Feb 3, 2024 – The Energy Mix Weekender
A crowd of about 400 people filled a lecture hall at Ottawa’s Carleton University Friday evening to hear U.S. climate author and organizer Bill McKibben talk about how we win the fight of our lifetimes on climate change, and how the “outside” game of non-violent protest is already making a massive difference.
… The year ended, he said, with temperature records that were “not just off the charts, but off the walls the charts were tacked to,” with scientists declaring the warmest days on Earth in 125,000 years. -> more
January 18, 2024
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has seen the future and that future does not include subsidizing the expansion of fossil gas service to new residential developments. The OEB ended that subsidy, finding that this would lower energy bills for new homebuyers and for existing gas customers.
But for a provincial government that still has its head buried in the sand when it comes to climate change, the OEB’s decision to end generous subsidies that generate big profits for Enbridge Gas was not acceptable. The Ford government quickly moved – just days before Christmas – to protect its fossil fuel industry friends by stating that it will pass legislation to reverse the board’s decision – an extraordinary step without precedent in Ontario.
For immediate release: January 10, 2024
Competition Bureau of Canada Starts Investigation into Enbridge Gas for Misleading Advertising
Toronto – The Competition Bureau of Canada has officially launched an investigation into Enbridge Gas’ marketing campaign targeting new gas customers. The complaint, filed by Environmental Defence, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and a number of affected residents, calls out Enbridge for claiming that gas is the most cost effective way for Ontarians to heat their homes, when heat pumps are in fact the least expensive option. It also flags misleading language suggesting that gas is “clean energy” and “low carbon.”
November 16th 2023 – National Observer
Napanee is already home to Ontario’s largest gas-fired electricity plant and the province wants it expanded. A series of other municipalities have rejected new gas generation recently. Now the Crown corporation, Ontario Power Generation, is dangling a $4.8-million “community benefit agreement” to persuade Napanee’s council to break the trend.
“It is totally inappropriate for OPG to be offering this payment. Offering payment in exchange for a licence to pollute is unacceptable,” said Keith Brooks, programs director at Environmental Defence.
Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, also objected to public money being used and called on town councillors to reject “dirty” electricity: “Kingston, Thorold and Toronto have said no to new gas-fired generation capacity. The Town of Napanee should say no, too.”
“I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t touch the Greenbelt. I broke that promise. And for that I am very, very sorry,” Ford said with his caucus standing behind him — many of them the same ministers who voted to approve the plan last year.
“It was a wrong decision,” Ford added. “We’re putting this land back in the Greenbelt.”
A new report commissioned by Premier Doug Ford’s government warns that climate change poses high risks to Ontario, with impacts on everything from food production to infrastructure to businesses. The report projects a soaring number of days with extreme heat across Ontario, as well as increases in flooding and more frequent wildfires.
Aug 17, 2023 – Tim Grey – Opinion – Canada’s National Observer
…The Greenbelt is also a powerful symbol of the future where towns and cities are livable, homes are affordable and the role of natural areas in supporting them is recognized and respected.
Ontarians recognize the importance of the Greenbelt. Fully 83 per cent of us in a recent poll, conducted just before the auditor general’s report was released, oppose development on Greenbelt lands.
Read the Auditor General’s Report in full – here.
August 10th 2023 – Max Fawcett – Opinion – National Observer
It’s hard to know where to start with auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s report. What’s worse: that the land didn’t actually need to be removed to meet the province’s housing goals, that the removals were almost all directed by political staff or that the developers associated with the lands in question — which include conservative donors like Silvio De Gasperis — stand to reap an $8.3-billion financial benefit? Pick your poison, if you will: they all ought to be enough to kill a sitting government. Read Max Fawcett’s opinion
Ontario housing minister’s chief of staff chose Greenbelt land parcels to benefit developers: auditor general
Aug. 9, 2023 (Updated Aug 10, 2023) – Fatima Syed – the Narwhal
A high-ranking political staffer in Premier Doug Ford’s government “substantially controlled and directed” the process of removing protected areas from Ontario’s Greenbelt, giving “preferential treatment” to a group of developers, says a new provincial audit. – more here
July 28, 2023 – Fatima Syed – the Narwhal
Citizens and conservationists across Ontario’s Haliburton County worked for years to protect Grace from speeding cars and development. How could she have died 15 kilometres from her home wetland?
June 9, 2023 – Toronto Star- Letter to the Editor – Linda Mathers
As wildfires worsen air quality, Doug Ford urges Ontarians to avoid campfires — but stops short of a fire ban, June 7
Our MPP and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith came dangerously close to sounding like a climate denier both inside and outside the legislature on Tuesday.
When asked by opposition party leader Marit Stiles to make the link between climate change and the raging forest fires across Ontario, and the entire country, Smith dodged the question. He actually said, “We’ve always had forest fires.”
In contrast, Mike Norton, director general of the Northern Forestry Centre at the Department of Natural Resources said on Monday, “So far this season 2,214 fires have consumed more than three million hectares in Canada. The 10-year average over the same time frame was 1,624 fires and 254,429 hectares.”
This is not normal, he went on to say.
With the province blanketed in smoke, people urged to stay indoors with air quality reaching dangerously high alert levels, Graydon Smith told the legislature his ministry is investing in firefighting equipment and resources. It’s a little like applying a Band-Aid to a gushing wound instead of stopping the bleeding.
Minister Smith, you and your Ford government, need to wake up and stop the climate heating. Failure to do so is unthinkable.
Linda Mathers, Port Carling
June 8, 2023 – Karl Nerenberg – rabble.ca
The Progressive Conservative government of Doug Ford was desperate to avoid talking about the causes of wildfires and his government’s failure to address them.
Politicians who seek to use the environment as a scapegoat have a new line of attack.
They say those who want action on climate change are, in the words of Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, “politicizing the weather.” – more
Dereliction of doodie:
Ontario’s plans for York Region’s sewage could hurt Great Lakes — and U.S. relations
Two provinces and eight states agreed to limit water transfers around the Great Lakes basin. But the Ford government’s plans for development in York Region include moving a lot more wastewater south to Lake Ontario
To provide adequate sewage capacity for the population growth it wants in York Region, the Doug Ford government has decided to move tens of millions of litres to wastewater to a facility on Lake Ontario, and release it there after treatment.
The Doug Ford government says its vision for its second term is to get desperately needed homes built in Ontario. In York Region, the key to that vision is a massive pipeline that transfers water from one Great Lake region to another.
Jan 19, 2023 – The Narwhal
…The government sent two letters, one from Natural Resources Minister Graydon Smith, to city officials around 6 p.m. on Dec. 28, while the offices of city councils and conservation authorities were largely shuttered for the holiday break. The letters fulfilled changes outlined in last fall’s Bill 23, or the More Homes Built Faster Act, quicker than most expected, removing many powers and financial tools conservation authorities use to oversee and protect vital watersheds.
Jan 26, 2023 – The Narwahl
Prompted by questions from The Narwhal Thursday, Guilbeault said he couldn’t give specifics yet because it isn’t clear which projects developers might propose, or where they might be. But he said Ontario’s push to develop Greenbelt land “flies in the face of everything we’re trying to do in terms of being better prepared for the impacts of climate change,” and Ottawa “will be looking at the potential use of federal tools to stop some of these projects.”
Jan 18, 2023 – Toronto Star
Ontario’s integrity commissioner and auditor general both announced Wednesday that they would conduct separate investigations into the government’s decision to open protected Greenbelt lands up to housing development. Read Toronto Star story. (If this link requires a subscription, try your Muskoka Region / TorStar login.)
Jan 17, 2023
Mayor Dilkens and Windsor City Council chose to listen to a fossil fuel power developer rather than the citizens of Windsor, who reminded them that the city has declared a climate emergency and has endorsed the call for the province to phase-out gas fired power. – more here
What does the More Homes Built Faster Act mean for waterfront communities? Why the focus on wetlands? Watersheds Canada explains.
Jan 9, 2023
Ontario’s Bill 23, aka the More Homes Built Faster Act, has garnered fierce opposition since it was announced in October. The Bill was made into law just 34 days after it was introduced, leaving many to wonder what this means for their communities.
This explainer from Watersheds Canada focuses on Site Plan Control, Third Party Appeals, Wetlands and Conservation Authorities. Read story.
Jan 9, 2023
Ecojustice, on behalf of Environmental Defence, has served the Ontario government with a notice of application for a judicial review of its unilaterally imposed changes to Hamilton’s official plan.
Read the Ecojustice media release – here
Listen to the CBC, Metro Morning interview with Phil Pothen – here
Important things you should know about the Ontario government’s six major recent attacks on farms, forests, wetlands, and livable communities
December 09, 2022 – Environmental Defence
There is some understandable confusion about what-is-what in the complex package of attacks being undertaken by the Ontario government on environmental protection, municipal planning, livable communities and the Greenbelt.
So we thought it would be useful to lay it all out in one place in an abbreviated form to help you understand how it all fits together – and where you and your community can best engage to take action against these attacks on the environment.
November 28, 2022 – Urban Toronto
Today, Bill 23 received Royal Assent, the final approval in bringing legislation into force.
As the news cycle of the last month has shown, the bill has been received with open arms by some, but not all. The extent of the criticism has reached a new high though after a contingent of industry leading design firms came together to pen an open letter to the Government with a clear message: Bill 23 needs to go back to the drawing board.
…The group wastes little time making their main argument, asserting that the activation of Bill 23 will only exacerbate the housing issues we are already facing in this Province while simultaneously harming the already fragile standards for climate change, mitigation, and heritage conservation. – more
Oct. 25, 2022 – By Fatima Syed and Emma McIntosh – The Narwhal
In a massive overhaul of urban development planning, the Ontario government looks to take power away from the agencies that help prevent flooding — again
“It will make it easier to build the right type of housing in the right places,” Ford told industry stakeholders, with a grin.
But Ford didn’t say his plan depends in part on a massive gutting of conservation authorities, which oversee and protect vital and deteriorating watersheds.
More outrage in the media
Get more information at the links below.
Unpacking Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 | AMO – Association of Ontario Municipalities
Bait and Switch: Understanding Bill 23, The ‘More Sprawl, Fewer Wetlands’ Act – YouTube – Environmental Defence
Bill 23 Backgrounder – November 2022 – Page 1 (publitas.com) – Ontario Nature
Reviewing Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 – Canadian Environmental Law Association
Speaking_Notes_Bill-23_Committee-Presentation_Nov_9_2022-1.pdf (cela.ca) – Canadian Environmental Law Association
May 30, 2022 – Primary Author: Mitchell Beer – the Energy Mix
The Ontario Energy Board sent minor shock waves through the province’s energy regulatory and municipal energy communities earlier this month with its refusal to approve the final phases of a $123.7-million pipeline replacement project in Ottawa proposed by Enbridge Gas.
Several observers said this was the first time the OEB had refused a “leave to construct” application from a gas utility, laying bare an operating model in which the companies’ revenue is based primarily on the kilometres of pipe they can install, rather than the volume of gas their customers actually need.
Nov. 9, 2021 (Updated Mar 24, 2022) – The Narwhal – Emma McIntosh and Fatima Syed
Ahead of the provincial election next June, The Narwhal is keeping a running list of all the ways Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have altered Ontario’s environmental landscape.
Four days into his job as premier, Doug Ford announced the end of Ontario’s $3 billion cap-and-trade climate program as his government’s first policy decision. Since then, the Progressive Conservatives have made dramatic changes to the province’s environmental policy. The changes affect everything from endangered species to renewable energy to development, and critics say most are harmful to wildlife and natural spaces, as well as counterintuitive given the scale of the climate crisis.
January 13, 2022 – The Energy Mix – David Robertson/Seniors for Climate Action Now!
As the International Energy Agency points out in its report this week, how provinces respond to the climate emergency has a huge bearing on whether Canada as a whole will achieve its 2030 climate targets. And by any accounting, Ontario is a climate laggard, more a climate hooligan. The reason is Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government.
January 3, 2022 – The Energy Mix
… Suggesting a truly seismic shift in attitudes about environmental stewardship, 74% of those polled said that the Ford government should be treating the climate crisis as an “emergency,” rather than merely as a “priority” or “serious” issue. That deliberate choice of words is also “the language of activism,” Forman and Kaleem note.
December 6, 2021 – The Energy Mix
As too many national governments, including Canada’s, continue to talk big but walk small on climate action, cities are stepping up, writes Miller, now director of international diplomacy for C40 Cities, in a recent op ed for the Toronto Star. And that matters, he adds, since cities create about 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
December 2, 2021 – By Cloe Logan – National Observer
… Jane Fogal says changing weather has taken a toll on her area’s mixed wood forest — knocked down by wind, destroyed by pine beetles, and replaced with saplings. When she bikes around town, the trees are a constant reminder of how quickly climate change is transforming her own world and places farther afield. It convinced her that as a politician, she needed to act — and fast.
Hamilton Votes to End Sprawl: Stop Sprawl Hamilton saves thousands of acres & sets a precedent for the GTHA
November 26, 2021 – Phil Pothen – Environment Defence
In a game-changing victory for the people of Hamilton and the future of the region’s forests and farmland, Hamilton’s City Council has voted by a 13-3 margin to END URBAN SPRAWL.
The city council, supported by an overwhelming 90 per cent of citizens, committed to stopping sprawl – not by stopping or resisting population growth – but by accommodating the next 30 years of new homes and workplaces within Hamilton’s existing boundaries.
Nov 16, 2021 – Trevor Pritchard – CBC News
When Chris Decouto powers up the new electric Zambonis at the Invista Centre in Kingston, Ont., he’s left with a good feeling.
“It’s just knowing that there isn’t that propane gas combustion engine operating in the facility,” said Decouto, the city’s arena operator. “You can’t really beat zero emissions in terms of indoor air quality.”
Aug 3, 2021 – Ontario Clean Air Alliance submission to the IESO
Prepared by Kent Elson
- EV batteries with bi-directional chargers are cheaper than gas plants for peak power
- EVs are an enormous opportunity to lower electricity rates & carbon emissions
- By 2030, EVs will have more than twice the capacity of Ontario’s gas plants
- When all cars are electric, their gross discharge capacity (GW) will be more than 6
times Ontario’s total peak demand
- Technical barriers to bi-directional charging have largely disappeared (with more bidirectional-capable cars and chargers and million+ mile batteries)
- This is urgent – it is cheaper to incentivize bi-directional charging now before
millions of “dumb” and “one-directional” chargers are purchased
City Council approves bold strategy to reduce emissions from existing buildings to net zero by 2050, updates Toronto Green Standard
July 14, 2021 – City of Toronto Media Room News Releases & Other Resources
Today, City Council approved multiple strategies and plans that will be critical to achieving the City of Toronto’s TransformTO goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to net zero by 2050 or sooner. This includes a Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy to decarbonize all existing residential, commercial and institutional buildings within the next 30 years; a Net Zero Carbon Plan to reduce emissions in City-owned buildings; and an update to the Toronto Green Standard to achieve net zero emissions in new development by 2030.
April 22, 2021 – Electric Autonomy
The City of Sudbury is incorporating fully electric vehicles into its community paramedic fleet, building on its leadership in municipal vehicle electrification. by Emma Jarratt
Powerful Ontario developers stand to cash in if Highway 413 is built. An inside look at their connections to the Ford government
The premier’s office says the 413 is needed to serve a growing population and relieve pressure on highways that will soon be over capacity. The province has approved controversial MZOs to help fast-track development on lands owned by some major developers
Steve Buist,Emma McIntosh and Noor Javed – Toronto Star Saturday, April 3, 2021
Eight of Ontario’s most powerful land developers own thousands of acres of prime real estate near the proposed route of the controversial Highway 413, a Torstar/National Observer investigation has found.
It took 8½ years of advocating for the return of the Northlander.
March 24, 2021
Today the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is excited to announce the Ontario government has committed to funding the next step to moving forward on the project with $5M and hopefully then to the final stage: putting ‘bums in seats’ on the train between Toronto and Timmins/Cochrane.
Lucille Frith and Howie Wilcox, NEORN Co-Chairs
A group of students from across Ontario read a letter to their teachers, asking them to push the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to stop investing their retirement savings in oil, gas, coal, and pipeline companies.
Grade 11 student Aliya Hirji urges teachers to “step up and take action now” and “stop investing your money in climate failure.”
By The Canadian Press Thu., Jan. 7, 2021
The Greenbelt Council is a government-appointed expert panel that advises the province on issues related to the Greenbelt, a stretch of protected land surrounding the Greater Toronto Area that Ford has promised not to develop.
By Emma McIntosh | News, Politics | December 6th 2020 National Observer
Opponents say Minister’s Zoning Orders ignore environmental concerns while kowtowing to developers. Local resident Bob Codd says the province and municipalities are employing Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) with fervent abandon to the detriment of both the environment and due process
Nov 20, 2020 1:53 PM By: Andrew Philips – orilliamatters.com
In a groundbreaking judgement, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled the climate crisis doesthreaten fundamental rights protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that Canadian citizens can therefore challenge their governments’ climate failures on constitutional grounds,
The Energy Mix – NOVEMBER 16, 2020
‘The developers are all in control’: Doug Ford’s government moves to limit the power of conservation authorities, sparking fears for the environment
New legislation by Doug Ford’s provincial government will override the powers of Ontario’s conservation authorities, limiting their ability to assess the environmental impact of developments across the province, according to environmental groups.
Noor Javed – Toronto Star – Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Hamilton City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Government of Ontario to phase-out the province’s gas-fired power plants by 2030.
According to the City of Hamilton resolution, a fossil-free provincial electricity system is critically important for the City to achieve its climate goals in part by replacing fossil fuels with electric vehicles, electric buses and electric heat pumps. – Clean Air Alliance – November 11, 2020
Yesterday the City of Kitchener and the Town of Halton Hills became the first municipalities to request the Government of Ontario to start phasing-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants. You can download a draft resolution to send to your council here. You can sign as an individual here.
October 27, 2020 Building a clean, green grid, Bulletins
The City of Ottawa has released a long-awaited energy transition plan that has it eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out all fossil fuel use, shifting all heating and transportation to electricity or other zero-emission options, and adding 4.4 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity by 2050.
OCTOBER 23, 2020 PRIMARY AUTHOR COMPILED BY MITCHELL BEER
Posted on Wednesday September 16,
In late August the Council of Tay Valley Township approved Taking Steps to Make a Difference – A Climate Action Plan 2020. The Plan sets two targets – a 55% reduction in municipal greenhouse gas emissions by 2028 and a 45% reduction in community emissions. The municipal target reflects the call by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 7.6 per cent a year, each year, in order to hold the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Proposals abound to plan for a greener, post-pandemic future. Most focus on cities, where 81 per cent of Canadians live. But, a truly national plan must include how to connect cities with rural areas without relying on internal combustion (ICE) vehicles.
By Gordon Laxer, Gravenhurst, September 13, 2020 – The Star
The electrification strategy involves replacing 35 currently operational diesel buses with EVs, as well as commissioning 30 new electric buses and installing on-route charging stations.
16 January 2020 – ELECTRIC AUTONOMY