THE PROBLEM

Urban sprawl, plans for an unnecessary mega-highway, a proposal for a redundant airport, and irresponsible industrial practices, such as the dumping of contaminated soil, are threatening Ontario’s Greenbelt, putting Ontario farmland and forests at risk and contributing to climate change.

The Solution

Throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe region:

STRENGTHEN AND GROW ONTARIO’S GREENBELT TO FURTHER PROTECT FARMLAND, NATURE AND WATER.

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Support efficient growth in cities and towns.

Prioritize investment in a coordinated transit network, bike lanes and sidewalks over building new mega-highways.

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Encourage the extraction and use of environmentally responsible aggregates.

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Stop The 413.

Ontario is planning Highway 413, a redundant and unnecessary toll highway that would pave over farms and forests and cost taxpayers billions.

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Timeline of our success

2004

 Founded the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

Made up of over 100 groups, the Ontario Greenbelt  Alliance is the watchdog and protector of Ontario’s Greenbelt. Alliance members are united by the shared belief that a strong economy and a beautiful, well-protected Greenbelt go hand in hand.

2005

Helped to establish Ontario’s Greenbelt

Our efforts to protect farmland, natural heritage lands and vulnerable source waters resulted in the establishment of Ontario’s Greenbelt in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Since then, we’ve worked to strengthen and grow the Greenbelt, protect more at risk land and change the direction of city growth in the region.

2012

Establishment of Rouge National Park

Since 2012, Environmental Defence has been involved in advocating for a strongly protected Rouge Watershed and Rouge National Urban Park as part of Ontario's Greenbelt. In 2013, we led the legal team review of the proposed national park legislation and continue to be a strong voice advocating for the need to greatly improve the Rouge National Park Act and enlarge the size of the park.  

2012

Greenbelt grows - Glenorchy Conservation Area

Located in North Oakville, the Glenorchy Conservation Area protects 650 acres of environmentally sensitive lands and natural heritage systems including Sixteen Mile Creek. Becoming part of the Greenbelt protects its hills, forests, creeks, and wetlands from sprawl and development.

2012

Downtown Farmers Market

Environmental Defence partnered with Ryerson University and Appletree Farmers' Market to bring healthy, local produce to campus at a farmer's market. The market raised awareness about the benefits of Ontario's Greenbelt and engaged hundreds of downtown residents in supporting local farmers, local food and food security.

2013

Exposing the Costs of Sprawl

Following the release of our report the High Costs of Sprawl, we hosted a #GreeningGTA tweet-up featuring respected author Shawn Micallef and urban planner Emily Reisman. The lively discussion explored how we can help the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area grow into a more sustainable place.

2014

Toronto, Oakville and Mississauga take steps toward expanding the Greenbelt through Urban River Valleys

The creation of a new urban river valley designation as part of Ontario’s Greenbelt Act helps municipalities permanently protect river valley systems in their jurisdictions. Connecting these natural areas to larger ecosystems creates a healthier, stronger and more vibrant Greenbelt.

2015

Greenbelt townhalls

Hundreds of people from across the Greater Golden Horseshoe attended townhalls we hosted to raise awareness, support and facilitate important grassroots conversations about the future of the Greenbelt and how best to protect it in the context of the provincial review of the Greenbelt and Growth plans.

2015

Industry and NGOs launch the world’s first voluntary aggregate standard

We helped develop and launch the Cornerstone Standards Council, a not-for-profit organization that has created world-class voluntary certification standards for responsibly sourced sand,  stone and gravel, and help resolve conflicts between industry, First Nations and community and environmental groups.

2015

Anti-SLAPP legislation - Protecting Public Participation

Victory! Ontario passed the Protection of Public Participation Act which helps to end Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPS). These frivolous lawsuits were used to silence groups working to protect the environment and put a chill on free speech.

2015

The Greenbelt Grows Again - Mississauga Expands the Greenbelt

Mississauga city council voted unanimously to designate over 800 acres of land along the Credit River as an Urban River Valley, thus protecting this natural heritage area by joining it to Ontario’s Greenbelt.

2016

Greenbelt review

Ontario is reviewing its Greenbelt and Growth Plans. We called for halting infrastructure projects on protected Greenbelt lands, freezing urban boundary expansion and increasing incentives to ensure municipalities meet targets to increase the density and livability of existing settled areas.

2016

Stop the 413

The proposed 413 (GTA West) mega highway would cut through the Greenbelt, impact  multiple crossings of the Humber and Credit Rivers and destroy farmland, forests and wetlands. It would cost over $4 billion and make a mockery of plans to invest in transit and denser, transit friendly communities. Our campaign to stop it has caused the province to put the project on hold while its future is considered.

Breaking News

Top 5 Advantages of Protecting Ontario’s Greenbelt

At almost 2 million acres, Ontario’s Greenbelt is the world’s largest protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. But not everyone...

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Rouge National Urban Park gets the protection it needs

Rouge Park is Canada’s first National Urban Park and until recently the ecological integrity of the park was not guaranteed. But there’s great news! That...

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Livable communities take a step forward as sprawl heads for the penalty box

Last week the Ontario government made a major announcement about what kind of future we will create for ourselves in communities across the Greater Golden...

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A fresh new look to help you spring into action

I love spring. From rushing rivers to the first blooms of cherry blossoms, spring is a time of possibility and excitement. This spring I’m delighted to...

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"Environmental Defence has been a strong ally and resource for us as we work to protect greenspace, remaining farmland and the Greenbelt in York Region, while advocating for an end to urban sprawl and reducing unbearable traffic gridlock."

-Sony Rai, Founder, Sustainable Vaughan, Ontario.

MEET THE TEAM

At Environmental Defence, we educate the public about a host of environmental issues, work with business and government leaders to advise on policy decisions and mobilize Canadians to create the cleaner, greener more prosperous country we’re striving for. Meet the team who works on Land.

Erin Shapero

Program Manager, Greenbelt and Smart Growth

 

Join The Community

Change happens when people like you express your concern and make your voice heard. Join our online community of folks concerned about protecting green space in Canada and creating smarter communities. We will send you a quarterly update on our campaigns, invitations to join us at events and opportunities for you to take action.

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