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Overview of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan

Published on
June 9, 2016


Today, the Ontario government released the much anticipated Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan at an announcement that included Premier Wynne, Minister Murray, Minister Chiarelli, Minister Del Duca, and Minister Duguid.  It is a comprehensive approach to help business and individuals transition to a low-carbon economy.  The Plan outlines specific programs and initiatives that could total $8.3B over five years, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9.8M tonnes by 2020.

The development of a Five-Year Action Plan is a component of the recently-passed Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act; it is meant to outline how the government intends to achieve Ontario’s greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020 and 2030. These targets are as follows:

  • 2020: A GHG emissions reduction of 15% below 1990 levels  - a reduction of 19 megatonnes
  • 2030: A GHG emissions reduction of 37% below 1990 levels – an additional reduction of 62 megatonnes

The programs and initiatives outlined in the Action Plan are to be funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account (GGRA), which will hold the proceeds generated through the Ontario Cap and Trade Program. The Cap and Trade Program will commence in January 2017. The Act also stipulates that spending of the GGRA must go towards initiatives that are intended to reduce or support the reduction of GHGs.

Some initiatives have already been announced as part of the $325M Green Investment Fund (GIF), which was essentially a down payment on proceeds from the cap and trade program.


The programs and initiatives are categorized in the following eight Action Areas:

  1. Transportation
  2. Buildings and Homes
  3. Land-Use Planning
  4. Industry and Business
  5. Collaboration with Indigenous Communities
  6. Research and Development
  7. Government
  8. Agriculture, Forests and Lands

Green Bank

To assist in technology deployment a low-carbon service provider and financing entity called the Green Bank will be created.  The Green Bank will be utilized “to deploy and finance readily available low-carbon energy technologies to reduce carbon pollution from Ontario buildings.”  The Green Bank will be based on two existing best practice models: Efficiency Vermont and the New York Green Bank.

It will assist in helping households and businesses understand what government grants and incentives are available; assist in securing households with flexible low-interest financing for GHG reducing improvements; and support large commercial and industrial projects.

A summary of Action Areas featured in the Plan with anticipated funding allocation over the 5-year period is below.  The Plan also features projected start dates (by year), as well as some estimated GHG reduction estimates by program.

Other Areas

The 85-page document is significant, as it underscores the commitment that the Government of Ontario is making to reducing its GHG emissions, and achieving its legislated targets.  That said, it is clear that many more details will need to be articulated as the government develops these programs and initiatives over the five-year period.

Our team would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the Climate Change Action Plan.