Overview

Ontario’s Greenbelt protects farmland, communities, forests, wetlands and watersheds. It also preserves cultural heritage and supports recreation and tourism in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The Greenbelt Act, 2005 provides the authority for the creation of the Greenbelt Plan (2017).

The Greenbelt Plan establishes the Protected Countryside and Urban River Valley designations. The Greenbelt Area also includes the Niagara Escarpment Plan area and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan area (2017).

The three Greenbelt land use plans work together with A Place to Grow: Growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe to protect the natural environment and determine where and how growth should be accommodated in the region.

Maps of the Greenbelt

The Greenbelt currently includes over 800,000 hectares of land and extends 325 km from the eastern end of the Oak Ridges Moraine, near Rice Lake, in the east, to the Niagara River in the west.

The Greenbelt Act, 2005 provides the authority for the designation of the Greenbelt Area. The Greenbelt Area is precisely defined in Ontario Regulation 59/05 and shown on a series of maps.

See maps of the Greenbelt.

The Greenbelt Council

The Greenbelt Act, 2005 requires that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing appoint a Greenbelt Council to provide the minister with advice on the Greenbelt. The council also provides advice on the implementation of the A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

Members of the Greenbelt Council as well as a chair are appointed by the minister through the Public Appointments Secretariat.

The terms of reference between the minister and the council set out the council’s legal authority, mandate, as well as the accountability framework, roles and responsibilities of the ministry and council.

Read more about the Greenbelt Council.

Other resources

Technical papers on preserving natural heritage features

In the Greenbelt Plan, the Protected Countryside designation is divided into three types of geographic-specific policy areas:

  • the Agricultural System
  • Settlement Areas
  • Natural System

The Natural System can be further divided into the Water Resources System and the Natural Heritage System.

Request a copy of the technical paper to help those implementing the policies for natural heritage features within the Natural Heritage System.

Updated: July 28, 2021
Published: July 25, 2019