Canada: Province Unveils Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan

Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) released Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan) on November 29.1 The Plan had been widely anticipated given the provincial government's shift away from its predecessors' climate change and energy policies. The Plan comprises four main components: addressing climate change; protecting Ontario's air and water; reducing waste and litter; and conserving land and greenspace.

What You Need To Know

  • The Plan aligns Ontario's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target with Canada's target under the Paris Agreement of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this target, the Plan relies in large part on historical emissions reductions due to closures of coal power plants prior to 2015.
  • To achieve the remaining emissions reductions, the Plan rejects a cap-and-trade program or carbon tax for Ontario. Instead, it sets out various other policy initiatives, including:

    • implementation of industrial emission performance standards, which would be tied to facility output or production and, similar to Saskatchewan's output-based performance standards, would likely apply to large industrial emitters producing more than 25,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year; and
    • the creation of the Ontario Carbon Trust and Reverse Auction (with $400 million in initial public funding) to leverage private capital for cost-effective clean technology solutions and facilitate low cost emissions reduction projects.
  • Many of the actions are only described at a high level, leaving important details to be disclosed and potentially, to be determined in the future. The MECP expects to finalize the actions identified in the Plan based on public feedback. The comment period on the Plan is open till January 28, 2019.

Highlights of the Climate Change Action Plan

Addressing Climate Change

The Plan recognizes the growing impact and cost of climate change, but emphasizes the need for a balanced approach in light of the "heavy lifting" by Ontarians to date. The Plan aligns Ontario's GHG reduction target with Canada's target under the Paris Agreement of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, relying in large part on the province's historical reductions due to closures of coal power plants in meeting that target. In comparison, Ontario's 2016 Climate Change Action Plan included emissions reduction targets, relative to 1990 levels, of 15% in 2020, 37% in 2030, and 80% in 2050.

The Plan indicates that Ontario has already achieved a 22% emissions reduction relative to 2005, and anticipates further reductions over the next 12 years from a range of sources, including higher uptake of clean fuels (19% of total estimated reductions by 2030), natural gas conservation (18%), low carbon vehicles (16%), performance standards for large emitters (15%), innovation in energy storage and fuel switching (15%), federal clean fuel standard (7%), investments in transit and waste diversion (6%), and investment in an Ontario Carbon Trust (4%). The proposed industry performance standards and Carbon Trust are further discussed below.

  • Emission performance standards for large industrial emitters would be tied to their level of output or production (in contrast with a cap on province-wide emissions, which was a feature of the former cap-and-trade program). The Plan provides few details on how these standards will take shape, but cites as an example Saskatchewan's plan to implement an output-based performance standards (OPBS) system in 2019. That system will apply to facilities in regulated sectors emitting more than 25,000 tonnes of GHG per year, excluding Saskatchewan's upstream oil and gas and electricity industries. Emitters that do not meet their OPBS would have the option of (i) reducing their emissions intensity; (ii) procuring offset credits (i.e., credits issued to voluntary emissions reduction projects that follow prescribed protocols); (iii) acquiring performance credits from regulated facilities whose emissions intensity is lower than the OBPS; (iv) engaging in the market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement; and/or (v) paying into a provincial technology fund.
  • The Ontario Carbon Trust would be launched, with an initial public funding of $350 million, to identify cost-effective clean technology solutions and unlock over $1 billion of private capital for commercially viable projects. The Plan contemplates an additional $420 million increase to the Ontario Carbon Trust through the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, if the federal government's Pan-Canadian Framework agreement with Ontario is revived. In addition, an Ontario Reverse Auction ($50 million) would allow bidders to submit proposals for emissions reduction projects and complete for contracts based on the lowest-cost per tonne of reduction.

Other proposed climate change mitigation actions include: developing a Climate Change Governance Framework to make climate change a government-wide priority; undertaking a risk-based provincial impact assessment; raising public awareness (e.g., education for homeowners about flood risk and prevention); updating the Building Code and consulting on tax policy options to support adaptation to extreme weather; and building resilience in critical infrastructure and disaster recovery.

Protecting Ontario's Air, Lakes and Rivers

The Plan includes various high-level proposals to address air and surface water quality. Regarding air quality, the Plan proposes to redesign emissions testing requirements for heavy-duty vehicles, increase traffic pollution monitoring, and address pollution that comes from outside Ontario. Regarding surface water, the Plan proposes to restore and protect the Great Lakes, protect vulnerable waterways (e.g., remediation of mercury contamination in the St. Clair and English-Wabigoon Rivers), enhance water taking policies and conservation practices, and improve municipal wastewater and stormwater management (e.g., real-time monitoring of sewage overflows).

Reducing Litter and Waste

The Plan proposes various actions to reduce litter and waste, including steps to: (1) minimize and divert organic waste by expanding collection systems and creating a proposal to ban food waste from landfills; (2) reduce plastic waste by pursuing an inter-jurisdictional plastics strategy as well as national recycling standards; (3) reduce litter through strong action against illegal dumping and support for clean-up initiatives (e.g., an official day for litter clean-up in Ontario); (4) make producers responsible for end of life management of products and packaging; and (5) modernize environmental approvals to support competitive and sustainable end markets for waste.

Regarding soil management, the Plan points to actions such as revising brownfields regulations and record of site condition guide to increase the redevelopment of contaminated lands, and setting clear rules regarding the reuse of excess soil.

Conserving Land and Greenspace

Proposed actions for land and greenspace conservation include: streamlining Ontario's environmental assessment process, updating MECP guideline to avoid the impacts of conflicting land uses, the implementation of the provincial Grassland Stewardship Initiative, ongoing development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, promoting parks and recreational opportunities, fostering sustainable forest management and increasing the use of Ontario timber in construction, and preventing the impact of invasive species.

Next Steps

Public comments on the Plan can be submitted till January 28, 2019.2 The province is planning to establish an advisory panel on climate change and begin implementing priority initiatives identified under the Plan. Key indicators of progress would be developed to support regular reporting on Plan implementation.


1 See

2 See

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions