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Over 90 groups and prominent individuals offer a new blueprint for expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt

Report provides advice requested by Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Nottawasaga Valley, Greenbelt © John Vetterli CC BY-NC 2.0

Toronto, Ont. – Today, over 90 groups and prominent individuals, including former members of the Greenbelt Council, released a new report Expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt: Getting It Right. The report provides a blueprint for how the Province can grow Ontario’s world-renowned 1.8 million acre Greenbelt to increase the amount of farmland and natural spaces that are protected from urban sprawl.

“Expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt will help improve the sustainability of farming in the region, will help protect drinking water resources and assist in the fight against climate change. I was pleased when, in December, the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stated that he wanted advice on how to expand the Greenbelt. This report responds to that request and sets out a path for success,” said David Crombie, former Chair of the Greenbelt Council.

The report outlines five requirements the provincial government must follow to ensure that Greenbelt expansion improves the environmental and financial health of Ontarians.

  • Retain all lands currently protected within the Greenbelt
  • Build on the science and public consultation carried out during the recent boundary expansion review
  • Simultaneously address public health, local food security, water security, climate resilience, biodiversity conservation and economic prosperity
  • Acknowledge that there is more than enough land available to both expand the Greenbelt and build complete communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
  • Consult meaningfully with Indigenous communities

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how crucial the forests, wetlands, river valleys and farmland all around us are to our continued well-being and to maintaining our health,” said Anne Golden, Former Chair, Ryerson City Building Institute. “Bringing more land under the legal protection of the Greenbelt is the best tool to protect these precious spaces.”

“Our report outlines the steps the provincial government needs to take to protect the lands and waters that sustain us and create an equitable, prosperous future for people living in the most heavily populated region of the province,” said Dr. Anne Bell of Ontario Nature.

“This report responds to Minister Clark’s request for advice on how to grow the Greenbelt. We now look forward to meeting with, and working with, the Minister to turn this report into action,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence.

You can read the report here.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

About ONTARIO NATURE (www.ontarionature.org): Ontario Nature is a charitable conservation organization that protects wild species and wild spaces across Ontario through conservation, education and public engagement.

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For more information and to arrange an interview, contact:

Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, abraude@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-356-2587

John Hassell, Ontario Nature, johnh@ontarionature.org, 416-786-2171