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Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario and MPP for Guelph, is the first Green MPP elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2018.

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As temperatures climb, Ontario Greens reaffirm call for extreme heat preparedness plan

July 6, 2023

GUELPH — We need to act now to protect at-risk people and communities, and to build a climate-ready Ontario. Ontario Greens reaffirm our call for an extreme heat preparedness plan:

Ontario needs an extreme heat preparedness plan. As temperatures climb to extreme heights, we can’t afford to sit back and relax while our community members face dangerous and potentially fatal consequences.

We need to act now to protect at-risk people and communities, and to build a climate-ready Ontario. Ontario Greens reaffirm our call for an extreme heat preparedness plan:

Give everyone access to cooling during extreme heat

  • Provide financial assistance for lower-income individuals and families to access personal and household cooling devices like high efficiency heat/cool heat pumps, thermal blinds, awnings and fans.
  • Protect tenants by requiring landlords to provide cooling centres in large multi-unit residential buildings that lack air conditioning.
  • Mandate maximum temperature limits in apartment buildings, similar to minimum temperature requirements in the winter.
  • Make heat pumps that heat and cool available to consumers with no money down, zero- interest financing, to be repaid through utility bill savings or property tax.

Increase greenspaces in urban settings

  • Provide matching funds for municipalities to plant trees and other native plants in areas where low-income residents suffer the most from heat and lack of greenspace.
  • Support municipalities to create ‘infill greenspaces’ – parks, parkettes and gardens within existing neighbourhoods that are accessible to all.
  • Bring back nature in cities, starting with green roofs, school yards, and turning surplus parking lots in tree deserts into mini-forests.

Universal cooling in congregate settings

  • Ensure all hospitals, LTC homes and shelters have consistent air conditioning and make a plan to implement air conditioning in all schools.

Make infrastructure and homes more heat-resilient

  • Create a $2B/year dedicated Climate Adaptation Fund to help municipalities make their infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change including extreme heat.
  • Update the building code so new homes are more heat-resilient, including improved insulation.

Increase access to cooling centres

  • Work with municipalities to increase the quantity and quality of cooling centres.
  • Develop a coordinated plan to get low-mobility people to cooling centres.

Bolster clean local back-up power generation and storage so cooling devices can stay running during power outages

  • Rapidly scale up clean local power generation (e.g. solar) and power storage to help keep people and businesses’ power on during heat waves and after severe storms.
  • Encourage bi-directional EV charging so EVs can provide local power in emergencies.
  • Create grants and loans so that communities can own their own local renewable energy supply.
  • Revise the mandate of the Ontario Energy Board to include long-term electric utility resilience.

Immediately support unhoused Ontarians who are severely at risk from extreme heat

  • Invest in immediate measures like increased access to shelters and cooling centres for unhoused Ontarians while simultaneously taking urgent action on the need for affordable homes and permanent supportive housing.”