Crown land planning

Crown land planning is conducted under the authority of the Public Lands Act. The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, through its land use planning processes, determines how Crown land can be used.

Crown land planning:

  • assigns to a specific area a primary land use designation:
    • recommended provincial park
    • recommended conservation reserve
    • forest reserve
    • provincial wildlife area
    • enhanced management area
    • general use area
  • establishes permitted land uses for a specific area, such as:
    • recreational hiking
    • ATV use
    • commercial fur harvesting
    • power generation

Crown land use planning policy and guidance

Area-specific land use policy

Policy that applies to a specific area of land is called area-specific land use policy. It is developed through local Crown land use planning processes and should be consistent with the primary and any overlay land use designations:

Primary land use designation

Each area of Crown land is assigned a primary land use designation with provincial land use policy associated with it. Most primary land use designations allow for a range of area-specific planning considerations.

Overlay designation

These area-specific policies supersede primary land use policies. Their area boundaries generally do not match those of the primary land use area and can overlap more than one.

Find area-specific land use policy

Area-specific land use policies for central and mid-northern Ontario can be found in the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas, an interactive database and mapping tool.

Development of community-based land use plans in Ontario’s Far North are initiated by First Nation communities and administered under the Far North Act. Once approved, these plans are held in the Atlas.

Land use amendments

An amendment is required to change area-specific land use policy or a land use area boundary. A change may be needed to include information from:

  • new government policy
  • a need expressed by the public
  • new information

Depending on the significance of the proposed change, the amendment is classified as one of the following:

  • administrative
  • minor
  • major

Administrative amendments

  • document and implement a higher level government decision
  • correct minor errors or omissions
  • update information
  • do not require public consultation

Minor and major amendments

These are subject to public review. They are classified based on:

  • the change in land use intent
  • potential environmental and socio-economic effect
  • expected level of public interest

Review/comment on proposed amendments

The ministry may involve the public in proposed land use amendments through mail-outs, open houses (generally advertised in local newspapers) or by forming committees that include public representation.

How to participate online

  • review proposed administrative, minor and major land use amendments on the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas
  • submit comments on proposed minor and major land use amendments through the Environmental Registry before the deadline (notices posted on the Registry identify the timeline for public review)

How to participate in writing

Send comments to the Ministry Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) office or the contact identified with the proposed amendment.

You can also contact your local NDMNRF office for more information.

Land use amendment requests

Land use amendments are generally initiated by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. Another public agency, group or individual, however, may be aware of new information that would warrant consideration for amendment.

For information on how to request consideration of a land use amendment, contact the NDMNRF district office that administers the area affected.

Updated: November 17, 2021
Published: July 17, 2014