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Regional Official Plan Explained - Growth


The Regional Official Plan guides community growth in Halton Region. Learn more about Halton’s planning vision, in the Regional Official Plan.

The Growth Plan

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) sets population and employment (density) targets for municipalities in the GGH region to guide population and employment growth.

The Growth Plan for the GGH aims to:

  • revitalize downtowns to become vibrant and convenient centres
  • create complete communities that offer more options for living, working, shopping and playing
  • provide greater choice in housing types to meet the needs of people at all stages of life
  • curb urban sprawl and protect farmland and greenspaces
  • reduce traffic gridlock by improving access to a greater range of transportation choices.

Growth Plan, 2017 – Government of Ontario

Halton Regional Official Plan

The Regional Official Plan (ROP) sets out population and employment targets to guide community growth in Halton Region. The current ROP (Sustainable Halton 2009) plans for a total population of 780,000 people in Halton by the year 2031. Growth is guided by Halton’s planning vision, which includes:

  • Settlement areas with identifiable communities
  • Rural areas where agriculture is the main activity
  • A natural heritage system that is integrated with settlement areas and rural areas

Population & Employment Distribution

The ROP sets out a growth management strategy for Halton based on population and employment distribution to the year 2031. The population and employment distribution guides how many people and jobs will be in each area of Halton.

  • Refer to ROP – Table 1

Intensification and Density Targets

The Regional Official Plan sets out targets for development density in the Built-up Area and the Designated Greenfield Areas. Together, these areas make up the Settlement Area.

Density is the concentration of people and jobs within a certain area (per hectare).

Intensification is growing the number of people and jobs, or increasing the density, in the Built-Up area.

  • Refer to ROP – Table 2
  • Refer to ROP – Section 225.1
  • Refer to ROP – Section 276.3
  • Refer to ROP – Section 220.4

Regional Phasing

Phasing is done to ensure services are available when growth happens.

The ROP sets out the Regional Development Phasing until 2031. The Phasing directs growth and guides how development targets will be met. It includes the numbers of low, medium or high density residential units and jobs to be achieved every 5 years.

  • Refer to ROP – Table 2A
  • Regional Phasing

Urban Area

The Urban Area is where the Region focuses population and employment growth while supporting local community identity, creating healthy communities, and promoting economic success.

  • Refer to ROP Section 72

Intensification Areas

Intensification Areas are where the Region directs higher density and mixed use development. Intensification Areas are at the centre of the community and are easy to get to by public transit, biking and walking. They are part of the Urban Area and are the highest priority for urban development in the region.

  • Refer to ROP Section 78(3)
  • Refer to ROP Section 81(4)
  • Refer to ROP Section 81(4)
  • Refer to ROP Section 253.2

Urban Growth Centres

Urban Growth Centres are downtown areas where employment, retail, public services, recreation, culture and entertainment will be focused. They are part of Intensification Areas and will accommodate most of the population growth in the Region.

  • Refer to ROP Section 81(1)
  • Refer to ROP Section 286.1
  • Refer to ROP Section 253.2


The Region identifies opportunities for supplying a mix of housing types to meet different, physical, social and economic needs.

Urban Services

Urban Services including water and wastewater are provided by the Region. The Region plans for these services through master plans that accommodate development while protecting the environment.

  • Refer to ROP Section 87
  • Refer to ROP Section 287


Hamlets are compact rural communities. They are areas where farming and rural communities are served by small scale industrial, commercial, residential and institutional uses. Minor population growth will occur in Hamlets.

  • Refer to ROP Section 102

Setting Growth Targets

Regional growth targets, in the Regional Official Plan, are set through the Region working with the Local Municipalities and the Province.

The Local Municipalities then implement the growth targets in their communities.

  • Refer to ROP Section 77(1)
  • Refer to ROP Section 77(4)