Climate change consultation
Join the conversation on climate change as we work to prepare a new strategy for fighting climate change. Share your feedback on what matters to you.
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Thank you for being an important part of Ontario’s climate change solution!
More than 1,500 people attended in-person consultations in locations across Ontario, we received over 300 ideas and more than 31,000 votes through our new online consultation tool, more than 420 comments on the Climate Change Discussion Paper posted on the Environmental Registry and our #ONclimate hashtag was used 4,700 times on social media during the consultation period.
Your feedback will help inform Ontario’s renewed climate change strategy to be released later this year.
A cap and trade system will set a limit on the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that can be emitted, reward innovative companies, provide certainty for industries, and create more opportunities for investment in Ontario. We are building on the progress we have already made, including closing our coal plants and investing in public transit.
Ontario intends to join the cap-and-trade system that Quebec and California are using to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and make their industries more innovative.
Good climate policy is good economic policy. We will work with our partners, including industries like the auto sector, environmental groups and Aboriginal communities to help businesses stay competitive and improve our quality of life.
The money raised will be reinvested in a transparent way back into projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, including public transit, and energy retrofits.
We look forward to continuing the conversation with you on #ONclimate!
Climate change in Ontario
Extreme weather events like tornados, floods and droughts are just one aspect of a changing climate and scientists tell us that extreme weather is now part of the new normal.
In Ontario, we have already felt some of these effects in the form of ice storms, severe flooding and millions of dollars in damage to our infrastructure. These losses demonstrate that the cost of doing nothing is high.
Around the world, individuals and governments are coming to terms with the solutions to adapt to the changing climate while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to counter the damage to our atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels.
Many of the features of a low-carbon economy are already taking place in Ontario today, including:
- coal-free electricity generation
- transit electrification
- electric and hybrid vehicles
- emission-free renewable energy
But if we continue to rely on traditional fossil fuels and carbon-based energy, we risk impacts to our environment that we will not be able to recover from in our lifetime.
Our province’s greatest strength is our people, and we want to hear from you as we work towards a healthy, prosperous province recognised as a world leader in climate change solutions.
We ask that you join the discussion and let us know what you think about the best path forward for adapting to climate change in your community and reducing carbon emissions.
We will consider all of the feedback we receive and incorporate those ideas into a strategy that will help us adapt to climate change as we continue to transform to a low-carbon economy.
Climate Change Discussion paper
The Climate Change Discussion paper sets a clear vision and long-term and short-term goals for fighting climate change. It also asks important questions to inform a comprehensive climate change strategy and action plan.
- Establish Ontario as a leader in climate change mitigation and science
- Redesign and build strong carbon neutral economy, communities, infrastructure and energy
- Protect ecosystems including air land and water
- Leave a legacy of a healthy world for our children and future generations
- Action in key sectors such as transportation, buildings, electricity, industry and agriculture (e.g., expanded public transit, energy efficient buildings, renewable energy)
- Support science, research and technology to encourage the breakthroughs, discoveries and investments needed to reduce carbon use
- Promote climate resilience and risk management to ensure Ontario is prepared to effectively manage the risks of climate change
- Price on Carbon. Carbon pricing can spur clean technology research and development as emitters look for ways to reduce carbon and manage risk. Countries around the world are pricing carbon. Pricing carbon is also happening in Canada with British Columbia’s carbon tax, Alberta’s intensity-based system and Quebec’s cap and trade program, which is linked with California
Join us at one of our town halls running throughout February and March.
6pm to 8pm
6pm to 8pm
Airlane Hotel and Conference Centre
6pm to 8pm
Harmony Creek Golf Centre Clubhouse
6pm to 8pm
Steelworkers Hall Conference Room
6pm to 8pm
BraeBen Golf Course Clubhouse
6pm to 8pm
6pm to 8pm
6pm to 8pm
6pm to 8pm
The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
6pm to 8pm
McMaster Innovation Park
6pm to 8pm
University of Guelph Arboretum
6pm to 8pm
Aurora Cultural Centre
|6pm to 8pm|
Art Gallery of Windsor
6pm to 8pm
Kitchener Public Library
6pm to 8pm
Thanks for your ideas, Ontario!
Here’s what people across the province are saying about taking action on climate change:
- Immediate action needed
- More public education/awareness needed
- More bike lanes and mass transit
- More recycling, less waste
- Renewable energy
- More resilient, energy-efficient buildings
- Focus on health impacts of climate change - need to breathe
- Carbon pricing - needs to be fair, transparent. Consider fee and dividend approach as used in BC. Others indicated a revenue generating program would be better.
"Ensure people who want to live close to the subway system and within the city core are not priced out of the market."
"Need to go beyond environmental impacts and carbon pricing and reach people by talking about the human health impacts – people with respiratory illness are the canaries of climate change."
"Public must be continually connected, informed and engaged in an ongoing and transparent manner"
"There was really good participation from those attending and a great job was done of recording our observations about obstacles to constructive climate change actions and about the policy paper’s proposals and other suggestions for action… I hope that citizens can provide a real driving force."
- "Complete" communities – Complete communities meet people’s needs for daily living by providing convenient access to jobs, local services, housing and community infrastructure including affordable housing, schools, recreation and open space.
- More jobs in the region so people can work where they live
- Better connections from GO transit into the community critical
- Community water use is significant energy user
- Public awareness and education critical to change behaviour and consumer demand. Need more sophisticated social marketing, use provincial assets like GO trains
- Carbon pricing is important
- Some support for cap and trade and offsets. Details of trading systems are critical, and many mechanisms are tested and ready
- Acknowledge value of wetlands, carbon sinks, clean water and biodiversity
- Province should deal with alternative sources of energy
- Adjust rules to allow local distribution companies to sell energy efficient solutions
- Building retrofits
- Strengthen the Building Code, code should require rainwater capture for energy efficiency and resilience
- Municipalities can help as hubs and conduits to the local community
"Climate Change Discussion Document sends a strong message that the Province is serious about Climate Change."
"In Durham region, out-commuting creates unbalanced communities."
"Need a paradigm shift in language and approach…emphasize economics of adapting to climate change."
- Views and perspectives specific to Northern Ontario and First Nations should be considered in development of strategy
- Many local First Nations are still on diesel power generation and need support to be connected to the electricity grid
- Look to traditional knowledge from First Nations for ideas
- Energy conservation support for residents including incentives for moving to energy efficient homes, tax breaks for energy efficiency, local improvement charges (municipality pays upfront costs for energy efficiency and taxpayers pay back incrementally through tax bills)
- Need widespread behavioural change in general public related to conservation
- Consider need for climate resilience and risk management, be prepared
- Find local opportunities to use recycled materials. For example, paper could be manufactured into cellulose insulation
- Need to move toward a steady state economy and stop focusing on economic growth
- Need effective methods for carbon accounting to encourage innovation
- More research and development
- Consider alternative energy sources such as geothermal, biomass such as high efficiency woodchips
- Shift Ontario economy towards clean technology
- Consider hydraulic power from water for mining projects
"Government should create a law against excessive packaging"
"Environment as a priority for government needs to be ranked above jobs. Without a healthy environment, there will be no jobs"
"Affordable housing in Ontario is often very energy inefficient, creating high energy bills for those who can’t afford it"
- Government decision making process must include climate change costs and benefits. This includes any decisions involving the use of public funds
- Carbon neutrality needs to be the starting point. E.g., Ring of Fire should be developed in a carbon neutral way
- Greatest [carbon] contributor is transportation. Tax carbon on vehicle plates based on kilometres driven and fuel efficiency rating of the vehicle. Use revenue to fund low carbon vehicles (e.g. funding to Linamar), for electric vehicle rebate program
- Carbon fee dividend system is the answer. Can help with income equality. Can be used to stimulate innovation – projects that get results can lay claim to fees from carbon. Could apply to industry and buildings
- Greater provincial and business investments in green energy. E.g., more government-owned solar paneled buildings; re-introduce geothermal heating subsidy; support scientific research for green technology; create solar powered iPads/electronic equipment to use less electricity; greater use of biomass and solar energy; harvest methane from animal waste; build more environmentally-friendly businesses
- Look at decentralized energy supply. Promote self-sustainability. Allow local co-ops to produce energy from local biomass
- Improve recycling in the Sudbury area and across the province as a whole. Consider user fee/pay-per-bag system to improve recycling and diversion
- Leverage traditional knowledge very carefully
- Curb urban sprawl and create higher density developments that are walkable and have public transportation
- Improve public education. E.g., provide warnings on gas tanks; add a pamphlet to vehicle renewal notices to educate on carbon emissions, where they come from and how the carbon tax money is being used
- More sustainable practices and biodiversity to protect carbon sinks
- Regulations to stop vehicle idling
- Protect agricultural lands
"Climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century. We need to talk about the health impacts and the opportunities from walking more and eating less meat"
"It all starts with planning and policy – good to ask people for input and good ideas but governments need to put policies and planning in place"
"Ontario going with carbon tax could bring others along"
- Carbon pricing mechanism needs to be tailored to individuals and industry. Could apply a fee and dividend for individuals, and cap and trade for corporations/industry
- Could monetize the credit from Ontario’s renewable energy and use revenue from cap and trade for disaster relief
- Should explain different market mechanisms available for carbon pricing in a way people can understand
- More incentives for electric cars are needed such as providing charging stations
- Focus on cost-effective climate change solutions
- Provincial ministries need greater collaboration to work effectively together on climate change
- Province should provide direction/guidance on how municipalities should consider climate change in their plans, designs, etc. Current municipal approach is piecemeal
- Would like to know about climate change adaptation work that is planned. Current discussion seems very mitigation focussed. Want to know if information in the plan (Climate Ready) that ended in 2014 is being used to identify gaps and areas where work is needed
- Integrate First Nations and Métis knowledge on climate change and local security. "Create a carbon neutral community on a reserve."
- Biofuels and biowaste from farms could be better researched and used, but need fewer roadblocks to do this
"Climate Change is really a paradigm shift"
"We need to educate youth on climate change. Integrate climate change into the curriculum and mandate all boards of education to teach climate change and show students how to waste less"
"We need collaboration to work on climate change"
- Split opinions on carbon pricing
- "Are we looking at the right issue – that is, carbon dioxide?"
- Discussion about the role of the Green Energy Act, wind energy and clean tech sector in the province’s strategy
- Questions about the validity of climate change science – many climate change sceptics
- Use of biomass and ag/forestry residues as a renewable resource
- Protect and enhance natural areas and agricultural lands
- Important that government action is transparent, has integrity and involves the public
- Use proven methods and mechanisms, with adequate reporting and accounting
- Listen to the public and build their trust
"A cost/benefit analysis should be done for any chosen [carbon pricing] mechanism"
"The province must ensure that local agriculture and food systems are supported"
"Local decision making and involvement are important"
- Educating people in skilled trades to empower people and local communities.
- More electric cars.
- More green technology and energy storage.
- Building partnerships with other jurisdictions including the federal government, other provinces, and other national and sub-national governments.
- More general public education on climate change, include in curriculum.
- Legislation making it very clear that climate change is a priority.
- Expand use of renewable energy.
- Make sure Ontario’s voice is heard at the federal level, and at federal trade policy level.
- Use metal from recycled cars to build transit infrastructure (currently export much of our recycled metals to the US).
- Comprehensive and coherent plan to put in wind and solar in places that are appropriate (not in greenspaces or on farmland), and involve the local community to get more people on board.
- Holistic plan to address climate change that recognizes interconnectedness of ecosystems.
- More sustainable practices and biodiversity to protect carbon sinks.
- Regulations to stop vehicle idling.
- Protect agricultural lands and preserve the boreal forest.
- Need incentives for land owners and farmers to conserve trees and conserve green cover.
- More stringent requirements to ensure that a greater proportion of packaging is recyclable.
- Reduce consumption and promote sharing economy.
- Carbon pricing should be equitable and not cause hardship to low earners. Tax large producers at a much higher rate than households.
- Fee and Dividend - use funding to support renewable energy research.
- Market mechanism should look at the life-cycle analysis of the energy source
- Revenue neutral carbon fee similar to what is being done in BC.
- If cap and trade system, give monetary incentives to companies that go below their cap so that they are rewarded for reducing pollution.
"Remove roadblocks that prevent companies (e.g.,Tesla) from developing and expanding in Ontario"
"We need made in Ontario solutions – such as expansion and growth of clean energy sector and removing current barriers to growing those sectors"
"Building code needs to be updated to ensure more energy efficient buildings, and retrofitting of existing buildings"
- Initiate partnerships with industry
- Support research to advance future technologies and make climate change research more accessible. Need to start with science to do what is accurate and right
- Foster economic growth while reducing emissions: stop excessive sprawl in the GTA; help cities, municipalities and households become 'smart'; work for the betterment of future generations; go after the transportation sector with incentives and rebates
- Encourage alternate forms of transportation: build more rail and less roads; install more bike lanes downtown; remove stop signs for cyclists
- More government investments toward [green] infrastructure
- Engage young people and educate the public: offer more co-op programs; label all sources of energy; place climate change warning labels on gas pumps (e.g. like cigarette packs)
- Further actions to protect the environment/ natural systems: create an economic mechanism to protect natural systems; stop rail and pipelines from transporting bitumen; provide information on use of biosolids for agricultural fields; better forest fire prevention; increase composting; reducing junk mail
- More efficient use of energy: switch to renewable forms of energy; create a plan to meet hydro needs; exempt natural gas for electricity generation purposes from any tax/price on carbon (as natural gas is necessary for renewable deployment and something we need to account for); inject hydrogen into natural gas line; increase combined heat and power and make it a requirement
- Government actions that are transparent, simple, sellable and cohesive with other government departments, with strongly aligned provincial and municipal policies
- Visions/goals for Ontario:
- adaptation strategies in place
- Ontario as energy neutral and at zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, including all buildings at net zero
- high quality of life, where natural capital is valued and we have clean air and water and healthy communities
- temperature increase kept at 1.5 degrees
- Ontario as a manufacturing hub for electric vehicles
- has a smart technology, enabled-grid that’s powered by renewable energy
- Ontario as an industrial powerhouse because industrial policy aligns with climate policy
- has a continental trade system based on a culture of sustainability, where a living environment is the highest good (over profit);
- a broad, effective, equitable carbon pricing system
- cost of climate change is shared equally
"Build the infrastructure for a better world now"
"Change consumer behaviour"
"Shift buildings and communities to low-carbon technologies by financing home retrofits through taxes, having more open building codes and innovation in the housing sector, creating a province-wide strategy to have 100% renewable energy by 2050, mandatory eco-labelling of homes, and designing low carbon processes and approaches as well as low carbon technologies"
- More electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure are needed
- Better public transit infrastructure and availability needed, not just in large urban areas
- Invest in low emissions rapid transit
- Change the way we work to reduce need to commute
- Adaptation is also very important and needs to be addressed
- More climate change education, starting at a young age, is needed
- Need a strategy to reduce food waste and promote local foods
- Tax foods that are not local and/or have a larger carbon footprint (meat and dairy)
- Municipalities can help as hubs and conduits to the local community
- Recognize quality and full potential of nuclear energy
- Carbon neutral economy as soon as reasonably possible
- Net zero housing and buildings
- Air tightness targets in building code which lead to greater energy efficiency
- Healthy Ontario – environment and people
- Better quality of life without threatening the environment, reached without suffering or self-denial
- Put a price on carbon
- Clear cut policy for the end of free market trade
- More focus on resource efficiency and circular economy
- Incentivize community energy co-ops
- Education should start early
- Reduce or eliminate urban sprawl by advocating land value capture by municipalities, which would reduce sprawl and increase funds for public transport
- Provide better support for people that would like to use bicycles
- Carbon price should take the form of a revenue neutral fee and dividend
- Carbon pricing systems that applies to fuels that move through the province as well as emitted in province
"Province needs to create visionary strategies that tell people and businesses where we are going"
"The action plan and strategy needs to address the job issue and how the low-carbon future will foster economic growth and help to fight poverty"
"The government needs to spend much more money on research. Money spent on research very small compared to money spent on infrastructure building and repair"
- Truly capture full cost and benefits of any actions or energy/fuel type
- Learn from other jurisdictions – don’t reinvent the wheel
- Need climate change education and what you can do as an individual, in elementary and high schools
- Needs to be a government wide initiative, across multiple levels of government
- Comprehensive plan that encompasses multiple levers like renewable energy, electric vehicles, consumer behavior, etc.
- Small business as innovators, should be supported, acknowledged and learned from
- Promotion of local food systems, food security is important
- Enable open discussions to educate, debate, and collaborate with the public on climate change solutions that are ongoing, not just for few and far between consultation sessions
- International trade agreements like the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement should not limit the control of the government to enact climate change measures
"Reward early adopters, and individuals that are making energy-conscious choices in their daily lives"
"Schools as focal points of green infrastructure and community hubs to disseminate climate change info"
- Support for carbon pricing in the form of a cap and trade and/or fee and dividend. Some argued that revenue should be used to fund green initiatives, and that a carbon price needs to be high enough to incent change
- Individual accountability and lifestyle change – focus on conservation, make use of Feed-In Tariff (FIT) programs, make changes in behavior and lifestyle instead of focusing on 'big industry' for all of the changes – need public education and awareness for these changes to happen
- Community led investment in renewables and development
- Energy and electrification – energy storage, improvements in grid, electric vehicles, batteries, using smart metering to incent residential conservation, solar for small energy needs
- Improvements to the building code, buildings generating a percentage of their own energy, net energy producing buildings
- Ensure health of natural systems – sustainable land and water use, preservation of agricultural land, forests/carbon sinks, healthy soils, compact communities that support active transport
"Climate change mainstreaming across provincial ministries and rigorous performance indicators to assess progress on targets and actions are essential"
"Adaptation and having resilient infrastructure in place in each community is needed to address drought, power outages, etc"
- Encourage the use of biomethane (a form of renewable natural gas) and support more farmers to switch to organic farming to help advance the soil’s ability to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and human-caused emissions (i.e., carbon sequestration)
- Use highway investment for transit
- Provide incentives for energy efficiency and use solar panels on all roofs
- Ministries need to work together and ensure they are not working at cross purposes or in silos
- Encourage uptake of distributed energy
- Curb urban sprawl
- Protect water sources and don’t allow others to profit from water that residents need.
"Fee and dividend is a good carbon pricing option, but should be revenue neutral"
"Need to develop co-operation between industry and people to develop more technology to help low carbon economy"
- Support for a carbon fee and dividend
- Need to invest in social science research
- Revamp or eliminate Ontario Municipal Board
- Green bonds should be expanded and used to help with projects beyond transit
- Support clean tech sector
- Import/buy clean hydro electricity from Quebec
- Encourage geothermal as an energy source
- Move to 100% clean energy mix ‒ nuclear should be a part of that, but in terms of lifecycle emissions, nuclear may have more than solar, wind or other renewables
"Raise awareness about climate change to raise the urgency"
"Reduce, reuse and recycle. Companies should be encouraged to recycle materials and not use new raw materials"
- Support a carbon tax with following suggestions: carbon pricing mechanism must be transparent; revenue stream from carbon tax should go into developing green energy; pricing mechanism must be based on polluter pays principle
- Update the building code for both residential and industrial commercial buildings and include hard targets that people have to build to
- Provide funding to individuals to retrofit their houses to make them more energy efficient
- More emphasis on urban forests, green infrastructure, local foods and urban gardens, bicycle and walking friendly communities
- Stop urban sprawl by offering tax incentives for people to live in urban settings
- More public transportation
- Transportation that is emission-free
- Stop relying on nuclear, and invest in truly renewable energy
- General support for Green Energy Act and Green Economy Act – created jobs in Windsor, but need to fix the Green Energy Act so that the administration and implementation are better
- Public education starting at elementary level
- Province must help municipalities implement climate change plans
- Government needs to make scientific information more available, especially air quality monitoring information
- More emphasis on green procurement for government and institutions
- Need more regulation on consumer goods, especially disposable products to reduce consumption drastically
- Higher standard around quality of fuel
- Extend Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program to expand uptake of renewables
- Make agreement with Quebec for long term agreement on sharing hydropower
- Public ownership of renewable energy and natural resources
- Increase electric vehicle infrastructure and charging stations, and offer a green fund that would allow people to trade in their old cars in exchange for a voucher for electric vehicles
- Decarbonize the waste stream – especially organic waste reduction
- Government that is more transparent and trusted by the public
- Clean air in Windsor
"Need a clear climate change action plan with targets and measurable outcomes"
"Don’t wait for technology, take action now with tools we have"
"We need to plant more trees, and promote eco-agriculture to sequester carbon and provide ecological services"