Home > Reportcard08

Toronto 'The Green': Mid-term Environmental Report Card 2008

Executive Summary

In 2006, TEA predicted that Toronto would elect the greenest City Council since amalgamation. Council’s voting record over the last two years has proved us right. For the first time, we are awarding a majority of Councillors with “A” grades.

On the smog and climate change front, Toronto has shown significant progress in 2008 by earning a "B+" grade (up from a C+ in 2007), matching its best ever performance in 2004.

This term of Council also saw Mayor David Miller move the environmental agenda to center stage, hoping to place Toronto at the head of a global push by municipalities to take action on climate change.

Sadly, there is a fly in the ointment. Our research and tracking shows that environmental plans, programs, and policies passed by Council often falter once handed to the City’s bureaucratic arm for implementation. We fear there is a growing gap between Council’s environmental commitment and the Civil Service’s ability to get it done.

Read the Full Report Card Here

The Cost of Delay

Toronto has vaulted itself to leadership status on climate change both in commitment and action. Mayor Miller now chairs the C40, an impressive group of municipal leaders from around the world who are stepping up to act on climate change, often in the face of their nation states’ inaction, by making aggressive strides in carbon reduction. This has put Toronto in both the national and international spotlight. Too often Toronto’s progress on environmental initiatives is slowed due to delays in policy development and program implementation. These delays threaten Toronto’s reputation as a world leader on climate change, as well as the tangible benefits that come from action, such as cleaner air and greener jobs for our local communities.

Get the details: 


Best Practices from Other Municipalities

TEA looked at how other North American municipalities leading on environment issues organize themselves to get things done. Of special interest were the ways in which these cities increased coordination and accountability. We found some common themes and practices that Toronto can learn from. 



This report provides recommendations to improve how City Council’s environmental commitments are implemented. These recommendations are focused on three key areas: 

  • Getting two key programs, Toronto’s Sustainable Energy Plan and the Green Economic Development Strategy, back on track.
  • Improving coordination and engendering environmental commitment across City departments and agencies.
  • Providing greater public transparency regarding when, how and to what effect environmental programs are implemented.