The Council of Canadians joined with allies in enviornmental, union, health and social justice movements in sending a letter to Ontario Premier Ford demanding action on climate change.
Since coming into office, the Ford government has:
- Cancelled 758 renewable energy contracts, the vast majority of which (over 90 per cent) were small rooftop solar contracts owned by farmers, schools, municipalities and First Nations.
- Ended the electric vehicle incentives aimed at reducing pollution from cars and the freight sector.
- Removed Ontario from a cap and trade programme and joined Manitoban Premier in legally challenging federal plan to impose carbon pricing.
- Cancelling cap and trade has ended funding for a number of important programmes. This includes the Green Ontario Fund that provided homeowners and businesses with incentives to enhance energy efficiency, a $100 million programme for school retrofits and repairs, and hundreds of millions that had been set aside for a now cancelled programme to retrofit and renovate social housing buildings for needed repairs including reducing energy consumption. This decision also leaves funding gaps for cycling infrastructure that had been planned.
Hon. Doug Ford, Premier
cc. Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Legislative Building , Queen’s Park | Toronto,ON | M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Ford,
Ontarians across the province are experiencing a summer of record-breaking heat waves, floods, forest fires and heat-related human health crises Like other countries and states around the world, Ontario is experiencing first-hand the uncertainty, expense and loss that result from a changing climate.
As the leader of the provincial government, you have a responsibility to the people of Ontario to do your utmost to safeguard them from these dangers and to ensure these risks don’t grow, unchecked, in coming years. Yet your first acts in office have focused on revoking Ontario’s existing climate policies while offering no alternative climate plan to replace them.
Canada’s primary network of organizations working on climate change and energy issues, Climate Action Network Canada is a coalition of more than 115 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Many of our members are based in the province of Ontario.
We, the undersigned, write to you today to articulate our expectations that:
- Your government publicly commit to achieving Ontario’s existing legislated emissions reduction goals, and;
- Your government table a detailed, scientifically sound plan to meet these legislated goals as soon as possible.
Ontario needs a strong, decisive climate plan in place to ensure the province is working hard to reduce its contribution to the global carbon pollution that drives climate change - climate change that is already having very direct and serious impacts on the lives of everyday Ontarians.
The costs for fire suppression, fire- and flood-related property losses, and heat wave-triggered health interventions are contributing to tens of millions of new and growing financial burdens to Ontarians. 831 fires have been recorded as of the first week of August, besting by more than 60% the ten year average of 511 fires per year. Early spring floods this year caused catastrophic damages, declarations of states of emergency, and loss of life in southwestern Ontario. Over $124 million in insured flooding damage was declared in the Windsor region alone in the one month of August in 2017. Over this Canada Day weekend, we saw the highest yet recorded humidex values for southern Ontario - Ottawa hit humidex values of 47 degrees Celsius - while in neighbouring Quebec, as many as 70 deaths were attributed to the same early July heat wave.
In 2016, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario set ambitious yet achievable emissions reduction targets aligned with the actions of other provinces and states and in line with global objectives*. Despite significant progress to date**, Ontario remains the country’s second most carbon polluting province, after Alberta. We still have our work cut out for us and we call on your government to show the leadership demanded by the climate crisis.
We look forward to learning how your government plans to address this issue in a timely manner.
- Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
- Canadian Interfaith Fast for the Climate
- Canadian Labour Congress
- Citizens Climate Lobby Canada
- Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario
- Citizens for Public Justice
- Clean Air Partnership
- Climate Action Network - Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada
- Climate Justice Saskatoon
- Climate Reality Project Canada
- Council of Canadians
- Ecology Action Centre
- Ecology Ottawa
- Energy Mix Productions
- Environmental Defence Canada
- Foundation for Environmental Stewardship
- Green 13
- Green Neighbours 21
- Greenpeace Canada
- KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
- National Union of Public and General Employees
- Noor Cultural Centre
- Ontario Clean Air Alliance
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
- Passive Buildings Canada
- The Pembina Institute
- Pipeline Awareness Renfrew County
- Sierra Club Ontario
- Toronto Conference United Church of Canada
- Toronto Environmental Alliance
- West Coast Environmental Law
- Wilderness Committee
- World Federalist Movement - Canada
* Ontario’s goals: a reduction in 1990 emissions levels of 15 per cent in 2020, 37 per cent in 2030 and 80 per cent in 2050.
** Based on greenhouse gas reporting data, Ontario has met its 2014 target of six per cent below 1990 levels. The province achieved this goal in part by closing all of Ontario's coal-fired electricity-generating stations. This remains one of the single largest greenhouse gas reduction actions implemented to date in North America.