January 1, 2021
Current majority government:
Premier: Doug Ford, Progressive Conservative
Number of Members of Legislative Assembly in ON: 124
Progressive Conservative: 71
New Democratic Party: 40
Green Party: 1
New Blue: 1
Find your MPP by riding here: (2)
Environmental stance of majority party:
The PC Party of Ontario believes that we all have a role to play in protecting our environment, and they are committed to creating a cleaner environment for future generations. (3)
Currently implementing the “Made-in-Ontario” plan, proposed to keep Ontario moving towards the Paris Agreement emission-reduction goals. (4)
Percentage of 2020/2021 budget estimated to be allocated to the environment:
Total budget: $174.3 billion
Total allocated to the environment: $656.9 million
Percentage: 0.377% (5)
Main provincial-level legislation for environment protection:
Environmental Protection Act (1990)
Includes regulations regarding vehicles, waste management, renewable energy, oil spills, and air pollution/air quality.
Ontario Water Resources Act (1990)
Protects, conserves and manages water resources, as well as ensures they are used efficiently and sustainably. This act makes discharging pollutants into water illegal and regulates sewage discharge into water.
Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (1993)
Recognizes the value of the natural environment, as well as an individual’s right to a healthy environment. Goal: to protect, conserve and restore the environment, as well as provide for the sustainability of it.
Environmental Assessment Act (1996)
Provides for the proper management, conservation and preservation of Ontario’s environment. Example: municipalities must have their waste disposal systems approved by the Ministry.
Safe Drinking Water Act (2002)
Sets regulations to protect our health and prevent contamination of drinking water, setting strong prohibitions and penalties.
Green Energy Act (2009)
Encourages the expansion of renewable energy projects in Ontario and encourages energy efficiency across the province. The Ford government introduced legislation to repeal this act in September 2018, allowing them to stop renewable energy projects if they feel they are not needed.
Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016
Strategizes to divert waste from landfills, instead reintegrating it into our economy, with the goal of zero waste and GHG emissions. Addresses the need for more oversight and enforcement of policy and aims to create effective resource recovery systems. (6)
Specific government-based environmental programs:
Announced in November 2018, the goal of this plan is to preserve and protect the province’s land, air, and water, address litter, reduce waste, and reduce GHG emissions. Additionally, the Ontario government will seek private sector innovation as they believe reducing GHG emissions requires collaboration with stakeholders and businesses. (6)
Ontario Carbon Trust
Establishing a fund to invest in cleaner technologies, imposing performance standards on large GHG emitters. Does not impose a price on carbon, and aims to meet Paris Agreement targets by 2030. This is a major section of the Made-in-Ontario Plan mentioned above. (7)
Next election date:
On or before June 2, 2022. (11)
The current government of Ontario vetoed many of the programs put in place by the previous government that aimed to reduce GHG emissions, and have since introduced their own plan to combat climate change. In December 2019, Ontario’s Auditor General’s Annual Report confirmed that this plan will not allow the province to meet its own emission reduction targets and is not based on sound evidence. He called for a complete overhaul and revamp of this plan. (12)
What makes this province different?
Premier Doug Ford’s original proposed climate change plan did not include a price on carbon emissions, instead was focused heavily on electric vehicle uptake and adoption. (13)
In 2016, Ontario universities announced their commitment to making campuses more sustainable. This includes the addition of new courses and programs for students ranging from engineering net-zero buildings to building net-zero companies, leading research on clean technology, alternative fuels and batteries, and re-thinking campus operations (i.e. retrofitting old buildings to lower carbon emissions and reducing use of energy). (14)
Due to land-use changes over 80% of Ontario farmland is releasing carbon dioxide faster than it can be stored in the soil. (15)
In 2017 Ontarians emitted almost twice the global average per-person emission rate. (16)
18% of known mammals in Ontario are on the Species at Risk in Ontario List. (17)
Only 10.7% of Ontario’s land are protected areas despite national and international commitments to designate 17% by 2020. (18)
Ontario-managed Crown forests store about 4.3 billion tonnes of carbon. (19)