Toronto is on its way to banning 2-stroke engines

City Council has voted to ban some of the dirtiest engines on Earth. Now City Staff will put together a plan.

This summer, Toronto City Council took a big step towards the banning of 2-stroke gas engines throughout the City of Toronto.

Two stroke engines are gasoline or diesel burning engines primarily found in lawn care equipment like leafblowers and lawn mowers. These small engines produce far more noise, air pollution, and greenhouse gasses than they should for the amount of work they accomplish. They create more pollution per minute than cars and trucks, and stir up microscopic pollutants known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other respiratory illnesses. For most of the jobs they do, electric alternatives exist that are quieter, far less polluting, and cost-competitive to their two stroke counterparts.

This ban was prompted by years of public advocacy from groups like Gas Busters who raised awareness of the impacts of two stroke engines. Eventually, city staff requested direction from Council on whether to ban two stroke engines for just city operations, or to pursue a ban on two stroke engines across the whole city.

A complete ban on two stroke engines was supported by dozens of speakers from groups across the city, including myself representing TEA. In addition, we submitted a letter to Council and committees. Because of the air pollution, the noise pollution, and the need to reach our TransformTO Net Zero climate goals, we called on City Council to support a full ban of two stroke engines. We’re very pleased to see that Council agrees with us.

This is just one of several steps for a full ban to actually be implemented. In future meetings, staff will present City Council with additional steps to approve — and each step will need public support to move ahead. 

To help ensure that the ban sticks, and two stroke engines are replaced with cleaner, quieter alternatives, contact your City Councillor and tell them to follow through on banning two stroke gas engines for the sake of our health and our climate.