3.0 Protecting Public Health and Safety

Ontario's long-term prosperity, environmental health and social well-being depend on reducing the potential for public cost or risk to Ontario’s residents from natural or human-made hazards. Development shall be directed away from areas of natural or human-made hazards where there is an unacceptable risk to public health or safety or of property damage.


3.1 Natural Hazards

3.1.1 Development shall generally be directed to areas outside of:

a. hazardous lands adjacent to the shorelines of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River System and large inland lakes which are impacted by flooding hazards, erosion hazards and/or dynamic beach hazards;

b. hazardous lands adjacent to river, stream and small inland lake systems which are impacted by flooding hazards and/or erosion hazards; and

c. hazardous sites.

3.1.2 Development and site alteration shall not be permitted within:

a. the dynamic beach hazard;

b. defined portions of the one hundred year flood level along connecting channels (the St. Mary's, St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers);

c. areas that would be rendered inaccessible to people and vehicles during times of flooding hazards, erosion hazards and/or dynamic beach hazards, unless it has been demonstrated that the site has safe access appropriate for the nature of the development and the natural hazard; and

d.      a floodway regardless of whether the area of inundation contains high points of land not subject to flooding.

3.1.3 Despite policy 3.1.2, development and site alteration may be permitted in certain areas identified in policy 3.1.2:

a.      in those exceptional situations where a Special Policy Area has been approved. The designation of a Special Policy Area, and any change or modification to the site-specific policies or boundaries applying to a Special Policy Area, must be approved by the Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Natural Resources prior to the approval authority approving such changes or modifications; or

b.      where the development is limited to uses which by their nature must locate within the floodway, including flood and/or erosion control works or minor additions or passive non-structural uses which do not affect flood flows.

3.1.4 Development shall not be permitted to locate in hazardous lands and hazardous sites where the use is:

a.      an institutional use associated with hospitals, nursing homes, pre-school, school nurseries, day care and schools, where there is a threat to the safe evacuation of the sick, the elderly, persons with disabilities or the young during an emergency as a result of flooding, failure of floodproofing measures or protection works, or erosion;

b.      an essential emergency service such as that provided by fire, police and ambulance stations and electrical substations, which would be impaired during an emergency as a result of flooding, the failure of floodproofing measures and/or protection works, and/or erosion; and

c.       uses associated with the disposal, manufacture, treatment or storage of hazardous substances.

3.1.5 Where the two zone concept for flood plains is applied, development and site alteration may be permitted in the flood fringe, subject to appropriate floodproofing to the flooding hazard elevation or another flooding hazard standard approved by the Minister of Natural Resources.

3.1.6 Further to policy 3.1.5, and except as prohibited in policies 3.1.2 and 3.1.4, development and site alteration may be permitted in those portions of hazardous lands and hazardous sites where the effects and risk to public safety are minor so as to be managed or mitigated in accordance with provincial standards, as determined by the demonstration and achievement of all of the following:

a.      development and site alteration is carried out in accordance with floodproofing standards, protection works standards, and access standards;

b.      vehicles and people have a way of safely entering and exiting the area

during times of flooding, erosion and other emergencies;

c.       new hazards are not created and existing hazards are not aggravated; and

d.      no adverse environmental impacts will result.

3.2 Human-Made Hazards

3.2.1 Development on, abutting or adjacent to lands affected by mine hazards; oil, gas and salt hazards; or former mineral mining operations, mineral aggregate operations or petroleum resource operations may be permitted only if rehabilitation measures to address and mitigate known or suspected hazards are under-way or have been completed.

3.2.2 Contaminated sites shall be remediated as necessary prior to any activity on the site associated with the proposed use such that there will be no adverse effects.