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Bill 66


In December the Ontario Government introduced Bill 66 – Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act – in the Legislature. Among the many proposals in the Bill, are changes to the Province’s planning legislation that could negate some of the environmental protections that naturalist organizations and individuals have fought for in the past.

Municipalities would be able to ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to pass an “Open-for-Business Planning By-law” (OFB-ZBL) to apply to major business developments that would “meet a minimum job creation threshold (e.g. 50 jobs for municipalities with a population of less than 250,000 people).”

Among the features of an OFB-ZBL are:

  • an OFB-ZBL need not conform with an Official Plan
  • an OFB-ZBL cannot be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board until April last year)
  • a municipality is not required to hold public meetings with respect to an OFB-ZBL
  • an OFB-ZBL need not conform to significant threat policies and designated Great Lakes Policies, or have regard to any other policy set out in a drinking water source protection plan prepared under the Clean Water Act, 2006
  • an OFB-ZBL need not conform to various initiatives and policies created under the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015
  • an OFB-ZBL need not conform to the Ontario Greenbelt Plan
  • an OFB-ZBL need not conform with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan

More information about these proposals is available:

  • on the Ontario Government’s Environmental Registry at

where people can leave comments until January 20th.

The planning aspects of Bill 66 received little attention when the Bill was introduced before Christmas, and will not be discussed in the Legislature until it resumes sitting in February.

All members are encouraged to follow the passage of Bill 66 closely, and to let your opinions be known.