Ontario won’t allow homes to be built on floodplains, Ford says after fed warning

Premier Doug Ford tells the federal environment minister to 'do his research' after he was warned Ottawa would not provide relief to areas prone to flooding.

By The Canadian Press

Ontario has no plans to allow homes to be built on floodplains, Premier Doug Ford said Friday after the federal environment minister warned Ottawa would not provide disaster compensation where development is greenlit in areas prone to flooding.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Steven Guilbeault had said some of the lands where housing or commercial development is being proposed in Ontario are in floodplains, and flooding is the top climate change cost in Canada.

“I’m very worried by what I’m seeing in Ontario,” Guilbeault said this week, noting governments need to understand the scale of climate change effects and the need to better prepare Canadians to face them.

“The idea that the federal government will continue to compensate people where their provincial government deliberately allowed them to go and build housing units in an area that is prone to flooding is nonsense.”

Guilbeault’s comments came after the Ontario government announced plans last month to open up the protected Greenbelt to development.

Ford said that won’t be the case in Ontario and he called on the federal minister to “do his research.”

“It’s the responsibility of any builder, no matter where we build, to make sure that they protect any floodplains,” he said during an unrelated announcement in eastern Ontario on Friday. “I just wish he would do a little more research on that. Maybe I’ll call him and inform him on what’s going on.”


The Progressive Conservative government has proposed removing land from 15 different areas of the Greenbelt so that 50,000 homes can be built, while adding acres elsewhere.

Ontario created the Greenbelt in 2005 to protect agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area from development.

Ford had previously promised he wouldn’t touch the protected land, but his government now says the plan to open up the Greenbelt will help with its goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Both Ford and his housing minister have said the provincial government did not tip off developers ahead of announcing changes to the Greenbelt after media reports suggested that some prominent developers who are Progressive Conservative donors stand to benefit from the move.

Ontario’s integrity commissioner and the province’s auditor general have been asked to investigate the government’s Greenbelt plan.

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