QUEEN’S PARK – In response to an Ontario NDP request, the office of the Auditor General has confirmed that they are investigating the Ford Conservatives’ process for selecting and approving Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs). Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, released the following statement:
“I am pleased to see the Auditor General launch an audit into the way Ford’s government selects and approves MZOs in this province, and I welcome the eventual report that will help shine light on this process.
With Ford’s Greenbelt grab, we’ve seen a troubling pattern of corruption and preferential treatment for well-connected land speculators. People have questions about whether that pattern extends to other decisions – such as urban boundaries and this government’s frequent use of MZOs. The Ontario NDP are committed to answering these questions and bringing ethics and transparency back to Queen’s Park.”
- MZOs are granted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and allow favoured speculators to bypass normal planning processes and due diligence to receive zoning changes
- Ford’s routine use of MZOs has created a “two-tier” planning system where certain favoured insiders can bypass the normal rules and due diligence required of everyone else.
- An MZO can significantly increase the value of a property, instantly enriching the property owner even if no homes or businesses are built
- A request from the NDP saw the Auditor General review Ford’s Greenbelt grab, exposing how his government embarked on a corrupt process to benefit insider speculators.