Farmland Policy

Land use planning policies in Ontario protect a great deal of farmland. The reality, however, is that we continue to lose 175 acres of farmland every day in Ontario, and we’re losing our best, most productive agricultural soils the fastest. In fact, between 1976 and 2016 Ontario lost 20% of its farmland. This loss is unsustainable, and we need to promote improved policy to make agriculture and farmland protection a top priority across the province.

OFT works with the Province and key partners to encourage greater protection for agriculture and farmland through planning and policy development. We make regular submissions to the Province during policy reviews, and participate in public dialogue and debate surrounding issues of farmland loss that are of provincial significance.

Click on the dates below to review our policy submissions regarding the Greenbelt Plan, Permitted Uses, Agricultural Systems Mapping, Federal Pickering Airport Lands, Rouge National Urban Park, and others.

This site is continually updated with new submissions, as they are completed. For more information, please contact us at 519-824-4120 x52654.

Sources:
Statistics Canada, Census of Agriculture – 1976-2006
Statistics Canada, Census of Agriculture – 1996-2016

2019

OFT – EBR 019-0016 Proposed Amendments to the Planning Act, as related to Bill 108

This submission states some of OFT’s concerns regarding the proposed amendments to the Planning Act. These concerns include: shortened time frames for municipal decision making and development approvals, limitations on third party appeals, and broadened grounds for appeals. OFT states that prudent, forward-looking municipal planning is necessary to protect Ontario’s farmland.

OFT – EBR 019-0017 Proposed Amendments to the Development Charges Act, 1997, as related to Bill 108

This submission provides comments on the proposed amendments to the Development Charges Act, 1997 and notes OFT’s concern regarding reduced development charges and payment deferrals, which may result in more sprawl and farmland loss. OFT provides three recommendations on how the Act can help to protect agricultural land and suggests that the costs of building in greenfield (and agricultural) areas be fully accounted for.

Letter to the Mayor of Pickering RE: The Proposed Toronto East Aerotropolis 

This letter addresses the proposed Toronto East Aerotropolis and the numerous reasons why OFT believes this land should instead be permanently committed to agriculture.

OFT – EBR 013-4504 Proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017

This submissions provides commentary regarding the proposed amendments to the Growth Plan. The primary recommendations are to: maintain existing intensification and density targets, prohibit settlement area boundary expansions outside of a Municipal Comprehensive Review, and continue applying the provincially issued agricultural land base mapping until municipalities are able to refine based on local ground truthing.

OFT – EBR 013-4506 Proposed Framework for Provincially Significant Employment Zones

This submission provides input about the proposed framework for Provincially Significant Employment Zones as well as the boundaries for currently proposed zones. OFT recommends that all boundaries for current and future Employment Zones avoid overlap with prime agricultural areas and that sufficient setbacks be required at the interface of agricultural and non-agricultural uses.

OFT – EBR 013-4507 Proposed Modifications to O. Reg. 525/97

This submissions supports the proposed modifications, which would allow municipalities to implement the agricultural land base mapping in advance of their Municipal Comprehensive Review, and restates Agricultural System commentary from the 013-4504 submission.

OFT – EBR 013-4293 Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018

This submission provides input on the proposed Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 with a specific look at Schedule 10. OFT recommends removing Schedule 10 from the proposed Bill 66 due to concerns around its threats to the farm sector, which are then explained. OFT provides some alternative actions to improve Ontario’s business environment, with a focus on growing the agri-food sector.

OFT – EBR 013-4125 Open-for-Business Planning Tool

This submission provides input on the proposed Open-for-Business Planning Tool contained within Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. OFT recommends the proposed changes to the Planning Act to introduce the Open-for-Business Zoning By-law are revoked due to concerns around its threats to the farm sector, which are then explained. OFT provides some alternative actions to improve Ontario’s business environment, with a focus on growing the agri-food sector.

OFT – EBR 013-4239 New Regulation for the Open-for-Business Planning Tool

This submission provides input on the proposed New Regulation for the Open-for-Business Planning Tool contained within Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. OFT recommends that the Open-for-Business Planning Tool and related New Regulation be rejected due to concerns around its threats to the farm sector, which are then explained. OFT provides some alternative actions to improve Ontario’s business environment, with a focus on growing the agri-food sector.

2018

Climate Change Action Plan Commentary

Brief commentary provided during the consultation period for a made-in-Ontario Climate Change plan. OFT listed and described seven actions on climate change recommended for Ontario

OFT – EBR 013-2454 Draft Agricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) Guidance Document

This submission provides feedback on the draft guidance document for the implementation and use of the Agricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) as per the Growth Plan for the GGH. OFT provided insights on how to improve the impact of the document, work towards a meaningful and transparent process that is consistently applied, and protect farmland and the agri-food sector.

OFT – EBR 013-2359 Draft Municipal Comprehensive Review and Intensification/Density Target Guidance Documents

This submission provides commentary on two draft guidance documents for the Municipal Comprehensive Review and achieving density and intensification targets as per the Growth Plan for the GGH. OFT calls for firm municipal boundaries and the mandatory compliance to Growth Plan targets for all municipalities.

OFT – EBR 013-1661 Protecting Water for Future Generations-Growing the Greenbelt in the Outer Ring

This policy looks at the potential expansion of the Greenbelt. OFT wishes for the continuation of agriculture and water as priorities in the plan, as well as the use of the systems approach.

2017
OFT – EBR 013-0968 Draft Agricultural System Mapping and Implementation Procedures 

This submission looks at the Agricultural System Mapping for Ontario. OFT describes the need for firm agricultural system boundaries and the use of LEAR methodology.

OFT – EBR 012-9247 Proposed Greenbelt Amendments

The following is a proposed amendment to the greenbelt’s area boundary regulation. OFT recommends the increase in transparency by providing further justification of land removals in the protected countryside and not to reduce the total area of agriculture within the greenbelt’s protected countryside. OFT supports the rejection of amendments in specialty crop lands and the rejection of most amendments to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

2016
OFT – The Coordinated Land Use Planning Review

The following is feedback on the proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan as part of the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review process. OFT provides policy recommendations such as freezing settlement area expansion & establishing firm urban boundaries, as well as prohibiting aggregate extraction in prime agricultural areas. This document also provides recommendations for maintaining improvements such as adopting the ‘agricultural system’ and ‘agricultural support network’.

2015
OFT – OMAFRA Permitted Use Guidelines

The following is comments on the draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas. OFT provided comments such as further guidance on identification of prime agricultural areas, directing on-farm development to lower capability lands, and limiting on-farm diversified uses.

OFT – EBR 012-3256 Four Plan Review Initial Recommendations

OFT observations, insights and recommendations on the review and refinement of the GGH Growth Plan, Greenbelt, ORMCP and NEP. This submission covers the issue of ongoing loss of Ontario farmland being a fundamental & growing concern, the need for more leadership and action is needed to protect Ontario’s farmland resources, and the key themes of the Ontario Farmland Trust’s recommendations.

2014
OFT – EBR 012-0241 Land Use Planning and Appeal System

The following is a submission from OFT about their concerns and recommendations related to the land use planning and appeals system. The submission looks at municipal planning conformity with provincial land use policy, transparency and accountability in planning and appeal processes, and public engagement in planning processes.

OFT – EBR 012-0281 Development Charges Act

The following is recommendations related to the use of development charges throughout the province. The submission includes seven recommendations such as requiring municipalities to differentiate between development on greenfields and development in urbanized areas, and provide incentives for the types of development that make more efficient use of land.

2013
OFT – Federal Pickering Airport Lands

The following is comments on the new plan for the Pickering Lands and provides input on the future uses and management of these lands. The submission includes comments on the future use of lands surplus to airport purposes and harmonization with provincial interests, forming a stakeholder advisory group and formalizing a commitment to public engagement, effective management of Pickering Lands & involvement of land trusts and the importance of agriculture and farmland preservation in the region.

OFT – Terms of Reference for Southwestern Landfill Proposal

The following is comments on the Terms of Reference for Southwestern Landfill Proposal. The submission includes concerns over the proposal, and a request for a full agricultural impact study.

2012
OFT – Aggregate Resources Act Review

The following is comments on the Terms of Reference for Southwestern Landfill Proposal. The submission includes concerns over the proposal, and a request for a full agricultural impact study.

OFT – Sixteen Considerations for Rouge National Urban Park

The following is comments on the consideration for development of the Rouge National Urban Park. The submission includes the importance of farmers as key stakeholders, building synergy between conservation of farmland and preservation of natural heritage and many other points.

OFT – Rouge National Urban Park Submission

The following is comments on the consideration for development of the Rouge National Urban Park. The submission includes the importance of farmers as key stakeholders, building synergy between conservation of farmland and preservation of natural heritage and many other points.

OFT – EBR 011-7070 Provincial Policy Statement Five Year Review

The following is comments on the Provincial Policy Statement Five Year Review: Draft Policies and the Review Cycle. The submission includes suggestions of strengthening the PPS language, improving provincial support mechanisms for the protection of prime farmland and prime agricultural areas

2011
OFT – EBR 011-2864 Melancthon Quarry and Aggregate Removal

The following is comments on the Nova Scotia Company’s application for a Class ‘A’ license to develop a new aggregate quarry within the Township of Melancthon. The submission covers concerns over the protection of farmland, incomplete agricultural impact assessments, and the uniqueness of agriculture in the area due to a micro-climate.  

2010
OFT – EBR 010-9766 Review of the Provincial Policy Statement 2005

The following are comments on the review of the Provincial Policy Statement in 2005. The submission includes sections on managing and directing land use to achieve efficient development and land use patterns, infrastructure and public service facilities, energy and air quality, and wise use and management of resources.

User Rating : ( votes)