How were Indigenous Communities engaged in the 1st stage of the ROP Amendment process (ROP Amendment No. 6)? What was the resulting feedback?

    Throughout the 1st Regional Official Plan amendment process (ROP Amendment No. 6), extensive consultation was done with members of Indigenous communities, including the Six Nations of the Grand River, the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Métis Nation of Ontario.

    Key areas of discussion included advancing relationships and reconciliation, a process for meaningful consultation in community planning, sustainable growth, protection of our natural resources and cultural heritage resources.

    Changes made to the ROP based on this consultation include:

    • Addition of a new Territorial Acknowledgment to recognize the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories.
    • Introduction of objectives for integrating and respecting Indigenous values, history and cultures in planning for growth and change through respect, trust, and meaningful dialogue.
    • Recognition of the cultural significance of the Grand River, groundwater, local landscapes, natural features and biodiversity, and the importance of ecosystem health and opportunities for people to connect with nature.

    Feedback from Indigenous Communities

    What is the Regional Official Plan (ROP)?

    The Region Official Plan (ROP) is a long-term plan used to manage growth and development.  Key elements of the ROP are:
    • a fixed border between rural and urban areas;
    • directing growth to make better use of land and municipal services within the built up areas of the Region;-increasing transportation choice, including the creation of a rapid transit system;
    • protecting our drinking water and significant environmental areas; and;
    • increasing the quality of life of citizens in Waterloo Region. 
    All future development, transportation and infrastructure within Waterloo Region, must conform to the policies, goals and objectives of the ROP.

    Why are we reviewing the ROP?

    Under the Planning Act, Regional staff are required to review the existing Regional Official Plan every five years in order to conform with Provincial Plans and policy statements – this is technically known as a Municipal Comprehensive Review.  

    The ROP review will also ensure we're keeping up with any additional policy updates the public, Regional Council and staff think would enhance how we plan for growth over the next 20 years.

    How can I participate?

    There are many ways you can participate in this process and we welcome your views and ideas. 

    We have set up a project page (the one you’re most likely currently on), where you can submit any questions or comments directly to Regional planning staff (  We'll take your feedback into consideration when drafting the updated ROP.   

    Attending any Regional Council meeting or Planning and Works Committee meeting when the ROP review is on the agenda.  Members of the public are also able to sign-up as a delegation (speaker)  at these meetings to present views and opinions to Council or Committee members. 

    In-person or virtual opportunities to participate in a Public Engagement Session will be posted once dates and locations are available.  

    Who else is involved in the ROP review?

    In addition to public input, the ROP review team is assembling four committees to help with this project.

    1. Technical Committee – comprised of Regional staff from various departments, the Grand River Conservation Authority, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, all of whom have specific technical expertise.
    2. Steering Committee – comprised of Regional Councillors, Commissioners and Directors.
    3. Area Municipal Committee – comprised of planners and technical staff from each of the Area Municipalities.
    4. Stakeholder Committee – comprised of representatives from key stakeholder groups, including Agriculture, Environment/Natural Heritage, the development industry, and the business community.

    Can I see the current ROP?

    The current ROP is available online, by clicking on the following link and then click on the drop down menu for 'Regional Official Plan':

    What is the process for updating the ROP?

    1. Official project launch through a Special Council Meeting on September 18, 2019 – this met our legal obligation under the Planning Act. 

    2. Hire a consultant team to update the technical information necessary to determine if our current ROP policies need to be amended.  This step requires very specific expertise across a variety of fields of study, which is why Regional staff is pleased to be working with the team at Dillon Consulting. 

    3. Gather technical data while also organizing the first round of Open Houses for the last two weeks of November/first week of December 2019 (future Open Houses will be advertised at key points throughout the ROP review).  These four Open Houses will introduce the ROP review to the public and will be the first of many opportunities to have your say.

    We have released a video that captures many images of Waterloo Region and that will hopefully stir some thoughts and ideas for what you’d like to see in this community in the years to come.  We want to hear these thoughts and ideas, and encourage you to join us at the upcoming Open Houses.  We anticipate having three sets of Open Houses throughout this review process.

    4. Take all the legislative requirements, the updated technical data, and the feedback from the public, area municipalities, and various other agencies involved in our community, and seeing how we can best organize and update our ROP.  Changes to current mapping may be needed to what’s reflect on-the-ground, additional policies may be required to ensure conformity with Provincial policies, and other policies may be tweaked and altered to represent feedback from the public, area municipalities, and various agencies.  Drafts of the updated ROP will be presented to the public for review and comment.

    5. The last step of the ROP review process requires Regional staff to present the final draft to Regional Council for adoption and then submit the adopted ROP to the Province for final approval. 

    Is the Region following the Provincial Land Needs Assessment Methodology?

    Yes. The Region’s Draft Land Needs Assessment Report has been purposefully organized to demonstrate consistency with the prescribed steps outlined in the Province’s Land Needs Assessment Methodology.

    Are other municipalities in the province following a similar approach to the Land Needs Assessment methodology as the Region?

    The Region’s consultant for the draft LNA, Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (Watson), is directly involved in approximately half of the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) studies currently underway for municipalities within the Greater Golden Horseshoe.  Watson has employed the exact approach or a similar approach to the LNA methodology used for the Region of Waterloo. For each of these municipalities, Watson has been in direct contact with the Province and in each case the Province has confirmed that the approach used is inline with their prescribed methodology.

    The Province has confirmed that the Region of Waterloo is appropriately following the Provincial LNA methodology.

    What types of lands are included in the definition of ‘Community Area’?

    Community Area lands include areas for population, commercial, and institutional growth.  Examples include housing, schools, offices, post-secondary institutions, and shopping malls. It is critical to understand that Community Area land is not meant to exclusively accommodate homes.

    Has the Region identified land as suitable for Community Area (lands to accommodate population/residential, commercial, and institutional growth) that is clearly not available for this type of development?

    No, the Region uses well-established benchmarks for identifying lands suitable for Community Area. For example, while Conestoga College supports a variety of jobs and can intuitively be thought of as an “employment area”, it is a post-secondary institution, supports population-related jobs, and is therefore captured under the established definition of Community Area; the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are also captured with the Community Area definition.

    What types of lands are not available for development?

    The provincial Growth Plan prescribes particular land uses that municipalities are to exclude when calculating the minimum density target within designated greenfield areas.

    The lands which are excluded are:

    ·        Natural heritage features;

    ·        Natural heritage systems;

    ·        Floodplains;

    ·        Cemeteries;

    ·        Employment areas; and,

    ·        Rights-of-way for electricity transmission lines, energy  transmission pipelines, freeways, railways.

    All other land uses such as local roads, storm water management ponds and parks are included in calculating minimum density targets on designated greenfield lands.

    What are the commonalities between the Region’s proposed Option 3 and Option 4, as presented by some members of the community?

    - Both options arrive at zero urban boundary expansion (community area) being required to accommodate population growth to 2051

    - Both options mean no farmland loss to accommodate population growth to 2051

    - Both options continue to strongly promote a sustainable urban form that is inextricably linked to an expanding rapid transit system while take into account the need for transformative climate action

    - Both options are similar to what the municipality of Hamilton is proposing

    What are the differences between Option 3 and Option 4?

    - Option 3 assumes slightly higher densities within the existing Designated Greenfield Lands (i.e., lands available for new development) to avoid the need for new community area land

    - Option 3 is a full land needs assessment and identifies area municipal allocations for population and employment to 2051

    - Option 4 assumes a larger share of development, through intensification, would be allocated to the Region’s Built-Up Area (lands that are already developed) to avoid the need for new community area land

    - Option 4 is not a full land needs assessment and does not identify area municipal allocations for population and employment to 2051


    What was the outcome of the current ROP’s decision at the Ontario Municipal Board in 2015? Was the methodology the Region used in 2009 rejected by the OMB?

    The OMB approved the settlement in 2015 that was based specifically on justification established through an updated Land Needs Assessment using the Regional methodology (referenced in the minutes of settlement). 

    In addition, as part of the settlement, the Region’s land budget methodology was deemed acceptable to be used by the applicable settling parties in the future to calculate the amount of agricultural land that can be converted to urban development until such time as a standardized provincial methodology was presented.  

    This standardized provincial methodology was presented in 2020, and is now the methodology that is currently being followed for the 2022 draft Land Needs Assessment (please refer to FAQ, above, regarding methodology).

    The link, below, provides a summary of the history of the 2015 OMB hearing and the results of the settlement.,95abcc5b-2e79-4c15-9386-e36865f55f5a,ab159244-c732-45c7-b4c9-67b38b43eed5&newsId=2f4cacca-9cf4-42c8-90c7-e31de48cb520