Ontario Provincial Policy Statement Being Amended

Indigenous Advocacy | Resources and Environment

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has released a draft of the revised Provincial Policy Statement (PPS). These amendments will affect a wide variety of provincial and municipal decisions about what type of land development is appropriate and can occur in Ontario.

The PPS is the set of policies that informs land use planning in Ontario under the Planning Act. The Planning Act “requires that decisions on land use planning matters made by municipalities, the Province, the Ontario Municipal Board and other decision-makers ‘shall be consistent with’ the PPS”. The PPS is a critical tool for properly identifying and addressing the impacts of development on significant wetlands, fish habitat, significant woodlands, wildlife, and the habitat of endangered and threatened species, and requires that a broad range of land use planning decisions ensure that there are protections for these ‘values’. The PPS is also important in the interpretation of what cultural heritage values are important in land use planning, and in protecting archaeology and heritage sites.

Ontario now plans to amend the PPS, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing  is seeking written comments on the revised draft before November 23, 2012. The draft PPS (which includes details for submitting comments) can be found here: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=9881.

The additions to the PPS that deal with Aboriginal issues or are of significant interest to First Nations are as follows:

  • Under the Part IV: Vision for Ontario’s Land Use Planning System:

The Provincial Policy Statement reflects this diversity, which includes the histories and cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and is based on good planning principles that apply in communities across Ontario. The Province recognizes the importance of consulting with Aboriginal communities, as appropriate, on planning matters that may affect their rights and interests.

  • 1.2.2 Planning authorities are encouraged to coordinate planning matters with Aboriginal communities, where appropriate.
  • 2.2.1 Changes the provisions on planning based on watersheds as an ‘ecologically meaningful scale for planning’ to add provisions for considering cumulative impacts of development on a watershed basis.
  • 2.6.5 Planning authorities should consider the interests of Aboriginal communities in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources.
  • 4.3 This Provincial Policy Statement shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act,1982.
  • 6.0 Changes to the definitions of “built heritage resources” and “cultural heritage landscapes” to include references to Aboriginal communities

There are a number of sections of the PPS which may have relevance to First Nations, which have not changed substantially, including the provisions related to mineral aggregate development.  The revised PPS still promotes the harvesting of as much mineral aggregate as possible as close to markets as possible, as well as explicitly barring any consideration of need or demand for aggregates in planning decisions related to aggregates (

By Matt McPherson

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