The 2023 Mayoral election is heating up. As you get ready to vote on the June 26th election day (or the advance polls from June 8-13), new platform ideas are coming out from candidates every day.
We know that a green, climate-resilient, healthy and livable city is possible. We’re looking for Toronto’s next Mayor to bring a bold vision and concrete commitments to advance equitable environmental and climate action during a critical window.
Many candidates will claim to be an “environmental leader” or a “climate leader.” But not all will present workable ideas to make this happen, or follow through with them.
To help you sort through these visions, we’ve put together a summary of key policies we’re hoping to see from candidates to build a greener city for all.
Climate Action: Reducing carbon emissions
Toronto City Council has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2040, and implementing its ambitious TransformTO climate plan to get there. This goal is only achievable with more funding, capacity, and action on a much bigger scale than we’re seeing now. Scaling up climate action also brings big improvements to people’s lives by creating jobs, improving transit, and building more affordable housing. We want to see the next Mayor of Toronto commit to the following actions:
- Find the money to back up their climate action promises at budget time through new funding sources like a commercial parking levy
- Take concrete steps to establish a world-class transit system in Toronto with an expanded, more reliable, more accessible, and more affordable TTC
- Make deep investments in green building programs that increase the number of climate-safe and deeply affordable housing units
- Transition buildings off gas faster through electrification tools like heat pumps, district energy, and geothermal - and oppose expansion of natural gas plants in Toronto
- Deliver a low-carbon jobs strategy that grows Toronto’s green buildings workforce and enables more residents from equity-owed groups to participate in the local green economy
Climate Resilience and Green Spaces
Toronto needs a strong plan to help communities prepare for and respond to the impacts of extreme weather, including flooding and heatwaves. More intense rainfall and storms leave many Toronto residents with flooded basements and expensive damage, and many of us experience potentially dangerous conditions during heat waves. We’re looking for candidates to commit to:
- Protect all Toronto residents during escalating heatwaves and floods, especially those most vulnerable to extreme weather
- Support tenants with a maximum safe temperature for rental units
- Work with communities to expand access to parks, green spaces, ravines, and shade, prioritizing neighbourhoods where people have less access to tree canopy and green spaces
- Fund flood-proofing and stormwater reduction by fairly charging those most responsible for flooding, e.g. owners of large paved properties
Reducing Waste: Building a circular Economy
Reducing waste means more than just dealing with overflowing garbage bins and picking up litter. Toronto’s Zero Waste and Circular Economy commitments will reduce waste, prevent pollution, create local jobs and avoid greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and wasting resources. This is critical to achieving the Net Zero climate plan. In order to protect communities, human health, and our shared environment, we call on the next Mayor to work with City Council to achieve the following actions.
- Take strong action to cut growing waste from single-use plastics and disposables: pass regulations to require a shift to reusable foodware in businesses and City facilities
- Ensure all residents in all building types have access to recycling and organics collection
What can you do?
We encourage you to bring these ideas to candidates to find out where they stand. And of course, remember to vote in advance polls from June 8-13th or on June 26th! You can help make these ideas a reality by championing them with candidates, friends, and family. You can also read TEA's review of leading candidate platforms to help you sort through candidate commitments before you vote on June 26th.