Today the Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, released the revised Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), issued under Section 3 of the Planning Act.

It is intended to provide direction to municipalities on land use matters of provincial interest. All decisions under the Planning Act are to “be consistent” with the PPS.

The PPS review commenced in March 2010.  After extensive consultation, MMAH has amended the PPS with an aim to strengthen the economy and employment, recognize the diversity of settlement areas and rural areas, provide for flexibility in policies to reflect local circumstances, and protect resources and infrastructure assets.  

While many of the changes refine or expand on the previous PPS, there are a few new features:

  • There is a new section on “Rural” to help with interpretation of the policies in areas with less population density and smaller centres such as allowing for rounding out of settlement areas on individual services and permitting on farm diversified uses;
  • The policy now requires identification of natural heritage systems in southern Ontario and recognizing systems may be different in settlement areas, rural areas, and prime agricultural areas.
  • The policy requires consideration of potential impacts of climate change (e.g. flooding due to severe weather events) and supporting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change.  Encourages green infrastructure (e.g. permeable surfaces) and strengthening storm water management requirements.
  • Municipalities are to recognize existing constitutional Aboriginal and treaty rights.  It encourages planning authorities to coordinate planning matters with Aboriginal communities.
Please note the new PPS takes effect April 30, 2014.  Applications must conform to this PPS and will not be “grandfathered”.

MMAH has committed to immediately work with provincial and municipal planners with education events, webinars, and tools.  Most notably are the Northern and Rural Primers to assist with implementation and application of the policies.
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