FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cap-and-trade withdrawal threatens to derail municipal climate progress across Ontario

July 10, 2018

(Hamilton, Oakville, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor) - The Urban Climate Alliance - a coalition of five city-level Ontario environmental organizations - has researched the potential impact of provincial withdrawal from cap-and-trade and found that cities are facing a massive funding gap. Hundreds of millions of dollars of cap-and-trade revenues have already been directed to projects in Hamilton, Oakville, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor that will help fight climate change, with even more money anticipated for planned projects. In Ottawa alone, over $50 million was allocated to or anticipated for local projects. The province’s withdrawal from the cap-and-trade program, with no clear alternative funding stream identified, threatens to derail municipal climate progress across Ontario.

“Money from the cap-and-trade program was helping Ontario cities fight climate change, but it was also making them more livable,” said Robb Barnes, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “Money in Ottawa was going towards key pieces of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure like the new pedestrian footbridge over the Rideau Canal, as well as more walkable and bike-friendly streets near light rail stations along the Albert-Slater corridor. It was also helping make social housing more energy efficient and affordable for low income residents.”

The province’s cap-and-trade withdrawal leaves Ontario cities in a difficult position. With such a large funding gap, cities would struggle to continue ambitious climate program commitments using their limited tax base. The Urban Climate Alliance researched where funding from carbon pricing has gone so far in Hamilton, Oakville, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor. Already, money has been directed to a wide range of climate programs, including:

  • The development of community energy plans;
  • Upgrading energy efficiency in municipal buildings;
  • Retrofitting social housing to modernize the building stock while reducing greenhouse gas pollution;
  • Purchasing electric buses and low-emissions vehicles;
  • Building more pedestrian- and cycling-friendly streets; and
  • Scaling up the use of renewable energy.
“In Ottawa, buildings and transportation make up nearly 90% of all emissions city-wide," said Robb Barnes. "Through investments in social housing and active transportation, cap-and-trade money was going to where it was most needed in Ottawa. So far, the new provincial government has demonstrated no clear plan for climate action, leaving cities in the lurch."


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Robb Barnes Executive Director Ecology Ottawa [email protected] 613-860-5353 (office), 613-276-5753 (cell)


The Urban Climate Alliance is a collective of urban-based environmental groups made up of  Ecology Ottawa, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Environment Hamilton, Oakvillegreen Conservation Association and Citizens Environment Alliance (Windsor).

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