MZOs (Ministerial Zoning Orders)

A Municipal Zoning Order (MZO) is a tool the Province may use to change the zoning (i.e. the permitted uses and associated regulations such as setbacks) to allow the development of the land. An MZO is a regulation of the Planning Act.

In accordance with Section 47 of the Planning Act, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing may issue an MZO. MZOs are issued at the sole discretion of the Minister.

Despite being a rarely used power for decades, MZO requests have become more frequent in Ontario since 2020. Since 2020, the Province has issued 4 MZO's in Caledon, 3 of which had Council support. 

MZOs in Effect

For a list of MZOs in effect in Caledon, please refer to the zoning page.

Proposed MZOs in Caledon 

The Town is currently reviewing the following MZOs:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Town has developed a list of FAQs about MZOs.

The Town's Procedure

The Town has established a streamlined and transparent procedure for the evaluation of MZOs which was approved by Council most recently in June 2023. While the Town has established a procedure, there is no guarantee that the Minister will consider the Procedure or the Town’s comments and position as part of the issuance of a MZO.

The Procedure helps with:

  • Council making informed decisions on requests
  • Town staff in evaluating requests and ensuring the process is transparent
  • The Ministry, agencies and indigenous communities in understanding the requests, associated process, providing feedback and evaluating requests
  • The public in understanding the requests, the process and providing feedback
  • The applicant in understanding the expectations and process

The Town recognizes that the discretion to issue a MZO or CIHA order lies solely with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The Procedure has been developed in consultation with Town staff, the Region of Peel, Conservation Authorities, Provincial staff and other stakeholders.

The complete background and detailed account of the Procedure and its development is outlined in:

  • Staff Report 2023-0213, brought forward to Committee on May 16, 2023 and ratified by Council on May 23, 2023.
  • Staff Report 2023-0318, brought forward to Committee on June 13, 2023 and ratified by Council on June 20, 2023.

The Procedure may be amended for housekeeping matters by the Chief Planner/Director of Planning. More significant amendments and updates will require further Council approval.

Application of the Tool: MZO vs. CIHA

The Town will prefer the use of the CIHA over the MZO. The Town will aim to redirect private-initiated requests for MZOs to CIHA requests instead. The Town will consider the use of CIHA requests for appropriate Town-led initiatives.

Should a request be received by Council, Council will consider referring the matter to staff to follow the appropriate procedure.

The Town will not seek to advance MZOs or CIHAs for lands that are under active appeal at the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

Process

The process for requesting an MZO or CIHA is outlined below. Staff may recommend that a CIHA/MZO request received may instead proceed through the typical development process

Planning staff encourage applicants making a privately-initiated request for a MZO or CIHA to attend an Inquiry Meeting and/or Preliminary (PARC) Meeting to discuss the proposed request with Planning staff and obtain application requirements.


Process

Step 1: Request Made or Received

A privately-initiated request for a MZO or CIHA is received by the Chief Planner/Director, Planning Department. The request shall include:

  • A Cover Letter
  • Payment of the required fee(s)
  • The proposed MZO or CIHA request
  • A Business Case
  • A Planning Justification Report
  • A Fiscal Impact Study
  • A Statement on Infrastructure Capacity

Upon review of the required documents and information requested, staff may request additional studies.

Should a request be received by Council, Council will consider referring the matter to staff to follow the appropriate procedure.

OR 

A Town-initiated request for a CIHA is completed through a staff report to Council explaining:

  • The request and reasons for the request
  • The planning policy framework and how the proposed development is consistent and conforms to the policies
  • The fiscal considerations
  • The servicing considerations

To continue with the request, Council must direct staff to proceed.

Step 2: Notice and Consultation

Within 10 days of receiving the request or direction from Council, Planning staff will provide notification and initiate consultation.

A commenting period of approximately 30 days, but no less than 20 days, will remain open for agencies, indigenous communities, and the public. Interested parties may request to be on the notification list. Since MZOs and CIHAs are tools to expedite provincial priority projects, the reduced commenting period may make it challenging for the Town to hear from all commentors. The Town will note any outstanding comments in the staff Recommendation Report.

a)     Council will be notified by email and a meeting will be arranged with the Mayor, Regional and Area Councillor for the area of the subject lands.

b)     Affected agencies and departments will be circulated the request together with all supporting material received. In considering which agencies and departments to consult with, Planning staff will use the basis of consultation for Zoning By-law Amendments, and expand to other agencies/departments, as required based on the proposal.

c)     The Town will initiate a peer review of the Fiscal Impact Study, working with a qualified consultant to receive comments.

d)     Consultation will be initiated with the Indigenous Nations in accordance with the Town’s engagement protocols.

e)     A public meeting will be scheduled.

f)      A webpage will be created on the Town’s website, detailing the request, uploading all supporting material, identifying the status and next steps.

g)     The public will be notified as follows:

                     i.          By placing a notice on the dedicated Town webpage for the project.

                     i.          By newspaper to the Caledon Enterprise and Caledon Citizen, and to any other newspaper required to
                                 provide notice of the MZO/CIHA request, based on the location of the subject lands. The newspaper                                     advertisement will include the details of the request, the lead planner, how to obtain information, the                                   next steps and the date, time and location of the public meeting.

                    ii.          By signage on each public road frontage of the subject lands pertaining the MZO/CIHA request. The                                     sign will include the details of the request (utilizing visuals), the lead planner, how to obtain                                               information, the next steps and the date, time and location of the public meeting.

                   iii.          By mailout:

  • For lands within the Rural Service Centres (Bolton, Caledon East and Mayfield West): To landowners within 120 m (394 ft) of the subject lands.
  • For all other lands within the Town: To landowners within 1,000 m (3,280 ft) of the subject lands.

The mailout notice will include the details of the request (utilizing visuals), the lead planner, how to obtain information, the next steps and the date, time and location of the public meeting.

h)     All “interested parties” requesting notice of the Committee/Council Meeting and decision will be tracked. 

Public Meeting

A public meeting will be held on the request no earlier than 20 days before notice is provided in the manner outlined above. The public meeting may be held during an existing scheduled Committee or Council Meeting date, or at another date and time as determined by the Chief Planner/Director. While the Town will attempt to avoid meetings in July and August, since MZOs and CIHAs are tools to expedite provincial priority projects, special meetings may be scheduled. The public meeting may also be held at the same time as the presentation of the Recommendation Report (see Step 3 below).

The Public Meeting will consist of:

  • A presentation by the requestor explaining the request, the purpose and summarizing the findings of the report and the evaluation tool of this procedure.
  • A report by Planning staff including details from agency and department consultation, indigenous consultation, public consultation and any other pertinent information.

The presentation, staff report and other pertinent information will be uploaded to the Town’s dedicated webpage.

Step 3: Recommendation Report

Planning staff will bring forward a report to Council with a recommendation for Council’s consideration on the MZO or CIHA, evaluating the request against the Procedure and including all comments received.

Upon finalization of the report and close to the Committee/Council meeting agenda release date, Planning staff will notify interested parties of the report, meeting dates and options to delegate. The dedicated webpage will be updated to reflect the Report being brought forward and the meeting dates.

Step 4: Council Decision

Council will make a decision on the requested MZO or CIHA by resolution, a copy of which will be forwarded to the requestor, the Chief Planner/Director of Planning, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Note: The Ministry has the authority to issue an MZO even if Council does not support the request.

Planning staff will update the webpage with the decision of Council.

a)     Should Council refuse the request, Planning staff will:

                    i.           Remove the signage on the subject lands.

                    ii.           Notify interested parties of the decision of Council.

                    iii.          Notify owners of the decision of Council by mailout:

  • For lands within the Rural Service Centres (Bolton, Caledon East and Mayfield West): To landowners within 120 m (394 ft) of the subject lands.
  • For all other lands within the Town: To landowners within 1,000 m (3,280 ft) of the subject lands.

The mailout notice will include the details of the request (utilizing visuals), the lead planner, how to obtain information and the decision of Council.

b)     Should Council approve the request, Planning staff will:

                          i.          Update the signage on the subject lands to reflect Council’s decision and the signs will remain on                                        the property for 90 days.

                         ii.          Notify interested parties of the decision of Council.

                        iii.          Notify owners of the decision of Council by mailout:

  • For lands within the Rural Service Centres (Bolton, Caledon East and Mayfield West): To landowners within 120 m (394 ft) of the subject lands.
  • For all other lands within the Town: To landowners within 1,000 m (3,280 ft) of the subject lands.

The mailout notice will include the details of the request (utilizing visuals), the lead planner, how to obtain information and the decision of Council.

Step 5: Notify the Applicant and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Planning staff will submit the Council resolution to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and work with the Ministry and the applicant on the next steps for the request and to ultimately bring the development to fruition.

The Town will continue to update the dedicated webpage for the project.

Step 6: Issuance of a MZO or CIHA by the Province

Should the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issue an MZO or CIHA, Planning staff will inform Council and the community of the decision.

a)     Planning staff will update the webpage with the decision of Council.

b)     Planning staff will:

                          i.          Require the owner to post or update the signage on the subject lands to reflect the issuance of                                            the MZO or CIHA and the signs will remain on the property for 90 days.

                         ii.          Notify interested parties of the issuance of the MZO or CIHA.

                        iii.          Notify owners of the issuance of the MZO or CIHA by mailout:

  • For lands within the Rural Service Centres (Bolton, Caledon East and Mayfield West): To landowners within 120 m (394 ft) of the subject lands.
  • For all other lands within the Town: To landowners within 1,000 m (3,280 ft) of the subject lands.

The mailout notice will include the details of the MZO or CIHA (utilizing visuals), the lead planner and how to obtain information on the proposed development.

Evaluation Criteria

The following table outlines a number of evaluation criteria to be used in considering requests for MZOs and CIHAs.

Request Details

A clear Cover Letter will be required to outline the request, the proposed development and listing all enclosed documentation to support the request. The fee payment is also required.

The proposed request, including:

  • The draft order, as required by legislation
  • The map showing the location of the lands to which the order would apply.
  • A description of any associated approvals that would be required.
  • Details on exemptions requested for associated planning-related approvals (for example, plan of subdivision, site plan) from being consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement or having to conform with provincial plans and/or municipal official plans.

Privately-initiated requests will require a Business Case that justifies the extraordinary need for the request.

  • The Business Case should outline the anticipated benefit to the community that would result from expediting the application through a MZO or CIHA (e.g., economic benefit, property tax assessment, addition of community services, etc.)

A complete Planning Justification Report that includes:

  • A complete planning policy framework review and analysis of how the proposed request is consistent with the policies.
  • An analysis of the Procedure together with commentary on how the Procedure has been satisfied.

The applicant may want to consider submitting additional studies/material to explain how the procedure and evaluation criteria have been met.

The applicant will submit a Statement on Infrastructure Capacity.

The Statement would be similar to a high-level functional servicing report and will include modelling and servicing plans that demonstrate a viable servicing option and demonstrate capacity. Details may include obligations for necessary infrastructure, cost implications for servicing, peer review of studies, etc.

The Statement shall also include an exploration of the transportation systems, and the related impacts and benefits of the proposed MZO or CIHA on those systems. Details may include obligations for necessary infrastructure, cost implications, etc.


Upon review of the request and the required documents, additional studies may be required.
Process Conformity
The request will be evaluated against the process as outlined in this Procedure.
Alignment with Priorities
The request will be evaluated against the alignment with Town’s Strategic Plan priorities and provincial priorities (such as affordable housing, transit-oriented communities, health care and others).
Alignment with Planning Policy Framework

The Town will require consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement and Provincial Plans.

The Town will refrain from asking the Province (in the Council resolution) that specific subsequent approvals not be subject to the Provincial Policy Statement, Provincial Plans and Official Plans.

The Town will require consistency with the direction in the Region of Peel and Town of Caledon Official Plans.

“Good Planning” and Responsible Growth Management

The Town will require alignment with Caledon’s Growth Management and Phasing Plan and support for Caledon’s Housing Pledge.

The Town will look to support the Region of Peel’s housing targets on density, affordability and rental, as well as targets on non-market housing and other local municipal housing targets.

The Town will aim to obtain community benefits through the request, ensuring the MZO or CIHA has a positive public interest.

The Town will aim to ensure that uses, standards and overall request contemplated in MZOs and CIHAs do not set a negative precedent for Caledon.

The Town will look to receive confirmation from environmental reviewers (i.e. the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Conservation Authority, Town staff and peer reviewers) that the proposed request does not negatively impact the environment and that there will be a net ecological benefit.

The Town will look to protect and conserve archaeological and heritage features on site. Town staff will seek to have the MZO or CIHA protect for and implement adaptive reuse of heritage features.

The Town will look to achieve best practices in sustainability and green development standards through the request.

The Town will include wording in Council resolutions on ensuring post-MZO or post-CIHA development application review, ensuring that:

  • Public infrastructure is created through a plan of subdivision
  • Matters of site plan review are addressed in a required Site Plan application, the conditions in the order or agreements (i.e., building design, site access, servicing, waste storage, parking, loading and landscaping)

Financial Implications

The Town will require a Fiscal Impact Study which analyzes matters including:

  • Overall finance implications of the proposed development (i.e. development charges, taxes, etc.)
  • Costs associated with delivering the required community infrastructure.
  • Costs associated with delivering the required transportation systems and servicing infrastructure.

The study will be peer reviewed at the sole cost of the requestor.

Community Implications

The Town will evaluate the request against the following:

  • Understanding how the MZO/CIHA may support or detract from the local and Regional investments made in Service Plans and background studies
  • Understanding how the MZO/CIHA may support or detract from community building and/or providing community infrastructure (i.e. fire stations, public works yards, recreations centres, parks, libraries, childcare or early year centres, etc.)
  • Acquiring lands for community infrastructure
  • Examining the provision of affordable housing including a range and mix of housing options, parkland, and protection of the environment
  • Ensuring that the proposed development aligns with Caledon’s Economic Development Strategy, including attraction of priority employment sectors and job creation

Infrastructure Capacity Analysis

The Town will require details on infrastructure capacity and delivery for the proposed development.

The requestor will submit a Statement on Infrastructure Capacity and associated financial impacts, for review by both the Town and Region of Peel.