Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Environmental Defence today offered congratulations to the Ontario Progressive Conservative party on its re-election, and set out key environmental priorities that require the urgent attention of the new government.
“We look forward to working with the government to tackle the environmental issues that are so critical to the future prosperity and security of Ontario residents,” said Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence. “Environmental threats are among the most important issues the incoming government faces and ones where the public supports meaningful and immediate action.”
The key environmental priorities that require immediate attention include:
- Stop sprawl: Protect farmland and wildlife habitat in Ontario’s most imperiled southern regions with rules that contain growth within existing urban boundaries. Do this by restricting the use of Minister’s Zoning Orders, reversing changes that weakened Conservation Authorities, the Growth Plan and Planning Act and the Endangered Species Act.
- Transform suburbs into Complete Communities: Ensure that the next 30 years of new homes and workplaces are used to transform Ontario’s existing car-dependent suburbs into complete communities where most trips rely on public transit and active transportation.
- End exclusionary zoning that reserves the vast majority of residential land in almost all Ontario municipalities for the most wasteful, low-density, car-dependent, environmentally harmful forms of housing, and replace it with new rules calculated to drive the creation of lots of compact, lower-cost housing like townhomes, semi-detached homes, duplexes, and walk-up apartments (i.e., duplexes & triplexes) to existing low-rise residential neighbourhoods.
- Cancel Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass
- Expand the Greenbelt to protect key areas like Carruthers Creek Headwaters which are under threat from sprawl development.
- Phase out gas-fired electricity by 2030 and restart renewable energy efforts, including allowing residential and small commercial renewable system operators to earn credits.
- Embrace a suite of measures that can help us meet our climate change targets, from a revised building code to an Electric Vehicle sales mandate, while expanding the provincial vehicle charging network and making climate smart public transit investments.
- Accelerate restoration efforts for Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes by providing adequate funding and stopping pollutants like plastics from getting into the lakes in the first place.
- Develop and fund a plan to reduce phosphorus pollution reaching Lake Simcoe to 44 tonnes per year by 2030.
- Move away from a wasteful and polluting linear economy and embrace circular approaches that avoid waste in the first place. Start by enacting a robust Extended Producer Responsibility system that makes companies responsible for the waste they create and gives them strong incentives to reduce waste.
- Set high targets for recycling of paper, packaging and plastics and create a beverage container return system to reduce the waste flowing into our overloaded Blue Box system.
- Get organics out of the garbage by expanding organic waste processing programs and banning organic materials from landfills.
- Ensure we don’t recycle toxics by requiring that products sent for recycling do not contain dangerous substances.
- Clear the air in “hotspot” communities with timely plans to reduce air pollution and institute real-time air quality monitoring in these communities and provide this information to residents.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Alex Ross, Environmental Defence, email@example.com