Over the past two decades or so, several Canadian jurisdictions have moved to integrate environmental considerations more effectively in land use planning. Many of the most promising initiatives have been in the southern parts of Ontario and British Columbia, both of which are experiencing significant population increases and associated urban pressures.
Government authorities and citizens in Ontario and British Columbia have used many different approaches to manage growth and ensure a healthy environment. These approaches often involve strategic environmental assessments or the explicit use of environmental assessment principles and obligations in planning and growth management practice. Furthermore, there have been concerted efforts to promote multi-stakeholder cooperation and consensus-based decision-making.
There are various drivers for better practice. Some efforts have been driven by provincial action, while others have been championed by community groups and local citizens. Some efforts reflect a larger vision of progress to sustainability, while others were begun in response to pressing immediate problems and with understandably limited attention to overall implications. Ideally the end result will be the same - progressing towards sustainability through better decision-making and action.