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Official Plan for Toronto 2051 – The Future of Toronto’s Planning and Development

May 24, 2022 Construction, Municipal & Land Use Planning and Real Estate Bulletin 3 minute read

The City of Toronto (“City”) has extended an invitation for landowners, residents and other stakeholders in the development industry to have their say on the City’s next Official Plan: “Our Plan Toronto” (the “Plan”).

The Plan’s time horizon reflects the forecast set out in A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019) (the “Growth Plan”) that, by the year 2051, the City will have +700,000 new residents and +450,000 jobs. In anticipation of this growth and related competition for residential and employment space, the City is revisiting its goals and vision for its long-term future, and the necessary planning and development considerations to get there.

Official Plans, Generally

Official plans act as a roadmap for urban planning and development in a municipality, and set out a long-term vision to guide the municipality’s land use. Such plans consider buildings, transit, walkable areas, parks, storm sewers, recreational facilities, and more. They also address more social-context matters such as incorporating targets or guiding principles relating to housing affordability and climate change. As required by the Planning Act, these various considerations must achieve a balance between a number of factors, including growth, current local needs, future needs, and the environment. Municipalities are generally required to update their official plans every five years, and must review and amend their official plans to satisfy growth planning requirements set out in the Growth Plan. These reviews are known as Municipal Comprehensive Reviews (“MCRs”) and Growth Plan conformity exercises.

As a result of the Province’s recent updates to the Provincial Policy Statement (2020) and Growth Plan, municipalities across the Province are currently undertaking their MCR and Growth Plan conformity exercise. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (the “Ministry”) has established July 1, 2022 as the deadline for all municipalities to complete their MCR and Growth Plan conformity exercise. Once complete, the updated official plans will go to the Ministry for final approval, from which there is no appeal.[1]

Our Plan Toronto

As set out in our bulletin published last summer, Toronto City Council approved its “Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) – Work Plan” in June 2020, and began its MCR process in August 2020. Per the Work Plan “Task List”, the majority of this exercise is planned for 2022, and is broken down into the following headings:

  • Managing Forecasted Growth through Intensification;
  • Protecting Employment Areas;
  • Considering Employment Area Conversions;
  • Updating the Official Plan’s Environmental Policies;
  • Engagement Strategy; and
  • Other Policy Matters.

Many in the industry will be aware that the City closed its window for employment conversion applications in fall 2021, and these applications remain under review by the City. More information on the foregoing can be found on the City’s information website here.

The City is now seeking input from landowners, residents and other stakeholders in respect of draft policies and overall policy directions, prior to writing their Final Report to the Planning and Housing Committee on July 5, 2022.

Stakeholders should review the proposed policies and assess their potential impacts on their lands or other interests. Interested parties are encouraged to register to attend the upcoming Town Halls, City-Wide Open House and Policy-Focused meetings. We are currently aware of the following meetings (to be held virtually):

Meeting Location Date of Meeting Time
Etobicoke York Town Hall May 25, 2022 6pm to 8pm
Scarborough Town Hall May 26, 2022 6pm to 8pm
North York Town Hall May 30, 2022 6pm to 8pm
Toronto and East York Town Hall June 1, 2022 6pm to 8pm
City-wide Statutory Public Open House June 7, 2022 1pm to 3pm
Policy Focus: Employment Lands and the Future of Work June 21, 2022 5pm to 7pm
Policy Focus: Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities June 22, 2022 5pm to 7pm
Policy Focus: Housing and Intensification June 23, 2022 5pm to 7pm

To the extent impacts of concern may be identified, stakeholders are strongly encouraged to also make written submissions to the City outlining these concerns and how they may be resolved in the official plan policies to be approved.

Notably, per Agenda Item PH33.13 of the City’s Planning and Housing Committee dated April 27, 2022, the City noted that “City Council requested an extension from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the date by which the City’s Official Plan must conform with the Growth Plan. To date, the Minister has not provided a response to Council’s request.”

McMillan will continue to monitor and remain apprised of the City’s consultation process. If your lands or interests may be impacted, or you wish to advocate on certain policies to guide the future of the City’s urban planning, development, and land use, please contact Mary Flynn-Guglietti, Annik Forristal or Kailey Sutton, and our team would be pleased to discuss further with you.

[1] Planning Act, s.17(36.5).

by Annik ForristalKailey Sutton and Anthony Labib

A Cautionary Note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2022

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