Federal Minister for Environment decides to study land close to properties where developers want to build home homes

By Staff

March 22, 2023



The federal government has climbed aboard the drive to reverse the land swaps and the Greenbelt Land Grab the Ford government announced in December of 2022.

Minister Guilbeault’s action are being described as a key step on a path to victory for Ontarians working to protect the Greenbelt in perpetuity.

Steven Guilbeault, not yet a politician got himself arrested for climbing the CN Tower. The man clearly knew what a photo op is supposed to be.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault announced a new regional environmental study on the impacts of housing developments planned by the Ford government near the Rouge National Urban Park.

Guilbeault has a flair for the dramatic and his intervention certainly won’t hurt in the push to ensure that the Greenbelt is protected in perpetuity.

Today’s Federal announcement is described as a direct result of Ontarians speaking up about the broken Greenbelt promise.

The federal announcement adds to the work being done by Environmental Defence and the several complaints being looked into by Ontario’s Auditor General and the provincial Integrity Commissioner.

Properties that are targeted for development..

Support for the Greenbelt is said to be well understood.  In August 2022 an EKOS poll commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation found that 75 percent of voters in Toronto’s suburbs wanted municipal election candidates to offer more protection to the Greenbelt

A group working out of Guelph. Greenbelt Promise Campaign, used dramatic language to describe what the issue is and why it is important. Ontario’s Greenbelt created in 2005 has become land that developers have been acquiring.  Residents of Ontario are said to understand that greenbelts are created as guarantees to protect the environment and farmland from profit-driven developers.

“In December 2022, Conservative MPPs betrayed Ontarians when they chose to undermine the environment and the will of the people by selling out the Greenbelt to wealthy developers.

“The Ford government is being pressed to reverse the decision that gave developers permission to send bulldozers into the Greenbelt.

“The Ontario’s environmental community congratulates Minister Guilbeault for this timely intervention to protect farms, forests and wetlands.”


The threat is real – there are specific solutions.

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5 comments to Federal Minister for Environment decides to study land close to properties where developers want to build home homes

  • Keith Demoe

    This just sounds like politicking on Liberals part. There could be an election looming and they want to position themselves with the people against development. The big question…does the federal government even have any authority to stop development the province is pushing forward?? Not likely. Consititution is a rule book and it’s specific to who (feds or province) controls what.

    Editor’s note: The federal government clearly has some jurisdiction. The Rouge Valley Park will get an Environmental report done on it – that has the potential to hold up what the Premier wants to do in land that is adjacent. Doug Ford must have gone ballistic when he learned what the federal Minister of Climate Change decided to do. To have been a fly on that wall.

    • Keith Demoe

      I suspect Doug Ford is not too concerned…(Note CBC)

      Premier Doug Ford said he was not given a heads-up about the study, but was “not too concerned” it would affect development.

      “It shouldn’t slow down our development plans. It’s adjacent, it’s not right there, but good luck to them,” Ford said.

      So many against development, but they have no answers for the housing shortage.

  • Ted Gamble

    Michael and where is most of the immigration going? Disproportionately to Ontario and far smaller numbers proportionally to Quebec. The reason I am told by Ms. Gould office in writing is that they are supporting Quebecs goal of immigtating those only with Francophone language skills. Of course some or many of those arriving may not speak either English or French to which I suggested this was profiling…..to which I have received no answer as yet.

  • Phil Waggett

    Apparently the 17 times that the provincial Liberals under Wynne-McGuinty allowed Greenbelt land to be developed were not a problem but now that it’s a Conservative government allowing development it’s a problem. Is this just politics? I’ve visited four of the proposed sites allowed for development in the Pickering and Vaughn areas–all are contiguous to existing developed areas; none are what I would consider to be “environmentally significant” areas and none are “real farmland”–I see cover crops designed to allow the land to qualify for farm taxes.

    As for Guilbeaut’s involvement, perhaps he should look to his own government’s immigration policy which will focus on bringing in an additional half million people per year, with the majority focused on moving into the GTA. Where are they supposed to live? Are high-rise tenements the only option for people to live in? If I were Premier Ford and the federal Liberals start to poke their nose into an area of provincial jurisdiction, I would start to push back hard on the Liberal immigration targets.

  • Michael Hribljan

    I know everyone is crowing about the Premier opening up parts of the greenbelt, of which some are wet lands. Here’s the hard reality the way I see it and based on some of my professional experience with Environmental Assessments for water and wastewater infrastructure in the province. It’s clear that the lands opened up are at the edge of urban boundaries for many of the Regions and City of Toronto and City of Hamilton. This is where it’s cost effective to bring water and wastewater infrastructure to, it’s the low hanging fruit that will have minimal impact on development charges and hence cost of homes built.

    Many don’t understand this, but water and wastewater infrastructure is really the key to affordable development in Ontario, these are BIG and EXPENSIVE projects and is the main reason we have development around the lake. Once you get outside of water supplied by Lake Ontario and treated wastewater discharged to Lake Ontario it becomes very, very expensive for development as many of the water supplies are limited and the smaller streams and lakes cannot handle the treated wastewater discharge.

    There have been a host of “Big Pipe” projects and strategies to open up other areas for development outside of the golden horseshoe and options include Lake Huron, Lake Erie and of course Lake Ontario – these have been studied and discussed since the early 1990. (note there is a big pipe to London from Lake Huron) .

    When these solutions get presented to smaller communities outside of the Golden Horseshoe, you can guess what the response is, yes full on NIMBYims. I was the Engineer on one such project, presenting at a school gymnasium in a small town that was overflowing and ready to chase me and my colleagues out of town for providing technical solutions for what was moderate growth.

    So, here we have it, the Federal Liberal government raising immigration from 250,000 under Harper to currently 450,000 with plans to 500,000 driven by consultation with McKinsey & Company, high powered global consultants with deep ties to the liberal party. No plan by the feds to deal with housing created by this immigration tsunami. A Minister of the Environment interfering with the Province for political gain. And, flawed thinking that infill or “inclusive development” with solve the issue.

    The Regions and two Cities around the golden horseshoe have greenspace that have essentially created a “moat” to growth. Smaller communities on the other side of that “moat” that do not want the “fabric” of their communities disrupted by “big pipe” solutions. So, we now have progressives in the golden horse are beating up on the Premier for a situation driven by Ottawa. I would suggest that anyone that now has an issue with development in Greenspace or Wetlands also write to our MP and PM (good luck both are tone deaf) to slowdown the rate of immigration until these environmental issues are solved. The solutions are out there, the costs are known, and some communities are not going to be happy with the answer.