Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Ontario Growth Secretariat
777 Bay St, Suite 425 (4th
Toronto, ON M5G 2ES
Subject: Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review: EBR Postings (Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2016. Notice #012-7194; Proposed Greenbelt Plan (2016). Notice #012-7195; Proposed Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2016). Notice #012-7197; Proposed Niagara Escarpment Plan (2016). Notice #012-7228)
The Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the Province of Ontario’s Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review EBR Notices.
Created in 1949, OPHA is a not-for-profit organization committed to providing leadership on issues affecting the public’s health and strengthening the impact of people who are active in public and community health throughout Ontario. Our mission is achieved by providing professional development, timely information and analysis on public health issues, access to multi-disciplinary networks, advocacy on healthy public policy and expertise and consultation.
There is increasing evidence that the way our communities are designed has a direct impact on factors such as: employment; social support networks; and the physical and social environments that influence health and health equity. Research indicates that poorly designed communities adversely affect the health of residents, as shown by increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses and exposures to environmental contaminants.
This was demonstrated, for example, by the findings from the 2014 report Improving Health by Design in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area
by the Medical Officers of Health for Peel Region, City of Toronto, Hamilton and Simcoe-Muskoka which showed that:
· The prevalence of diabetes among adults is projected to double in 25 years from 7.1% in 2002 to 16.4% by 2027. Current diabetes-related medical costs attributable to inactivity are over $550 million in the GTHA each year.
· The annual costs of physical inactivity and obesity in the GTHA are now $4 billion
including $1.4 billion in direct medical costs.
· Traffic-related emissions in the GTHA are estimated to be responsible for 854 premature
deaths each year and 2,812 to 3,939 hospitalizations each year.
The OPHA supports public health-focused land use and design policies which create healthy, sustainable communities by recognizing the value of: protecting the natural environment (air, land, water), reducing community exposure to health hazards (e.g. transportation and point source emissions of pollutants, injuries), opportunities for increased physical activity and recreation; access to healthy food choices; social equity and cohesion; safety and security; and our aging and diverse population.
Public Health Units across Ontario are addressing the complex issues and impacts related to the built environment including: air quality, climate change, water quality, access to healthy foods, obesity, physical activity, traffic related injuries, falls and general wellbeing across all ages and throughout a lifetime. The goal to create healthy, livable communities through planning and growth policies aligns with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s goal to improve public health through creating healthier built environments.
All four plans are supportive of concepts that are important to building healthy and complete communities. We were pleased to see that many of OPHA’s comments submitted to your ministry as part of its 2015 consultations on land use planning were incorporated into these updated plans (i.e. net zero communities; climate change and resiliency; increased density; active transportation and transit systems; protected green space and natural heritage and agricultural systems; green infrastructure; and low impact development).
The OPHA’s Health and Built Environment Workgroup has undertaken a review of the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review EBR Notices and has provided the following comments below for your consideration. In addition to the review, OPHA’s Workgroup Co-Chairs attended the technical briefing sessions held in Toronto and Clarington and other members attended the open house session held in Mississauga.
OPHA and members of it Health and Built Environment Workgroup welcome the opportunity to be part of this review and any follow-up processes. We would be pleased to discuss our submission further with you and provide additional information or clarification as needed. We would value collaborating with you and your colleagues to bring to the fore our recommendations which offer your ministry the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in creating healthy, livable, complete communities.
Thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to comment.