Coalition of over 90 groups celebrates the passage of Ontario’s historic climate change legislation

TORONTO, ON – The Clean Economy Alliance applauds the passage of Ontario’s Bill 172, the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act. The 90-member coalition united over a year ago to support Ontario in taking action to fight climate change and, today, with the passage of the new law, celebrates a major victory in the effort to stem carbon emissions and limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

“The new Climate Change Act enshrines Ontario’s climate targets into legislation and sets out a framework that will actually enable Ontario to reach those targets,” says Keith Brooks, Director of Clean Economy for Environmental Defence. “Canadian politicians have developed a bad habit of setting targets but then doing little to reach them. Ontario is an exception. The province hit its 2014 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target and with this new law, appears committed to reaching future targets too.”

In addition to enshrining Ontario’s GHG targets into legislation, the new law sets the rules around Ontario’s cap-and-trade program, set to launch in January 2017, and the criteria governing the use of revenue generated from the sale of permits to emit carbon under cap-and-trade. The law also requires the government to create 5-year action plans along with an annual report on the cap-and-trade program and the updated progress toward achieving the goals in Ontario’s climate action plan.

“Climate action isn’t just about cutting carbon pollution. It also has to be about creating economic opportunities and providing benefits for workers, families, and communities as we move to a low-carbon economy,” says Ken Neumann, National Director of the United Steelworkers.

Early reports on Ontario’s first climate action plan, which is required under the new law and expected to be released in early June, indicate the province is looking to invest considerable resources into a variety of initiatives that can reduce emissions while also stimulating Ontario’s economy. Among other things, the plan will oversee a massive investment in Ontario’s building stock to ensure they are low-carbon and offer generous incentives to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid cars.

“Climate action represents an investment opportunity. With Bill 172, Ontario is sending a signal that the province is serious about cutting carbon pollution and investing in a clean economy,” says Deb Abbey, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association.

Ontario is linking its cap-and-trade program with Quebec and California. The Clean Economy Alliance looks forward to the unveiling of Ontario’s climate action plan and the details of investments the province intends to make to reduce emissions while creating jobs and moving Ontario toward a low-carbon, clean economy.

About The CLEAN ECONOMY ALLIANCE (CEA):

The CEA is a group of over 90 organizations representing a broad cross-section of Ontarians that united in 2015 to urge Ontario to show leadership in addressing the crucial issue of climate change. The CEA includes prominent Ontario businesses, industry associations, labour unions, farmers’ groups, health advocates, and environmental organizations. The Alliance supports the Ontario government’s commitments to develop and implement a climate change strategy and cap-and-trade program. Its members recognize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will bring many benefits, including cleaner air, improved public health, and more jobs and business opportunities in the clean economy.

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For media requests, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 247; 416-356-2587 (cell); abraude@environmentaldefence.ca