By John Michael McGrath, TVO, December 7, 2018
Queen’s Park has shut down until February, but before MPPs headed home, the Progressive Conservative government introduced one final piece of legislation: Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. Its 12 schedules amend many different existing pieces of legislation relating to everything from farm regulation to labour law. But it also contains a ticking time bomb — one that threatens the Greenbelt, a 7,200-square-kilometre parcel of land that during the election the Tories promised to protect.
Bill 66 would allow municipalities to create “open for business” zoning bylaws (the phrase, a PC party slogan, is thus entrenched in the legislation). These would allow municipalities to bypass numerous existing pieces of legislation. The intent is to attract major employers to the province and allow them to speed through municipal-planning approvals for such developments as factories and office parks — the changes are not intended to speed the development of housing.