The existing land use planning framework in Ontario has undergone significant changes in the past decade to include climate change mitigation and adaptation. Increasing awareness of the role local governments can play in climate action is now clearly reflected in provincial legislation and policy. The County and its local municipalities are now tasked in the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) with updating their own policies and plans to guide development and change in a changing climate. The Climate Change Strategy will be a key document providing the background and context for climate change policies appropriate to Simcoe's planning and development challenges.
The Strategy will assess provincial climate change policies and policy conformity requirements including the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement (updated with climate change policies in 2014) and with the Growth Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Greenbelt Plan, all updated in 2017 to address climate change as a result of the coordinated plan review. As appropriate, other provincial guidance will be addressed, such as the Made in Ontario Environment Plan (2018) and forthcoming work on climate change impact assessments, as appropriate. Changes to the Green Energy Act also have had implications for local decision-making about the siting of renewable energy. Also, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan review is reportedly about to be underway, with climate change adaptation already a major concern of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), providing additional information and guidance tailored to issues facing Simcoe.
Existing County and local municipal plans and policies related to climate change will be reviewed and integrated into the analysis. Official plan policy can set the stage for a County's approach to climate action. The opportunity here is for climate action to be integrated from the beginning as future expansion areas are planned providing the opportunity to encourage lower emissions at all scales of development.