Agricultural System for
the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)
The Province recognizes the importance of protecting agricultural
land, supporting economic viability and managing growth. Recently,
the government released updated provincial
land use plans which were the result of extensive public consultation.
The updated plans contain new policies on developing an Agricultural
System that supports the viability of the agri-food sector and consistently
protects farmland across the GGH. OMAFRA is consulting on three
Agricultural System products:
- Draft Implementation Procedures
for the Agricultural System in Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe;
Agricultural System Portal;
- Draft Agricultural Land
The Agricultural System Implementation Procedures will help municipalities
make informed land use planning and economic development decisions
that implement provincial land use plan policies and strengthen
the agri-food sector across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Input is welcome from July 6 - October 4, 2017. The Environmental
Registry posting (EBR# 013-0968) describes how to provide comments
Comments received during the 90-day period will be considered for
the development of the final Agricultural System and mapping, to
be released later this year.
While OMAFRA's methodology for mapping the Agricultural Land Base
is described in the draft Implementation Procedures document, additional
technical detail is provided in the Agricultural System Mapping
Method. This is available via email on request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please confirm in your email if you prefer a French or English version.
Public Open Houses
Public Open Houses hosted by the province will provide opportunities
to learn more and provide input on the proposed Agricultural System
(EBR# 013-0968) and the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Natural Heritage System
Three public open houses will be held at the following times and
locations. Pre-registration is not required.
- Guelph, July 20, 2017, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Holiday
Inn, 601 Scottsdale Drive, Guelph, N1G 3E7
- Town of East Gwillimbury, August 17, 2017, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.,
Albert Lions Community Centre, 5057 Mt. Albert Road, Mount Albert,
ON, L0G 1M0
- Peterborough, September 12, 2017, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., Holiday
Inn Peterborough-Waterfront, 150 George Street, Peterborough,
FAQs on the Agricultural System
1. What is an Agricultural System?
- The Province is developing an Agricultural System for the Greater
Golden Horseshoe, which aims to identify and protect a continuous,
productive land base for agriculture across municipalities, as
well as provide support for the agri-food supply chain the sector
- The development of an Agricultural System for the Greater Golden
Horseshoe is one of the recommendations that came out of the Coordinated
Plan Review for the four provincial land use plans.
- The system is comprised of two components, the agricultural
land base and the agri-food network.
- The agricultural land base consists of prime agricultural areas,
including specialty crop areas and rural lands that together create
a continuous productive land base. This mapping can be refined
when municipalities update their official plans.
- The agri-food network includes regional infrastructure and transportation
networks, on-farm buildings and infrastructure, agricultural services,
farm markets, distributors and primary processing, and vibrant,
agriculture-supportive communities that are important to the viability
of the agri-food sector.
The Agricultural System approach recognizes that land
use planning alone cannot address all of the challenges facing agriculture,
and that protecting the agricultural land base must be linked to
economic development considerations to support the needs of the
agri-food sector such as key infrastructure, services and assets
(e.g. cold storage facilities, abattoirs, food processors, grain
dryers, distribution centres, food hubs/coops).
2. Who is OMAFRA consulting with?
- OMAFRA will consult with stakeholders in the GGH, including
municipalities, Indigenous communities, agricultural organizations,
development sectors, and environmental groups.
- The public will also be able to provide feedback on the Agricultural
System guidelines through open houses and the 90 day environmental
registry (ER) consultation period. Details on how to provide input
are available at the Environmental Registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca.
3. When will the Agricultural System be released?
- The province is looking to release the Agricultural System Implementation
Procedures, Agricultural System Portal, and Agricultural Land
Base map later this year, after the engagement process.
4. How does the Agricultural System tie in with the overall goal
to protect farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe?
- The province, municipalities and other stakeholders will collaborate
to implement Agricultural System policies, including identifying
and protecting a continuous, productive land base for agriculture
across municipalities and supporting the agri-food supply chain
the sector depends on.
- The Agricultural System approach is being implemented across
the GGH covered by the Growth Plan for the GGH and the Greenbelt
5. Are there plans to expand the Agricultural System into other
areas of the province?
- At this time, the Agricultural System is being implemented in
the GGH. In the future, other areas of the province could adopt
a similar approach.
Agricultural System Portal
The Agricultural System Portal shows approximately 30 maps across
Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
The maps show both parts of the Agricultural System:
- the agricultural land base and
- the agri-food network
Click to Launch
the Agricultural System Portal. Tips on using the Portal are
The maps in the Portal show agricultural production, land use,
infrastructure, agri-food assets and services. These maps can be
used to identify agri-food clusters and promote economic growth
of the sector.
The Portal enables users to assess and avoid negative impacts from
new development on the Agricultural System.
Check the Portal periodically as new information will be added.
To receive an emailed copy of the Agricultural System Mapping Method,
which explains how Agricultural System mapping was created, contact
Please confirm in your email if you prefer a French or English version.
Quick Tips for Using the Agricultural System Portal
What is the Agricultural System Portal?
- The Agricultural System Portal contains about 60 mapping layers
from different data sources to illustrate the Agricultural System
in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Agricultural System Portal
shows aspects of both the agricultural land base and the agri-food
network the sector depends on.
- The use of different layers in the portal is explained in the
"Implementation Procedures for the Agricultural System in
Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe."
What information does this portal contain?
- The portal displays crop production and livestock production
densities, plus a wide range of infrastructure such as transportation
infrastructure and drainage, as well as services such as meat
processors. Agri-food infrastructure and assets are mapped such
as grain elevators. The origin of the data for each mapping layer
is stated in parentheses in the legend. The main sources of data
are: the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA), Statistics
Canada (Census of Agriculture), OMAFRA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food
What can this portal be used for?
- This Agricultural System Portal is a mapping tool that will
make it easy to understand and promote the agri-food sector in
your community and across the GGH.
- Maps in the portal may be used to identify clusters of agri-food
activity (e.g. production, processing, distribution) and may feed
into economic development studies and strategies to help the sector
- Information can be used in Agricultural Impact Assessments that
identify how to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts on the Agricultural
System from settlement area expansions, aggregate applications
and infrastructure projects.
- The agricultural land base mapping in the portal is provided
for illustrative purposes and to promote integration of land use
planning and economic development. Please note that when municipalities
update their Official Plan mapping based on the Implementation
Procedures, the official provincial Agricultural Land Base map
should be used.
How can users of the portal explore the information they are interested
- The Google Chrome internet browser is recommended for viewing
- The portal and layers may take several minutes to load so please
- The portal contains additional user tips on the left side of
Is it possible to print maps and legends from the portal?
- Yes, all map layers and combinations of layers can be printed
or saved as a PDF.
- Legends can be viewed by clicking on the legend button (looks
like a bulleted list). A snipping tool can be taken to capture
the legend and add it to maps.
How do I obtain data from the portal?
- Municipalities may obtain detailed asset mapping data from the
- Some of the data used is open data and specific requests can
be made to OMAFRA.
- Other requests may be made to Statistics Canada and Agriculture
and Agri-food Canada