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ONTARIO ELECTIONS 2022

Climate change affects us all, but the impacts are felt greatest by vulnerable groups. Ensuring a safe, viable future for every Canadian regardless of race, age, gender, identity, class, ability, place of origin, mother tongue, religion, and political beliefs is integral to creating a sustainable and resilient path forward for us all.

A just and resilient path forward requires an intersectional approach of transforming our economy and protecting our natural spaces while ensuring no one is left behind in the transition. Intersectional strategies are clear and sustainable plans that include addressing Truth and Reconciliation calls to action, anti-racism, gender equity, LGBTQ2S+ rights, socioeconomic status and justice, and how these issues impact and are impacted by climate change. Ontario represents the largest population, economic footprint, and  in Canada

Canadian governments recognizes that developing a strategy and policies to move towards a nature-positive, carbon-neutral economy is essential to be part of the global transition that is increasingly turning into a sprint. With less than a decade to 2030, and with countries around the world quickly moving to a low carbon economy, Canada’s enhanced nationally determined contributions (reduce emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030) is ambitious, necessary and achievable—reflecting both the scale of the climate crisis and economic opportunity that strong climate action presents.

This analysis and the attached “Report Card” is meant to highlight and clarify each of Ontario's political parties' ambition to tackle climate change and meet Canada’s targets defined in the Paris Agreement. While ambition is always admirable, the urgency of the climate crisis requires feasible plans to operationalize the strategies noted below. The current lack of detail from all parties makes it difficult to assess if, how and when parties will implement their climate platforms. That said, Protect Our Winters Canada’s Science Alliance attributed grades to each party based on the information provided by the parties themselves, in relation to POW Canada’s main policy pillars.

The grades were attributed based on this matrix:

A = Defined and measurable plans with evidence of existing work

B = Defined and some level of measurability with some evidence of existing work

C = Ill defined and non-measurable plans with no evidence of existing work

D = No defined and no measurable plans with no evidence

F = Reversal of existing plans

 


 

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POW POLICY PILLARS

 

For our built communities and outdoor playgrounds to be healthy, safe, and resilient to a changing climate, we envision a future where we’ve achieved Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement by transforming our economy and energy systems, cutting our carbon addiction, protecting our natural spaces and empowering all Canadians to be part of just climate solutions.  To achieve this, we advocate for the following:

 

Renewables

We believe transitioning to a renewable energy economy will reduce––and eventually eliminate––our reliance on fossil fuels. The transition to a low carbon electricity grid is foundational to sustainable mobility and lowering household emissions, which are the two largest sources of emissions in Canada. 

There are many policies that support the expansion of the renewable energy industry, including financial investments for solar projects, setting renewable portfolio standards (how much electricity must come from renewable resources) and creating successful clean energy cash-back programs such as net metering (allowing household solar energy producers to sell excess energy back to the grid). 

Carbon Pricing

We agree with the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, and many global leaders in setting an economy-wide price on carbon to reflect the social and environmental cost of carbon. Instead of fighting individual legislative battles one regulation at a time, putting a federally-set price on carbon is a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. 

 

Sustainable Finance

Put simply, sustainable finance means investing in industries that create a sustainable future for our planet, and moving funds away from industries that are harmful. While Wall Street might seem a million miles away from the mountains, where we choose to put our money makes a BIG difference to the climate. Why? Because the same financial institutions that you and I use for our savings, pension funds, and so on, also invest heavily in fossil fuels. 

 

Nature-Based Climate Solutions

Nature-based climate solutions provide immediate, powerful and cost-effective ways to tackle the climate crisis by harnessing the natural carbon storage processes and adaptive capacity of forests, plant matter, soil, and oceans. Through new investments, policy initiatives and Indigenous authority, these solutions can be supercharged, leading to a reduction of up to 78 Mt CO2e (11% of Canada’s current annual carbon emissions) annually by 2030. 

 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Climate change affects us all, but the impacts are felt greatest by vulnerable groups. Ensuring a safe, viable future for every Canadian regardless of race, age, gender, identity, class, ability, place of origin, mother tongue, religion, and political beliefs is integral to creating a sustainable and resilient path forward for us all.


 

PARTY PLATFORM BREAKDOWN - EXTENDED

Liberal: "A Place to Grow" Overall Grade B+

 

Overall Climate Goals: Cut Ontario's carbon pollution in half by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.

 

Renewables: B

  • Transportation
    • Active Transport
      • Provide a $500 rebate for e-bikes
      • $100 million annually to expand cycling lanes and trails, bike sharing and rental, bike parking
      • Safe road design to protect pedestrians and cyclists
    • Public Transit
      • Cut transit fairs to $1 a ride everywhere in Ontario (equitable access), eliminated 400,000 cars off the road each day
      • $375 million in annual transit operating funding to support more routes, extended hours of service, improved accessibility and more intercity connections
      • Community transit grants for small and rural community public transit.
      • Coordinate and expand regional transit planning across the province
      • Electrify GO trains, public transit and school busses
    • Electric Vehicles
      • Make electric vehicles more affordable including rebates of up to $9500 on EV and charging equipment
      • Require all new passenger vehicles sold by 2035 are zero emission
      • Lead electric battery manufacturing in North America
  • Electricity Grid
    • Transition to a fully clean electricity supply
    • Ban new natural gas plants and phase out existing ones
    • Eliminate connection feeds for rooftop solar charging panels

 

Sustainable Finance & Carbon Pricing: C

  • Putting a price on Carbon:
    • Improve carbon pricing for businesses, and reinvest and match all proceeds into grants, tax credits and loan guarantees to Green Jobs Fund.
    • Create new carbon offset program
    • Strengthen the Emissions Performance Standards for high emitting industries to align with 2030 targets.
  • Financial Incentives
    • Strengthen carbon tax rebates for farmers

 

Nature Based Solutions: A

  • Protect Carbon Sinks
    • Expand the Greenbelt in close collaboration with local and indigenous communities and famers
    • Expand the size of provincial parks including Kawartha Highlands Provincial parks and add 5 new provincial parks
    • Designate 30% of our land as protected areas by 2030 (up from 10%)
    • Work closely with municipalities and Indigenous communities to protect and restore Ontario’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and watersheds – including Moose Cree First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug.
    • Eliminate Highway 413 plans which would pave over important wetlands and farmlands
  • Restore Ecosystems
    • restore tree canopy by planting 100 million trees per year for the next 8 years, (800 million trees total) focused on restoring ecosystems and protecting drinking water
    • Repeal legislation that reduces protection to related to conservation, land planning, the environment and endangered species
    • Strengthen powers of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities to prevent flooding and protect green spaces, farmland, drinking water, biodiversity and species at risk.
    • Invest $250 million annually into restoring and expanding natural infrastructure like wetlands, green roofs and supporting communities to become resilient to extreme weather events.
    • Help municipalities install microplastic filtration in drinking and wastewater systems.
  • Sustainable Industry
    • Mining and Extraction
      • Strengthen oversight and environmental protections over gravel and aggregate mining before approving new mines.
      • Clean up the mercury contamination in the St. Clair and English- Wabigoon River system and reduce pollution in Lake Simcoe and the Great Lakes – including lowering road salt runoff harming aquatic ecosystems. 
    • Agriculture:
      • build a more resilient and sustainable agricultural sector by supporting best practices that keep soil healthy and maximize carbon storage.
      • Preserving farmland and promoting sustainable farming techniques
    • strengthen regulations for zoos and wild exotic animals, including greater restrictions on the breeding and sale of exotic animals

DEI: A-

  • Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation
    • Implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
    • Support for learning First Nation languages in K-12 curriculum
    • Mandate inclusion of painful history of Canada's residential schools across the K-12 curriculum
    • Invest in Indigenous-led mental health supports, child care, housing and infrastructure projects
    • Support Indigenous and Northern clean energy projects
  • Jobs and Economic Opportunity
    • Create 25,000 green jobs while applying a climate equity lens to ensure every community is supported through and included in our transition to a clearner and greener province and economy.
    • Measure economic success by quality of life, consistent with OECD Better Life Initiative including housing affordability, wealth and income inequality, etc.
    • Create 2000 green jobs for students planting the 100 million trees per year

 


Conservative: "Plan to Build" Overall Grade D

 

Overall Climate Goals: Non-existent. This platform does not set any provincial climate or carbon targets. The word climate change is only mentioned once in the entire platform and it was in reference to increase infrastructure development. 

 

Renewables: C-

  • Transportation: This platform aims to expand highways and incentivize single occupant gas vehicles 
    • Public Transit
      • Invest $61.6 billion over 10 years for public transit, including Ontario’s new subway transit plan for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
      • Transform the GO Transit network into a modern, reliable and fully integrated rapid transit network. Go Rail extensions including London, Niagara and Bowmanville.
    • Electric Vehicles
      • Invest $5 million in critical minerals innovation fund to support expansion of EV production and battery manufacturing in the province
      • Negative: Incentivize gas consumption
  • Electricity Grid
    • Deploy Canada’s first grid-scale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) as early as 2028, which would add clean, affordable and reliable energy to Ontario’s electricity grid, attract investment, and support good-paying jobs in the nuclear sector for decades to come
    • Negative: Promotes natural gas expansion program

 

Sustainable Finance & Carbon Pricing: F

  • Putting a price on Carbon
    • Cancelling the cap and trade carbon tax.
    • Cutting the gas tax at the pumps for six months will encourage the consumption of fossil fuels!
  • Financial Incentives:
    •  Incentivizing fossil fuel consumption at the pumps as well as funding $360 million into natural gas expansion program for Ontario housing. 
  • Green Bonds program to help finance public transit initiatives, “extreme weather-resistant infrastructure”, as well as energy efficiency and conservation projects.

 

Nature Based Solution: D

  • Protect Ecosystems
    • Build highway 413 through Ontario's greenbelt including essential wetlands and farmlands
    • Priorities on development and expansion of highways, road systems, bridges, infrastructure, developments and mines including the Ring of Fire would have a severely negative impact critical habitats and biodiversity. 
    • Build one new provincial park (no details on location, size, budget, facilities, outdoor recreation potential or management)

DEI: D

 

  • $25 million over three years to support indigenous communities including providing indigenous owned businesses and entrepreneurs with working capital to ensure continued business operations.

 


 

Green Party of Ontario: “Roadmap to Net-Zero” Overall Grade A

 

Climate Goals: Adopt a Zero Carbon Law that sets a Fair Share Carbon Budget for the rest of the century. Cut Ontario’s climate pollution in half by 2030 and to net-zero every year from 2045.

 

Renewable Energy: A

  • Transportation: Replace fossil fuel used in vehicles (in half by 2030 and to net-zero by 2040) with electric vehicles, transit, active transportation and compact communities.
    • Public Transit
      •  Triple public transit use by 2030, by making it clean, fast, convenient, reliable, affordable, and accessible.
      • Electrify school, GO and transit buses.
    • Electric Vehicles
      • Phase out the sale of new gas and diesel-fueled passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and buses by 2030.
      • Dramatically increase access to electric vehicles (two-wheeled or more) and make them less expensive than fossil fuel powered vehicles, through rebates, rental systems, financing, and a Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) mandate.
      • Ensure widespread access to electric vehicle charging.
      • Build on Ontario’s strengths in mining, in innovation, in financing and in auto manufacturing to build a strong Electric Vehicle manufacturing strategy and electric transportation industry supply chain
  • Electricity Grid & Infrastructure
    • Replace imported fossil fuels by doubling clean Ontario electricity.
    • Cut fossil fuel use in buildings 40% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2040
    • Create hundreds of thousands of new jobs by retrofitting 40% of existing homes and workplaces to net-zero (conservation plus heat pump and solar) by 2030 and 100% by 2040

 

Sustainable Finance & Carbon Pricing: A

  • Putting a price on carbon:
    • Carbon price rises steadily, $25 /tonne every year, until it reaches $300/tonne.
    • Eliminating gaps and exemptions
    • Reducing free climate pollution by heavy industries
  • Financial Incentives:
    • Providing low-interest loans for emerging low carbon industries.
    • Support Ontario entrepreneurs to build world-leading clean businesses in energy storage (e.g. batteries), electric/ fuel cell mobility, smart transit and low-carbon biomaterials.
  • Clean Investments:
    • Making it easy for people to join their neighbours to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency in their own communities, through Local Climate Funds.

 

Nature Based Solutions: A

Protect and restore natural areas that sequester carbon, including grasslands and peatlands, and improve forest management.

  • Protect Ecosystems
    • Work with Indigenous Peoples to protect 25% of Ontario by 2025 and 30% by 2030, especially areas of particular importance for water and wild creatures.
    • Strengthen and fund Conservation Authorities.
    • Permanently protect wetlands and prime farmland.
    • Grow and enhance public parks.
    • Restore real protections for endangered species and a robust environmental assessment process.
    • Freeze urban boundaries to prevent sprawl
      • Stop new subdivisions on farmland, wetlands or forests, and smartly expand the Greenbelt.
      • Redirect provincial funding away from infrastructure that promotes sprawl, and toward infrastructure that supports compact, clean, connected communities.
      • Repair all of the Conservative government’s damage to land use laws, and to growth planning, including restoring powers to Conservation Authorities to allow them to protect provincially significant wetlands and other areas, reversing misuses of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs), and reversing plans that force municipalities to prepare for sprawl.
      • Eliminate subsidies for sprawl from property tax and development charges.
  • Restore Ecosystems
    • Bring back nature in cities, starting with green roofs, school yards, turning surplus parking lots into mini forests, and creating spaces for communities to gather and children to play.
    • Restore and expand wetlands and green infrastructure to clean stormwater and reduce flooding.
    • Allocate at least 15% of infrastructure spending to natural ecosystem features and materials, such as rivers, native plants and soil.
    • Put green infrastructure first, using nature-based solutions whenever possible.
    • Protecting water and enhancing public green space.
  • Sustainable Industry
    • Agriculture
      • Support climate-smart agriculture and local sustainable food.

DEI: B-

  • Community Resilience
    • Create a $2 billion per-year Climate Adaptation Fund to support municipalities with green and resilient infrastructure.
    • Focus 25% of the overall benefits of climate plan on disadvantaged communities.
    • Improve low-carbon mobility in rural and remote areas.
    • See Green Party specific "Plan for the North" with focus on northern Ontario issues including indigenous land rights. 
  • Jobs and Economic Opportunity
    • Create new careers and better green jobs for hundreds of thousands of people, and improve business opportunities for thousands of green entrepreneurs.
    • Creating new careers and better jobs for hundreds of thousands of people in a strong, green workforce, and thousands of new opportunities for entrepreneurs10.
    • Giving 60,000 young people in the next four years the skills and experience to work in the green economy, through a year of free college tuition plus a year of guaranteed work when they graduate.

 

NDP: “Strong. Ready. Working for you.” Overall Grade A

 

Overall Climate Goals: Reduce Ontario’s GHG emissions by at least 50 per

cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Enshrine GHG reduction targets into law and use a carbon budgeting process to ensure we reach them, consulting with climate scientists, workers, industry and other experts.

 

Renewable Energy: A+

  • Transportation
    • Public Transit
      • Restore provincial funding for municipal public transit and paratransit systems to 50 per cent of their net operating costs – to improve service, reduce wait times and make municipal transit systems more affordable.
      • Move forward on fare integration so people can move seamlessly across municipal borders, and implement a two-hour, flat rate fare across municipal transit in the GTHA and ensure transit users can transfer from GO service to local services like the TTC at no extra cost.
      • Work with municipal and industry partners to develop an Intercommunity Transportation Strategy to better connect communities across Ontario including:
        • two-way all-day GO service between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto, 
        • expanding year-round, daily-or-better service to Bowmanville, Grimsby, and Niagara.
        • Extend the Hurontario LRT to downtown Brampton and restore the downtown loop 
        • Fully restore the Ontario Northlander, as part of our Northern Rail Strategy, and connect it with the Polar Express in Cochrane.
        • Support the Huron Central and Algoma Central Rail Lines.
    • Electric Vehicles
      • Goal of ramping up electric vehicle sales to 100 per cent of all new provincial auto sales by 2035. 
      • EV total supply chain strategy with parts and manufacturing happening right here in Ontario, including putting Ontario’s highly-skilled and experienced auto workers back to work, with jobs that are stable and unionized.
      • Transition the provincial government’s fleet of vehicles to all-Canadian-made electric vehicles by 2030. 
      • Build out a network of charging stations across Ontario
      • Incentives of up to $10,000 to Ontarians who purchase ZEVs, excluding luxury vehicles, with a particular focus on those made in Ontario.
  • Electricity Grid 
    • Conservation-first model to energy planning in Ontario, establishing a single-window of service for energy efficiency and conservation planning, program promotion, delivery and upfront financing. 
    • Expand our hydro capacity, increase affordable renewables – including wind and solar power
    • Improve grid scale storage and make major grid interconnections with Québec and Manitoba to enable cost-effective electricity imports.
    • Make better use of Ontario’s wasted off-peak surplus by making it available for the benefit of Ontarians, and we’ll take advantage of innovative new decentralized technologies to better align electricity demand and supply in real-time.
  • Buildings & Infrastructure
    • Efficient building retrofit program to help families and businesses with the cost of retrofitting their homes and lowering electricity bills. 
    • Energy retrofit at least 5% of Ontario’s building with a program that creates 100,000 good jobs

 

Sustainable Finance & Carbon Pricing: A

  • Putting a price on Carbon: 
    • New cap-and-trade system that makes big corporate polluters pay for their emissions
    • Ensure at least 25 per cent of cap-and-trade revenue goes to supports for rural, Northern, and low-income families disproportionately impacted by carbon pricing.
    • Invest a share of cap-and-trade revenue in technology to help trade-exposed industries compete and adapt.
  • Financial Inventives
    • Young farmer loan guarantee to help young farm families and first-time farmers get established in agriculture with mentorship, financial advice and loan guarantees.
  • Clean Investments 
  • Ontario’s first cleantech bank funded by the proceeds of cap-and-trade 
    • Partner with the Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association (OCTIA), universities, colleges, municipalities, First Nations, and innovative companies to export and adopt products and ideas that will lower our emissions, increase equity, and generate job and GDP growth in Ontario.
  • Allocate investments from the Green New Democratic Deal to mining-related green innovation initiatives.

 

Nature Based Solutions: B+

  • Protect Ecosystems
    • Expand the Greenbelt to include vital green spaces like the Carruthers Creek Headwaters
    • Protect farmland
    • Expand access to parks and green spaces across Ontario, while increasing protection of ecosystems and biodiversity.
    • Cancel highway 413 that encourages sprawl and single vehicle travel
  • Restore Ecosystems
    • Plant one billion trees by 2030 to help Ontario achieve our net-zero targets.
  • Sustainable Industry
    • Create a Provincial Food Strategy that puts healthy, locally sourced food onto Ontario tables
    • Support jobs on farms, in food processing, transportation, biofuel, service and retail.
    • Stop paving over farmland: Once farmland is lost, it is lost forever. Before a project takes place on agricultural land, it will be subject to a mandatory Agricultural Impact Assessment. The terms and conditions of the process will be developed in partnership with the agricultural community, who know the true value of the land

 

DEI: B+

  • Indigenous Truth & Reconciliation
    • Work with Indigenous leaders and educators to ensure that Ontario’s school curricula appropriately reflects Indigenous experiences and histories
  • Jobs & Economic Opportunity
    • Ensure our transition to a net-zero economy creates over a million good jobs in Ontario, with salaries people can raise a family on. 
    • Thousands of new jobs with green job certification: Our training plan will help workers succeed in a low-carbon future. We will work with universities, colleges, unions and employers to fast- track workers with industry experience and provide tuition grants for programs geared toward expanding the net-zero economy.
    • Focus on recruiting and training people from marginalized communities, and those typically excluded from skilled trades, including women, racialized people, and Indigenous Peoples.
    • Create a Youth Climate Corps: We’ll give young Ontarians the opportunity to get hands-on skills and experience restoring and enhancing Ontario’s natural landscape, while earning a fair wage, and a fee credit towards post-secondary education.

 

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