The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) has been described as a model of a provincial plan with no precedent. It is a provincial land use plan, implemented by municipalities through Official Plans and zoning by-laws amended to conform to the ORMCP. The Niagara Escarpment Plan on the other hand is overseen by a provincially-funded and administered agency, the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Once Official Plans conform with the ORMCP they are approved by Regional or County councils and the Province. There is however no legislated provincial oversight to monitor municipal performance for effective implementation and adherence to the intent of the Plan. It falls to individuals and community groups to get actively involved to ensure that individual decisions and planning applications do not impair or weaken this compliance.

Of primary concern are the cumulative impacts that local planning decisions have on the ecological functions of the moraine. Each application, each change on the moraine, adds up - and it is this incremental change and destruction of ecological functions that slips beyond the reach of any one municipality to ensure that sound planning decisions protect these inter-related services.

An engaged and informed public, and private and public partnerships are all essential to ensure long-term protection of the Oak Ridges Moraine. You have a responsibility to be aware of proposed planning actions in your community and you have a right to participate in the decision making process. You can access your municipality's official plan and see how it reflects the ORMCP through the Planning Department of your municipality. See the list at the bottom of this page for these links.

The Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition, through the Monitoring the Moraine project has prepared materials to help you in your efforts to be proactive in protection of the moraine and in monitoring compliance with the ORMCP with a citizen's manual. The Moraine Watch Manual is a how-to guide for community members to monitor land use planning activity and the performance of their municipal government on moraine-related planning.

Moraine Municipalities

Upper/Single Tier Municipalities with Lower Tier Municipalities on the Moraine indented

Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust: Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve 18462 Bathurst Street Newmarket Ontario L3Y 4V9 Tel:(905)853-3171