Letter to Auditor General and Integrity Commissioner: Expand the Investigations beyond the Greenbelt Land Removal

September 28, 2023

Below is the letter we sent to the Auditor General and Integrity Commissioner on August 18th. On September 26th we sent an updated version endorsed by an additional 591 people.

(see here for a PDF version with additional 591 endorsers)

August 18, 2023

Bonnie Lysyk, MBA, FCPA, FCA, LPA

Auditor General of Ontario

Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, 

20 Dundas Street West, Suite 1530

Toronto, ON M5G 2C2


J. David Wake, K.C., Integrity Commissioner

Office of the Integrity Commissioner

2 Bloor Street West, Suite 2100

Toronto, ON  M4W 3E2


Dear Ms. Lysyk and Mr. Wake, 

The Auditor General’s recent Special Report on Changes to the Greenbelt revealed that some extremely serious, disturbing and indefensible processes were followed by the Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) with respect to the removal of land from Greenbelt protection in November 2022. 

In particular the report cited:

  • Lack of need for additional land to accommodate the Province’s housing targets as demonstrated by the Province’s own Housing Affordability Task Force and other independent studies.
  • Lack of consultation with Indigenous peoples and leaders, important stakeholders and the public.
  • Lack of meaningful input and direction by experts.
  • Dropping of servicing capabilities and environmental screening criteria when they conflicted with the selection of preferred developer lands.
  • Huge financial benefits for a select few property developers without discernible benefit to the people of Ontario, including taxpayers. 
  • About 92% of the land removed was identified in documents submitted to the MMAH Chief of Staff by two developers. 

We know that the Integrity Commissioner is investigating these processes and activities.

We, the undersigned, are concerned that the problems identified by the Auditor General run deeper and merit more attention by the Integrity Commissioner and an additional, new investigation by the Auditor General.

As noted in the Auditor General’s report, since July 2022 MMAH has made a host of policy changes with respect to Ontario land use planning. There was little to no public input in the proposals to date and virtually no changes were made to the original proposals despite significant public opposition to these changes. These changes include:

  • Expanded use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) with little or no public input.
  • Significant legislative changes made through Bill 23 (for example, dramatically reducing the powers of Conservation Authorities and transferring significant development related costs to taxpayers). 
  • Elimination of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and upper tier official plans.
  • Eliminating density targets for new development and thus locking in inefficient use of land and accelerated farmland and natural areas loss.
  • Removing planning decision making from upper tier municipalities.
  • Forcing municipalities to significantly expand their urban boundaries to include lands not required to accommodate forecasted growth or to meet provincial housing targets.
  • Gutting Ontario’s Wetland Evaluation System to such a degree that Conservation Authorities have estimated that over 80% of the wetlands that currently receive protection will lose this status.

We, the undersigned, are concerned that these policy changes and others may have been the result of indefensible processes similar to those identified with the Greenbelt land removal. For example, to the best of our knowledge no consultation except with the development industry occurred during the formulation of the significant policy, fiscal and governance changes proposed through Bill 23.  

Accordingly, we ask the Auditor General to investigate the processes that were followed to make the above policy decisions. We would like to know whether these processes are defensible, whether, as with the Greenbelt exclusions, these decisions stand to benefit only a small number of select interests — and whether this decision-making structure and its outcomes provide Ontarians with value for money. 

We also ask the Integrity Commissioner to expand his investigation to include these additional policy changes.

Transparent, defensible and unbiased land use planning is a cornerstone of a healthy economy and democracy. We are concerned that, given the revelations from the Auditor General’s report about the Greenbelt land removal, there is a disturbing possibility that other recent provincial land use planning policies may have and may come from equally problematic processes.

Investigating the provincial government’s land use decision-making processes requires an expanded investigation by the Integrity Commissioner and a new investigation by the Auditor General. We urge your office to make these investigations a priority.


Alliance for a Liveable Ontario Coordinating Committee Groups and Members

ACORN Canada

Anne Bell, Ontario Nature

Franz Hartmann, Alliance for a Liveable Ontario

Fred Hahn, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario

Ian Borsuk, Environment Hamilton

Jaimee Gaunce

Jane Fogal, Halton Hills Climate Action

Lynn Morrow

Kevin Rupasinghe

Mark Reusser, Farmer

Max Hansgen, National Farmers Union - Ontario

Tim Gray, Environmental Defence Canada

Alliance for a Liveable Ontario Founders and Others

Anne Golden, Former Chair, Task Force on the Future of the GTA

Burkhard Mausberg, Small Change Fund

Cherise Burda, Toronto Metropolitan University 

David Crombie, Friends of the Golden Horseshoe

Joan Faux, Greenbelt West Coalition

Ken Greenberg, Greenberg Consultants Inc 

Kevin Eby, RPP, PLE

Kevin Thomason, Grand River Environment Network

Liz Benneian, Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara

Margaret Prophet, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Mark Winfield

List of 591 Endorsers (as of September 25th, 2023)

Aaron Scriver

Adam Smith

Adriaantje Van Gog

Adrian Mann

Aileen Wittich

Aki Tanaka, Climate Reality Canada,  GASP,  DSF Butterflyway Ranger

Alan Levine

Alda Bianco-Dolino, Aliance for a Liveable Ontario 

Aleksandra Petrovic, Social Development Centre Waterloo Region 

Alexis Whalen, Land Over Landings

Alfred Senior

Alison Wallwork , Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet GASP

Allan Avis

Allan Greenbaum

Allen Budd

Amanda Hall

Amelia Rose Khan, Toronto350

Amy Mann, Climate Justice UofT

Andre Bartczak, Riverside BeeYard

Andre Willi, Strategic Benefits Inc.

Andrea Magee

Andrew Borins

Andrew Deneault

Andrew McCammon, Ontario Headwaters Institute

Andrew Milne

Andrew Wilson

Angela Bradley

Angus Inksetter

Ann King, Stanley Knowles Housing Co operative

Anna Bourgeois, Concerned Citizens of Ramara

Anna Gunz

Anna Zavodni

Anne Golden, Alliance for a Livable Ontario

Anne Hogarth

Anne Lavender

Anne Marshall

Anne Moore

Anne Morgan

April Anderson 

Ari Blatt

Asher Minden-Webb

Augustine Wigle, University of Waterloo

Barb Hogg 

Barb Trotter

Barbara Emanuel

Barbara Mackie

Barbara Schumacher, 50by30WR

Barbara Spronk

Barbara Syer

Barbara Wilkes 

Bart Hawkins Kreps

Beatrice Henry

Ben Fierz

Bernard Katz

Beth  Carlson

Beverley Smith

Bill Davis

Bill James-Abra

Blaine Gray

Blake Hamilton

Bonnie Ryan-Beaudry

Boyd Reimer

Brandon Lyddon

Brenda Harris

Brent Elsey

Brent Kopperson , Windfall Ecology Centre 

Brian Edey

Bruce Novakowski

Bryce Kanbara

C Wallace

Caitlin Gladney-Hatcher

Caleb deGroot-Maggetti

Cameron Trotter

Candace Cook


Carol Stalker

Carole Boucher

Carole Clinch

Caroline Tennent 

Carolyn King

Carolyn Schmidt 

Catherine Brown

Catherine Cameron

Catherine Clysdale

Catherine Cookman

Catherine Lumb

Catherine Saunders 

Catherine Scott

Catherine Wellesley

Cathy Miller

Charlene Biggs 

Charles Foster, Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces

Cheryl Curtis 

Chris Hulan

Christine Gebel

Christine Mercado 

Christine Raissis

Christine Wilson 

Cindy Cosby-Mitchell 

Cindy Lalande

Cindy Seward

Claire Malcolmson,  Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition

Clare Cameron

Colin Brown

Colleen Cooper 

Colleen Rollins

Colleen Whittemore 

Craig Bamford , Stop Sprawl Durham

Cynthia Blair 

Cynthia Sanderson

D Avis

Dan Stuebing 

Dana Harder

Dana Snell

Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan

David and Carol Moffatt 

David Braden, Owner,  Windrush Farm

David Brady

David Cooper 

David Dewitt, York University

David Dirks

David Henderson 

David Impey

David Israelson

David Kempton , Climate Action Newmarket Aurora 

David Lubell

David Lubell, K-W Chapter,  Council of Canadians

David McBryan 

David Milne

David Scott, Durhma DSB

David Steele, PWSCA 

David Ticoll

Dawna Vanwyck 

Debi Herron

Debra Cole

Debra Foster

Denise Greenwell

Dennis McMahon

Derek Snider

Desmond Sequeira, Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara (BCAN) and 50by30Niagara

Diana Jardine, High Park Tenants Association

Diane Broad

Diane Robertson

Dianne Dowling

Dinah Gibbs , Livable Richmond Hill

Dominic Bortolussi, Briza Canada Inc

Dominique Baillargeon, RNAO ONEIG

Dominique Baillargeon, ONEIG

Don Young, FoSTRA

Donald Murphy

Donald Schwartz

Donna Czosnek

Donna Deneault

Donna Jennison 

Dorothy Dunlop

Dorothy Thomas

Dorothy Wilson, Nith Valley EcoBoosters

Doug Haymes

Doug Priie

Doug Prior

Doug Watson

Douglas Buck

Douglas Shearer

Douglas Tripp, Reform Gravel Mining Coalition of Ontario

Dr. Aparna Tarc , York University

Dr. T. Bertocchi, PN Productions

Ed Reece, Council of Canadians Hamilton Chapter

Elaine Anderson

Elaine Ross

Eleanor Young 

Elinor whidden 

Elisa Benayon

Elizabeth  Carman

Emily Arturi

Emily Gwynn-Batth

Erin Bycroft

Ernst von der Kall, Baba Link Farm

Esther Green

Eugene Todd

F. Tim Knight

Femmy Birks

Fran Moscall

Frances Davidson-Arnott

Frank W. Moffat

Gabriella Robichaud

Gail Fairley

Gail R. Faveri,  P. Eng.

George Malcolm

Gerald Lambers

Gerda Wekerle

Geza Gaspardy 

Gillian Scobie 

Glen Cressman

Glenn Stringer

Gloria Marsh, York Region Environmental Alliance

Gord McNulty 

Gordon Price

Graham Flint, Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE)

Graham Macdonald

Greg Cressman

Guillermo Vega

Hal Jaeger

Hal Watson

Harold Smith

Hartley Woodside

Heather Patterson

Heather Ross, Friends of Balls Bridge and Little Lakes

Heather Wright 

Helen Brenner, Stop Sprawl Durham

Helen McMillan

Helen Merrell

Helen Moffat

Helen Staal

Henry Wai

Hilary Scharper

Hilde Reis-Smart

Holly Levinter

Howard Ball

Howard Cole

Hugh Cameron

Hugh Whiteley

Ian James

Irena Lawrenson

Irene O'Toole

Irina Mouritsen 

J Pritchard Ironside

Jack Gibbons, North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance

Jacob Imhof

Jaime Edades, PAEI-TRCA

Jaime Kearnan

James Jesso

Jamie Gibb

Jamie Lauckner

Jamie Watson

Jane Jenner

Jane Lampert

Jane McNamara

Jane Millar

Janet Duval, Halton Hills Climate Action 

Janet Love

Janice Frampton, Liveable Pickering

Janice Wilton

Janina Fisher

Jason Cummings 

Jeff Evason

Jeff O’Donnell

Jeffrey Levitt

Jenn Brasch

Jennifer ClarkeBrophy 

Jennifer ferrari 

Jennifer Margison, Friends of the Gulf Islands

Jennifer Slauenwhite 

Jerry Asling 

Jesse wildish

Jessica Jesso

Jessica Schultz, University of Guelph

Jill Davey

Jim Phillips, Copernicus Educational Products

Joan Patterson

Joanne Pellis

Joanne pickett

Jocelyn Davie

Johanne Fortier

John Deviney

John Flys

John Fraser

John Gefucia

John Kemp

John Mifsud

John Oreopoulos 

John Prescott

John Rutledge, John Rutledge Architect

Joyce McLean

József Zérczi

Judith Glennie

Judith Mann

Judith Wyatt

Judy Benson 


Judy Halpern

Judy Jackson

Julia Stimpson, Climate Justice Durham 

June Enright

Kae Elgie

Kara flannigan 

Karen Brock

Karen Jackson

Karen Nystrom

Kari Lie

Kate  Chung

Kate Fox

Katherine Conway

Katherine McGillivray

Kathleen Clarke

Kathleen Livingston, Greenbelt Guardians of Hamilton & Stop Sprawl HamOnt

Kathryn Anne Purvis, Toronto Nature Stewards; Toronto Field Naturalists

Kathryn HItchman

Kathryn Humphrey

Kathy Callahan 

Kathy Lawrence

Katie Harper

Katy Francis

Katy Hanna

Keaton Hartigan 

Keith Jones

Kelley Hindrichs

Kelli Kuzyk

Kelly Hill

Ken Crozier

Kerry Hill

Kevin McLellan

Kevin O'Connor

Kim Jarvi

kim madden

Kim Perrotta , Canadian Health Association for Sustainability and Equity (CHASE)

Klara Young-Chin

Kristyn Pickell

Larry Willman 

Lauren Harrison

Lauren Munn

Laurie Goble

Lawrence Murphy

Lee Failes

Lee Miller 

Leora Berman, The Land Between charity

Leslie Baird, Environmental Action

Leslie Laan, Niagara Wildlife at Risk

Leslie Millar

Leslie Moskovits, Cedar Down Farm

Leslie Rockwell

Leslie Stallard 

Letitia, Seniors for Climate Action Now - Ottawa

Lev Jaeger , Oakwood-Vaughan Community Organization 

Lia Forma

Lidia Labate, Target Climate

Lin Grist

linda chernecki

Linda Elgar

Linda Gasser

Linda Heron

Linda Lackey

Linda McMahon

Linda Oliver

Linda Pim

Linda Russell

Linda Visser

Lisa Jayne

Lisa MacArthur

Lisazengirl hagen

Liz Addison, ClimateFast,  Climate Action for Lifelong Learners

Liz Reynolds

Lora Stratton

Lorna Aberdein 

Lorraine Green, Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet (GASP)

Louis Bertrand

Lyba Spring, Seniors for Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)

Lyn Folkes, Folkes Construction Inc.

Lynda Goodridge, Bert Miller Nature Club

Lynda Henry

Lynn Brown

Lynn Morrow

Lynne Quigley

Magdalena Dabbour

Maggie Kremin

Maralie Martin 

Marc Willoughby

Marcie Jacklin

Marg Rowell, North Waterloo Region Branch ACO

Marg Trethewey

Margaret (Peggy) Nickels

Margaret Boucher 

Margaret Dumont

Margaret Walton 

Maria Case

Maria Draak 

María-Ines Arratia 

Marie DellaVedova

Marie Lloyd

Marilyn Baxter , Eden Mills Eramosa River Conservation Association 

Marilyn Minden

Marilyn Ortwein, GASP

Marinus P. de Groot, Home Range: ________

marjorie middleton, Hamilton 350

Mark Freeman

Mark Frey

Mark Winter

Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Regeneration Trust

Martha Howatt

Martin Kelly

Mary Ann Vanden Elzen

Mary Ann West

Mary Anne

Mary Lovett

Mary Lyons

Mary Patterson

Mary Sehl

Mary Wood 

Mary-lyn Hopper

Marya Buckingham

MaryAnn Jansen

MaryLou Kumagawa

Matt Bierschbach 

Maureen Kapral 

Mehrzad Namdari

Melanie Cameron

Melanie Duckett-Wilson

Melissa Berney, For Our Kids Guelph

Melissa Bowman

Melissa Gray 

Michael Barkley, Climate Action for Lifelong Learners (CALL)

Michael Canivet

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas

Michael Fox, L3 Harris Wescam

Michael Winberg 

Micheal Kuzyk

Michele Carroll

Michele Sararas

michele teglia

Michelle Madden

Michelle Makos

Micky Renders , Queens University

mike borie

Mike Cushman

Mike Jones

Mike Wilfer

Mili Roy, Cdn Assn of Physicians for the Environment + Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign

Miriam Cherniak

Miriam Sager

Miriam Sager, Hamilton 350 Committee 

Mitchell Avis,  RPP,  MCIP, Avision Planning

Mitchell Beer

Morna Nelson

Murray Lumley

Myron Steinman

Nadine Martel

Nancy brooks 

Nancy Campbell 

nancy henderson

Nancy Hurst, Save our Stresms Hamilton

Naomi Miller

Natalie Boon 

Natalie Z.Davis

Nathan Sager

Neda Noorbakhsh

Neil Hamilton

Neil Lackey

Nick Marchese

Nicky Trudell

Nicole Nekoneshny

Nima Nourbakhsh 

Noel Macartney

Noella Kyser

Norine Thomason

Pamela Brohm

Pamela Johnson

Pat Kozowyk , Baba Link Farm

Pat Valentine

Patricia Bellamy

Patricia Brooks

Patricia Hock

Patrick DeRochie

Patti Shadb

Paul Berger, CUSP - Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet

Paul Frey 

Paula Dineen

Pauline Browes, Friends of the Rouge National Urban Park

pauline gauthier

Pearl Shore, Never Collide

Peggy Iliffe 

Peter Eglin

Peter LeClair

Peter Miasek

Phil Allt

Phil Bergen

Phil Frampton

Phil Osier

Philip Smith

Philippe Van Cappellen

Phyllis Paroshy, Guelph Health Coaltion

Pierre Le Houte

Priya Unnikrishnan, Liveable Richmond Hill

Rachael Mills

Ralph McKim

Randolph Murray 

Ravi Venkatesh

Rebecca Allen

Reid McAlpine

Richard Bowen

Richard hood 

Richard Schertzer

Rick Findlay

Rick Findlay, RFCL Innovations Inc. 

Rick Green/Chair, Federation of South Toronto Residents' Associations

Rick Johnson

Rick McGuffin

Rick Zytaruk, TT Consulting Limited

Rob Leverty,   President, The Niagara Escarpment Foundation

Rob Stevens

Robert  Kerr 

Robert Bader

Robert Garthson, Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign/ Council of Canadians

Robert Narejko 

Robert Vanderheyden 

Robin Cameron, McMaster University

Robin Eagleson

Robin Williams

Ron Durkin 

Ron McKee

Ron Reid

Rosalind Holeton

Roslyn Rus

Roy Cameron

Ruth Green, White Poppy

S. O’Connor

Salvador Capostagno, Aliance for a Liveable Ontario

Salvador Capostagno

Sam DesRoches 

Sam Nabi

Sandra Bray

Sandra Gregson

Sandra Walsh 

Sandy Agnew

Sandy Mackenzie, Climate Action Newmarket Aurora

Sara Washburn

Sarah Harmer, Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL)

Sarah Levitt

Sarah Ward

Shannon Hurst

Sharon Collingwood, Perth County Sustainability Hub

Sharon Mugford 

Sharon Porter

Sharon Wigle

shauna paull

Shawn Kerwin

Sheldon Atos

Sherry Bowman

Shirley Irish , FaithClimateJustice

Sian Ferguson 

Stacie Roberts

Stephanie Bagasan

Stephanie Wolfe, Strong Town New Tecumseth

Steve Parish

Steve Shales

Steve Shales

Sue Markey

Sue Savor

Sue Savor

Susan , Dig In Corp.

Susan Allen 

Susan Davis

susan fulop

Susan Goetz

Susan Hay

Susan May

Susan Rynard

Susan Sheard

Susan Wortman

Susan Wortman

Suzanne Christie

Suzanne Thomson

Suzanne Wesetvik

Sydney Hyatt

Sylvia Pivko

Tamara Bernstein

Tammy Atkinson

Ted McGovern

Ted Williams

Teresa Dwyer

Teresa Hart

Terry Kelly

Terry Nuspl

Terry Walker

Tim Hegedus 

Tom Balint

Tonya Surman, Centre for Social Innovation

Travis Frampton 

Ulla Weimann

Verne Denault

Verne Deneault

Veronica Gruninger

Victoria Van Cappellen

Warren Maharaj

Wayne Caldwell

Wayne Sumner

Wendy Roberts

Wendy Weinberg, Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association Development Committee

William Lamond

William Morrison

Yvonne FernandesGREN

Yvonne Pigott

Zoe Green, Action 13