Sydenham River Nature Reserve © David Coulson
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that the provincial government will be removing Schedule 10 from Bill 66. The Schedule 10 “open-for-business” by-laws would have overridden protections for water, natural heritage and farmland in municipalities across Ontario.
This is a major victory for land, people, water and wildlife across the province. The government said that it removed Schedule 10 after it heard from you, the people of Ontario. Ontario Nature’s members and supporters stood alongside community groups, municipal leaders, environmentalists, farmers and other citizens to make sure the government heard our voice. Together, we rallied and sent a loud and clear message that clean water and sustainable development are core values to Ontarians and are not negotiable. By removing Schedule 10, we didn’t just save the drinking water, farmland and natural heritage of the Greenbelt and surrounding areas – we saved it in every municipality across Ontario.
The Voice for Nature
With so much at stake, the public outcry was nothing short of inspirational. We worked closely with many other environmental organizations to mobilize and coordinate the opposition to Schedule 10. We cannot overstate the role of our Nature Network of 150 member groups that are deeply rooted in communities across Ontario. We were joined by the many municipalities and farm organizations that spoke out against this proposed attack on the environment.
We were fueled by our individual members and supporters – nearly 8,000 of whom signed our Action Alert, and many went further by contacting their MPPs, attending protests and rallying their neighbours.
Why It Matters
Under the guise of cutting red tape, Bill 66 would have lined the pockets of big business at the expense of the people of Ontario. The “open for business” by-laws would have undermined everything we have done to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities across Ontario.
We would have lost critical protections for water, wildlife and sensitive natural features set out in the Planning Act, the Greenbelt Act, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, the Great Lakes Protection Act, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, the Clean Water Act and more.
Citizen groups across Ontario refused to accept the anti-democratic and anti-environment elements of Bill 66. A groundswell of local organisations vehemently opposed turning back the clock on many years of good planning, community input and strong leadership from governments of all political stripes.
These by-laws could have been passed without public notice or meetings and cannot be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. These bylaws would not have even needed to be consistent with municipal Official Plans, which are typically developed in close consultation with community leaders and stakeholders.