Bill 23 legislation changes landscape

by Steve Galea | January 20, 2023
Legislative Assembly of Ontario building in Queens Park
Photo: https://www.ola.org/en

Conservation groups are concerned new legislation aiming to spur new home construction by reducing fees and removing barriers to development could replace southern Ontario’s farmlands, forests, and wet- lands with more subdivisions. Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, became law on November 28.

“The changes in the bill may have significant impacts on conservation authorities, municipalities, and the overall protection of Ontario’s environment,” stated Conservation Ontario, which represents Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities (CAs).

“Parts of the bill have obvious implications for the anglers and hunters of Ontario, namely the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, but we have no idea what impact it will have on fish and wildlife habitat yet,” OFAH Policy Manager Mark Ryckman said. CAs have been asked to identify lands in their watersheds that may be suitable for development, he added.

The legislation greatly restricts a CA’s ability to effectively review/comment on development proposals, Ryckman said, pointing out, they will no longer be able to consider a proposal’s impact on the conservation of land or pollution, which could have serious implications for water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.

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