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5 Implementation and interpretation

5.1 Context

Key to the success of this Plan is its effective implementation. Successful implementation will require that all levels of government, First Nations and Métis communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and residents work together in a co-ordinated and collaborative way to implement the policies of this Plan to realize its goals.

The timely implementation of this Plan relies on the strong leadership of upper- and single-tier municipalities to provide more specific planning direction for their respective jurisdictions through a municipal comprehensive review. While it may take some time before all official plans have been amended to conform with this Plan, the Planning Act requires that all decisions in respect of planning matters will conform with this Plan as of its effective date (subject to any legislative or regulatory provisions providing otherwise).

Except for some minor matters, most planning decisions can affect the achievement of the policies of this Plan. It is therefore in the best interest of all municipalities to complete their work to conform with this Plan, including all official plans and zoning by-laws, as expeditiously as possible within required timeframes. This should include using relevant legislative and regulatory tools and other strategies to plan for a variety of heights, densities and other elements of site design within settlement areas to achieve the desired urban form and the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan.

Where a municipality must decide on a planning matter before its official plan has been amended to conform with this Plan, or before other applicable planning instruments have been updated accordingly, it must still consider the impact of the decision as it relates to the policies of this Plan which require comprehensive municipal implementation.

The success of this Plan is also dependent on a range of mechanisms being in place to implement this Plan’s policies. Although primarily implemented through Ontario’s land use planning system, including official plans, this Plan is not solely a land use plan. Certain policies of this Plan contemplate implementation by both the Province and by municipalities through other related tools, regulations, policies, and guidelines. In addition to the legislative framework provided by the Places to Grow Act, 2005, this includes a wide range of complementary planning and fiscal tools, including instruments found in the Planning Act and the Municipal Act, 2001.

To continue to make steady progress towards the desired outcomes, the Province will provide information to build understanding of growth management and facilitate informed involvement in the implementation of this Plan. The Province will also ensure ongoing engagement with the public, stakeholders, municipalities, and First Nations and Métis communities on the implementation of this Plan.

Measuring the success of this Plan will require rigorous and consistent evaluation of its progress. The Province will work with its public sector partners, including municipalities and agencies, other stakeholders, and First Nations and Métis communities to compile and share the base of information that is needed to support the ongoing monitoring of the implementation of this Plan.

5.2 Policies for implementation and interpretation

5.2.1 General interpretation

  1. The policies and schedules of this Plan should be read in a manner that recognizes this Plan as an integrated policy framework.
  2. A municipal comprehensive review that is undertaken in accordance with this Plan will be deemed to fulfill the requirements in the PPS to undertake a comprehensive review.
  3. References to the responsibilities of the Minister set out in this Plan should be read as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, his or her assignee, his or her delegate pursuant to the Places to Grow Act, 2005, or any other member of Executive Council given responsibility for the Places to Places to Grow Act, 2005.
  4. References to the responsibilities of the Province set out in this Plan should be read as one or more members of Executive Council.

5.2.2 Supplementary direction

  1. To implement this Plan, the Minister will, in collaboration with other Ministers of the Crown where appropriate, identify, establish, or update the following:
    1. the delineated built boundary;
    2. the size and location of the urban growth centres;
    3. a standard methodology for land needs assessment; and
    4. provincially significant employment zones.
  2. To implement this Plan, the Province will identify, establish, or update the following:
    1. the Agricultural System for the GGH;and
    2. the Natural Heritage System for the Growth Plan.
  3. The Province may review and update provincially significant employment zones, the agricultural land base mapping or the Natural Heritage System for the Growth Plan in response to a municipal request.

5.2.3 Co-ordination

  1. A co-ordinated approach will be taken to implement this Plan, in particular for issues that cross municipal boundaries, both between Provincial ministries and agencies, and by the Province in its dealings with municipalities, local boards, and other related planning agencies.
  2. Upper-tier municipalities, in consultation with lower-tier municipalities, will, through a municipal comprehensive review, provide policy direction to implement this Plan, including:
    1. identifying minimum intensification targets for lower-tier municipalities based on the capacity of delineated built-up areas, including the applicable minimum density targets for strategic growth areas in this Plan, to achieve the minimum intensification target in this Plan;
    2. identifying minimum density targets for strategic growth areas, including any urban growth centres or major transit station areas, in accordance with this Plan;
    3. identifying minimum density targets for employment areas;
    4. identifying minimum density targets for the designated greenfield areas of the lower-tier municipalities, to achieve the minimum density target for the upper- or single-tier municipality;
    5. allocating forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan to the lower-tier municipalities in a manner that would support the achievement of the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan; and
    6. addressing matters that cross municipal boundaries.
  3. Municipalities are encouraged to engage the public and stakeholders in local efforts to implement this Plan, and to provide the necessary information to ensure the informed involvement of local citizens.
  4. Municipalities shall engage Indigenous communities in local efforts to implement this Plan, and to provide the necessary information to ensure the informed involvement of these communities.
  5. In cases where lower-tier official plans are not updated to implement this Plan in a timely or appropriate manner, upper-tier municipalities are encouraged to act in accordance with subsection 27(2) of the Planning Act.
  6. Single-tier municipalities in the outer ring and adjacent municipalities should ensure a co-ordinated approach to implement the policies of this Plan.
  7. Planning authorities shall co-ordinate planning matters with Indigenous communities throughout the planning process to ensure that appropriate engagement is undertaken. Municipalities are encouraged to build constructive, cooperative relationships with First Nations and Métis communities and to facilitate knowledge sharing in growth management and land use planning processes.

5.2.4 Growth forecasts

  1. All references to forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan are references to the population and employment forecasts in Schedule 3 or such higher forecasts as are established by the applicable upper- or single-tier municipality through its municipal comprehensive review.
  2. All upper- and single-tier municipalities will, at a minimum, through a municipal comprehensive review, apply the forecasts in Schedule 3 or such higher forecasts as are established by the applicable upper- or single-tier municipality through its municipal comprehensive review for planning and managing growth to the horizon of this Plan.
  3. The population and employment forecasts and plan horizon contained in the applicable upper- or single-tier official plan that is approved and in effect as of August 28, 2020 will apply to all planning matters in that municipality, including lower-tier planning matters where applicable, until the upper- or single-tier municipality has applied the forecasts in Schedule 3 in accordance with policy 5.2.4.2 and those forecasts are approved and in effect in the upper- or single-tier official plan.
  4. Notwithstanding the policies of this Plan regarding planning and managing forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan, including the time horizon for making sufficient land available to meet projected needs, lower-tier municipalities cannot designate land beyond the horizon established in the applicable upper-tier official plan that is approved and in effect.
  5. Within delineated built-up areas, municipalities may plan for development beyond the horizon of this Plan for strategic growth areas that are delineated in official plans and subject to minimum density targets, provided that:
    1. integrated planning for infrastructure and public service facilities would ensure that the development does not exceed existing or planned capacity;
    2. the type and scale of built form for the development would be contextually appropriate; and
    3. the development would support the achievement of complete communities, including a diverse mix of land uses and sufficient open space.
  6. Outside of a municipal comprehensive review, the forecasts in Schedule 3 cannot be applied on a site-specific scale as the basis for approving or refusing proposals for development that would otherwise conform with all the policies of this Plan.
  7. The Minister will review the forecasts contained in Schedule 3 at least every five years in consultation with municipalities, and may revise the schedule, where appropriate.
  8. Higher forecasts established by upper- and single-tier municipalities through their municipal comprehensive reviews will not apply to Provincial ministries and agencies.

5.2.5 Targets

  1. The minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, including any alternative targets that have been permitted by the Minister, are minimum standards and municipalities are encouraged to go beyond these minimum targets, where appropriate, except where doing so would conflict with any policy of this Plan, the PPS or any other provincial plan.
  2. The minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan or established pursuant to this Plan will be identified in upper- and single-tier official plans. Any changes to the targets established pursuant to this Plan may only be implemented through a municipal comprehensive review.
  3. For the purposes of implementing the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, upper- and single-tier municipalities will, through a municipal comprehensive review, delineate the following in their official plans, where applicable:
    1. delineated built-up areas;
    2. urban growth centres;
    3. major transit station areas;
    4. other strategic growth areas for which a minimum density target will be established; and
    5. excess lands.
  4. Except as provided in policy 2.2.7.3, the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan will be measured across all lands within the relevant area, including any lands that are subject to more than one target.
  5. For each applicable delineated area, the minimum density targets in this Plan are to be implemented through:
    1. upper-tier official plan policies that identify the minimum density targets and require lower-tier municipalities to undertake planning, such as secondary plans, to establish permitted uses and identify densities, heights, and other elements of site design;
    2. single-tier official plan policies that identify the minimum density targets and, through secondary planning or other initiatives, establish permitted uses within the delineated area and identify densities, heights, and other elements of site design;
    3. zoning all lands in a manner that would implement the official plan policies; and
    4. the use of any applicable legislative and regulatory tools that may establish area or site-specific minimum densities, heights, and other elements of site design.
  6. In planning to achieve the minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan, municipalities will develop and implement urban design and site design official plan policies and other supporting documents that direct the development of a high quality public realm and compact built form.
  7. The minimum intensification and density targets in this Plan do not require or permit:
    1. in a Special Policy Area that has been approved by the Province in accordance with policy 3.1.4 of the PPS, 2020, development that is beyond what has been permitted; or
    2. in other hazardous lands, development that is not permitted by the PPS.
  8. The identification of strategic growth areas, delineated built-up areas, and designated greenfield areas are not land use designations and their delineation does not confer any new land use designations, nor alter existing land use designations. Any development on lands within the boundary of these identified areas is still subject to the relevant provincial and municipal land use planning policies and approval processes.
  9. Any alternative target permitted by the Minister will be revisited through each municipal comprehensive review. If a municipality does not request a new alternative target, or the Minister does not permit the requested alternative target, the applicable minimum intensification or density target in this Plan will apply.

5.2.6 Performance indicators and monitoring

  1. The Minister will develop a set of performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of the policies of this Plan. The Minister will monitor the implementation of this Plan, including reviewing performance indicators concurrent with any review of this Plan.
  2. Municipalities will monitor and report on the implementation of this Plan’s policies within their municipality, in accordance with any reporting requirements, data standards, and any other guidelines that may be issued by the Minister.
  3. The Minister may require municipalities and conservation authorities to provide data and information to the Minister, as collected in accordance with policy 5.2.6.2, to demonstrate progress made towards the implementation of this Plan.

5.2.7 Schedules and appendices

  1. The Minister will review the schedules of this Plan at least every five years in consultation with municipalities, and may revise these schedules, where appropriate.
  2. Unless otherwise stated, the boundaries and lines displayed on the schedules are not to scale and provide general direction only.
  3. The delineated built boundary has been issued for the purpose of measuring the minimum intensification target in this Plan. The conceptual delineated built-up area shown on Schedules 2, 4, 5, and 6 is for information purposes. For the actual delineation, the delineated built boundary that has been issued by the Minister should be consulted.
  4. The designated greenfield areas shown on Schedules 2, 4, 5, and 6 are conceptual. Actual designated greenfield areas will be delineated in applicable official plans.
  5. The settlement area boundaries shown on Schedules 2, 4, 5, and 6 are conceptual. Actual settlement area boundaries will be delineated in applicable official plans.
  6. The appendices in this Plan are provided for information purposes only.

5.2.8 Other implementation

  1. Where the policies of this Plan require the completion of specific types of master plans, assessments, studies, or other plans, including the equivalent, before a decision can be made, including in respect of matters in process, the policy direction in this Plan may be implemented based on, collectively, existing, enhanced, or new assessments, studies, and plans, provided that these achieve or exceed the same objectives.
  2. In implementing the policies of this Plan, municipalities are encouraged to use available tools to reduce or eliminate any excess lands.
  3. Draft plans of subdivision will include a lapsing date under subsection 51(32) of the Planning Act. When determining whether draft approval should be extended for lapsing draft plans of subdivision, the policies of this Plan must be considered in the development review process.
  4. If a plan of subdivision or part thereof has been registered for eight years or more and does not meet the growth management objectives of this Plan, municipalities are encouraged to use their authority under subsection 50(4) of the Planning Act to deem it not to be a registered plan of subdivision and, where appropriate, amend site-specific designations and zoning accordingly.
Updated: May 27, 2022
Published: April 16, 2019