Environment and the Green Economy
Ontarians expect a clean and safe environment to live in, enjoy and explore. Since 2003, improving and protecting Ontario's environment has been a priority for the McGuinty government. It is not only essential for the health and quality of life of Ontarians, but it is becoming increasingly important to the province’s economic goals. The McGuinty government is committed to ensuring that our present and future generations thrive in a province where environmental and economic sustainability are equally important.
The government has launched various programs to protect Ontario’s air, water and land resources. Such efforts have resulted in economic opportunities by supporting home-grown innovation in emerging sectors, such as clean technology, and by attracting investments in renewable energy that will create thousands of Ontario-based jobs. Furthermore, the government is taking steps to make Ontario a leader in innovative clean water technologies and services that aid in water conservation and treatment.
2010 Ontario Budget
As part of its Open Ontario plan, the government is developing a wide-ranging water strategy to make Ontario the North American leader in water conservation and innovation, and to sustain Ontario’s water resources for future generations. The strategy will promote new business and employment opportunities in the water sector by supporting the commercialization of water and wastewater technologies.
Through its water strategy, the Ontario government will:
- Work with researchers and entrepreneurs to create jobs and to attract clean water expertise and investment in the province
- Improve the efficiency of Ontario’s water and wastewater infrastructure
- Introduce a new Water Opportunities Act to support the development of new technologies and practices for water conservation and treatment
- Promote Ontario’s water technology sector at home and abroad.
Green Energy and Energy Efficiency
The Green Energy Act, 2009 will help create 50,000 jobs in the first three years, support the growth of renewable energy installations and increase energy conservation.
- The Act has helped attract a $7 billion proposed investment in Ontario by a consortium led by Samsung C&T Corporation and the Korea Electric Power Corporation that would build 2,500 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power. This would triple Ontario’s generation capacity from renewable wind and solar sources. It would also create more than 16,000 new green energy jobs to supply, build, install and operate the renewable generation projects
- The implementation of the Feed-in Tariff Program (FIT) is a key element of the Act and has attracted significant interest in renewable energy investments. On March 10, 2010, the Ontario Power Authority announced that it had issued the first 510 FIT contracts, totalling 112 MW, enough to power more than 13,000 homes
- By the end of 2014, Ontario’s electricity supply will no longer include coal. Ontario’s coal replacement initiative is the single-largest greenhouse-gas reduction initiative in Canada
- In 2009, carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation were 73 per cent lower than 2003 levels, with four more units coming off-line in fall 2010
- Almost 5,300 MW of additional electricity supply projects are currently in progress, including about 1,400 MW of renewables (not including the Korean consortium and other FIT projects). These projects represent about $14 billion in investments and nearly 80,000 jobs during the construction period
- The government announced a plan in July 2009 to make it easier to buy electric vehicles
- The government helped more than 189,000 homeowners obtain energy savings information about their homes since May 2009, through the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program, and provided almost $132 million to help retrofit more than 96,800 homes. The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to removing 52,850 cars from Ontario’s roads.
Achievements Since 2003
Since October 2003, more than 7,000 MW of additional generating capacity have come on-line, representing investments totalling over $7 billion and creating about 50,000 jobs. This includes:
- About 1,300 MW of new renewable electricity generation have come on-line
- Increasing wind power capacity 80-fold, with more than 1,100 of the 1,300 MW of renewable energy coming from wind power
- More than 690 wind turbines have been built as a result of $2.7 billion in investments
- In 2009, electricity generated from wind turbines increased more than 60 per cent when compared to 2008.
The measures announced in the 2010 Budget are consistent with the government's record of strategic investments aimed at making Ontario Canada's greenest province. Since 2003, the government has:
- Passed the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, which sets out a framework for reducing the industrial use of toxic substances
- Committed $13.6 million to the GreenCentre Canada at Queen’s University in Kingston, which will connect Ontario universities and companies to develop commercial alternatives to toxic chemicals, as announced in September 2009
- Launched Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticide Ban, which took effect on April 22, 2009. Under the ban, pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic purposes on lawns, vegetable or ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, or in parks and school yards
- Provided $480,000 to the Cosmetic Use Pesticides Research and Innovation Program being administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council
- Continued to make investments in public transit and will build on the nearly $9.3 billion it has invested across the province since 2003
- Protected about 1.8 million acres of environmentally sensitive and agricultural land in the Golden Horseshoe from urban development and sprawl under the Greenbelt Act, 2005
- Implemented a long-term plan for environmentally sustainable development while protecting at least 50 per cent of Ontario's Far North Boreal region. The government provided $30 million over four years to support planning, including building capacity for Far North First Nations, providing mapping and research and engaging non-native municipalities
- Begun investing up to $24 million to support Ontario industry in reducing the use and creation of toxic substances, through support to green chemistry and technologies
- Allocated up to $14.4 million through the Ontario Solar Thermal Heating Incentive, until March 31, 2011, to encourage commercial and institutional investment in qualifying solar heating equipment
- Helped 14 innovative Ontario companies, resulting in a total investment of almost $110 million, through the Innovation Demonstration Fund, which focuses on bio-based green energy and environmental technologies. This fund began accepting applications in 2006
- Passed the Endangered Species Act, 2007, making Ontario a North American leader in species-at-risk protection and recovery, providing a total of $18 million in funding since its inception in 2007 for the Species-at-Risk Stewardship
- Committed to plant 50 million trees in southern Ontario by 2020, with more than 3.7 million trees planted to date
- Provided $1.7 million for 16 environmental science projects, as part of the Best in Science Program, to support professors and graduate students in studying a range of issues, including brownfields remediation and contamination of fish and the aquatic environment.
Water Protection/Clean Water
- Passed the Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario's Water Act, 2007, strengthening the management, protection and conservation of Ontario's water resources, including the Great Lakes
- Provided over $23 million in 2007-08 to conservation authorities to support development of source water protection plans and $24.5 million over four years, starting in 2007-08, for community source water protection initiatives
- Committed $36 million over four years for new inspection resources and 60 new inspectors to protect Ontario's air, land and water
- Investing $100 million in 2009-10 to help the City of Hamilton upgrade the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant.