Legislation to reverse Greenbelt removals passes 3rd reading, set to become law

Click to play video: 'Public ‘don’t give two hoots’ about Greenbelt reversal bill: Doug Ford'
Public ‘don’t give two hoots’ about Greenbelt reversal bill: Doug Ford
RELATED: Speaking in Toronto on Monday, Ontario NDP MPP Sandy Shaw questioned why the provincial government was 'blocking' the public from participating in the hearings on Bill 136, legislation that was introduced after the controversial removal of 7,400 acres of Greenbelt land was reversed. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in response that the public doesn't 'give two hoots' about his government’s bill to return land to the Greenbelt, but rather cares about interest rates and affordable homes – Nov 21, 2023

The Ford government has finalized its Greenbelt U-turn as legislation to reverse the move passes its third reading at Queen’s Park.

The legislation — titled the Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act — was introduced to cancel the government’s plan to remove land from the Greenbelt.

At the end of 2022, the Ford government announced it would swap 7,400 acres of protected land out of the Greenbelt to allow for development.

The decision was met with swift backlash and marked the moment Ontario Premier Doug Ford broke a 2018 promise to never touch the protected space.

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Over the summer, the premier lost two ministers and several staffers as the scandal grew.

Reports from the auditor general and the integrity commissioner found that developers may have received “preferential treatment” in the decision and how it was handled.

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After months of scandal — and growing calls to reverse the decision — Ford agreed to do so in September.

“I am very, very sorry,” Ford said in Niagara Falls, Ont. “It was a mistake to open the Greenbelt. It was a mistake to establish a process that moved too fast.”

Despite moving to take land out of the Greenbelt through regulations, the government decided to reverse the decision by introducing a law.

The legislation codifies the boundaries of the Greenbelt so future changes would have to be made through legislation at Queen’s Park, not regulations as the Ford government did.

“It is an added extra layer of protection that doesn’t currently exist,” Housing Minister Paul Calandra said in September.

The law also keeps the land the government added into the Greenbelt last year as part of the development swaps.

The legislation reversing the Greenbelt changes passed its third reading on Tuesday and is expected to receive royal assent and become law on Wednesday.

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