OFA provides comments to proposed provisions of the Planning Act that provide the Minister enhanced authority to address certain matter as part of the zoning order. Ontario cannot sustain continuing losses of agricultural land while maintaining our ability to produce food, fibre and fuel from our limited and declining agricultural land base. OFA has no objections to allowing the Minister to require agreements between the landowner and the municipality or the landowner and the Minister to address inclusionary zoning matters and to ensure continued compliance with affordable housing requirements. However, OFA recommends that province-wide, higher density development should be mandated to take full advantage of existing infrastructure and to reduce demand on agricultural land for future development.
Regarding Site Plan Control, OFA opposes the Minister having this authority to supersede municipal site plan authority. With all due respect, OFA firmly believes that Site Plan Control is an area best left to those who have this type of expertise at the municipal level and OFA supports local municipal councils continuing to fill this role. OFA believes providing advanced public notice for MZOs, and any amendments to them, is important and therefore, OFA recommends that this is required. OFA does not support the expansion of legislative changes made through Bill 197, the COVID19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 with respect to MZOs. OFA feels that enhanced MZO powers should be repealed or at least curtailed in areas where there is already a robust planning process in place to reduce the threat to agricultural land.