Result Excerpt

“Aboriginal interests” in Planning Policy Documents

There are various places that land use planning policies refer to Aboriginal interests, to varying degrees. We have gathered a few of these policies, and will continue to add to this list. Scroll down the page to find explanations and links for the following:

  1. The Ontario Planning Act & the Provincial Policy Statement
  2. The Ontario Heritage Act
  3. The Environmental Assistment Act
  4. The Growth Plan
  5. Archaeology Plans
  6. Ministry of Transportation Plan
  7. Ministry of Natural Resources

 

1. The Ontario Planning Act & the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS 2014)

Section 17 of the Planning Act requires that the Chief of every First Nation council on a reserve within one kilometer of proposed official plan or plan amendments is circulated on notices for those applications, as part of the public notice process (O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3 (9); O. Reg. 467/09, ss. 2, 3).

Planning authorities in Ontario are further encouraged to engage with Indigenous groups in the planning approvals process. This is affirmed in the most recent PPS (2014), which states that:

The Province recognizes the importance of consulting with Aboriginal communities on planning matters that may affect their rights and interests (PPS 2014: 4,


Jump to resource

Resource Types

Result Full Resource

“Aboriginal interests” in Planning Policy Documents

There are various places that land use planning policies refer to Aboriginal interests, to varying degrees. We have gathered a few of these policies, and will continue to add to this list. Scroll down the page to find explanations and links for the following:

  1. The Ontario Planning Act & the Provincial Policy Statement
  2. The Ontario Heritage Act
  3. The Environmental Assistment Act
  4. The Growth Plan
  5. Archaeology Plans
  6. Ministry of Transportation Plan
  7. Ministry of Natural Resources

 

1. The Ontario Planning Act & the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS 2014)

Section 17 of the Planning Act requires that the Chief of every First Nation council on a reserve within one kilometer of proposed official plan or plan amendments is circulated on notices for those applications, as part of the public notice process (O. Reg. 543/06, s. 3 (9); O. Reg. 467/09, ss. 2, 3).

Planning authorities in Ontario are further encouraged to engage with Indigenous groups in the planning approvals process. This is affirmed in the most recent PPS (2014), which states that:

The Province recognizes the importance of consulting with Aboriginal communities on planning matters that may affect their rights and interests (PPS 2014: 4, Part IV, Vision for Ontario’s Land Use Planning System).

The PPS, in all of its iterations, provides policy direction on land use planning and interests that are of interest to the province. In its preamble, the PPS states that: 

 

“The Provincial Policy Statement provides for appropriate development while protecting resources of provincial interest, public health and safety, and the quality of the natural and built environment. The Provincial Policy Statement supports improved land use planning and management, which contributes to a more effective and efficient land use planning system.”

Land use planning is one of the tools through which planners implement provincial interests. By understanding the extent to which Aboriginal interests are discussed in the PPS, we can begin to understand how Aboriginal interests are understood within other provincial policies and legislation. 

Click here to find the summary of changes that were made to the PPS in its 2014 revisions.

The PPS discusses the importance of consulting with Aboriginal communities on planning matters that may affect their rights and interests. From here, we can begin to examine the PPS to see where (and how) it describes the ways in which it intends to provide policy direction on this matter.

Section 1: Building Strong Healthy Communities > 1.2 Coordination > 1.2.2 Planning Authorities are encouraged to coordinate planning matters with Aboriginal communities.

Section 2: Wise Use and Management of Resources > 2.6 Cultural Heritage and Archeology > 2.6.5 Planning authorities shall consider the interests of Aboriginal communities in conserving cultural heritage and archeological resources.

Section 4: Implementation and Interpretation 4.3 This Provincial Policy Statement shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  

It is recommended therefore that municipalities recognize the need for consultation with Indigenous communities for Official Plan reviews as well as Secondary Plans, Plans of Subdivision and Condominium, Site Plan Applications and Zoning By-law Amendments undertaken in greenfield contexts as well as any others where an Indigenous archaeological site is or has been identified and site mitigation is contemplated. These applications have the greatest potential for major effects on the eventual use of the land and therefore the potential to impact treaty rights. It also provides for opportunities to influence the development of plans to protect ecologically sensitive lands, significant archaeological and heritage sites, and other important areas, and to develop plans for heritage commemoration opportunities.

Lastly, we see the interests of Aboriginal communities being explicitly defined within the definitions section of the PPS, and are listed both under Built heritage resource and cultural heritage landscape, and reflect the interest as identified by the specific aboriginal community.  

Archaeology is a frequent trigger for Aboriginal Engagement.  Archaeology is a matter of Provincial Interest as identified under Section 2 of the Planning Act, and is reinforced through the Provincial Policy Statement (2014), which is issued under Section 3 of the Act. Section 3(1) of the Act also lays out municipal responsibilities in regard to the Provincial Policy Statement:

a decision of the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board, a minister of the Crown and a ministry, board, commission or agency of the government, including the Municipal Board, in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter, “shall be consistent” with this policy statement.

Thus all decisions made during the land development process, regardless of the identity of the development proponent or the relevant approval agency, must address potential cultural heritage resource impacts. The statements in the Planning Act are sufficient for a municipality to require that an archaeological assessment be completed on public or private lands prior to the approval of a planning application.

The Province of Ontario is clear that it expects cultural heritage features will be conserved in the review and approvals process as outlined in its recently updated vision for land-use planning:

The Province’s natural heritage resources, water resources, including the Great Lakes, agricultural resources, mineral resources, and cultural heritage and archaeological resources provide important environmental, economic and social benefits. The wise use and management of these resources over the long term is a key provincial interest… (Provincial Policy Statement, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 2014:4).

The PPS defines “archaeological resources” as “includes artifacts, archaeological sites and marine archaeological sites.”

This vision and policy statement now guides all provincial and local planning authorities in their decisions. With respect to archaeological resources, the Provincial Policy Statement states that:

Development and site alteration shall not be permitted on lands containing archaeological resources or areas of archaeological potential unless significant archaeological resources have been conserved. Conservation “means the identification, protection, management and use of built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes and archaeological resources in a manner that ensures their cultural heritage value or interest is retained under the Ontario Heritage Act. This may be achieved by the implementation of recommendations set out in a conservation plan, archaeological assessment, and/or heritage impact assessment. Mitigative measures and/or alternative development approaches can be included in these plans and assessments (Provincial Policy Statement, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 2014:29).

For this policy statement, significant archaeological resources are defined as those “that have been determined to have cultural heritage value or interest for the important contribution they make to our understanding of the history of a place, an event, or a people.” The identification and evaluation of such resources are based on archaeological fieldwork.

Cultural heritage landscapes are also now broadly recognized in the Provincial Policy Statement, establishing an alternative path for conserving certain types of archaeological sites. Cultural heritage landscapes are classified as “a defined geographical area that may have been modified by human activity and is identified as having cultural heritage value or interest by a community, including an Aboriginal community. The area may involve features such as structures, spaces, archaeological sites or natural elements that are valued together for their interrelationship, meaning or association” (PPS 2014). Examples may include, but are not limited to, heritage conservation districts designated under the Ontario Heritage Act; villages, parks, gardens, battlefields, mainstreets and neighbourhoods, cemeteries, trailways, viewsheds, natural areas and industrial complexes of heritage significance; and areas recognized by federal or international designation authorities (e.g., a National Historic Site or District designation, or a UNESCO World Heritage Site) (Provincial Policy Statement, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 2014: 40).

While it had always been possible to protect cultural heritage landscapes through designation under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, generally Part IV designations have been used to protect individual built properties whereas Part V designations have been used to protect Heritage Conservation Districts – areas which may consist of several properties which together retain cultural heritage value. The Provincial Policy Statement now provides a wider and renewed focus on establishing identification frameworks and policies for fully protecting a wide range of types of cultural heritage landscapes including those that encompass Indigenous archaeological sites.

The Planning Act also states that an archaeological assessment must be completed and submitted with an application for approval of a plan of subdivision. Section 51 (17) of the Planning Act, Part VI (Subdivision of Land), delineates under Schedule 1 the information and material to be provided by an applicant for approval of a plan of subdivision (O. Reg. 544/06, s. 2).

 

2. Ontario Heritage Act

Overview of the OHA

Brief overview of how the OHA came to be

Overview of Aboriginal Community Engagement in Archeology

 

3. The Environmental Assessment Act

 

4. Growth Plans

 

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe has set out an updated version of the plan, as of July 1, 2017. 

“Through their historic relationship with the lands and resources in this region, Indigenous communities have gained traditional knowledge that is of value to the planning decisions being made today.” (pg. 39).

 

5. Archaology Plans

 

6. Ministry of Transportation Plans

 

7. Ministry of Natural Resources