Places to Grow: Ontario’s Ambitious Growth Plan

In the Canadian province of Ontario, the area known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the fastest growing urban regions in North America — 12,500 square miles of land around Toronto covering 110 municipalities, with over 8 million residents currently and forecast to grow by 3.7 million people and 1.8 million jobs by 2031. Brad Graham, assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Growth Secretariat, will outline the comprehensive plan for smart and sustainable growth for the area known as Places to Grow. The ambitious plan, which is backed by legislation, sets out specific population and employment targets, implements a minimum intensification rate (40 per cent by 2015), establishes higher density targets for downtown cores and requires new greenfield development densities of 20 jobs and people per acre. The plan also works in concert with the Province’s Greenbelt Plan, which protects 1.8 million acres of environmentally sensitive natural heritage and agricultural lands in region. Ontario is also investing in the goals of the Places to Grow, including an initial $11.5 billion for transit which will help fund more than 50 rapid-transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area, signifying the largest public transit expansion in half a century. The goal is to manage population growth in Ontario in a way that supports economic prosperity and achieves a high quality of life for all Ontarians.