Official Plan & Zoning By-law

GRIDS 2 and Municipal Comprehensive Review

Planning for Growth to 2051:
Evaluation Framework and Phasing Criteria

On March 29, 2021, staff brought forward a Draft Evaluation Framework and Phasing Criteria for ‘Whitebelt’ urban expansion, and a Draft Screening Criteria and Evaluation Tool for 10 hectare expansions to Waterdown and/or Binbrook.

In May, 2021, public consultation on the draft Evaluation Framework and Phasing Criteria was undertaken through Engage Hamilton. More than 90 comments were received through both email and the Engage Hamilton platform.

Staff have reviewed the comments and suggestions and are presenting revised evaluation tools for Council consideration through Report PED17010(l) at the August 4 General Issues Committee. Included in the report is the new GRIDS 2/MCR “How Should Hamilton Grow?” Framework (Appendix “A” to Report PED17010(l)) to compare and evaluate the ‘No Urban Boundary Expansion’ growth option with the ‘Ambitious Density’ growth option. This is consistent with the Council direction from the March 29, 2021 GIC meeting and responds to public feedback. 

In addition, Report PED17010(l) also presents a revised Evaluation Framework and Phasing Criteria for ‘Whitebelt’ urban expansion, and a Draft Screening Criteria and Evaluation Tool for 10 hectare expansions to Waterdown and/or Binbrook. These evaluation tools will be used to evaluate the “Where and When” the City will grow only if Council supports the Ambitious Density growth option. These tools have been modified in response to comments from the public.

Evaluation Framework and Phasing Criteria

Staff will be presenting the final evaluation frameworks on August 4, to the General Issues Committee.

Staff Report - PED17010(l).pdf

How to Comment

If you wish to make comment on the final evaluation framework proposed in PED17010(l), you may provide a written submission, pre-recorded submission, or an oral submission during the virtual General Issues Committee meeting. If you wish to delegate, review the City’s website for Delegation Methods for Meetings, you can Request to speak to a Committee of Council.

How should Hamilton Grow to 2051?

Urban Growth Survey

A mail-out survey was distributed to households in Hamilton in late June/early July 2021 to ask for opinions about how the City of Hamilton should grow to the year 2051. Learn more about the GRIDS 2/MCR Urban Growth Survey

The deadline for responses to the Urban Growth Survey is July 23, 2021.

Questions? Contact [email protected], staff would be happy to provide more information.

Land Needs Assessment

The GRIDS 2/MCR staff report and supporting studies, including staff’s recommendation on the Final Land Needs Assessment are now available for public review.

Staff presented the Land Needs Assessment and related reports to Council at the March 29, 2021 General Issues Committee.

The City of Hamilton is updating its Growth Management Strategy, known as GRIDS 2. The City will also be completing a Municipal Comprehensive Review concurrently with GRIDS 2.

What is GRIDS?

In 2006, City Council approved the first Growth Related Integrated Development Strategy (GRIDS) (PDF, 28 MB). GRIDS was an integrated planning process that identified a broad land use structure, associated infrastructure, economic development strategy and financial implications for growth options to serve Hamilton for 30 years. GRIDS planned for growth up to 2031. 

GRIDS needs to be updated to plan for the City’s population and job growth to 2051. This update is known as GRIDS 2.

The Province of Ontario provides population and employment growth forecasts for Hamilton through the  Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Logo for the GRIDS 2 project

GRIDS 2 is being guided by the GRIDS 2 10 Directions to Guide Development, endorsed by Council in December 2020. This will provide a tool to guide and evaluate decisions related to growth.

  1. Plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Encourage a compatible mix of uses in neighbourhoods, including a range of housing types and affordabilities, that provide opportunities to live, work, learn, shop and play, promoting a healthy, safe and complete community.
  3. Concentrate new development and infrastructure within existing built-up areas and within the urban boundary through intensification and adaptive re-use.
  4. Protect rural areas for a viable rural economy, agricultural resources, environmentally sensitive recreation and the enjoyment of the rural landscape.
  5. Design neighbourhoods to improve access to community life for all, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, ability, income and spirituality.
  6. Retain and intensify existing employment land, attract jobs in Hamilton’s strength areas and targeted new sectors, and support access to education and training for all residents.
  7. Expand transportation options through the development of complete streets that encourage travel by foot, bike and transit, and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections.
  8. Maximize the use of existing buildings, infrastructure, and vacant or abandoned land.
  9. Protect ecological systems and the natural environment, reduce waste, improve air, land and water quality, and encourage the use of green infrastructure.
  10. Maintain and create attractive public and private spaces and respect the unique character of existing buildings, neighbourhoods and communities, protect cultural heritage resources, and support arts and culture as an important part of community identity.

Between the years 2021 and 2051, Hamilton is expected to grow by 236,000 people and 122,000 jobs.

Between the years 2021 and 2051, Hamilton is expected to grow by 236,000 people and 122,000 jobs.


Disclaimer: This video explains the GRIDS2 and MCR process but references growth forecasts to the year 2041, whereas Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan 2019 provides growth forecasts to 2051.

GRIDS 2 will plan for how and where this additional population and employment growth can be accommodated, and will determine the impact on the Infrastructure Master Plans (Water/Wastewater, Stormwater, Transportation).

What is the Municipal Comprehensive Review?

A municipal comprehensive review (MCR) is a requirement of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) at the time of the City’s 5-year Official Plan review. The MCR is the process by which the City brings its Official Plans into conformity with updated policies of the various Provincial plans which apply to Hamilton (PPS, Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Greenbelt Plan). The population and job forecasts of the Growth Plan to 2051 need to be planned for and accommodated through the MCR.

Many of the studies that are required as part of the MCR are also required as part of GRIDS 2. Therefore, the City has determined that it is appropriate to combine GRIDS 2 and the MCR into one integrated process, resulting in a transparent and straightforward process in which to involve stakeholders and citizens.

One component of the MCR is the Employment Land Review which is currently underway.

Staff reports

Project timeline

Timeline for GRIDS 2 Land Needs Assessmenet

If you would like to be added to the project mailing list and be notified of project updates, please send your contact information to [email protected].

Public Consultation - Round 3
Held January 18 & 20, 2021
Visit Engage Hamilton to learn more, complete a survey and view recordings of the Virtual Information Meetings
Presentation (PDF, 10 MB)

Open House - Round 2
Held November 26 & 28, December 2 & 4, 2019
Focused on presenting the public with information about Intensification (growth focused within the existing Built-up area of the City) and Designated Greenfield Area density (density of community development outside of the Built-up area). Staff also consulted about the GRIDS Directions to Guide Development, as well as the preliminary Employment Land Review conversion requests. Second Round Consultation Summary Report (PDF, 8 MB) | Display panels (PDF, 19 MB)

Council workshop 
Held October 21, 2019.
Provided an overview of GRIDS and GRIDS 2, a discussion on intensification and density, an explanation of land needs assessment, and a project update. No decisions or recommendations are anticipated from this workshop. Council Workshop Presentation (PDF, 7 MB)

Open House - Round 1
Held May 28, 30 & June 6, 2018
Provided an overview of the GRIDS 2 and MCR project, discussed how growth in the city has occurred in recent years and identifyied strengths and opportunities for change in our land use structure. First Round Consultation Summary Report (PDF, 15 MB)
Display panels:

Contact us

Heather Travis
City Hall, 4th floor
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4168
Email: [email protected]