Ford defends use of development tool as concern mounts over fast-tracked projects

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TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is defending his government's use of a controversial land planning tool as concerns mount about overuse.

The mechanism known as a ministerial zoning order gives the municipal affairs minister power to fast-track development in a given area.

Opposition politicians have criticized the Progressive Conservative government for issuing dozens of the orders last year compared with infrequent use under previous governments.

Ford argued in the legislature today that his government is using the orders to help create more jobs and affordable housing after the pandemic.

But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says some of the recent orders don't fit that description, including a controversial warehouse project proposed for a wetland in Durham Region.

Ford also denied that his government is approving zoning orders based on political donations, saying he does not know who the developer is on that particular site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press