References: Toronto's Environmental Progress Report

The following are a list of references made in TEA's Environmental Progress Report, evaluating decisions made at City Hall at Council's midterm mark. 

You can view the report here


  1. Following his visit to Paris for the Climate Change Talks, Mayor Tory pledged to take action on climate change in Toronto. This press release outlines his commitments.

  2. In November of 2016, Toronto’s new short-term climate action plan was reviewed and adopted by the Parks and Environment Committee. The plan outlines the key strategies Toronto must take between now and 2020 to achieve a 30% reduction in emissions.

  1. A report was submitted in November 2016 to the Parks and Environment Committee on building a resilient City. The report emphasizes the need for improving Toronto's resilience to extreme weather to reduce or mitigate the risk of damage, injury and emergency situations.

  1. The City of Toronto has been working to create new climate action plans through TransformTO. This process will result in 2 news plans for the city: a short-term climate action plan for 2020, and a long-term climate action plan leading up to 2050.

  1. At the June 2016 Executive Committee meeting, Mayor Tory set the stage for the 2017 budget process by calling for an ‘across the board’ 2.6% net budget reduction. This budget cut directive was then approved by City Council in July.

  2. At a special board meeting in November 2016, the Toronto Transit Commission approved a 10 cent fare increase to the TTC for the coming year. This marks the sixth year in a row that the cost of taking our public transit system has gone up. While the cash fare ($3.25) will not change this year, the cost of tokens goes up to $3 and the regular metropass will now cost $146.25.

  3. New statistics on pedestrian and cyclist fatalities were released by Toronto Police in 2016 and receive widespread media coverage include the Toronto Star. In June 2016, City Council adopted a new Road Safety Plan which included an increased budget and more ambitious targets to prevent fatalities due to public pressure to adopt a ‘Vision Zero’ target. Nonetheless, Council has sent mixed messages by showing lukewarm support for 30 km slow zones on residential streets by favouring case-by-case traffic calming measures and participating in lengthy and divisive debates on cycling infrastructure including the Bloor Street bike lane.

  4. Approval and installation of the Bloor Street bike lane was a major step forward at Council, although it is still being called a ‘pilot project’ which will be subject to review. While Cycle Toronto has acknowledged that the new investments for the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan are welcome, they also make a clear case for why the timeframe for building the cycling network is far too slow. An effort by Councillor Layton to expedite the building timeframe by increasing the annual budget failed during the June 2016 vote.

  5. As part of the 2016-2015 budget process, additional money was found to begin improving TTC service levels.

  6. In 2015, amidst fare increases for all other riders, the Toronto Transit Commission approved free fares for children (previously $0.75 a ride). In November 2016, Executive Committee recommended that Council establish a Fair Pass Program to make public transit more affordable for low-income Torontonians. This proposal is part of the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy and its implementation will be dependent on funding approval in the 2018 budget.


  1. In TEA’s 2014 Green Action Agenda, we drew attention to the need for new support systems to help Toronto’s businesses reduce toxic chemical use. Despite Toronto Water’s report a year earlier making the case for such supports, no City Councillor has championed the issue.

  2. In 2015 and 2016, there have been multiple ‘polluter pays’ debates at City Council and Budget Committee on the issue of full cost recovery for industrial sewage treatment.

  3. In December 2015, TEA and Councillor Layton won a motion at City Council that put a halt on Toronto Water’s original plan to arbitrarily reduce the number of companies who are currently required to write Pollution Prevention Plans. Instead Toronto Water staff are required to report back to Council with the option of a risk based approach to decide the minimum threshold for pollution prevention planning.

  4. In January 2016, Councillor Robinson followed through on an election commitment by proposing a chemical review of Toronto’s Sewer Bylaw to identify chemicals of emerging concern found in Lake Ontario at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Toronto Water agreed to this long overdue review and a timeline was set to begin the work in late 2016 and report back to Committee with the completed review in 2017.

  5. In May 2016, the Board of Health passed Toronto Public Health’s recommendations in the ChemTRAC Pollution Prevention Partnerships report and proposed additional actions for tackling carcinogenic chemicals like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released from various sectors and Perchlorethylene, a common dry cleaning solvent.


  1. In 2007, Toronto created ‘Target 70’ a waste strategy with a target to divert 70% of waste from disposal by 2010. Toronto has failed to reach the target with the actual waste diversion rate stuck around 50% for many years. The target of 70% diversion has remained the same in the new Long Term Waste Strategy passed in 2016, and the deadline has been pushed back to 2026.

  2. The City generates more organic waste than can be processed in City-owned organics facilities, with the rest sent to private processors outside the City. The Waste Strategy does not plan to decide on new organics facilities until the five year review in 2021, despite acknowledging that even private contracts won’t be enough by 2020. Staff estimate it takes 7 years to complete a new organics facility once a decision has been made.

  3. City staff began developing a Long Term Waste Strategy in 2013, and it was passed by Council in 2016. The Strategy includes an ‘aspirational’ goal of zero waste to align with the new Waste Free Ontario Act and provincial direction. Public surveys show that 90% of respondents support a zero waste goal.

  4. During the first five years of the Waste Strategy, a core focus is on improving access, education and enforcement to better use existing diversion services in Toronto and focusing on the 3Rs.

  5. Councillor Robinson and the Public Works Committee added a motion to the Waste Strategy directing staff to consult with stakeholders and report back on the feasibility of requiring the same waste diversion services for all Multi-residential, Industrial, Commercial and Institutional buildings, whether they have City waste collection or not.