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Here’s Why Waterloo Region’s Low Carbon Future Needs Your Vote in the June 2nd Provincial Elections

May 31st, 2022

It’s now days until the election. Before voting, we thought you’d like to know how the Ontario Provincial government affects local climate action. Our local Waterloo Region climate change mitigation goals under the TransformWR strategy include addressing emissions from agriculture, residential, transportation, workplaces, and waste. Local actors must work hard to meet our short- and long-term goals. But given its jurisdiction over all TransformWR focus sectors, the Province has a clear responsibility in achieving our long-term goals too. To reach our goals, the Provincial government must implement supportive policies and programs now if we are to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets respectively. Who you vote for on June 2nd matters for Waterloo Region’s low carbon future. So, know this before you vote:

Provincial Impact on TransformWR Calls to Action & Transformative Changes

the Ways
We Move
Most trips are taken
using active
transportation, with
the support of a
robust public transit

Supporting active transportation.
The Provincial government has the authority to establish guidelines for “complete streets” and make a commitment to creating communities that are bikeable and walkable.

Public transit system growth.
The government is an important partner in the expansion of infrastructure and provides some of the funding for the transportation system in the Waterloo Region.

Highway development.
The government is in charge of making decisions pertaining to highways, such as the Conestoga Parkway and Highway 7 to Guelph.

the Ways
We Move
Remaining personal and commercial vehicles are
zero emissions vehicles

Accelerating electric vehicle adoption.
In the past, the Provincial government has offered financial incentives for the purchase of electric cars and is in charge of regulating usage and resale market conditions.

Electrification of commercial vehicle fleets.
The Province is responsible for establishing emissions and safety regulations for commercial vehicles, and it has the potential to play a significant role in the electrification of fleets.

Deploying EV charging infrastructure.
Public charging stations are installed along highways and in rural regions with funding from the Provincial government.

Transform The Ways We Build & Operate
Our Spaces
Businesses and homes no
longer use fossil fuels for
space heating and cooling,
and water heating.

Individual building energy efficiency.
The province sets codes and regulations for new and existing buildings. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for administering the Ontario Building Code, which regulates minimum efficiency requirements and processes for how buildings are built and retrofitted in the Province.

Land use development and redevelopment.
Through the Planning Act, the Province regulates the development and use of land in Ontario, including processes and tools for planning and controlling development or redevelopment, as well as providing the legal foundation for local official plans and zoning-by laws.

The Energy system.
The Ontario Energy Ministry sets energy policy. Ontario’s energy policy covers generation, transmission, and facilities, including renewable energy sources. This is accomplished through legislation and regulation. The Ministry oversees pricing regulatory frameworks. Policies that promote energy conservation, clean technology, and innovation would also fall under the purview of the Province.

Transform the Ways
We Relate
Waterloo Region has
leveraged reducing GHG
emissions to increase
equity, prosperity, and
resiliency for all.

Making housing and workplaces healthier, accessible, and affordable is already within the Province’s power.
The Province oversees energy conservation and energy poverty reduction incentive programs (Ministry of Energy), affordable and social housing policies, tenant affordability controls, landlord energy conservation incentives, and building codes that require construction practices to enhance the health of the indoor environment (Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing).

Creating policies and programs that increase the representation of equity seeking groups in the green workforce is part of the Province’s jurisdiction.
Building local capacity to drive forward climate action will necessitate an increasingly robust workforce, with opportunities for equity seeking groups at its core to support local economic development. The province can exert influence in this area through regulatory bodies such as the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development and the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade through strategic policies and programs.

The Province can align key social, environmental, economic, land use, and energy policies and programs to allow groups and individuals to undertake equitable community-level climate action.
Jurisdiction includes but is not limited to ramping up local renewable generation (Ministry of Energy), providing appropriate tools, resources, and market signals to local governments and economies (Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade), and contributing to healthier communities and economic prosperity by protecting Ontario’s air, land, and water from climate impacts with strong policies and programs (Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks). 

Transform the Ways
We Produce, Consume
and Waste
Waterloo Region uses less, wastes less, and
no longer disposes of
organic matter in

Guide transition to a circular economy.
The government of the Province has the authority to enact legislation for the use of recovered materials, which will contribute to the expansion of the circular economy.

Waste management facilities and practices. 
Landfills are subject to regulation by the Provincial government, which includes the authorization of new landfills and the regulation of waste management procedures.

Diverting organic waste from landfills.
The Province has the authority to prohibit the disposal of organic waste in landfills and to impose stringent rules on the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors regarding organic waste.

Transform the Ways
We Produce, Consume

and Waste
Waterloo Region has a
thriving local food system built on local farming, and food production and processing that feeds
much of our community.

Agricultural practices.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs of Ontario is in charge of regulating farming in the Province, including but not limited to practices such as organic farming and small-scale farms.

Reducing food waste.
In order to reduce the amount of food that is thrown away, the Province is able to provide financial assistance toward the process of rescuing and redistributing excess food.

Supporting local food production and consumption.
The Province is responsible for enforcing sales regulations at farm stands and has the ability to encourage the purchase of locally grown food in Ontario supermarkets.

Keep this information in mind when voting for your local low carbon future. 

And if you’re interested in hearing from Waterloo Region MPP candidates’ about their plans to balance human and environmental needs, check out these Waterloo Region election candidate interviews.

The interviews are available on Waterloo Region Elections YouTube page: Waterloo Region Election Interviews – MPP candidates’ plans to balance human and environmental needs. For the June 2nd, 2022 Ontario election, several organizations and groups in Waterloo Region invited all the candidates for individual 15 minute interviews. The candidates were asked about issues that affect everyone in our community on a daily basis – climate change, land protection, transportation, housing, aggregate extraction and environmental justice.

The group coordinating the interviews included Grand River Environmental Network, Nith Valley EcoBoosters, rare Charitable Research Reserve, Reep Green Solutions (Reep), Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR), and ClimateActionWR (a co-led program of Reep and SWR).

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