Municipal Action Plan
Take the High Road
Across Ontario, the gravel mining industry is causing ever greater damage to people and the places we love. Each year, Ontario allows companies to extract 13x more gravel than what the province actually uses. There are currently more than 5,000 approved gravel mining sites in Ontario. This uncontrolled proliferation of gravel mines takes place in a weak and outdated policy context, resulting in damage to vital ecosystems, health and safety risks to surrounding communities, and the violation of First Nations rights.
Ontario can do better. Together, we can take the High Road toward a new standard for aggregate policy in Ontario—one that prioritizes community safety, inclusive decision-making and stewardship for a livable planet.
To get there, we have created a community handbook: “The High Road: A Municipal Action Plan to Win a New Standard for Gravel Mining in Ontario.” It's a step-by-step program for residents to engage their Councillors in elevating gravel mining policy to the level of best practices. It includes practical resources like talking points, draft resolutions, worksheets, case studies, and more.
We encourage you to a send letter to demand the Ford government advise the Ontario Land Tribunal to continue following Rule 23.9 and only award costs to an unsuccessful party that has demonstrated “unreasonable, frivolous or vexatious” conduct or “has acted in bad faith.” We have written this letter to be easily sent by concerned citizens. It will go directly to Premier Ford, Steve Clark (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing), Marit Stiles (Leader of the Ontario NDP), John Fraser (Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party), Mike Schreiner (Leader of the Ontario Green Party), and your local MPP. This action will support municipalities to represent residents' concerns at the OLT.
What is an 'Interim Control Bylaw' on Gravel Mining?
The main tactic outlined in the Municipal Action Plan is to press pause on new gravel mining approvals using a planning tool called an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL). The goal of this pause is for municipalities to work with residents to review and strengthen bylaws on aggregate extraction.
ICBLs put a temporary freeze on some land uses while a municipality is reviewing its policies. ICBLs are generally used when a municipality identifies bylaws that are inadequate to regulate a particular land use. For example, some municipalities have recently passed ICBLs to address policy gaps concerning disruptive Airbnb and cannabis operations. When it comes to gravel mining, an ICBL would temporarily halt the rezoning of land for aggregate extraction while the municipality reviews its relevant bylaws.
An ICBL can be put into effect for one year, with a maximum extension of a second year. During this time, the municipality can conduct a study to review its policies. An ICBL may not be appealed when it is first passed (other than by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing). However, an extension of the ICBL to a second year may be appealed.
We're currently working with several community groups to implement ICBLs on gravel mining. If you’re a resident of a municipality that is facing a gravel mining application, or if you want to advocate for stronger bylaws in your community, and you would like to join our working group, please get in touch.