2016 Parliamentary Assistant Mandate Letter: Environment and Climate Change
The Minister’s instructions to the Parliamentary Assistant on priorities.
December 30, 2016
Mr. Arthur Potts
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
77 Wellesley Street West
Dear Mr. Potts:
I am honoured to have you as my parliamentary assistant, and thank you for the valuable support that you will provide me in this crucial role. I welcome you to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and look forward to working closely with you to ensure that both ministry and overall government objectives are achieved.
At this mid-point of our mandate — and after having achieved two years of real and tangible progress — we are redoubling our efforts to deliver on our top priority — economic growth and good jobs. Our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone will deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives. We will do this by continuing to invest in better infrastructure, more affordable and accessible postsecondary education, a competitive, low-carbon economy and improved retirement security.
Responsible fiscal management remains an overarching priority for our government, and, thanks to our disciplined approach, we are on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017-18.
The mandate letter I received in September from Premier Wynne sets out my specific priorities as minister for the coming two years. Parliamentary assistants play a key role in meeting these priorities and in helping put our government’s plan into action.
Over the past two years our government has taken important steps to fight climate change, reduce waste and reuse resources, and protect our water and our lakes. Now that we have passed the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 and the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, it is time for our ministry to focus on moving from policy development to implementing our plans, taking effective action that will improve the environment, build the economy, and strengthen the quality of life Ontarians enjoy.
Earlier this year, Ontario released its first Climate Change Action Plan which describes the actions we will take over the next five years to fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help move us to a prosperous low-carbon economy. Implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan is a priority for Ontario, critical to achieving Ontario’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, and ministers have been mandated to collaborate and focus on implementing the actions laid out in the plan.
We have proclaimed and are now implementing provisions of our new legislation promoting resource recovery and a circular economy and have released and will be finalizing the Waste-Free Ontario Strategy.
As Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, your specific responsibilities include:
- Advancing Ontario’s progress towards establishing a circular economy.
- Developing an Organics Action Plan to divert more waste from landfills and to assist in the implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan, including actions in the plan related to renewable natural gas.
- Exploring opportunities to develop policy statements under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016. The first draft policy statement will be posted for public consultation in 2017.
- Developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Ontario that sets out priorities and actions Ontarians will take to adapt to the effects of climate change, working with partner ministries, stakeholders and Indigenous partners, and with the support of the Minister’s Special Advisor for Climate Change.
- Assisting with the development of a low carbon renewable fuel standard for gasoline, as well as renewable content requirements for natural gas to reduce the carbon footprint of energy sources.
- Collaborating with the Ministry of Finance with regard to tax policy changes to enhance opportunities for low carbon technology development and deployment, including the elimination of the Harmonized Sales Tax at point of sale on new and used zero emission vehicles.
- Providing support, including guidance and advice, to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs related to Building Code changes, as they relate to the Climate Change Action Plan.
As we proceed with implementing the policies we have established, our work can be enhanced through regular dialogue with Ontarians to learn about their views and ideas. I encourage you to continue to meet with stakeholders and to hear their ideas about how our policies can best be implemented.
I am confident that together, working in collaboration with partner ministries, stakeholders, Indigenous partners and the public, we can deliver on our commitment to the people we are privileged to represent and serve.
A tremendous opportunity lies before us — to ensure that our ministry’s mandate is fully and effectively implemented, to continue to build Ontario up and to deliver real benefits to all Ontarians.
The Honourable Glen R. Murray
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change