Regional Official Plan Amendments

The Regional Official Plan is amended from time to time. Amendments can be initiated by the Region, area municipalities or private applicants to:

  • Permit development
  • Bring the plan into conformity with provincial policy
  • Support region-wide initiatives

On this page, you will find the status of recent Regional Official Plan Amendments (ROPA). The amendments are categorized into two tables:

A complete list of past and present ROPAs can be found within Appendix A of the Regional Official Plan. To access documents for a specific amendment, or to submit an application to amend the Regional Official Plan, contact Planning and Development.

Regional Official Plan Amendments in Progress

Amendment # Purpose of Amendment Status
ROPA 2 Rural and Agriculture Policies

ICP 126-2013: Project Initiation Report: Agricultural and Rural Area Policies Update

Regional Official Plan Amendment 2 has been initiated to update the existing Rural and Agriculture policies to reflect current legislation and to provide clarity and consistency throughout the section.

Under review
ROPA 4 Growing the Economy

ICP 27-2014: ROPA 4 Initiation Report

Regional Official Plan Amendment 4 will update the Regional Official Plan to ensure policy and implementation support for our current and future economy, as outlined in the Region's 2013-2015 Economic Growth Strategy. This Amendment is required to ensure that planning in Niagara is positioned to enable and support economic growth and prosperity.

Under review
ROPA 6 Corridor Protection Policies

Draft Regional Official Plan Amendment 6 - Corridor Protection Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 6 has been initiated to enhance the policy framework that protects future transportation corridors in the Niagara Region.

The amendment includes the development of new corridor protection policies and mapping. The proposed policies and mapping will be developed to align with Provincial and local municipal policy, the transportation interests of Regional Council, and reflect the recommendations of the NGTA Transportation Development Strategy.

Under review
ROPA 7 Urban Area Boundary Modification for the City of Welland

PDS 5-2014: Policy Initiation Report: ROPA 7 Urban Area Boundary Modification for the City of Welland

Regional Official Plan Amendment 7 has been initiated to permit a reduction to Niagara Region's Urban Area Boundary for the City of Welland. This Amendment will ensure alignment of the Regional Official Plan with the City of Welland's new Official Plan and will lift an earlier imposed deferral. The amendment will change Schedule A: Regional Structure of the Regional Official Plan.

Under review
ROPA 8 Aggregate Policies Update

PDS 3-2014: Policy Initiation Report: ROPA 8 To update the Aggregate Resources Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 8 has been initiated by the Region in order to update the existing Aggregate Policies to ensure consistency with Provincial legislation, provide best management practices and update the existing mapping.

A review of aggregate resource policies is underway to ensure they align with provincial policies and plans.

Under review
ROPA 9 Niagara Employment Lands: Phase 2

PDS 3-2015: Project Initiation Report: ROPA 9 Employment Lands Policies - Phase 2 of Niagara Employment Lands Strategy

ROPA 9, when completed, will provide the Region with its first ever comprehensive, region-wide, employment lands policies.

This work is an extension of the Niagara Gateway Economic Zone and Centre Employment Lands Strategy and implementing RPPA (RPPA 1-2012) and the Niagara Non-Gateway Employment Lands Study.

Upon completion of the first phase of the work plan, development of the implementing ROPA policies will commence.

ROPA 11 Proposed Removal of Environmental Protection Area Designation

Regional Official Plan Amendment 11 was initiated by Upper Canada Consultants on behalf of HERT Inc.

The purpose of this Amendment is to amend Schedule C of Niagara Region's Official Plan to remove the Environmental Protection Area designation from the lands municipally known as 633 South Pelham Road in the City of Welland.

This application has been made in relation to local applications for a Plan of Subdivision, Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment. Those applications were refused by City of Welland's Council and the applicant has appealed Council's refusal. Currently, the case is considered to be "open" before the Ontario Municipal Board.

The last Board hearing for the case occurred on April 25, 2016. The Region is represented as a party in the case.

Reference Case:
Arber Developments Ltd. v. Welland (City)

Under review
ROPA 12 Watercourse Policies and Mapping

PDS 21-2016: Project Initiation Report for Watercourse Policies and Mapping

Regional Official Plan Amendment 12 has been initiated to address policies and outdated mapping related to watercourses in the Regional Official Plan. This amendment focuses on the hindrances to agricultural viability that have been created through setback policies in the Greenbelt Plan and will utilize spatially accurate data from the Contemporary Mapping of Watercourses project (a joint mapping project between Niagara Region and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) to address the issue.

Under review

Employment Policies
Amendments to the Growth Plan introduced new concepts around how municipalities plan for and manage growth. Some of those changes are related to how employment is planned and rules around conversion to other uses. The Growth Plan now sets out that the Region can initiate amendments for employment area designations at any time prior to its new Official Plan.

As a result of the employment policy changes, the Region initiated Regional Official Plan Amendment 16 in accordance with section 26 of the Planning Act, 1990.

ROPA 16 is being advanced now to ensure conformity with the Growth Plan and will update existing employment and conversion policies within section 3 and 4 of the ROP, respectively.

The purpose of ROPA 16 is to:

  • Conform with section 2.2.5 "Employment" of the Growth Plan
  • Establish a schedule that shows Niagara Region's identified employment areas, and;
  • Undertake technical edits to ensure consistent use of terms, italicization and references

Draft amendment text to the Niagara Planning Area - clean version
Draft amendment text to the Niagara Planning Area - black line version
Draft employment area schedule

Contact Planning and Development Services to request detailed employment area maps. These detailed maps are not part of the amendment and are for reference only.

Under review

Niagara Region's Council endorsed the Glendale District Plan on Sept. 17, 2020. Regional endorsement confirms the vision and commitment to Glendale becoming a mixed use, vibrant and complete community. The next step to implementing the District Plan is to initiate the Regional Official Plan Amendment to incorporate the vision and direction into the Regional Official Plan.

The proposed amendment will add policies to Section 4.G of the Regional Official Plan to implement the vision for Glendale, objectives related to the key directions and outlines the additional work required for success of the plan.

Under review

Northwest Welland Area
Niagara Region received an application from the City of Welland to amend the Region's Official Plan to add approximately 190.3 hectares of land, known as northwest Welland, into the urban area as designated greenfield area and built-up area, as applicable.

Welland is proceeding with this application pursuant to Section of the Provincial Growth Plan and is seeking multiple, concurrent 40 ha expansion requests ahead of the completion of the Region's new Official Plan.

Under review

Recently Completed Regional Official Plan Amendments

Amendment #Purpose of AmendmentStatus
ROPA 1 Organization Framework of the Regional Official Plan

The purpose of Regional Official Plan Amendment 1 was to arrange the content of the Regional Official Plan in a more logical and organized manner to improve its overall readability, ensure consistency with the themes of Imagine Niagara, and facilitate the physical integration of recently approved policies through office consolidation.

This amendment did not contain any significant changes to policy context or intent of the Regional Official Plan.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
ROPA 3 West Lincoln Land Swap / Exchange

Regional Official Plan Amendment 3 was initiated by the Region in order to facilitate the Land Swap/Exchange process within the Township of West Lincoln.

ROPA 3 was initiated in coordination with Township of West Lincoln's Official Plan Amendment 37, which dealt with the same matter, but at the local level. Furthermore, the Township of West Lincoln's Official Plan Amendment 38 was also involved with ROPA 3, as it dealt with the matter of compliance to Provincial policy and legislation.

ROPA 3 amended mapping in the Regional Official Plan to reflect the proposed urban boundary adjustment in Smithville to permit the inclusion of approximately 60 net hectares of land via a swap/exchange with existing settlement areas.

Reference Case:
Ontario (Municipal Affairs and Housing) v. Niagara (Region)

Approved with modifications by the OMB (May 29, 2015)
ROPA 5 Source Protection Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 5 was initiated by the Region as a result of the Niagara Peninsula Source Protection Plan being approved by the Ministry of Environment in December 2013.

The amendment ensures conformity to the Source Protection Plan in order to protect our drinking water during the present and future.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
ROPA 10 Proposed Greater Fort Erie Secondary School

Regional Official Plan Amendment 10 was an applicant-initiated amendment that, as result of a District School Board of Niagara Accommodation Review, proposed for the construction of a new, two storey secondary school and ancillary facilities. The uses included a running track on the southern portion of a parcel of land occupied by the Fort Erie Golf Club in the Town of Fort Erie. ROPA 10 amended the Regional Official Plan to permit the proposed uses.

Additionally, the applicant had also requested amendments to the Town of Fort Erie Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit this use. These amendments were approved and adopted by the Town.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
ROPA 13 Update to Regional Official Plan Transportation Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 13 is a regionally-initiated amendment with the purpose of replacing and enhancing the existing transportation policies in the Regional Official Plan.

The amendment is a matter of conformity to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and is subject to the prescribed requirements of section 26 of the Planning Act, 1990.

The amendment is required to ensure consistency between the Transportation Master Plan and the current Regional Official Plan. The transportation policies within the amendment will implement the direction and recommendations identified by the Transportation Master Plan.

On Oct. 17, 2019, Regional Council made a decision to adopt ROPA 13. The amendment was then submitted to the Province for approval. The Province approved ROPA 13 with modifications on March 4, 2020.

Adopted by Regional Council and approved with modifications by the Province

Brock District Plan
Niagara Region, in partnership with the City of Thorold, City of St. Catharines and Brock University, prepared the Brock District Plan.

The plan was endorsed by Regional Council on October 6, 2016. The plan was also endorsed by the City of St. Catharines and City of Thorold councils, Brock University and received by the Niagara Escarpment Commission in early 2017.

An initial key step in implementation of the plan is to amend the Regional Official Plan to add the vision, goals and high level policy direction from the District Plan. The proposed amendment includes:

  • Seven focus areas of the Brock District Plan
  • Outlines the additional studies required to implement the plan
  • Adds other policy requirements to assist in realizing the intended vision of the District Plan

Approved amendment to the Official Plan for the Niagara planning area

Approved and adopted by Regional Council

Exemption Policies

On Sept. 19, 2019, Niagara Regional Council, as the approval authority under Section 17 of the Planning Act, 1990, made a decision to adopt Regional Official Plan Amendment No. 15. ROPA 15 will be considered final if no appeals are received on or before the last day for filing an appeal, Oct. 15, 2019.

Niagara Region has undertaken a review of the existing exemption policies in Section 14.E.6-14.E.9 of the Regional Official Plan.

The exemption policies identify the circumstances where the Region will exempt local official plan amendments from Regional approval. The proposed amendment will streamline these policies to provide clarity and certainty to the exemption process for the Region's local area municipalities.

The proposed draft policy was done in conjunction with an update to the memorandum of understanding between the Region and the local area municipalities, which included discussions with local area planners.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
5-2013 Consultation Implementation and Engagement Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 5-2013 was initiated by the Region in order to provide a comprehensive update to the consultation policies within the Regional Official Plan.

These policies are located within "Chapter 12: Engagement" and "Chapter 14: Implementation" of the Regional Official Plan.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
6-2013 Site Specific Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 6-2013 was initiated by the Region in order to improve the organization, readability and user friendliness of the site specific policies that were previously located throughout Regional Official Plan.

This amendment created a new section in the Regional Official Plan titled "Chapter 13: Site Specific Policies", where all site specific policies are located and arranged alphabetically by local municipality.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
8-2013 Development Phasing Policies

Regional Official Plan Amendment 8-2013 was initiated by the Region in order to provide development phasing policies across Niagara.

The policies are designed to guide future residential and employment development by prioritizing where, and in what order, lands in Niagara will develop to the year 2031 and beyond.

Approved and adopted by Regional Council
196 Northwest Community Landowners Group

Regional Official Plan Amendment 196 was an applicant-initiated submission with the intent to expand the northwest portion of the City of Niagara Falls' Urban Area Boundary.

Reference Case:
Grandoni v. Niagara (Regional Municipality)

Denied by the OMB (July 3, 2015)
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