Statement by Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – Today’s leak of internal documents from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing reveals that just as in Halton Region and Hamilton, the Ontario government knew that imposing 3,211 hectares of boundary expansions in Belleville, Peterborough, Waterloo, and Wellington was a threat to more than the environment – it would also make it harder to build more homes.

More broadly, today’s leak confirms what independent experts and environmental and housing NGOs have shown with robust data: the Greenbelt removals are only the most visible part of a much wider sprawl and real estate scandal that encompasses the push to build Highway 413, the rigging of planning processes to railroad municipalities into approving sprawl, and the provincial government’s direct imposition of 10,270 hectares of forced sprawl across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. All of these actions have been taken contrary to its own land use planning rules.

What ties all of these together is the government’s intentional squandering of construction capacity, development rights and public money, on its developer friends’ schemes for sprawl that it knew, and still knows, would be harmful both to meeting housing targets and to the environment. The scandal won’t be over until the government’s entire push for car-dependent sprawl on farms, forests and wetlands is abandoned and reversed.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Allen Braude, Environmental Defence,, 416-356-2587