Provincial policies that affect land use planning can have a great impact on farmland. That is why OFT regularly submits comments on proposed changes to provincial policies that will help strengthen the protections Ontario’s farmland receives.

Recently, OFT provided comments on two separate issues: Bill 257, the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Act, and the review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP).

Reliable rural broadband is critical for farm businesses and rural communities. As such, OFT supports the Province’s decision to invest in reliable rural broadband services. However, within Bill 257, Schedule 3 proposes to exempt all past and all future Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) from being consistent with provincial land use planning policies outside of the Greenbelt area. OFT believes that MZOs can jeopardize farmland when not used responsibly. If you would like to learn more about MZOs and farmland, click here.

OFT’s recommendation was that Schedule 3 of Bill 257 is removed entirely, as it will not work to advance rural broadband services but will negatively impact farmland. To read our full submission on Bill 257, click here.

The LSPP was originally created to safeguard the health of Lake Simcoe and the surrounding watershed. OFT believes that farmland is a crucial part of the landscape, and that protections for farmland within the LSPP should be strengthened. Farmland in the Lake Simcoe watershed not only provides jobs and food to the surrounding communities and beyond, but it also provides critical ecosystem services that, together with those provided by natural areas, helps maintain the health of the watershed. Development that occurs on farmland in this area will negatively impact the health of Lake Simcoe in the long term, and as such, the area’s farmlands need to be protected. To read our full submission on the review of the LSPP, click here.

OFT is proud to continue to work with the Province to strengthen protections for farmland within provincial policies. If you would like to read our other policy submissions, click here.