estimated that over 20 per cent of infrastructure capital costs could be saved by moving from lower density development to more efficient and compact urban form. The savings could then be reinvested more efficiently.footnote 3

This Plan guides infrastructure planning and strategic investment decisions to support and accommodate forecasted population and economic growth – particularly in the three key areas of transportation, water and wastewater systems, and community infrastructure. This Plan will be supported by ReNew Ontario, Ontario’s multi-year provincial infrastructure investment strategy, additional investments in transportation such as Move Ontario, and by sustainable financing models and sound infrastructure asset management practices.

The transportation policies in this section and schedules in this Plan guide the planning and development of an integrated and efficient transportation system needed to support a vibrant economy and quality of life in the GGH. The policy directions ensure that transit infrastructure is optimized by high density land uses, and that highway corridors are planned to promote efficient goods movement and support more efficient compact urban form through appropriate design and control of access points.

This Plan promotes co-ordination and consistency among land-use and transportation planning and investment by all levels of government and other transportation stakeholders in the GGH. To improve co-ordination, improve commuting choices and to implement transportation initiatives in this Plan, the Minister of Transportation has introduced legislation, which if passed would provide for the establishment of a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.

Investments in water and wastewater systems by all levels of government have also lagged behind GGH growth and many municipalities are now faced with significant renewal and capacity expansion issues. There is a need to co-ordinate investment in water and wastewater infrastructure to support future growth in ways that are linked to the determination of how these systems are paid for and administered. Improved maintenance and upgrading of existing systems is necessary to ensure the reliable and safe provision of water.

Investment in community infrastructure – such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and affordable housing – should be planned to keep pace with changing needs and to promote more complete communities. In the case of housing, there is an underlying societal need for affordable housing in many municipalities that is heightened by growth pressures. Multi-year infrastructure strategies such as ReNew Ontario are addressing this infrastructure gap and directing investments to help achieve complete communities.

3.2 Policies for Infrastructure To Support Growth

3.2.1 Infrastructure Planning

  1. Infrastructure planning, land use planning, and infrastructure investment will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan. Infrastructure includes but is not limited to transit, transportation corridors, water and wastewater systems, waste management systems, and community infrastructure.
  2. Priority will be given to infrastructure investments made by the Province of Ontario that support the policies and schedules in this Plan.
  3. The Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal will work with other Ministers of the Crown and other public sector partners to identify strategic infrastructure needs to support the implementation of this Plan through multi-year infrastructure planning, and through the sub-area assessment of transit and transportation, and water and wastewater systems.

3.2.2 Transportation – General

  1. The transportation system within the GGH will be planned and managed to –
    1. provide connectivity among transportation modes for moving people and for moving goods
    2. offer a balance of transportation choices that reduces reliance upon any single mode and promotes transit, cycling and walking
    3. be sustainable, by encouraging the most financially and environmentally appropriate mode for trip-making
    4. offer multi-modal access to jobs, housing, schools, cultural and recreational opportunities, and goods and services
    5. provide for the safety of system users.
  2. Transportation system planning, land use planning, and transportation investment, will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan.
  3. In planning for the development, optimization, and/or expansion of new or existing transportation corridors, the Ministers of Public Infrastructure Renewal and Transportation, other Ministers of the Crown, other public agencies and municipalities will –
    1. ensure that corridors are identified and protected to meet current and projected needs for various travel modes
    2. support opportunities for multi-modal use where feasible, in particular prioritizing transit and goods movement needs over those of single occupant automobiles
    3. consider increased opportunities for moving people and moving goods by rail, where appropriate
    4. consider separation of modes within corridors, where appropriate
    5. for goods movement corridors, provide for linkages to planned or existing inter-modal opportunities where feasible.
  4. Through sub-area assessment, the Ministers of Transportation and Public Infrastructure Renewal, in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders, will undertake further work to implement the transportation network and policies of this Plan.
  5. Municipalities will develop and implement transportation demand management policies in official plans or other planning documents, to reduce trip distance and time, and increase the modal share of alternatives to the automobile.

3.2.3 Moving People

  1. Public transit will be the first priority for transportation infrastructure planning and major transportation investments.
  2. All decisions on transit planning and investment will be made according to the following criteria:
    1. Using transit infrastructure to shape growth, and planning for high residential and employment densities that ensure the efficiency and viability of existing and planned transit service levels;
    2. Placing priority on increasing the capacity of existing transit systems to support intensification areas;
    3. Expanding transit service to areas that have achieved, or will be planned so as to achieve, transit-supportive residential and employment densities, together with a mix of residential, office, institutional and commercial development wherever possible;
    4. Facilitating improved linkages from nearby neighbourhoods to urban growth centres, major transit station areas, and other intensification areas;
    5. Consistency with the strategic framework for future transit investments outlined on Schedule 5;
    6. Increasing the modal share of transit.
  3. Municipalities will ensure that pedestrian and bicycle networks are integrated into transportation planning to –
    1. provide safe, comfortable travel for pedestrians and bicyclists within existing communities and new development
    2. provide linkages between intensification areas, adjacent neighbourhoods, and transit stations, including dedicated lane space for bicyclists on the major street network  where feasible.
  4. Schedule 5 provides the strategic framework for future transit investment decisions, including capacity improvements to existing transit systems to support intensification, and proposed higher order transit and inter-regional transit links between urban growth centres, in the GGH. Schedule 5 should be read in conjunction with the policies in this Plan. The transit linkages shown on Schedule 5 provide a strategic framework and are not drawn to scale. Actual timing, phasing and alignments are subject to further study and, where applicable, the environmental assessment process.

3.2.4 Moving Goods

  1. The first priority of highway investment is to facilitate efficient goods movement by linking inter-modal facilities, international gateways, and communities within the GGH.
  2. The Ministers of Transportation and Public Infrastructure Renewal, other appropriate Ministers of the Crown, and municipalities will work with agencies and transportation service providers to –
    1. co-ordinate and optimize goods movement systems
    2. improve corridors for moving goods across the GGH consistent with Schedule 6 of this Plan
    3. promote and better integrate multi-modal goods movement and land-use and transportation system planning, including the development of freight-supportive land-use guidelines.
  3. The planning and design of highway corridors, and the land use designations along these corridors, will support the policies of this Plan, in particular that development is directed to settlement areas, in accordance with policy
  4. Municipalities will provide for the establishment of priority routes for goods movement, where feasible, to facilitate the movement of goods into and out of areas of significant employment, industrial and commercial activity and to provide alternate routes connecting to the provincial network.
  5. Municipalities will plan for land uses in settlement areas adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, transportation facilities such as inter-modal facilities, rail yards, airports, dockyards, and major highway interchanges that are compatible with, and supportive of, the primary goods movement function of these facilities.
  6. Schedule 6 provides the strategic framework for future goods movement investment decisions in the GGH. Schedule 6 should be read in conjunction with the policies in this Plan. The proposed corridors shown on Schedule 6 provide a strategic framework and are not drawn to scale. Actual timing, phasing, and alignments are subject to further study and, where applicable, the environmental assessment process.

3.2.5 Water and Wastewater Systems

  1. Municipalities should generate sufficient revenue to recover the full cost of providing municipal water and wastewater systems.
  2. For lands within the Greenbelt Area, all policies regarding water and wastewater systems or stormwater set out in provincial plans, applicable to lands within the Greenbelt Area, continue to apply.
  3. Municipalities are encouraged to plan and design municipal water and wastewater systems that return water to the Great Lake watershed from which the withdrawal originates.
  4. Construction of new, or expansion of existing, municipal or private communal water and wastewater systems should only be considered where the following conditions are met:
    1. Strategies for water conservation and other water demand management initiatives are being implemented in the existing service area;
    2. Plans for expansion or for new services are to serve growth in a manner that supports achievement of the intensification target and density targets;
    3. Plans have been considered in the context of applicable inter-provincial, national, bi-national, or state-provincial Great Lakes Basin agreements.
  5. Through sub-area assessment, the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders, will undertake an analysis of the implications of forecasted growth for water and wastewater servicing.
  6. Municipalities that share an inland water source and/or receiving water body, should co-ordinate their planning for potable water, stormwater, and wastewater systems to ensure that water quality and quantity is maintained or improved.
  7. Municipalities, in conjunction with conservation authorities, are encouraged to prepare watershed plans and use such plans to guide development decisions and water and wastewater servicing decisions.
  8. Municipalities are encouraged to implement and support innovative stormwater management actions as part of redevelopment and intensification.

3.2.6 Community Infrastructure

  1. Community infrastructure planning, land-use planning, and community infrastructure investment will be co-ordinated to implement this Plan.
  2. Planning for growth will take into account the availability and location of existing and planned community infrastructure so that community infrastructure can be provided efficiently and effectively.
  3. An appropriate range of community infrastructure should be planned to meet the needs resulting from population changes and to foster complete communities.
  4. Services planning, funding and delivery sectors are encouraged to develop a community infrastructure strategy to facilitate the co-ordination and planning of community infrastructure with land use, infrastructure and investment through a collaborative and consultative process.
  5. Municipalities will establish and implement minimum affordable housing targets in accordance with Policy 1.4.3 of the PPS, 2005.
  6. Upper- and single-tier municipalities will develop a housing strategy in consultation with lower-tier municipalities, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and other appropriate stakeholders. The housing strategy will set out a plan, including policies for official plans, to meet the needs of all residents, including the need for affordable housing – both home ownership and rental housing. The housing strategy will include the planning and development of a range of housing types and densities to support the achievement of the intensification target and density targets


  • footnote[3] Back to paragraph GTA Task Force. Greater Toronto: Report of the GTA Task Force. January 1996, p.12; Slack, Enid. Municipal Finance and the Pattern of Urban Growth, C.D. Howe Institute. No. 160, February 2002, p. 6; TD Economics. Greater Toronto Area:Canada’s Primary Economic Locomotive in Need of Repairs. May 2002, p. 15