Loss of Local Decision-Making: Bill 23 Does Not Work for Eastern Ontario

18-Nov-2022 19-Nov-2022
More than 38 Eastern Ontario Mayors have endorsed a Conservation Authority (CA) letter to the province expressing concerns with provincial Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.

The letter, written collectively by 10 Eastern Ontario CAs, was addressed to Premier Doug Ford, Minister Steve Clark, Minister Graydon Smith and Minister David Piccini.
“Nearly all Mayors within our region endorsed the Eastern Ontario response, even with the unfortunate strategic consultation timeline that limited municipal participation due to Council turnovers,” said John Mesman, SNC’s Managing Director of Property, Conservation Lands, and Community Outreach. “Municipalities and Conservation Authorities are deeply concerned with the proposed downloaded responsibilities to municipalities who do not have the resources to manage natural hazard and natural heritage related reviews.”

“CAs are the only environmental agencies with boots on the ground. Our staff and expertise are local, we sit at the table with our municipal partners. Forcing municipalities to work with consultants from the GTA to complete desktop reviews of development impacts will result in a costly and narrow view of decision-making,” added Mesman. “Our reviews result in development approvals that find solutions to build in our local landscape.”

In their letter, the Eastern Ontario CAs summarize key concerns with the Bill and how the changes will slow local development review processes; download new responsibilities to municipalities; pass costs to taxpayers; increase the risk of flooding, erosion and slope failure; and damage the local environment.

The CAs also provide recommendations to the province of how to improve Bill 23 and call for meaningful consultation with CAs, municipalities, and the development and agricultural sectors to identify real solutions to increase housing without having unintended and irreversible consequences.

“Our municipalities recognize that we’ve been their environmental partner of choice, providing an internationally-recognized watershed perspective to land use planning decisions,” added Alison McDonald, SNC’s Managing Director of Development Approvals. “Our partnership has helped speed up approvals, while sharing staff resources and expertise, and saving taxpayers and developers time and money.”

“Municipalities should retain their choice of who they enter into agreement with to complete environmental reviews in a timely and cost-effective way,” added McDonald, who is also a former County Planner and a local municipal councillor.

Water flows across municipal boundaries and so do the impacts of development. That’s why over the past 75 years, municipalities have formed 36 CAs across Ontario to assess and understand the cumulative impact of development within each watershed. At a time when climate change is causing more frequent and intense storm events, the role of CAs has never been more critical.
Learn more:

Provide input through the Environmental Registry of Ontario:

  • ERO number 019-2927: Proposed updates to the regulation of development for the protection of people and property from natural hazards in Ontario
  • ERO number 019-6141: Legislative and regulatory proposals affecting conservation authorities to support the Housing Supply Action Plan 3.0


More information:
John Mesman
Managing Director, Property, Conservation Lands and Community Outreach

1-877-984-2948 |