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Planet

Impacts of climate change are increasing in size and intensity every year, profoundly challenging our economy, environment, and quality of life.

There is no Planet B.

Climate scientists say we have less than two years to reverse GHG emissions before we unleash irreversible, catastrophic climate breakdown.

We are proposing action now, with solutions that will help everyone.

We will reduce Ontario’s GHG pollution by putting a price on carbon that will return all of the revenue directly to Ontarians. We will focus our efforts on reducing emissions in the three highest polluting sectors: transportation, buildings and industry.

Our plan will modernize Ontario’s energy system, supporting new technology and conservation on a massive scale. This system will be more resilient and flexible, provide additional economic opportunities to local communities, and be cheaper for residents, businesses and industries.

STRATEGY A

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Climate change is costing us billions. Nature’s response to our pollution is like a tax on everything.

Most scientists say we must be carbon neutral by 2050. This is far beyond the province’s current commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Current provincial plans are a start but are simply not good enough. To make matters worse, other legislation often contradicts efforts to combat climate change – like long term energy policies that don’t account for climate change goals.

We need profitable plans to solve climate change, and for GHG reduction to be a priority across all ministries. Time and money is wasted when government programs and spending plans undermine climate obligations.

Our plan starts by moving forward with a price on carbon pollution that will put money in your pocket. Money collected from a carbon fee will be distributed directly to individuals and households as a dividend cheque.

We also need to address all sources of carbon pollution in buildings, transportation, and industry, maximize nature’s carbon storing ability, and help communities adapt to our changing climate.

Let’s get going.

POLICIES A

The Green Vision to reduce GHGs:

  • Transition Ontario to a revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system. Under this approach, a fee is levied at source on all goods and services that result in greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Return all pollution tax revenue to citizens’ bank accounts. The more you conserve the more cash for you and your family.
  • Improve and expand Ontario’s home energy savings program to provide grants and other incentives for individuals and communities to improve the energy efficiency of buildings to help businesses, homeowners and renters make money by saving energy. This will include retrofits to improve insulation, and installing more energy efficient heating and cooling systems.
  • Increase the HST rebate allowance on new homes that are net zero, and establish a Green Mortgage program where mortgage default risk is protected by the province to ensure that mortgage providers can offer ultra-low interest mortgages for energy efficient homes.
  • Set aggressive GHG targets for provincial government operations and expand reduction programs to include hospitals, schools, universities and other public institutions.
  • Ensure free energy labelling for all residential and commercial buildings. No home buyer should be left in the dark about energy costs on one of their biggest purchases.
  • Work with utilities to create effective building upgrade programs and make  them widely available, including financing and incentives for “green heat” sources like geothermal, solar thermal, waste heat recovery, air source heat pumps and lake water heating and cooling.
  • Accelerate the targets for net zero buildings and revise the Ontario Building Code to mandate that all new buildings meet net zero standards.
  • Initiate a regulatory review to identify and set appropriate safety and energy efficiency targets for new commercial buildings.
  • Change the definition of public infrastructure to incorporate green infrastructure, and capture opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure into existing legislation, policy and programs.
  • Create a dedicated funding stream for green infrastructure within existing infrastructure funding.
  • Phase out funding for infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels and increases Ontario’s GHG emissions.
  • Provide new carbon-free educational grants for students that want to be part of the carbon-free sector.
  • Set a target date for phasing out internal combustion engines in Ontario so that Ontario can meet a carbon neutral target by 2050. As an interim measure, raise the average fuel economy emission standards for all cars and trucks to encourage the market for more fuel efficient and less polluting vehicles.
  • Support fleet electrification with funding for the public and private sector to purchase electric vehicles, install charging facilities and share their implementation know-how with each other to make Ontario the leading electric vehicle jurisdiction in the world.
  • Support the purchase of electric vehicles through a rebate program for purchasing electric vehicles with a cap on the vehicle purchase price, eliminating HST on zero emission vehicles, and providing free overnight vehicle charging for residential customers.
  • Encourage the development of supportive infrastructure for electric vehicles across the province by moving towards installing charging stations at all public buildings, ensuring municipalities identify and remove barriers to their adoption, fund charging stations, and requiring condominiums to provide facilities that allow residents to plug in electric vehicles.
  • Support rapid electrification plans for all transit systems.
  • Add more charging stations along 400 series highways as quickly as possible.
  • Reorient business development grants to provide funding incentives for businesses to innovate and invest in low carbon equipment, products, and processes (see Jobs section for more information on how Ontario businesses and workers will benefit from the low carbon economy).
  • Redirect existing business support programs to target the scale up of cleantech companies and innovation. Change the criteria of business development programs to eliminate supports for proposals that contribute to an increase in Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Review government regulations to ensure the regulatory environment does not create barriers to the adoption of green technologies, practices and businesses.
  • Provide startup grants for Northern Ontario and First Nations communities to initiate and create their own renewable projects, build water purification systems and grow food year round in their communities.
  • Support public funding of and tax credits for research and development in order to incubate innovation, particularly in clean technology and knowledge services.
  • Set, review and report on five year targets to reduce fossil fuel consumption to put Ontario on a path to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Give incentives for the production of renewable natural gas from organic waste and other renewable sources such as ammonia to be transported in existing natural gas pipelines and used to power government fleet vehicles like garbage trucks and public buses. This will reduce reliance on piped, fracked or shipped natural gas.
  • Establish low-carbon content requirements for natural gas distribution.
  • Support Forest Ontario’s tree planting goals and expand the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program to reward landowners for planting trees.
  • Reward sustainable forestry and land management practices that protect the Boreal forest with an emphasis on maximizing the forest’s ability to store carbon.
  • Reverse the government’s decision to close the Ontario Tree Seed Plant.
  • Develop policy on forest carbon management and/or carbon offset projects for the forestry sector while exploring the potential benefits with Indigenous peoples.
  • Create incentives to reward landowners for increasing the organic content of their soil and for sequestering carbon. Support research to improve soil health, including developing accurate and consistent quantification methods.
  • Implement stronger protections for wetlands, grasslands and woodlots.
  • Reward farmers for stewardship practices that provide environmental and community benefits such as clean water, habitat preservation, soil health and carbon storage.
  • Recognize and address the importance of protecting the vast intact carbon storehouse of Ontario’s Far North in land-use plans for the region.
  • Ensure that green infrastructure projects, such as urban forests, qualify for provincial infrastructure funding.
  • Fund municipal efforts to proactively manage green infrastructure as assets through research and sharing of best practices.
  • Conduct province-wide risk assessment on extreme weather event impacts including flooding, tornados, heat waves and ice storms.
  • Create a dedicated fund for Ontario municipalities to be used exclusively toward investments in municipal infrastructure.
  • Provide new funding for MARS (Municipal Adaptation & Resiliency Service) available for all cities of the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Basin.
  • Host a yearly summit on municipal adaptation best practices with neighboring states and provinces.
  • Develop a one-window central repository for climate data including localized climate projections and provincially adopted future climate data sets.
  • Mandate permeable pavement on all new parking spaces to reduce flooding from storm runoff.

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STRATEGY B

Develop a Clean and Affordable Electricity System

Our electricity bills keep going up - and there’s no relief in sight.

Ontario’s current electricity system is unsustainable. Yet instead of real change, the only solution offered by the status quo parties is to borrow billions of dollars – billions that we and our children will have to pay back – to maintain the crumbling system we have.

The status quo parties want to increase your electricity bill and borrow billions to rebuild outdated nuclear plants. They refuse to do an independent public review of the costs of power sources before spending billions.

Nuclear power is outdated technology. It locks us into an old, centralized system that limits opportunities for taking advantage of new low cost opportunities.

A better plan is to purchase low cost water power instead of high cost nuclear power. We can reduce demand for new power sources by helping people save energy and money. And we can tap into the clean energy technology to modernize and economize our system.

Ontario can win big by becoming a leader in the clean energy economy. We can create jobs and make our energy system work for people, not big energy.

POLICIES B

The Green Vision for clean, affordable electricity:

  • Conduct an independent review of costs, benefits and alternatives of all forms of electricity generation including the costs of building infrastructure and dealing with waste products, and make the results public.
  • Say no to the electricity price increases requested by Ontario Power Generation to finance the multi-billion price tag of rebuilding the Darlington nuclear station. Place a moratorium on rebuilding any nuclear plant until an independent public review of costs and alternatives is conducted.
  • Shut down the Pickering Nuclear Power Station when its operating license expires in August 2018. Immediately starting to decommission and deconstruct the plant will create 16,000 jobs and save up to $1.2 billion. Decommissioning and dismantling it could create 32,000 person-years of direct and indirect employment between now and 2030.
  • Avoid having Ontario’s nuclear plants become expensive stranded assets by keeping the existing stations at Bruce nuclear and Darlington nuclear to the end of their current operating lives without spending additional dollars to rebuild them.
  • Set a target and develop a Long-term Energy Plan for Ontario to be powered with 100% renewable energy, which includes a plan for an energy supply mix that enables Ontario to achieve its greenhouse gas targets and create local jobs.
  • Working with local communities, provide incentives for small renewable energy projects (wind, solar, heating, storage, electric mobility, and micro-hydro), to reduce overall demand and increase local energy security and community benefits.
  • Provide community-based renewable energy projects, initiated by non-profit groups, cooperatives and municipalities, with reliable know-how and long-term zero interest loans.
  • Support renewable energy projects initiated by Indigenous communities and ensure meaningful Indigenous participation in the development of renewable energy projects.
  • Import green hydro power from neighbouring provinces. Hydro Quebec has offered to sell power to Ontario at 5 cents per kWh – a much better deal than the 16.5 cents per kWh that Ontario Power Generation wants for nuclear power. This would save Ontario more than $12 billion over the next 20 years. We can also start negotiations with Manitoba Hydro to build a new hydro storage and wind powered grid.
  • Provide incentives to help homeowners, renters and businesses convert natural gas, electric, oil, and propane heating systems to more efficient, affordable and low carbon sources such as heat pumps and geothermal.
  • Engage with municipalities, co-ops, Indigenous communities, electric and gas utilities, energy-efficient appliance and equipment manufacturers and distributors and other corporations, to pursue all cost effective energy conservation and efficiency options that can meet our electricity needs.
  • Cancel programs that subsidize electricity rates for upper income consumers, while keeping targeted relief programs for those who need them.
  • Aggressively pursue the development of a smart grid, which will modernize and streamline Ontario’s electricity generation and distribution system, making it more efficient, lower in GHG emissions, and ready to take advantage of cutting-edge technology.
  • Prioritize investments in reducing demand through energy efficiency and conservation efforts before turning to new sources of generation as the lowest cost and most effective way to achieve a 100% renewable energy goal.  
  • Provide support for municipalities to develop and implement community energy plans.
  • Ensure all publicly funded provincial institutions in Ontario adopt a prioritization strategy for a “cleaner, leaner, greener” approach to energy, especially reducing the use of fossil fuels.
  • Establish a green revolving fund to use savings from energy conservation to invest in additional GHG reduction efforts.
  • Establish public reporting requirements for all publicly funded provincial institutions to be accountable for the energy they use.
  • Introduce educational funds for learning by doing, allowing colleges and universities to build their own renewable energy and electric vehicle charging facilities and use them to make money, lower bills, and to create practical living laboratories for their students and teachers.
STRATEGY C

Move People and Freight More Efficiently

Ontario’s transportation system doesn’t work for people or planet.

Traffic congestion in the GTA alone costs our economy $11 billion a year in lost productivity.

Transportation accounts for 35% of Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions, the largest and fastest growing share of emissions from any sector and a large contributor to air pollution. 

Our Green vision is to create transportation solutions that will help move ourselves and our goods around more efficiently: improving the economy, reducing our reliance on GHG emitting fossil fuels, and giving us more time with friends, family and community.

POLICIES C

The Green Vision for efficient transportation

  • Establish transparent, expert-recognized standard methods for making transit investment decisions and publicly share business case analyses and all associated assumptions and data.
  • Study best practices to better coordinate transit systems between municipalities, including establishing regional authorities.
  • Harmonize regional transit into a single pay user system.
  • Ensure urban rapid transit projects feature effective integration with local transit services.
  • Require urban rapid transit projects to plan for density around each subway/LRT stop, such as retail stores and residential buildings, instead of parking lots.
  • Prioritize low-cost high-performance rail in the short-term as the province plans long-term for higher-cost, high-speed rail projects.
  • Provide permanent operational funding support for municipal transit services in order to reduce fare increases for users, as well as funding for cycling and walking infrastructure.
  • Work with rural municipalities to explore the feasibility of licensed private local transit services in low density communities where public transit service is not available.  
  • Restore Ontario Northland Railroad service as critical core infrastructure for the entire economy of Northern Ontario.
  • Immediately improve intercity bus services, especially in underserved areas.
  • Electrify GO train services as quickly as possible, and replace bus service with electric and hybrid buses where feasible.
  • Increase the number of people accessing GO stations without private automobiles by providing safe and convenient pedestrian access, providing improved cycling facilities and bikeshare stations, and facilitating car-pooling.
  • Explore all public and private options for regional train services in underserviced areas.
  • Establish a Complete Streets Act, which would require streets across Ontario to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation.
  • Require all new and resurfaced highways to have paved shoulders for safe cycling. Establish commuter cycling networks across Ontario.
  • Support strategies to ensure the growth of sustainable, efficient, and safe freight movement in cities. With the adoption of electric and self-driving trucks the landscape is changing drastically. We must ensure that the transition is safe, clean and leads to a new and dynamic use of our roadways.
  • Fund initiatives designed to take older, less efficient diesel trucks off the road.
  • Coordinate freight data collection and make this available to municipalities to support policymaking.
  • Establish a sustainable goods movement strategy.
  • Create provincial programs that provide education and incentives for businesses and municipalities to implement sustainable freight pilot projects (e.g., off-peak delivery programs, cargo bike and e-bike pilots).
  • Use low GHG fuels like renewable fuel alternatives to replace diesel for municipal fleets, such as garbage trucks and buses. Create incentives for EV fleets and bicycle delivery.
  • Allow municipalities to implement road tolls, including granting Toronto’s request for road tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway (two of the highways that Premier Mike Harris downloaded to Toronto twenty years ago).
  • Implement dedicated revenue tools to fund our updated transportation systems that are fair and progressive, such as congestion charges, gas taxes and parking levies. For example, a $2 per day parking surcharge on all commercial parking lots in the Greater Toronto area would raise $2 billion per year for transit in the region.
  • Establish a permanent long-term sustainable funding stream for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure for all Ontario municipalities.
  • Provide incentives for transit users, carpooling ride shares, and employers who provide opportunities for workers to work from home. This can reduce road congestion, air pollution and increase productivity of employees.

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STRATEGY D

Protect the People and Places We Love

Ontario is losing greenspace and farmland at an unsustainable rate. Aggregate mining is prioritized over protecting water, natural heritage or farmland. Urban sprawl threatens the places we love.

The Green Party has a plan that balances the demands of businesses and the rights of citizens to conserve and protect the natural world around us.

Our vision for a path forward uses sensible extraction fees and royalty rates; measures the value of activities by looking at more than short-term economic benefits; and requires companies to clean up after themselves–or better yet, not make a mess in the first place.

POLICIES D

The Green Vision to protect our planet:

  • Apply a climate lens to all planning decisions, environmental assessments and planning laws to help transition our communities to a fossil fuel free future.
  • Increase funding to Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to better carry out their responsibilities after decades of underfunding.
  • Reform the Environmental Bill of Rights to include the principle of the right to a healthy environment for all Ontarians, ensure meaningful citizen participation and provide funding for education, and empower the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to initiate investigations.
  • Ensure that new international free trade agreements only be made in consultation with municipal governments, local communities and indigenous people, without jeopardizing our environment.
  • Oppose investor-state dispute mechanisms that undermine our sovereign ability to protect Ontario’s water, farmland and natural resources.
  • Instill a culture of collaboration and open dialogue between Ministries to ensure natural heritage is protected. This includes encouraging critiques when decisions put our environment and health at risk. For example, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry can make poor resource extraction decisions that threaten our water, a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change responsibility.
  • Increase oversight for industry development that affects our land, water, and wildlife.
  • Raise levies and royalties for aggregates, water, and mining to fully recover the costs of monitoring and managing these essential resources, while providing companies with a financial incentive to prioritize conservation.
  • Set aside a minimum of 17% of the land base in protected areas according to the internationally agreed upon Aichi biodiversity targets.
  • Establish a rigorous provincial biodiversity monitoring and reporting program as an early warning system of species loss. This would include information on Ontario’s wildlife, including population trends and habitat quality, so that we can monitor the province’s biodiversity to identify and mitigate decline.
  • Inventory and designate provincially significant wetlands and grasslands on an ongoing basis, and require that they be protected in municipal official plans within one year of their designation as such.
  • Provide incentives for pollinator-friendly farming practices and invest in research about the economic value of wild pollinators for farmers and their crops.
  • Establish an independent science advisory body on wild native pollinators to ensure that the best available science informs implementation and evaluation of the government’s Pollinator Health Action Plan.
  • Ban logging and other resource extraction in all provincial parks where ecological integrity is threatened, including Algonquin Park which remains open to logging in 65% of its area.
  • Establish and expand safe harbour protections to support and financially reward good stewards of our land. This would compensate farmers and residential landowners for the public good they provide in protecting endangered species and at-risk ecosystems on their property.
  • Identify and permanently protect Ontario’s prime farmland and support farmers who want to be stewards of the land.
  • Freeze urban boundaries now to stop urban sprawl and protect farming, water and natural heritage in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • Grow the Greenbelt to protect a “Bluebelt” of sensitive and significant hydrological and ecological areas where urbanization should not occur.
  • Support prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples for any development that would infringe on land claims.
  • Manage water as a public trust in the public interest. Ensure public ownership and control of water in Ontario.
  • Prioritize public drinking water for communities and people as the top priority for making water use decisions in Ontario. Establish a priority of use list for issuing water taking permits.
  • Ensure non-essential uses of pumping water are turned off first when low water conditions are identified.
  • Fix the Ontario Low Water Response Plan so that level 3 water restrictions are declared and implemented in the case of drought or low water emergencies.
  • Establish rules that consider the externalized costs of water taking activities such as ecosystem needs, cumulative impacts, pollution, waste, contamination threats, etc. when making water use decisions.
  • Ensure that water use decisions incorporate sources of knowledge such as cumulative impacts, community values, citizen science and traditional knowledge.
  • When making water use decisions, revise water tests and models to account for unpredictable changes in historic patterns due to climate change.
  • Respect the duty to consult Indigenous communities when developing water taking rules.
  • Phase out the single use bottled water industry in Ontario within ten years.
  • Hold the province to its commitment to resolve and clean up the mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system, which has been poisoning the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation and White Dog First Nation.
  • Address environmental racism by explicitly recognizing in the environmental protection processes that low-income, Indigenous and other communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution and environmental damage. Mercury poisoning near Grassy Narrows and air pollution near Aamjiwnaang in southwestern Ontario are just two examples of this.
  • Resolve the air pollution problems plaguing the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia as a result of toxic emissions from Chemical Valley.
  • Make polluters pay for cleaning up contaminated groundwater by giving the government the power to immediately contain or clean up spills or runoff that threaten aquifers, and pursue remedies through the justice system.
  • Require major municipalities to eliminate combined sewer overflows and sewage bypasses which discharge raw sewage into waterways during high volumes of flow.
  • Establish binding standards that limit phosphorus emissions to water for sewer treatment plant effluent.
  • Provide incentives and assistance for farmers to use less fertilizer and to better control farm field runoff.
  • Develop a provincial plan to reduce road salt use by 50% on roads, sidewalks and parking areas.
  • Place an immediate and indefinite ban on fracking to prioritize drinking water, public health, and climate stability.
  • Invest in the monitoring and protection of the Great Lakes, including long-term funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other programs protecting the lakes.
  • Create an action plan to fight algae in Lake Erie and to clean all Ontario lakes.
  • Require an assessment of cumulative impacts of all sources of air pollution before issuing new air emission permits.
  • Improve the public’s right to know about toxins by publishing a registry of air toxins in communities, require full ingredient disclosure on product labelling and full disclosure of chemical use by dry cleaners.
  • Cancel plans that bury nuclear waste near the Great Lakes or major river systems. Recent examples of these include the proposed Deep Geologic Repository on the shores of Lake Huron and the Chalk River waste site near the Ottawa River.
  • Conduct an independent, public review of storage options for nuclear waste.
  • Reform the Endangered Species Act to remove exemptions that protect companies from facing penalties for harming animals and their habitats.
  • Protect local food supplies with a complete ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Experts agree that these are killing off bee populations, a key pollinator in the food chain, and threatening our food system by building up to toxin levels in our groundwater.
  • Enact regulatory measures to deal with light reflected from the windows of tall commercial buildings that fatally interrupts birds’ flights through our cities.
  • Regulate all existing and future zoos, menageries, and aquaria. As well, standards specific to each animal’s needs regarding housing and care should be mandated, regulated, and enforced by the OSPCA.
  • Ban dolphins and whales in captivity.
  • End the pit bull ban by repealing the Dog Owner’s Liability Act and replacing it it with a Responsible Pet Ownership law which is based on an animal’s behaviour, rather than its appearance.
  • Prevent the poor treatment of farm animals, laboratory research animals, and animals in transport. This includes the phasing out of battery farming and other inhumane practices.
  • Ban the use of lost or abandoned pets in research.
  • Establish Individual Producer Responsibility regulations under the Waste-Free Ontario Act so that companies, not taxpayers, are responsible for the cost of disposing and recycling the products, packages and waste they produce.
  • Reinstate the deposit and return system for all soft drink containers, which was hastily abandoned without public consultation in the mid 1990s.
  • Ensure companies have a strong incentive to eliminate toxins through the extended producer responsibility measures found in the newly passed Waste-Free Ontario Act.
  • Give municipalities the authority to take control of source separated recyclables from the Industrial, Commercial & Institutional stream at their discretion.
  • Turn organic waste into compost and renewable natural gas by requiring organic source separation and banning organic waste from disposal.
  • Create incentives for companies to design products and processes to reduce waste and make products easily repairable and upgradable.
  • Impose a fee on any new landfill volume created, which would be paid into a special purpose account to be redirected to support research and innovation in solid waste reduction, greenhouse gas reduction and energy from waste technology.

Explore the rest of our Green Vision for People Powered Change in Ontario.

Our goal is to build on the work people like you are already doing in your community, working to make positive change, overcoming social barriers and improving the health of each other and our planet.

Working together, we can build a future for our province that is good for us now and for generations to come.

Green Vision PDF