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ClimateActionWR’s Nine Questions for This Municipal Election

October 6th, 2022

The 2022 municipal election is quickly approaching! Verify your eligibility to vote, check advance polling dates/locations and election day information on the Region of Waterloo Elections website.

All eight municipalities in Waterloo Region endorsed the TransformWR strategy, making it the official climate action plan for these governments. If we hope to meet the target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it is crucial that incoming candidates act on the recommendations of the plan. 

Here are nine questions that you can ask candidates at the door or at local debates:

1. How will you ensure that the TransformWR strategy remains a priority of the incoming council and builds momentum throughout the community?

All eight municipal councils endorsed the strategy along with a target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, and an interim target of a 50% reduction by 2030. These bold commitments are going to take immediate action by the incoming council.

2. How will you advocate to the provincial and federal governments in support of our long-term community climate action plan? 

When they approved the interim target of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, municipalities recognized that it is going to take support from the federal and provincial governments. This kind of multi-government collaboration takes time and clear vision.

3. How will you support the protection of agricultural land and our local agricultural systems?

Waterloo Region is an agricultural leader. Building and maintaining close relationships between our local municipalities and organizations within our local agricultural communities is critical to ensuring we meet and exceed best practices to protect our agricultural land.

4. What will you do to make home energy efficiency upgrades accessible and affordable for all?

Energy poverty (defined as paying twice the national average proportion of income for home energy) affects 1 in 5 households in Waterloo Region.

5. How will you support using active transportation for trips currently taken by car?

Our region needs to shift away from cars in order to meet the goals agreed to by council. By 2050, vehicle trips under 5km need to be reduced by 80% using active transportation. This shift needs to start now.

6. What steps will you take to make sure our (Region/City/School board) wastes less and no longer disposes of organics in the landfill?

Waste reduction is a major part of the TransformWR strategy, with one of the six transformative changes being “Waterloo Region uses less, wastes less, and no longer disposes of organic matter in landfills.” To make this happen, municipal governments need to work with the province and come up with creative solutions to real challenges like the lack of organic waste pick-up in multi-residential buildings.

7. How will you support local electricity generation from carbon neutral, renewable sources?

The TransformWR strategy calls for 38% of electricity used locally to be produced from local, carbon neutral, renewable sources. In order to realize this by 2050, we need to start now.

8. TransformWR promises that in the next three years, fuel oil and propane will be eliminated as heating sources for buildings. What steps will you take to make sure that happens?

This shift is one of the most immediate time-sensitive goals of the strategy. Fuel oil and propane heating are inefficient and unsustainable but switching can often be costly. Our municipalities need to work with residents to help them transition off these fuels affordably.

9. What steps will you take to support the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector’s transition to more energy efficient operations?

The second largest sector for emissions in our community comes from workplaces. This is the emissions from energy use in industrial, commercial and institutional buildings. This is a crucial sector to support in order to meet our long-term targets. 

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