Making Climate Investments Work for Communities

When it comes to addressing climate change, we need solutions that help communities and address social inequities. Thanks to a grant from the Atkinson Foundation, TEA is exploring how local climate change investments can do just that.

New Government Investments in Climate Actions

As governments make large public investments to address climate change, we have the opportunity to create community benefits that work towards reducing poverty, creating decent work and building social equity. At this time, all three levels of government are considering ways to tackle climate change in our communities.

Last year, the Province of Ontario announced a new climate action plan for Ontario that will invest $5 - $9 billion dollars over the next few years, in areas such as major transit infrastructure, building retrofits, and renewable energy systems. Many of these projects can be designed in ways that address other community priorities like poverty reduction, job creation and providing opportunities for marginalized communities.

Introducing TEA’s work with Atkinson Foundation

At the beginning of 2017, TEA was awarded a grant from the Atkinson Foundation to explore how provincial climate change investments can be leveraged to simultaneously address social equity goals and directly benefit local communities. We are fortunate to be partnering with Social Planning Toronto and the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals for this project.

TEA is thrilled to be awarded with a grant from the Atkinson Foundation, whose work is focused on fostering decent work in our communities, and to be working on important environmental justice issues with partners from social justice and equity organizations.

The idea of community benefits is not a new concept in Toronto.

Groups like the Toronto Community Benefits Network have already been working with major transit infrastructure development projects to identify opportunities for local job training and employment. With billions of dollars being invested in climate actions, we knew that the community benefits lens needs to be applied to these investments.

Through this project, we will be researching best practices from various jurisdictions that have made investments that led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and also help achieve other social equity goals. Based on this research, we will then identify key actions from the provincial climate action that could produce community benefits.

Our goal is to identify specific strategies where climate investments can help achieve a number of community priorities including creating new jobs and helping low-income communities have more economic independence.

Through our work we also want to increase the capacity of local communities to advocate for job creation and other community benefits. As our work on this project progresses, we look forward to sharing key insights and exciting ideas.