Municipal Services Office, Central Region
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Written by Caroline McKee
After graduating from the MES, Planning Program at York University, I immediately applied my environmental planning background at the Region of Peel where I worked on rural, environmental and agricultural planning policy. My time at Peel included working with an advisory committee of council to create the Grown in Peel initiative (http://www.peelregion.ca/planning/gip/) as well as balancing private and public land interests in the Town of Caledon. Wanting a larger perspective on planning issues and trends, I took my Regional Planning experience and applied it at the Provincial level as a Planner at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. While at Municipal Affairs and Housing, I broadened my planning policy experience by working on affordable housing, urban design and planning reform policy.
I was longing to get back to my environmental roots and left on a two year secondment to roll out the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan at the Ministry of the Environment. Following my secondment, I returned to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing where I currently work in the Municipal Services Office for Central Region. Our Region covers a very diverse set of municipalities such as Simcoe County, Halton Region and the City of Toronto. In addition to the diversity of municipalities and their unique issues, our region is also covered by seven provincial plans (e.g. the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, Parkway Belt West Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Central Pickering Development Plan) with varied objectives and interests. The MES program at York University influenced me to recognize diversity as an asset and to explore all angles of a problem/issue. This has prepared me well for my current role as a Senior Planner where I am tasked with implementing provincial policy over a very diverse geography with many different issues, interests, and conflicts. My role also requires me to balance the interests of several provincial ministries such the Ministry of the Environment, Infrastructure, Transportation, Natural Resources and crown agencies such as Infrastructure Ontario to provide a unified provincial position that upholds the public interest and represents good planning.