reducing emmissons

Blog Post

Tackling Greenhouse Gas Emissions, One Sector at a Time

October 24th, 2019

Tackling greenhouse gas emissions across Waterloo Region is no small task. Locally, our emissions come from five main sectors; however, ClimateActionWR’s latest greenhouse gas inventory indicated that the top three sectors alone – Transportation, Workplaces, and Homes – accounted for a whopping 94% of the total emissions in 2015! 

ghg breakdown

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do in these three areas as we work towards our long-term GHG reduction goal of 80% by 2050, and more pressingly, our current community Climate Action Plan to address the first 6% of that target by 2020. To help facilitate this hefty (but necessary!) task, the ClimateActionWR team turns to our community for knowledge and expertise. 

Every fall, we recruit subject matter experts and passionate community members to join one of our three sector committees that tackle each of our largest emitting sectors: 

  1. Transportation Sector Committee
  2. Workplaces/ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) Sector Committee
  3. Homes Sector Committee 

Sector committees take a ‘birds-eye’ view of their sector, being aware of all initiatives related to climate change mitigation within the boundaries of Waterloo Region, to act as connectors and catalysts, and identify and accelerate progress toward achieving our community’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. By acting as connectors and catalysts, the sector committees support the achievement of the region’s climate action strategy. 

Examples of a few recent projects and initiatives taken on by sector committees include:

  • Recurring monthly news column to promote climate action in local news outlets
  • Partnership with CAFKA on their CO2 Sequestration via Trees exhibit at Conestoga Mall
  • Working with local and external partners on #MappingWR, to help residents find low carbon ways to get around Waterloo Region
  • Working with local faith communities on climate action initiatives 
  • Developing relationships with local real estate associations to provide resources for agents and homebuyers on residential sustainability

Here’s what a few of our 2019 sector committee members have to say about their experience in this role:

  • “I love speaking with Waterloo Region business owners about ClimateActionWR. There is a spark that is created when they realize the connections that our Committee has, and how these connections can catalyze them to improve the environmental sustainability of their business, while reducing operating costs… Within the Industrial, Commercial and Institution sector, sustainability really has become a home-grown solution to the climate change crisis.” – Jennifer McLaughlin, Senior Manager, EHS (Canada & US) and Global EHS Programs, Blackberry
  • Participating in the Residential Committee has helped broaden my understanding of climate action across our region and see where change happens. Through my experience I have been enabled to engage with community members and support interesting projects. The connections I have made through ClimateActionWR through the committee and beyond have been wonderful!” Kate Pearce, Community Relations Coordinator, PowerShiftWR
  • “ClimateActionWR’s Transportation Sector committee is an important, collective voice providing decision makers valuable input and direction regarding infrastructure planning.  Fueled by on-the-ground experience as active cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, [the Transportation] committee works towards a shared goal of increased multi-modal options that are safe for users of all ages and abilities. I value being part of a dedicated, engaged and intelligent group of volunteers whose goals align with mine.” – Dorothy McCabe, Government Relations Specialist, HRAI

Do you have valuable knowledge about one of our three largest emitting sectors? Are you looking to get involved and make a meaningful difference in our community? We need you! Head on over to for our Terms of Reference and to access our online application form. Deadline to apply is November 8th, 2019, so don’t delay!

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Cambridge – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy

October 17th, 2019

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Responses compiled by Amanda Smith, M.P.S.

With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:

“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions? 

Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”

We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.

Responses from the Cambridge candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Party


People’s Party of Canada


Conservative Party – Sunny Attwal

Candidate did not respond.

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Green Party – Michele Braniff

“On May 8, 2019, the Green Party of Canada announced Mission Possible, a 20 step climate action plan that starts with declaring a climate emergency.  The second step is for an inner cabinet of all parties to provide government leadership to deal with the declared emergency (like the successful World War II non-partisan cabinets in Canada and England).   Climate change is an enduring and complex problem which requires long term planning and full collaboration across party lines. Mission Possible was designed to be a non-partisan blue print for climate action.   If sufficient Green Party members are elected to the House of Commons to form or influence a minority government, the Green Party Mission Possible is ready for all-party collaboration to achieve Canadian non-partisan government leadership so that Canada can meet our commitments from the Paris Accord.   Remember that Mike Schreiner (Green MPP facing a Conservative majority government) was successful in securing unanimous support at Queen’s Park for Bill 71, Paris Galt Morraine Conservation Act. The Green Party is committed to the environment and to doing politics more collaboratively and effectively.

As a Green Party Member of Parliament, I would advocate, rally support and negotiate support for immediate climate action.   Mission Possible is a fully costed, comprehensive pan and each of the 20 steps meets the criteria of a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-limited.  Mission Possible is an action plan which Canadians can afford, and it offers complete and comprehensive accountability; it will be easy to report and check on progress so that Canadians can see how well we are doing on achieving the goals for the 20 steps on schedule.  

Mission Possible meets or exceeds the standards set by the “people’s platform” of the Canadian Green New Deal.  Highlights of the 20 steps include:

  • setting stringent new targets of 60% 2005 levels by 2030 and zero by 2050
  • maintaining carbon pricing
  • ban fracking
  • green up and modernize the grid
  • plug into electric vehicles by ensuring cross-country charging stations for full implementation by 2040
  • getting back on track with VIA rail, light rail and electric buses
  • banning oil imports

Mission Possible is collaborative, across party lines in Ottawa and includes new partnerships for renewables with Indigenous Peoples and partnerships with municipalities, schools and universities for tree planting, solar panels, heat pumps and retro-fitting of buildings.  Mission Possible is also compassionate for people and jobs and includes transition planning to support workers in the non-renewable energy sector. The plan prioritizes adaptation to protect agriculture, fishing, and forestry from climate change. Climate Action requires collaborative government leadership and a comprehensive plan and the Green Party has a blueprint for both!”

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Liberal Party – Bryan May

The Liberal plan for the environment combines a number of key measures to incentivize a transition away from fossil fuels, disincentive pollution and produce revenue to heal it, build resilience to the effects of climate change we’re already seeing (floods, wildfires), and preserve Canadian wildlife. 

Putting a price on pollution, creating an electric vehicle incentive, doubling the amount of protected wildlife and coastal areas in Canada, investing in clean growth and renewables, working with provincial and municipal partners to create green building standards, and banning products like single-use plastics, are all policies that we’ve advanced in the past four years and that we’re going to continue to pursue if re-elected. 

Recently, we announced that we would be planting a net additional two billion trees in Canada. Wildlife preservation and revitalization is not only important to keep Canada’s ecosystem healthy, but also to increase our carbon sink capacity to reduce emissions. 

Incentivizing lifestyle and business changes, disincentiving destructive business practices, improving the resilience of our homes and communities to the effects of climate change, and preserving and revitalizing Canadian wilderness are the key aspects of our plan to halt the effects of climate change. If re-elected, I will continue to pursue and support policies that reduce emissions and preserve Canada’s environment.

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NDP – Scott Hamilton 

“New Democrats acknowledge the reality of the Climate Crisis. It’s caused by human activity, and there is very little time to make the deep systemic changes required to meet this challenge effectively and head-on. The NDP has a clear plan that takes decisive action to protect our planetary and ecological systems, deliver clean air and water, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our climate, our health, our economy, and the future of our planet.

In our first mandate, a New Democrat government will make new investments of over $15 billion to put in place programs to reduce emissions and create good jobs all across the country. This will include:

  • $350 million to support Indigenous rights and environmental protection efforts: (additional major investments in clean water, housing, and education are part of our plan);
  • $400 million to drive federal leadership on emissions reductions;
  • $1.5 billion to support workers, industries, research, and innovation;
  • $2.5 billion to create good jobs helping communities adapt to climate change and reduce emissions, including though energy efficient retrofits;
  • $6.5 billion in making transit and transportation cleaner, more affordable, and more convenient for Canadians;
  • $3.5 billion to spur the transition to renewable energy, in addition to funds leveraged through
  • the Canadian Climate Bank; and $400 million to support conservation, waste reduction, and protection of lands and water.

We will :

  • adopt science based GHG emissions reduction targets for 2030 that are in line with stabilizing global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius- and be accountable for meeting them
  • utilize carbon pricing to reduce carbon emissions, as one tool among many, with no exemptions for big polluters 
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies immediately and get Canada powered by net 100% carbon free electricity by 2030
  • Create at least 300,000 good jobs building the clean energy future in the next 4 years, including building zero-emissions electric vehicles here at home
  • Save $900 per year on home energy costs with energy efficient upgrades
  • Boost clean tech research and manufacturing with Buy Canadian procurement
  • Make all new buildings in Canada net-zero ready by 2030, and complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing housing stock in Canada by 2050
  • Get more zero-emissions vehicles on the road, with charging stations all across Canada; electrify our transit fleets by 2030, and work towards fare-free transit with interested municipalities

New Democrats envision a future with good jobs for all in green industries, whether manufacturing electric vehicles, or retrofitting/building green homes and buildings, or bringing new sources of sustainable energy on line. Where we power our cities and homes through green wind and solar sources, electric-powered public transit is accessible to all, in an economy where all have a fair share and a stake in the outcome. Every choice we make and action we take determines whether we maintain global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celcius and a livable planet for future generations, or not. 

We’re all in this together.”

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People’s Party – David Haskell 

“Technological advancement is the key to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. Most people don’t realize that the Western nation to most significantly decrease its output of CO2 (a partial cause, though not the greatest cause, of global warming) has been the United States. The US has no carbon tax and has not signed the Paris Accord on reducing CO2 emissions. What happened? All of the reductions in the US came about because of technological advances.

What about a carbon tax? As the majority of economists studying climate change readily admit, a carbon tax will only work if all countries of the world, especially the biggest emitters, China, India, and the US, adopted the measure (and this won’t happen).

Further, they insist that for the tax to be effective in changing behaviour and reducing carbon intensive activities the tax must be in the $300 per tonne range. In Canada the tax is just $20 per tonne of carbon. The tax in Canada is too low to have an effect. However, if raised to the level needed to have environmental impact, it would cause a recession in the economy, lead to massive business failure, and personal hardship for the poorest Canadians (who could not afford to drive to work or heat their homes).  In France where the tax was raised slightly above the Canadian levels riots broke out and the Yellow Vest movement launched. The government of France cut the tax.

My views, and the views of my party about Climate Change and CO2 align with some of the best academic opinion. It is not popular with those promoting climate alarmism but it is highly credible research.

Canadians are not getting both sides of the story on global warming. I would encourage readers of my answer to search out the YouTube videos of Climate Economist Dr. Bjorn Lomborg at the Copenhagen Consensus Centre. Also, please watch the videos of Prof. Richard Lindzen (especially his appearance on TVO’s The Agenda or his five minute piece on Prager University). Dr. Lindzen is a world authority on global warming and climate. He is an atmospheric physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has published more than 200 scientific papers and books on climate. Importantly, he was a lead author of Chapter 7, “Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report on Climate Change. The IPCC is the United Nations body charged with monitoring climate change.

You may have heard that the PPC is not in favour of extreme measures to correct global warming and that part is correct. What you likely haven’t heard is that we do have very important priorities for the environment. The difference between our priorities and those of the other parties is that we can actually accomplish our priorities! While respecting the taxpayer! As a government we will immediately implement practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.”

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Kitchener Centre – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy

October 17th, 2019

Kitchener Centre

Responses compiled by Amanda Smith, M.P.S.

With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:

“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions? 

Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”

We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.

Responses from the Kitchener Centre candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:

Animal Protection Party

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Party


People’s Party of Canada


Animal Protection Party – Ellen Papenburg

“It is very simple. If we just reduce eating animal products or even switch completely to a whole food plant-based lifestyle (a delicious and nutritious choice), we will have just as much if not more of an impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as not driving a car. WE ALL can do this Right Now. NO regulation or even politics required.

Not only is this good for our health (which I personally can vouch for with incredible improvement of my long-time diabetes after changing my diet), it is also much nicer for the animals, and it is very good for our planet of which we have only ONE. We have No Planet B!

Other actions could include putting a stop to subsidizing fossil fuel industries and massive concentrated animal factories, and instead start planting forests and spend those monies on developing green industries and a green economy.”

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Conservative Party – Stephen Woodworth

“My interest in protecting our environment led me to serve on the Environment Committee continuously during my seven years in Parliament.  I expect to return to that service if re-elected, to continue working for strong, achievable multifaceted environmental policies.

Visit to see our complete policy, which is too large for the word limit allowed here.  Greenhouse gas emissions don’t recognize borders. Merely reducing Canadian emissions, while merit-worthy, won’t have any significant effect on climate change, which is Canadians’ real concern.  Here are just some of our Conservative strategies to meet the climate change challenge.

    1. Promoting export of Canadian clean products, like aluminum, to displace products with higher emissions profiles by, for example, expanding EDC green bond programs which finance development of emissions-reducing technologies.
    2. Promoting Canadian energy, like LNG, to replace dirtier foreign sources.
    3. Promoting the export of Canadian emission reduction technologies.  With close to 3,000 coal plants, if China fitted even just their top 100 plants with Canadian carbon capture and storage, more than 300 Mt of CO2e per year will be eliminated – nearly half of what Canada’s entire economy produces.
    4. Tax measures supporting green industries including, for example, accelerated capital cost allowance to industries which reduce emissions in other countries, and to producers who are among the least carbon-intensive in the world in their industry.
    5. Emissions standards for major emitters, driving Canadian businesses to the highest standards of green technology.  Businesses exceeding Green Investment Standards must invest in research, development, and adoption of emissions-reducing technology.  Visit to see specifics.
    6. Creating a two-year Green Homes Tax Credit (GHTC) to contribute to homeowners’ energy-saving renovations.  Visit to see specifics.
    7. Establish retrofit standards for those who undertake an environmental retrofit.
    8. Providing legal supports to develop a market for Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC), propelling building renovation in the long term (by using investment capital up front with owners paying back investors through energy savings).
    9. Establishing a voluntary net-zero ready building standard (to help create a market for cutting-edge home efficiency technology in all home price ranges.)
    10. Encouraging greater use of wood and low-carbon cement in construction projects.
    11. Establishing a Green Patent Credit to reduce the tax rate to 5% on income that is generated from green technology developed and patented in Canada.
    12. Leveraging up to $1 billion in new venture capital for Canadian green technology companies (building on the previous Conservative government’s Venture Capital Action Plan).
    13. Creating a single online green technology innovators’ hub that will help them identify where to find talent, information, and resources from private and public sectors.
    14. Negotiating regulatory changes to increase the efficiency of goods transportation at borders.
    15. Working with provinces, auto manufacturers, business leaders and industry experts to develop faster-charging electric vehicle batteries, increase the distances that can be travelled on a single charge, deal with the challenges of recycling used batteries, and deploy the necessary changing infrastructure to accommodate a changing fleet.”

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Green Party – Mike Morrice

“I started SWR because I was frustrated with the lack of political action on climate – this is the same reason why I am now running for office.

We must respond at a scale that is appropriate to the times – this is what the science demands.

The federal government needs to respond in a manner that creates jobs, makes life more affordable, and protects our environment.

This means:

  • Stricter targets: Set a target of 60 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net-zero by 2050 (double the current reduction target); set declining legal emissions limits for industries. 
  • Retrofit buildings across the country: Finance building retrofits and installation of renewable energy technologies such as solar and heat pumps through direct grants, zero-interest loans and repayments based on energy cost savings. 
  • Transitioning away from fossil fuel subsidies: Implement a major ramp-up of renewable electricity moving quickly towards 100% clean energy. 

We have to start this coming election. We can no longer keep pushing back our ‘day of action’.”

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Liberal Party – Raj Saini

“Earlier this year, I seconded a motion presented by my colleague Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for Beaches-East York, that would commit Canada to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.  The Liberal Party of Canada has made it a key component of our platform to legislate reaching that goal. This is exactly what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for, and I’m proud that our party is stepping up.    

It is critical that we continue moving forward, transitioning to net zero emissions.  The price on pollution, introduced by our government earlier this year, will help ensure that our emissions peak and begin to decline within the next decade – a key step in reaching our long-term goals.  However, this alone, while helping our emissions decrease substantially, will not be enough to reach either our 2030 or our 2050 targets. We need a broad, holistic and responsible approach to achieve that. 

This transition can’t happen overnight, and while we’ve been laying the ground-work for the last four years, there is still more to do.  Some sectors, such as transportation, are going to be harder to transition off fossil fuels than others. Aside from our investments in greener public transit and environmentally sustainable buildings, we’ve also expanded infrastructure needed for zero emissions vehicles.  In our budget this year, we started making these vehicles more affordable, and have worked with auto manufacturers to transition the market to 100% zero emissions vehicles by 2040. 

Taking action responsibly, and leaving no one behind as we move forward on these issues, is so critical given the stakes.  Roughly 80% of our electricity is clean energy, and we’re working to ensure a just transition for coal workers as we close our coal power plants over the next decade and continue increasing investments in renewables.  We have also committed to cutting the tax rate in half for companies creating zero emissions products, benefiting communities across Canada.     

Retrofitting our buildings is another way to substantially reduce our emissions, and we’re going to help individual homeowners and landlords do just that.  Our National Housing Strategy requires affordable housing projects to be environmentally sustainable. As we advance this program, we have also committed to giving all Canadians a helping hand at greening their homes with an up to 40,000.00 interest free loan to implement a variety of retrofits, from replacing drafty windows to adding solar panels!     

We are committed to continuing to pursue other methods to reduce our emissions.  We have to work together on this; individuals, communities, businesses, industry, and nonprofits.  Something I personally want to look at is reducing our food waste, which creates 21 million tons of CO2 every year.  Addressing this issue could be another component to reducing our emissions, and I look forward to bringing it up in Parliament if granted the privilege of representing our community of Kitchener Centre once again.”

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NDP – Andrew Moraga 

Declined to respond.
View Andrew’s platform on his website at

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People’s Party – Patrick Bernier 

“The PPC and I believe that Canadians and their enterprises will find solutions though technological advancements and the increasing market demand for environmental cleanup. Emissions will improve faster and faster if we empower Canadians and businesses to make sustainable choices. If elected, I will work hard to empower Canadians,  and especially the Canadians of Kitchener Centre. We vote every day with our dollars. The more dollars we retain from our work, through less taxation and a repatriation of funds, the more our daily votes will influence change. The world is a network of capable minds who have solved many obstacles, and will continue to do so; I have full confidence in our capabilities!

A People’s Party government will:

    • Stop sending billions of dollars to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions. 
    • Abolish the Liberal government’s carbon tax and leave it to provincial governments to adopt programs to reduce emissions if they want to.
    • Abolish subsidies for green technology and let private players develop profitable and efficient alternatives.
    • Invest in adaptation strategies if problems arise as a result of any natural climate change.
    • Prioritize implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities”

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Kitchener-Conestoga – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy

October 17th, 2019


Responses compiled by Amanda Smith, M.P.S. 

With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:

“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions? 

Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”

We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.

Responses from the Kitchener-Conestoga candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Party


People’s Party of Canada


Conservative Party – Harold Albrecht

“We should all be concerned about climate change – about the kind of planet we will leave to future generations. A Real Plan to Protect. Our Environment is built on three guiding principles:

  • Green technology, not taxes.
  • A cleaner and greener natural environment.
  • Taking the climate change fight global.

We can actually create more jobs in Canada through technological growth while at the same time lowering global emissions.

A Conservative Government will introduce the Green Homes Tax Credit, a two-year plan that will encourage Canadians to improve their homes with emissions-reducing technologies.

We will also:

  • Export our environmental excellence and take the climate change flight global.
  • Reinforce the protection against pests and invasive species that are threatening our habitats.
  • Reinstate constructive consultations on protected areas with stakeholders and Indigenous groups that were cancelled by the Trudeau Liberals.
  • Reinstate funding for wetland, watershed, and fisheries conservation also revoked by the Liberals.
  • Reconvene the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel the Liberals disbanded, so that those with the greatest interest in protecting species and habitats can share their expertise in how it will be done.
  • Take real action on reducing plastic waste by harmonizing recycling standards across provinces and working with industry to cut down on excessive packaging.
  • Protect our waterways against wastewater dumping and work with municipalities to end their practice of dumping billions of liters of raw sewage into our waterways.”

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Green Party Stephanie Goertz

As producing and burning fossil fuels is the largest source of emissions, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and retool society to run on non-polluting, renewable energy sources.  In order to transition to a ‘zero emissions’ world, we will establish a cross-party inner cabinet to deal with climate change to limit the destructive impact of partisan politics which has thwarted strong climate action for two decades. Its mandate would be to ensure that Canada does its part to limit global warming to a level civilization can survive, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians.  

Green Party MP’s will

  • Maximize emissions reductions in all transportation through the use of sustainably produced biofuels, made from waste wood by-products and used vegetable oils, where electric and fuel cells not viable, as is the case for fishing, mining and forestry equipment. 
  • Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses. Fund the re-rout-ing of tracks for freight and rail yards away from populated areas and strengthen Canada’s rail safety rules, giving regulators the tools they need to protect neighbourhoods from train shipments of hazardous materials.
  • Change the national building code to require new construction to meet net-zero emission standards by 2030 and work with the provinces to enact it.
  • Reject any new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved. Existing oil and gas operations will continue on a declining basis, with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright due to impacts on groundwater quality, methane release and seismic activity.
  • Implement a major ramp-up of renewable electricity. By 2030, 100 percent of Canada’s electricity will come from renewable sources. This includes getting remote and northern communities off diesel generators.
  • To enable renewable electricity to flow across provincial and territorial boundaries, implement a national electrical grid strategy, including building connections between eastern Manitoba and western Ontario, and upgrading connections between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This will be paid for with money now allocated for expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline ($1.6 billion announced in December 2018, towards an estimated $10-13 billion), and create thousands of jobs nation-wide.
  • Launch a massive energy efficiency retrofits of residential, commercial and institutional buildings. To make a renewable energy transition possible, we have to eliminate energy waste. According to trade union research, this will create over four million jobs.

A Green government will pass into law a Climate Change Act requiring a 60 percent cut in climate-changing emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero in 2050.
Interim targets would be set at five-year intervals beginning with 2025. To achieve this, the government of Canada must utilize every tool in the federal toolkit, including regulations, public spending, and pollution pricing.

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Liberal Party – Tim Louis

As a father of two, my wife Brenda and I are continually thinking about our children’s’ future, and the planet we will leave behind for both of them. There is no issue more critical to our future than fighting climate change, and I will be a champion in Kitchener–Conestoga if elected. 

Our Liberal team has a strong plan to both protect the environment and grow the economy. The Liberal government has and will continue to take action to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change across all sectors—including industry, construction, transportation and agriculture.

This means using clean electricity to power our homes, building resilient green infrastructure, protecting our clean drinking water sources, and expanding protected areas and parks with new conservation measures such as species protection and tree planting.

Over the last four years, the Liberal government has made significant progress on protecting our environment and tackling climate change by:

  • Putting a price on pollution, to fight climate change while putting money back in the pockets of millions of Canadian families;
  • Launching the Oceans Protection Plan, the single-largest investment in Canadian history to protect our oceans;
  • Taking real action to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021;
  • Investing in better public transit in communities across Canada;
  • Supporting renewable energy and investing in energy-efficient buildings;
  • Declaring a national climate emergency;
  • Phasing out coal.

Unfortunately, Conservative politicians want Canada to go back to the Stephen Harper years of inaction when polluting our environment was free. We have to do better –– the next generation is counting on each of us. Canadians want a government that takes climate change and protecting our environment very seriously. We have been working with all Canadians to make sure our children and our grandchildren inherit cleaner air, a healthy environment, and a more prosperous future.

I know there is still much more work to do and, if elected as your Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga, I am committed to championing the environment and fighting climate change for not just my two children, but for all future generations.

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NDP – Raini de Wet

Candidate did not respond.

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People’s Party – Koltyn Wallar

We have seen that carbon taxes and “carbon pricing” in British Columbia, which they have had for the past eleven years, have been wholly ineffective at reducing GHG emissions. Electric vehicle incentives hardly fix the problem as well; GHG emissions still result from the production of the lithium batteries required in electric vehicles.

The current GHG emission reduction targets for the Waterloo Region are unrealistic and would require a complete re-ordering of society and the economy to achieve them. There is no policy the federal government should introduce or pitch that would target the Waterloo Region; that would mean overstepping the boundaries of jurisdiction.

Moreover, raising the carbon tax, as would be necessary even to come close to currently accepted reduction targets, would put immense strain on our economy.

When the 2007 IPCC report admits that “future climate states cannot be predicted”, it’s worth it to take pause. The margins of error are so wide on climate models that we cannot accurately predict the climate’s state twenty years from now. Additionally, this means that we cannot accurately gauge the positive or negative changes of present-day policies. That is important to keep in mind: we cannot know now what effect various carbon taxes and green subsidies will have.

Therefore, the People’s Party of Canada is skeptical of traditional “green” policies. A People’s Party government would let private businesses and organizations develop profitable and efficient solutions. The free market is a powerful maker of change; when unleashed, it is the most exceptional agent of innovation in the world. We would also respect the concept of Confederation; if provinces wished to implement carbon taxes, a People’s Party government would not interfere.

The PPC stance is a principled one. It rejects climate alarmism, ineffective policies, and inaccurate computer models. It promotes the ability of private businesses and organizations, and that of private individuals, to make the changes and choices they see fit.

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Kitchener South-Hespler – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy

October 17th, 2019

Kitchener South-Hespler

Responses compiled by Amanda Smith, M.P.S. 

With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:

“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions? 

Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”

We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.

Responses from the Kitchener South-Hespler candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Party


People’s Party of Canada


Conservative Party – Alan Keeso

Candidate did not respond.

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Green Party David Weber

“A very large component to GHG emissions are the fossil fuels that are used to heat our homes and commercial spaces. We know that builders like Gatto and Reids have recently started building specialty homes that are 77% more energy efficient than code requires. This allows them to be easier to cool in the summer and are misers to heat in cold weather. Solar panels and batteries can put these residences as net zero carbon buildings. Waterloo has a commercial building boasting the same net zero carbon footprint. The Green plan to strengthen code so that all new buildings are compliant to these high standards and putting a workforce to retrofitting existing homes and structures to bring up their efficiencies can get us out of natural gas for heating all of these buildings. This would make a huge impact in reducing our GHG emissions in an ongoing basis for all Canadians.

Another serious issue is fossil fuel transportation. While we encourage creation of a National Transportation Strategy that electrifies and builds out more efficient and accessible mass transportation, the shift of our current automotive focus from gasoline to electric power is an undertaking that we must support. I suggest that current EV incentives help reimburse some funds to only those that are wealthy enough to be able to pay for a more expensive electric vehicle. I would recommend that energy savings loans would be a better way to move forward. For example, anyone purchasing a new gasoline powered vehicle would expect to pay approximately $20 000 for it. Presuming that is all they can afford, a $5 000 rebate on a $35,000 EV vehicle is not helpful. Rather than giving any rebates to the wealthier, it would be better to replace that plan with one that the government gives a loan at 0% interest for any amount above the first $20,000 for anyone purchasing an electric vehicle. The money saved in operating it would normally be several hundred dollars per month.  If the savings were what was used to pay the loan back, more buyers could do their part to have a better vehicle and reduce their carbon footprint, while the government cost would only be the interest required to carry that loan for the purchaser. It would be cheaper for the government and make EV’s more accessible to anyone that would be in the market for a new vehicle. After the loan is paid, imagine your operating costs at 20% that of operating an internal combustion engine vehicle.

Retrofits and building better new homes and new commercial structures along with all transportation to be electrified and powered by renewable energy, utilizing cost effective and doable measures, will get us to where we need to be in reducing our carbon footprint to net zero. To do this, we must elect officials with the political will to see them accomplished. I give you my commitment to this endeavor.

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Liberal Party – Marwan Tabbara

Candidate did not respond.

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NDP – Wasai Rahimi

The NDP has a strong commitment to environmental initiatives; climate change is the single greatest issue effecting Canada and the world. The NDP has committed to protecting our land and water, redirecting subsidies from oil and gas companies into green initiatives, expanding access to public transit, retrofitting older buildings to be energy efficient (and ensuring all new builds are efficient), and ensuring large corporations are held accountable for any pollution they generate. Most importantly, the Federal government needs to work closely with other nations, we are all in this together and we cannot achieve enough alone. We hope all these policies can make a difference to reduce CO2 emissions and redirect our current path towards climate diaster.

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People’s Party – Joseph Todd

Candidate did not respond.

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Waterloo – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy

October 17th, 2019


With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:

“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions? 

Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”

We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.

Responses from the Waterloo candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:

Conservative Party

Green Party

Liberal Party


People’s Party of Canada


Conservative Party – Jerry Zhang

Candidate did not respond.

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Green Party – Kirsten Wright

There is really not much mystery about what works or what is in our platform. I am running because I want to implement those policies.

Carbon pricing works, as economist have shown, is a necessary part of any solution, and it is part of our policy. Because a carbon fee alone would hurt families and reduce economic activity, we call for a carbon dividend and a dividend returning all the revenue to people equally. We need to apply this fee to all all sources of carbon dioxide pollution. The fee must rise over time. Because of the dividend this is almost completely painless for almost all Canadians

We will set legal emissions limits and a carbon fee to ensure that CO2 emissions decline by 60% by 2030.

We know the fossil fuel industry is a dead end for Canada. It actually inhibits our development. We will immediately end all subsidies for fossil fuels, drive the development of a national electricity grid, and take steps to prevent new fossil fuel production and the creation of fossil fuel infrastructure. The relatively few workers involved in extracting fossil fuels are needed to shut down orphaned oil and gas wells that are threatening to bankrupt prairie governments. Fossil fuel workers are needed turn these provincial liabilities into income-generating renewable energy sources, ideally in partnership with First Nations.

Workers form the fossil fuel industry are also needed in Ontario where we have labour shortages today. They are needed to retrofit our housing stock so we can save all the money we waste on natural gas or heating oil. Retrofitting alone will create over 4 million jobs. Our labour market policies support our plan to build a Green economy. We will work with provinces to revise the national building code so that all new buildings meet net-zero emission standards by 2030. We will develop programs to support retrofitting families in retrofitting older buildings

We will phase out all sales of internal combustion engines by 2030. This is relatively easy, because electric vehicles will soon be cheaper than ICUs. They are already better in any ways.

We will promote cheap, zero-emission public transit, and invest $600 million in 2020-21 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions. The amount will rise to $720 million by 2023. We will build those long overdue high-speed rail lines in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City and Calgary-Edmonton corridors.

We will accelerate agriculture’s transition to regenerative agriculture that increases carbon storage in soils.

And of course, we will energetically support new renewable energy generation, energy storage for grids, charging stations for vehicles,

Our actions and our rising national carbon fee will let us pressure other governments. We will push for carbon prices for traded goods and lead an international effort to implement bring international shipping and aviation into the Paris framework. We will work for an international tax for aviation and shipping fuels earmarked for the Global Climate Fund.

The Green Party is the only federal party with an inspiring vision for a Canada built on a clean economy, and we’re the only party with a comprehensive suite of policies and approaches to make it happen. From aggressively retrofitting existing buildings to make them more efficient, accelerating our transition to renewable energy, or re-investing in efficient rail infrastructure, we have a whole slate of policies and actions that we will work to implement.

The shift to a post-fossil fuel economy presents the single biggest business opportunity in human history, and we can take advantage of it while improving how we live or how we get around, opening up new investment opportunities, and making our country cleaner and greener for future generations.

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Liberal Party – Bardish Chagger

“Having represented the Riding of Waterloo over the past four years as Member of Parliament, it’s clear that Canadians want action against climate change and its harmful impacts today and on future generations. In 2015, we ran on a commitment to put a price on pollution because it is both the smart and right thing to do – especially for our children and grandchildren.

This price on pollution signals to big businesses and consumers alike that it is no longer free to pollute in Canada. It’s time to innovate, invest, and transition to the green economy. We also brought forward the Climate Action Incentive which puts money back into the pockets of Canadians, not businesses, to make sure transitioning to cleaner choices is more affordable.

Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, which means we must work with all Canadians to fight climate change, cut pollution, and protect our environment. Over the past four years, we invested in clean technologies to help build a healthier environment for our children and grandchildren, while creating new jobs and opportunities for Canadians to provide for their families.

On zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), our Liberal government invested in the further deployment of ZEVs by providing $62.5 million through Budget 2016 for infrastructure and demonstration projects. Budget 2017 commits an additional $120 million to deploy and demonstrate charging and refuelling infrastructure. Investments like this will make it easier for Canadian zero-emission vehicle drivers to travel farther, enabling them to do their part to address our climate change challenge.

Recognizing that we’ve made progress, we continue to work with environmentalists, economists, academics, Canadians, and so forth as we have a lot more work to do. In our costed platform, we are committed to building on our comprehensive plan for the environment. Our new commitments include:

  • Setting five-year, legally-binding milestones to achieve net-zero emissions
  • Planting an additional two billion trees over the next ten years
  • Introducing a Just Transition Act to give workers the ability to succeed in a clean economy
  • Cutting corporate taxes in half for companies that develop and manufacture zero-emissions technologies
  • Incentivizing choices for Canadians to make their homes more energy efficient

Liberals know that if you don’t have a plan for the environment, you can’t have a plan for the economy. The cost of inaction is huge, and that’s why we are acting now to incentivize Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint and make greener choices. In this election, Canadians have an important choice to make: will we put at risk the progress we’ve made, or will we continue to move forward? I hope we choose to protect our environment and lead in the green economy.

Our government brought back the long-form census, unmuzzled scientists, and returned to evidence-based decision making. I encourage you to check out the progress we’ve made and our plan to keep making greater progress, for the better at

Thank you again for participating in the democratic process. We need to choose action over inaction.”

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NDP – Lori Campbell

As the NDP candidate for Waterloo, I believe that not only do governments have to put a price on carbon, but they need to roll out additional environmental programs and incentives to lower our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement targets.

New Democrats have long championed action on climate change. We’re proud of Jack Layton’s trailblazing Climate Change Accountability Act as well as NDP MP Linda Duncan’s important work on an Environmental Bills of Rights.

It’s time to fight like our future depends on it. That’s why I am proud to champion the NDP’s bold plan to address the climate crisis. Our plan will take on big polluters, create thousands of new jobs, and protect our planet for future generations.  

Here are some highlights from our plan. An NDP-led government will:

  • revise Canada’s 2030 GHG target to make emissions reductions in line with what science says is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change
  • work with Indigenous people as full and equal partners in the fight against climate change
  • immediately end oil and gas company subsidies
  • ensure all new buildings in Canada are net-zero ready by 2030 and complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing housing stock in Canada by 2050
  • expand access to training and re-training for a just transition to the new job market
  • create an independent Climate Accountability Office to do regular audits of progress towards our climate goals
  • create a Canadian Climate Bank to spur investment in the low carbon economy
  • move towards free public transit, bring back critical rural and northern transit routes, and invest in higher frequency, higher speed rail
  • provide easier access to buy and charge zero emissions vehicles by providing a rebate on the purchase of electric vehicles
  • ban single-use plastics
  • protect at least 30% of our land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030

Personally, as a Cree-Metis woman, my obligation to care for our world goes beyond my political affiliation. I am proud to be a caretaker of our land and will bring that philosophy to Ottawa as your MP for Waterloo.

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People’s Party – Erika Traub

Candidate did not respond.

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Where do Local Election Candidates stand on the Climate Crisis?

September 28th, 2019

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Now more than ever, environmental concerns are at the forefront of voters’ minds. In the most recent survey by Forum Research, 26% of surveyed Canadians identified the environment as the most important issue in the upcoming election, topping even the economy at 25%. This is a massive increase from earlier this year, where the same survey found that only 15% of Canadians believed the environment was the top election issue. This also strays from previous elections, where the top two election issues have consistently been healthcare and the economy. 

There could be a number of factors affecting this shift, including recent media attention surrounding the carbon tax, an increase in extreme climate events across the country, and the growing number of reports and studies from leading climate research organizations tying human activity to a rapidly changing global climate. Accordingly, these environmental issues will be an influential force for voters this election season.

Despite the importance of this issue, the task of accessing this information can be challenging for most of us, and scrolling through pages of multiple candidates’ platforms to find the environmental information you are looking for can be tedious and time consuming. To help facilitate this, GreenPAC, a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to elect and support environmental leaders of all major parties running for office, has created a solution, so environmental platforms can be easily accessible and addressed directly by local candidates! 

All ridings within Waterloo Region will be participating in this initiative called “100 Debates on the Environment” which will consist of 100 debates between local candidates in ridings across the country. Locally, these events will feature all candidates from each of our 5 ridings taking time to answer questions specific to their environmental platforms. 

You can attend in person or catch the live stream on their respective Facebook event pages. Tickets for these events are free and can be ordered per riding using the links below:

Don’t forget to connect with 100 Debates on Twitter and Instagram @100DebatesWR or shoot them a question at

Times and locations of each debate:

100 debates

Amanda Smith, M.P.S
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Dream Team Leads to Accelerated Climate Action in Waterloo Region

September 25th, 2019

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Two local consulting firms bring their strengths together with ClimateActionWR to develop Waterloo Region’s long-term Climate Action Strategy. 

(Waterloo Region, ON) September 19th, 2019 – ClimateActionWR has partnered with Unless Design Partners and WalterFedy, bringing together their specialized expertise to develop Waterloo Region’s long-term community Climate Action Strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2050.

Unless Design Partners, a non-profit consulting firm specializing in stakeholder and community engagement, and WalterFedy, an architecture and engineering firm with technical experience developing greenhouse gas and community energy plans, will work collaboratively with the ClimateActionWR team. Together, they will engage the community and develop the technical pathway for Waterloo Region’s long-term Climate Action Strategy to achieve the 80 per cent GHG emission reduction target by 2050, as well as the accompanying short-term Climate Action Plan to address the first ten years.

“We’re grateful to be involved in a project that has the potential to impact everyone in the region and beyond, as we take great care to put our energy towards work that builds sustainable futures for people and the planet. We’re fueled by the gravity of this project and excited to collaborate with such a fantastic and talented team.”– Unless Design Partners. 

The 80 per cent GHG reduction target was endorsed by all eight municipalities in Waterloo Region. The large-scale community collaboration earned ClimateActionWR a Transition 2050 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to empower them to complete this important work.

“Supporting our community means continually planning for the future and ensuring that as our community grows, we remain ahead of its needs. With Community Building, Environmental Sustainability, and Integrity among our firm’s core values, we are excited to work with this local collaborative team to create a Climate Action Strategy that will support our community for years to come.”- Patrick Darby, Energy Management Solutions, WalterFedy.

“Developing the long and short term action plans are no small tasks. Getting this right will require hearing as many voices and perspectives from across the region as possible. This will include working with local industry experts, academics, and citizens including everyone from students to the elderly, new Canadians to long-term residents of the region, and community members with all backgrounds, education levels, and areas of expertise.” – Samantha Tremmel, Interim Plan Manager, ClimateActionWR.

Several initiatives will begin in early Fall aimed at collecting valuable insight from the community, and ClimateActionWR wants to hear from you! Stay tuned to the ClimateActionWR website and social media, and watch for them at local community events in the coming weeks for updates on their progress, and opportunities to get involved and share your voice.

About ClimateActionWR

ClimateActionWR is a collaboration between local organizations and community members focused on climate change mitigation, and is led by Sustainable Waterloo Region and Reep Green Solutions. It coordinates the activities of our community’s Climate Action Plans with a current greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target of 6% below 2010 levels by 2020, and a long-term target of 80% GHG reduction by 2050.

For more information visit


Samantha Tremmel, Interim Plan Manager

It’s Not an Environmental Problem

September 11th, 2019

Election Series

Let’s take the word ‘environment’ out of the discussion of environmental policy for a second. If we can understand the impacts of climate change without actually using the terms ‘environment’ or ‘climate change’, it may provide a more comprehensive view of the problem that we are facing.

  • Imagine a provincial policy that inflicted a tax on the agricultural market for tender fruits which cost the industry an additional $100 million per year. This would provoke an uproar within the industry. Meanwhile, in March 2012, unprecedented extreme weather events cost the tender fruit industry that same $100 million, which resulted in an increase in prices at the grocery store [1]. 
  • Similarly, let’s imagine the government decided that healthcare is too expensive, and switched from a public to a semi-private model at an annual cost to citizens in Toronto between $3-11 million. This would induce rage among citizens. Meanwhile, the results of higher smog concentration and warmer summers from climate change are estimated to cost between $3-11 million in increased healthcare costs in Toronto alone [2].
  • What if a major public insurance company, through bad investments, incurred $1.9 billion in losses over a single year? Meanwhile, the Insurance Bureau of Canada suffered a loss of $1.9 billion due to payout for an increased number of catastrophic disasters in 2018 that can be linked to climate change [3]. 
  • Finally, what if the province raised the HST, costing the average Canadian between $675 and $1162 annually? By 2050, it is estimated that climate change will cost the Canadian economy between $24-43 billion dollars, at a cost of $675-$1162 to the average Canadian citizen [4]. 

Any one of the scenarios above would likely cause negative backlash or even uproar onto the provincial and federal governments. Yet, when the words ‘tax’ or ‘healthcare’ are switched for words like ‘climate change’ or ‘environment’, we are often reluctant to act, or need more evidence. These are real costs that are being inflicted on the Canadian public due to unchecked consequences of climate change, and unsustainable business practices. 

This is not an environmental problem. This is a social problem, an economic problem, and a moral problem. This is a problem. 

This year’s election is pivotal for climate change action. Each party will be releasing climate action plans; it is vital that the public is informed on their impact at a federal level, as well as how these policies will impact us here in the Waterloo region. This blog will be your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know in the upcoming election about federal policies and their local impacts. As a voter, you have the power to make a difference and set our country on a path that creates a sustainable and beautiful world for generations to come.  

Make an informed decision this fall when you go to the polls. Keep up to date with ClimateActionWR resources and visit our website to see what you can do to make change, and help fight climate change.

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Amanda Smith, M.P.S





Waterloo Region’s low carbon future supported by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

February 4th, 2019

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February 4th, 2019 – ClimateActionWR, led by Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region, has been granted $340,700 in funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The funding will be used to work with all eight area municipalities of Waterloo Region to help set the foundation to create significant carbon emission reductions to attain the long-term 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2050 (80 by 50).

The grant is part of Transition 2050, an initiative offered through FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP). Ten organizations have been selected to build a network of communities and support them as they develop long-term plans and projects contributing to a low carbon transition by 2050 in alignment with the target date as set out by the Paris Agreement.

Participating municipalities will undertake commitments to deep emissions reductions through peer learning, strategic planning and operational implementation, while leveraging lessons learned from communities facing similar challenges.

“This funding will enable ClimateActionWR to support the community and eight area municipalities in reaching our 80 by 50 target by building capacity and developing a long-term climate action plan. We’re eager to be a part of Waterloo Region’s transformation towards a low-carbon, sustainable future!” said Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director of Reep Green Solutions, and Tova Davidson, Executive Director of Sustainable Waterloo Region in a joint statement.

By embedding climate goals into diverse facets of municipal planning, and sharing new information with their peers, communities of all sizes can provide greater environmental, economic and social value for Canadians over the long-term.

Transition 2050 is available through MCIP, delivered by FCM and funded by the Government of Canada.

Related information

FCM’s Transition 2050 initiative

FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program


ClimateActionWR is a collaboration between local organizations and community members focused on climate change mitigation. Led by Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region, this program coordinates the activities of the Climate Action Plan. It establishes cross-sector dialogue, facilitates collaborative opportunities, and monitors and measures progress toward the achievement of our community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 6% below 2010 levels by 2020. Since June 2018, Waterloo Region has had an ambitious long-term 80% greenhouse gas reduction target to be achieved by 2050.  

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