The City of Toronto Official Plan has to be reviewed and updated every 5 years to ensure that it conforms to provincial plans. Planning initiated that process in 2020 and has developed a Work Plan that extends into 2022, in order to meet the required submission date of July, 2022 to the provincial government. This review has been named ‘Our Plan Toronto’.
Toronto is growing and changing. Together we can create a plan for our shared future. Let’s plan for the next 30 years and beyond – from housing to the economy to climate change and more.
Our Plan Toronto includes many ways for people and organizations to get involved and share ideas about our present and our future. The success of this process depends on engagement with communities including with stakeholders, equity-seeking groups, Indigenous communities, the general public and internal City divisions.
There are many ways to add your voice to Our Plan Toronto. There will be events, conversations, and surveys throughout 2021 and 2022 to bring people together.
The Province’s updated A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019) was brought into effect on May 16, 2019.
The Planning Act requires that municipalities revise their official plan to ensure that it conforms to provincial plans. The Places to Grow Act requires that municipalities amend their official plan to conform to the province’s A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019). These provincially legislated requirements are satisfied through a Growth Plan conformity exercise and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR), which is currently underway.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is the approval authority for the conformity exercise and MCR. There is no appeal of the Minister’s approval. The Minister has established a deadline to achieve the required conformity exercise under the Places to Grow Act on or by July 1, 2022.
The upcoming Growth Plan Conformity and MCR present an opportunity to address, through planning policy, a number of the growth related challenges facing Toronto today and in the future. These challenges include: housing affordability, climate change, mobility, public health and others that will help inform the City’s response to, and recovery from the current global pandemic.
A Report for Action – Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) – Work Plan (PDF) was provided by the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to the Planning and Housing Committee on June 15, 2020 outlining City Planning staff’s recommended approach and work plan that will ultimately result in Official Plan Amendments required to align the Official Plan with the Province’s updated Growth Plan. The chief planner also created a presentation on the Growth Plan (2019) Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review Work Plan.
The work plan presents City Planning’s recommended approach to implement inclusionary zoning and put in place a policy framework that is balanced and appropriately manages anticipated population and employment growth while planning complete communities. Importantly, this work plan responds to the City’s overall objective to improve housing supply across the spectrum.
The Growth Plan (2019) requirements were organized into 6 categories (PDF). The analysis required to complete all requirements are interrelated and findings from one stream of work may inform another. Each stream of work will be undertaken simultaneously.
|TASK LIST||Estimated Year of Completion|
|Managing Forecasted Growth through Intensification|
|Major Transit Station Areas (Phases 1, 2, and 3)|
-Land use, Delineation and Density Assignment
|Request for Lower Major Transit Station Areas densities||•|
|Local Area Studies, where necessary, e.g. Keele-St. Clair||•||•|
|Protected Major Transit Station Areas, e.g. Keele-Finch||•||•||•|
|Additional Major Transit Station Areas||•|
|Urban Growth Centres||•|
|Other Strategic Growth Areas||•||•|
|Land Needs Assessment||•|
|Protecting Employment Areas|
|Land Uses in Employment Areas|
-Prohibit certain land uses (residential), prohibit or limit other sensitive land uses; prohibit or establish size thresholds for major retail uses
|Minimum density targets for Employment Areas|
-Minimum density targets to be measured in jobs per hectare
|Considering Employment Area Conversions|
|Recommended 1-year window to receive conversion requests||•||•|
|Potential conversion request fee||•|
|Updating the Official Plan's Environmental Policies|
|Review and develop policies||•||•|
|Develop and execute engagement strategy||•||•||•|
|Other Policy Matters|
|-Additional policy matters to be reviewed and amended||•||•|
The first category of work represents a significant component of work to be undertaken during the Growth Plan conformity exercise and MCR. Municipalities are required to undertake an intensification strategy to satisfy the Growth Plan (2019) policies. This intensification strategy is intended to direct Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and prioritize growth where transit and other infrastructure currently exists or is planned, including in Major Transit Station Areas, Urban Growth Centres, and other Strategic Growth Areas. As part of the intensification strategy, City staff will undertake a Land Needs Assessment, as required by the Growth Plan (2019), to assess the quantity of land required to accommodate forecasted growth to 2041. Components of the intensification strategy are described below.
The Official Plan Review Process
The City needs to review the Official Plan by summer 2022, which is required by the Province of Ontario. This update will help prepare for long-term growth over the next 30 years. In technical terms, this process is also called the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR).
Toronto is expected to grow by 700,000 people and more than 450,000 jobs by 2051. This would bring our total population to 3.6 million and nearly 2 million jobs. Our Plan Toronto will identify where this growth should go, and what is needed to support healthy, complete communities that are thriving and inclusive. This process will include discussions on housing affordability, equity, employment, sustainability, and more.
Our Plan Toronto includes many ways for people and organizations to get involved and share ideas about our present and our future. The success of this process depends on engagement with communities including with stakeholders, equity-seeking groups, Indigenous communities, the general public and internal City divisions. There will be participation in meetings (virtual and in-person when deemed to be safe) – public meetings, roundtables, focus groups, and community leaders circles. As well, there will be online participation – website, surveys, newsletters, videos and social media.
A five step process has been defined:
To begin: We received the Province of Ontario’s forecast for 2051 population and job numbers for Toronto in the Growth Plan (2019).
- Review current Official Plan policies and undertake background studies to figure out where more growth can and should go.
- Review existing plans for local areas and neighbourhoods.
- Strengthen commitments to climate change action.
- Lay the groundwork for a 2051-ready Plan.
- Develop draft changes to the Official Plan by July 1, 2022.
The plan will evolve from 2021 through to Winter 2022 in three parts:
|Spring 2021||Part 1||Envisioning a Future Ready Toronto|
|Fall 2021||Part 2||The Big Questions: Housing, Employment & Sustainability|
|Winter 2022||Part 3||A Plan for 2051: Draft Policies|
Review the Story Map for ‘Our Toronto: Past, Present and Future’ for lots of information and links to relevant materials.
Review the Our Plan Toronto Your Guide for information on the Plan, the Road Map, the Questions to be answered and how Our Plan Toronto work is being integrated with other plans and initiatives happening in communities across the city.
In October, 2021 stakeholders were invited to a series of meetings to express thoughts on key Official Plan policy areas under review. The Presentation slides are now available for each stakeholder focus meeting.
Stakeholder Meeting #1: Environment and Climate Change – Oct 4, 2021
Key topics included climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience, protection of natural heritage and water resources, biodiversity, reducing consumption of natural resources, management of stormwater, green infrastructure, reduction of urban heat island impacts, and addressing density targets for Major Transit Station Areas that overlap with the Green Space System.
Stakeholder Meeting #2: Affordable Housing and Intensification – Oct 7, 2021
Key topics included ongoing policy work on inclusionary zoning, Major Transit Station Area delineations and minimum density targets, and other components of the intensification strategy,
Stakeholder Meeting #3: Future of Work and Employment
Key topics included job growth trends, impacts of the global pandemic, trajectory of change in employment, matching labour force with opportunities, supporting small businesses, and the Employment Act conversion request process and update.
Stakeholder Meeting #4: Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities – Oct 15, 2021
Key topics included ongoing policy work on Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods, Major Transit Station Area delineations that fall within Neighbourhoods, components of complete communities, and others.
The public was also invited to attend a Public Meeting (either at 1 or 5 p.m.) on October 20, 2021 for city-wide conversations on Our Plan Toronto and the most pressing issues facing our city as we grow.
Looking ahead, the Our Plan Toronto team is planning a series of meetings and discussions in November and December, including meetings with:
- Indigenous rights holders and organizations
- Community Leaders Circle
- Various City Committees and Ward meeetings
- Interdivisional working groups
- Youth and schools
There are many ways to add your voice to Our Plan Toronto. There will be events, conversations, and surveys throughout 2021 and 2022 to bring people together. Find out more about how to get involved and stay informed on Toronto’s Official Plan Review page. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates as key milestones in the project are being approached.
February 2022 Update on Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review
The Planning and Housing Committee reviewed the Report for Action presented by the Chief Planner. The Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) is provincially required and the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area municipalities have been given the date of July 1, 2022 to complete their MCRs. Since 2017 there have been numerous changes to Growth Plan policies, “which has created instability in the planning process and challenged municipalities’ abilities to implement provincial policies in their local plans”.
The report provided updates and described next steps for:
- Managing forecasted growth through Intensification
- Protecting Employment Lands
- Considering requests to convert Employment Areas
- Updating the Official Plan’s environmental policies
- Engagement Strategy
- Other Policy Matters
The report also recommended that Council request an extension from the Minister to allow staff to deliver a Final report to Council in the first half of 2023 (versus July 2022).
The following Recommendations were adopted by the Planning and Housing Committee on January 12, 2022 with additional amendments for requests submitted by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee:
- City Council request the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to set an alternative timeframe of July 2023 for the City of Toronto’s Official Plan to conform with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
- If the extension is granted, a statutory public meeting be held in the first half of 2023 to consider the Municipal Comprehensive Review.
- Consider advancing Final Recommendation Reports on complete Official Plan Amendment applications that are being considered concurrent with the MCR no later than the July 5, 2022 meeting of the Planning and Housing Committee.
- Conduct an environmental scan of jurisdictions that integrated an equity-deserving lens, incorporating the needs of people with disabilities in long-term land-use plans and strategies and report back to the Planning and Housing Committee in the second quarter of 2022.
- Report back to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee by end of second quarter of 2022 on MCR draft policies incorporating an equity-deserving lens for the needs of people living with disabilities.
City Council adopted this item on February 2, 2022 without amendments.
May 2022 Update
Register for one of the upcoming Town Halls, City-wide Open House or Policy Focused meetings. City staff will present the draft policies and overall policy directions prior to writing their Final Report to the Planning and Housing Committee for July 5, 2022, review.
|Etobicoke York Town Hall||May 25, 2022||6 – 8 p.m.||Register|
|Scarborough Town Hall||May 26, 2022||6 – 8 p.m.||Register|
|North York Town Hall||May 30, 2022||6 – 8 p.m.||Register|
|Toronto and East York Town Hall||June 1, 2022||6 – 8 p.m.||Register|
|City-wide Statutory Public Open House||June 7, 2022||1 – 3 p.m.||Register|
|Policy Focus: Employment Lands and the Future of Work||June 21, 2022||5 – 7 p.m.||Register|
|Policy Focus: Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities||June 22, 2022||5 – 7 p.m.||Register|
|Policy Focus: Housing and Intensification||June 23, 2022||5 – 7 p.m.||Register|
Mass Transit Station Areas
This narrative is focused on the Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) portion of the MCR.
MTSAs are defined in the Growth Plan (2019) as areas within an approximate 500-800 metre radius of a transit station and representing a 10-minute walk. The Growth Plan (2019) prescribes the following minimum density targets for MTSAs: 200 residents and jobs per hectare for subways; 160 residents and jobs per hectare for light rail transit; and 150 residents and jobs for GO Transit rail. To satisfy the Growth Plan (2019) requirements, the City is required to individually delineate the boundaries for the 180+ MTSAs within the City and to demonstrate that each MTSA is planned for the established minimum target as part of the MCR. The number of MTSAs increases to approximately 180 upon the finalization of station locations for the Provincial Priority projects that are currently under study through the draft Bill 171 – Building Transit Faster Act, 2020.
Planning reported to the Planning and Housing Committee on October 18, 2021 a Report for Action and a Presentation for consultation of a draft Official Plan Amendment (OPA) which includes 11 potential MTSAs and their corresponding Site and Area Specific Policies (SASPs). Analysis has shown that 11 (6% of 180+ potential MTSAs) generally would not be appropriate areas top dramatically increase density in the absence of a completed local area study. These sites cannot meet the Growth Plan (2019) density targets and are eligible for lower targets due to: development constraints related to overlap with the City’s Green Space System; and/or a station with high ridership where there is limited density (people and jobs). Students are not included as either “people or jobs” but the post-secondary institutions are a major trip generator. Seven of the 11, have been identified as potential PMTSAs, as they are within areas of high growth and strong market conditions.
Six station areas have significant overlap with the Green Space System:
- Old Mill
- Humber College
- Rowntree Mills
- York Mills
- Sunnybrook Park
Five station areas contain major trip generators, but exhibit low density:
- York University
- Pioneer Village
- Rouge Hill
- Martin Grove
- Long Branch
The Planning and Housing Committee authorized Planning to use the draft Official Plan Amendment (OPA 544) as a basis for consultation and to bring forward a Final Report by the second quarter of 2022.
Requests for Lower MTSA densities
The Growth Plan (2019) allows municipalities to request lower targets for particular MTSAs if it can be demonstrated that the targets cannot be achieved because development is prohibited by provincial policy or severely restricted on a significant portion of the affected lands (e.g. floodplains), or there are a limited number of residents and jobs associated with the built form, but a major trip generator or feeder service will sustain high ridership at that particular station or stop.
Local Area Studies, where necessary to inform MTSA
Local area studies will inform the MTSA delineation and density calculation for some, but not all MTSAs. Considering the time and resources required to complete a local area study, the recommended prioritization approach will inform which MTSAs Council should consider as a priority.
The MCR will apply outcomes from recently completed planning studies to avoid duplicating work that has already been completed (or nearing completion) and adopted by Council. Over the last several years, City Planning has completed a number of studies that cover almost 35% of lands designated Mixed Use Areas and 90% of all identified Urban Growth Centres. Planning staff is well positioned to advance MTSAs in a phased approach that avoids the duplication of work and allows Council to consider MTSA delineations and density calculations in a timely manner.
The MTSA prioritization takes into account that certain MTSAs will require local area studies to inform the required MTSA delineation and density calculations. Staff have initiated and prioritized the Keele-St. Clair study, as directed by Planning and Housing Committee as one of such local studies to be expedited.
Protected Major Transit Station Areas
Delineated Protected Major Transit Station Areas (PMTSAs) will be a subset of all 180+ MTSAs that the City can delineate before the MCR is concluded. In order to delineate PMTSAs before the MCR is concluded, the City must put in place a detailed planning framework that includes the authorized permitted uses of land and minimum densities with respect to buildings and structures within the delineated area. The PMTSA requirement for minimum densities for buildings and structures requires a level of specificity that is akin to provisions contained within an area zoning by-law. This level of specificity is not required for MTSAs completed as part of the MCR process.
Key considerations for the determination of PMTSA candidacy are: enabling Transit Oriented Development (TOD); facilitating large scale revitalization; implementing inclusionary zoning; and building upon recently completed planning studies where significant work was conducted to put in a place the required level of specificity described above. For example, staff are advancing two PMTSAs following the completion of the Keele-Finch study.
Given that implementing inclusionary zoning is limited to PMTSAs (or where a Development Permit System by-law is in place), this key consideration is applied to the phasing approach outlined in below. Inclusionary zoning is an affordable housing tool that links the production of affordable housing to the production of market-rate housing. Inclusionary zoning market areas across the City have been broadly categorized into strong, moderate, or emerging market areas for potential inclusionary zoning based on a City-wide analysis of resale prices and escalation; new condominium prices and escalation; new rental prices; residential development activity; and financial impact viability.
Phased MTSA Implementation
Staff are recommending a three-phased implementation approach to delineate and set the density targets of all MTSAs. The table below lists the selection criteria that informs the recommended prioritization of each MTSA listed in Attachment 2 to this report. Once the required work is completed for each MTSA, consistent with the criteria in this report, certain qualifying MTSAs will be brought forward to Council in advance of the MCR’s completion as PMTSAs.
Given that all MTSAs are “not created equally”, staff are recommending a phased implementation approach that builds upon and applies recently completed Planning studies to advance the MCR. Staff will advance those MTSAs where a recently completed Planning study is in place before other MTSAs that will require additional work to demonstrate conformity to the Growth Plan (2019). Additionally, during the course of the MCR, should a third-party partnership to redevelop/develop a transit station arise, the phased implementation approach described below would be modified. The phased implementation approach will also be affected by staff’s ability to advance certain components.
From: Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) – Work Plan, pg. 8 (PDF)
Phase 1 (approximately 40 MTSAs)
The first phase of MTSAs do not require local area studies (or have a recently completed study), but do require that the station area already meets or exceeds the required minimum density targets and inclusionary zoning can be applied. Where appropriate, these MTSAs will be advanced to implement a PMTSA policy framework to implement inclusionary zoning. During Phase 1, City staff will be undertaking the work to advance the MTSAs listed in phases 2 and 3, including the initiation of local area studies and any other background work necessary to ensure that MTSA delineations and density calculations are continually considered by Council.
Phase 2 (approximately 65 MTSAs)
The second phase of MTSAs are those where Council may request the Minister of MMAH to approve a lower density target, which will require the proper documentation and density calculations for Council’s consideration. During the second phase, any MTSA where a planning study has recently been completed or nearing completion will be advanced for Council’s consideration and Ministerial approval as a PMTSA, where appropriate. Any necessary background work for Phase 3 will be continued or initiated in Phase 2.
Phase 3 (approximately 50 MTSAs)
The third phase of MTSAs are those that require local area studies to demonstrate how the minimum density targets will be planned for. These local area studies will have commenced in the previous phases and will be completed in the last phase.
See: Phased MTSA Prioritization Approach maps and tables, pages 17-28, from Growth Plan Conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) – Work Plan (PDF)
MTSA Study Update (December, 2021)
City Council approved OPA 482 on December 16, 2020 which covers the Finch West subway station area and the planned Sentinel LRT station area. This is the only OPA related to MTSAs so far submitted to the Minister for approval.
The Planning and Housing Committee under Agenda Item PH22.6 adopted the report Draft Delineations for the Protected Major Transit Station Areas within the Downtown Secondary Plan and Draft Citywide MTSA Policy Directions on April 22, 2021 which serves as the basis for consultation of the Official Plan Amendment (OPA). Planning and Housing Committee authorized the City Planning to use the draft OPA 524 as the basis for consultation and to bring forward a Final Report by the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Draft OPA proposes individual Site and Area Specific Policies (SASPs) for each of the 16 PMTSAs in the Downtown Secondary Plan. Protected MTSAs will include inclusionary zoning. Each SASP includes a delineation of the PMTSA, identification of the minimum population and employment targets and minimum density requirements represented in Floor Space index. The 16 PMTSAs being considered are:
- Spadina Station: 300 people and jobs per hectare
- St. George Station: 400 people and jobs per hectare
- Bay Station: 900 people and jobs per hectare
- Bloor-Yonge Station: 900 people and jobs per hectare
- Sherbourne Station: 500 people and jobs per hectare
- Wellesley Station: 1000 people and jobs per hectare
- College Station: 1200 people and jobs per hectare
- Dundas Station: 1900 people and jobs per hectare
- Queen Station: 2000 people and jobs per hectare
- King Station: 2000 people and jobs per hectare
- Union Station: 1700 people and jobs per hectare
- St. Andrew Station: 1700 people and jobs per hectare
- Osgoode Station: 1700 people and jobs per hectare
- St. Patrick Station: 1500 people and jobs per hectare
- Queen’s Park Station: 900 people and jobs per hectare
- Museum Station: 700 people and jobs per hectare
The Final Report was adopted with amendments at the Planning and Housing Committee meeting on November 25, 2021 under Agenda Item PH29.10. The Report for Action and the Attachments were endorsed as the basis for public consultation. Planning is to prepare a Final Recommendation Report with an OPA for the Keele-St. Clair Local Area to the PHC in the second quarter of 2022 for special meeting in fulfillment of Section 26 of the Planning Act as part of the current Municipal Comprehensive Review.
A Draft of OPA 544 – Lower Density Target MTSAs, Agenda Item PH27.5 was adopted with amendments by the Planning and Housing Committee on October 18, 2021 as a draft of a request to the Minister for lower density targets for 11 MTSAs. Planning and Housing Committee authorized the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to use the draft Official Plan Amendment as a basis for consultation to bring forward a Final Report by the second quarter of 2022. The Report for Action and Presentation provide details.
- Old Mill Station: 50 people and jobs per hectare
- Humber College Station: 117 people and jobs per hectare
- Rowntree Mills Stop: 82 people and jobs per hectare
- Tobermory Stop: 85 people and jobs per hectare
- York Mills Station: 85 people and jobs per hectare
- Sunnybrook Park Stop: 67 people and jobs per hectare
- York University Station: 96 people and jobs per hectare
- Pioneer Village Station: 57 people and jobs per hectare
- Rouge Hill Station: 79 people and jobs per hectare
- Martin Grove Stop: 99 people and jobs per hectare
- Long Branch Station: 78 people and jobs per hectare
The Next Steps have been defined as:
- Lower Target Request (11 stations)
- Host virtual engagement events
- Bring forward Final Report in Spring 2022
- Downtown Final report (16 stations)
- Final Report to Planning and Housing Committee in Q2 of 2022
- Remaining stations (~150 stations)
- Preliminary Reports – Jan, Feb, Mar 2022
- Final Reports – Spring 2022
MTSA Study Update (January, 2022)
On January 5, 2022, City Planning held a virtual Open House presenting the proposed delineations for 16 Protected Major Transit Station Areas in the Downtown, and interpretation policy amendments to guide implementation of Major Transit Station Areas and Protected Major Transit Stations across the city.
A Notice of Public Meeting was distributed by the City Clerk’s Office advising of an ‘Official Plan Amendment pertaining to Protected Major Transit Station Areas – Downtown Secondary Plan and City-wide Interpretation Policies’. The meeting was scheduled for January 12, 2022 at the Planning and Housing Committee at 10:30 a.m. by video conference.
The Planning and Housing Committee (PHC) reviewed the Final Report under Agenda Item PH30.3. The Chief Planner summarized his Final Report in a Presentation. The Draft Official Plan amendments were also provided.
The PHC adopted the Recommendations without amendment to adopt Official Plan Amendment 524; to seek approval of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing of OPA 524 for Protected Major Transit Station Areas; and Planning was directed to include capital and staffing resources in the 2023 capital budget to undertake zoning review of all MTSAs and PMTSAs following Ministerial approval.
These recommendations were adopted by City Council on February 2, 2022 with an additional amendment requesting that “City Council amend Official Plan Amendment 540 by modifying Map 2 in Site and Area Specific Policies 609 (Osgoode) and 610 (St. Patrick) to decrease the minimum Floor Space Index from 3.0 to 0.00 on the immediate lands that currently occupy the historical Campbell House at the intersection of Queen Street West and University Avenue, to which the City’s lease extends to 2099.”
- Preliminary Reports to Committee (remaining MTSA/PMTSA (~100 draft+)
- Virtual engagements on drafts
Q2 2022 Final Reports to Committee
FoNTRA Working Group
In May, 2021, a Working Group was organized, led by Gabe Hayos (St. Andrew’s Ratepayers Association), to study MTSA’s related to the upper Yonge line. An initial meeting was held on June 8, 2021. The Working Group compiled questions for a meeting with Jeff Cantos and Philip Parker (Planning) on July 15, 2021. Planning reviewed with the group the MCR work plan with the focus on MTSA, next steps and upcoming reports.
Kerri A. Voumvakis, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Analysis, City Planning
Jeffrey Cantos, Project Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Analysis, City Planning
Pauline Beaupre, Senior Planner, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Analysis, City Planning
City Planning, Official Plan Team