TAKE ACTION! Stop Government Actions that Destroy the Greenbelt and Worsen the Housing Crisis!

October 20, 2023


As one preceptive ALO member noted, "Democracy Saved the Greenbelt." Along with member groups and tens of thousands of Ontarians, we worked together and talked about what matters to people, inspired them to act, provided the tools to act, and acted together in communities across Ontario.

But there is so much more work to be done: stopping changes to provincial and municipal planning policies that promote urban sprawl, suggesting real solutions to the housing crisis, stopping the destruction of farmland and natural areas, stopping the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413, reversing the forced urban boundary expansions, stopping the attacks on Conservation Authorities, opposing the elimination of the Growth Plan. And many, many other important issues.


ACTION 1: Work with local groups opposing bad land use planning policies.

Find out what groups are working on issues in your community and reach out to them to see how you can help.

ACTION 2: Help build stronger ties between local stakeholder groups.

Invite ALO to a local meeting that brings together local unusual stakeholders such as farmers, environmentalists, housing advocates, labour groups, neighbourhood assocations, faith groups etc... to discuss working together to build truly liveable neighbourhoods.

ACTION 3: Tell your networks about ALO and what we're fighting for.

If you are with a group, let them know about ALO and the power of working with unusual stakeholder groups at a local and provincial level.

Read about ALO's plans here.

UPDATED September 7, 2023

It's been three weeks of scandal and crisis at Queen's Park around the Province's Greenbelt land removal and destructive housing policies (see timeline below).

What happens over the next few months will determine whether we create a liveable Ontario or a province with a worsening housing crisis, a decimated Greenbelt, few environmental protections, while a small number of the Premier's friends benefit.

The attack on the Greenbelt and the many recent policy changes that turbocharge urban sprawl will do irreparable damage by:

  • destroying precious farmland and natural areas
  • worsening the housing crisis by diverting scarce labour and construction resources away from building the housing Ontarians need where they already live to building large homes on former farmland and Greenbelt lands now owned by select developer friends of the Premier.

It's clear the Provincial Government ignores facts and evidence. But they can't ignore a huge public outcry. Help us build this public outcry by talking to your friends, families and elected officials about the Greenbelt scandal and the scandalous approach this government is taking to dealing with the housing crisis.


We Need to Stop the Government’s Destructive Actions 

We need to act, individually and collectively. We cannot stand by and let this rot at the heart of our democratic institutions spread. Please consider taking one or more of the following actions.


Contact your MPP immediately, preferably by phone or email (see here). Demand the following: 

  • Lands removed from the Greenbelt must be returned immediately and the Greenbelt boundary protected by legislation. 
  • Do not worsen the housing crisis by diverting limited labour and construction materials away from building the housing we need in existing towns and cities towards building new big homes on Greenbelt lands.
  • Every MPP should demand that Premier Doug Ford resign.
  • The Auditor General (AG) and Integrity Commissioner must investigate all recent planning policy changes instigated by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to see whether the same problems they found with the Greenbelt land removals exist with regard to these changes.
  • Do not use the recently announced 10-year Greenbelt review to rationalize taking more land out of the Greenbelt. Enough land has already been set aside to build all the housing we need in towns and cities.
  • Listen to Ontarians who overwhelmingly support our position, as shown in a recent public opinion poll (here).


Join ALO in calling on the Auditor General and Integrity Commissioner to expand their investigations to other recent land use planning decisions:


Contact your local City Councillor and Mayor (see here and here for guides) and ask the following:

  • Use Council powers to immediately stop any provincially-mandated planning actions that promote sprawl development. Sprawl doesn’t bring affordable housing. Ontarians need confidence that any provincially-dictated decisions have been the result of transparent and democratic processes and would actually help resolve the housing challenges we face.
  • Pass a Council motion that asks the Ontario Auditor General to investigate any provincially-imposed planning actions (for example, eliminating Conservation Authority input into planning proposals, the removal of upper tier planning authority) on the municipality in order to determine if they are the result of transparent and democratic processes and will serve to resolve the housing challenges we face.
  • Pass a Council motion that calls on the Province to focus very limited labour and construction resources on building the homes people need where they live, not on building sprawl housing on Greenbelt lands that benefit a small select number of developers.


Use Alliance for Liveable Ontario resources to connect with your community, friends and family about these issues:

  • Talk to your friends, neighbours and family about the very destructive new Greenbelt reviews and the Auditor General’s report. Refer them to some of the analysis of the report (see below). Make sure they know what is happening to democracy in Ontario -and what they can do to protect it.
  • Learn about the real causes of the housing challenges and actions we can take (here and here).
  • Be ready to attend future town hall meetings organized by ALO and your local groups to find out how we can work together at a local and provincial level.
  • Join the Alliance for a Liveable Ontario and receive our emails. 

We will get through this together. Democracy belongs to all of us.

The Alliance for a Liveable Ontario was created to provide a space for diverse stakeholder groups and individuals to work together to both oppose bad government policies and propose real solutions to building truly liveable communities. With your continued support, we’ll make this happen.

REVERSE TIMELINE: The Greenbelt and Housing Crisis Scandals:

September 5

Premier Ford holds a press conference and responds to the sudden resignation of his housing Minister. Instead of announcing that he will follow the Auditor General's recommendation to reverse the Government's "indefensible" policy to remove lands from the Greenbelt, the Premier announces two new reviews. These new reviews will worsen the existing housing crisis and likely lead to more land being removed from the Greenbelt. See our analysis here.

September 4

Steven Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, suddenly resigns by posting his resignation letter on social media on Labour Day.

August 30

The Province's Integrity Commissioner releases a 166 page report that concludes the Housing Minister broke a number of laws. The Minister refuses to resign, the Premier defends the Minister and continues ignoring the facts that more than enough land is already set aside in towns and cities to build all the housing we need.

Read Environmental Defence's media statement on the Integrity Commissioner report here.

August 9:

Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk releases a report on the Provincial Government’s removal of 7,400 acres of agricultural and natural lands from Greenbelt (see below for detailed comments). It concludes:

  • There was no need to remove land from the Greenbelt in order to meet the Province's housing targets.
  • The process to remove lands was not defensible. It gave preference to a select, small number of developers and excluded extensive input from First Nations Leaders, key stakeholders and the public. 
  • A small number of select developers with close ties to the government could see more than an $8.3 billion increase to the value of their properties, thanks to the Greenbelt land removals.
  • Land removals should be reconsidered for re-inclusion in the Greenbelt

Every Ontarian should be alarmed by the Auditor’s findings. These findings matter to everyone who cares about the housing crisis, good land use planning, our farmers and agricultural sector, environmental protection, and transparent and democratic government. Even worse, these findings may also apply to other recent land use policy changes that have benefitted a small number of select developers at the expense of the public good.

Comments and Reactions to the Auditor General’s Report

Statement by the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition

Statement by Environmental Defence Canada

OP ED by Burkhard Mausberg, former Greenbelt Foundation CEO

Editorial by the Toronto Star

Interview with ALO Founder David Crombie on CBC Radio’s As it Happens

CTV National News

CBC National News