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'It certainly feels good to be heard': Ontario farmers convince Ford government to abandon lot severances

Ontario farmers convince the Ontario government to abandon lot severances.

The proposal was included in a Provincial Planning Statement (PPS) designed to ease the housing crisis in Ontario.

Along with Bill 97, a separate piece of legislation, called the “Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act”, Ontario is trying to find ways to build 1.5 million homes by 2031.

The PPS included a proposal to allow a parcel of farmland to be severed in three ways.

“Unfortunately the lot severance was something that was just I'm not sure there was going to be any middle ground,” says Ethan Wallace, director with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “Our province needs housing and we don't want to stand in the way of that. But we certainly think there's a more efficient and better use for farmland than simply sprawl housing.”

On May 19, the OFA issued a joint letter on behalf of most of Ontario’s agriculture associations, asking the government to abandon the severance proposal.

“The concerns surrounded operations like myself that are on the small side,” says Wallace. “A house can be put at the limit, the existing minimum distance separation, and it will prevent me from expanding my operation in the future.”

Wallace says after voicing their concerns the government “took the time to listen and to sit down with us”.

On May 29, the OFA issued a news release saying the province was abandoning the severance proposal.

“It certainly feels good that we were heard,” says Wallace. ”It means that they do respect agriculture here in Ontario.”

In a written statement to CTV News Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing confirmed, “We will not be moving forward with the proposal on rural lot severances.”

The Ministry says the proposal was meant to make it easier for farmers to sever a piece of their land to a descendent and allow them to build a home closer to existing barns or buildings than is currently allowed.

“To be clear: It has never been our intention for severed lots to be transferred or sold to non-family/farm owners, nor for these lots to have anything more than single-family homes (i.e. no multi-residential structures),” Minister Steve Clark wrote in his letter to the OFA. “Any ambiguity regarding our intentions will be clarified, eliminated and resolved.”

The government has now extended the public consultation phase on the PPS to August 4, 2023, to allow “..our government more time to consider alternative solutions to support multi-generational farm families..”.

According to, the Ontario government passed Bill 97 on Monday.

It will go into effect once it receives Royal Assent.

The legislation will allow cities, among other things, to expand their borders “at any time” in order to build more homes. Top Stories

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