Ontario Voter's Guide: Climate Change
Gen Squeeze's analysis of the 2022 Ontario election climate change platforms

Climate change scorecard

We scored the parties' platforms to see how close they get us to achieving our goal of ensure all Canadians benefit from holding climate change to 1.5 degrees C. Download the scorecard and check out the full analysis below!

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Table of Contents

UPDATED May 31, 2022 @ 10:44

 

Introduction

This election, Generation Squeeze is undertaking a rigorous assessment of Ontario provincial party platforms and commitments on four key issues: housing affordability, family affordability, climate change, and overall plans to budget for wellbeing for all generations.

Our mission: to help voters better understand how far each party's platform goes towards actually solving big problems facing Ontarians, and how these problems help prop up a broken generational system.

Instead of simply listing party promises, our assessment attempts to make meaning of these promises.  We do this by evaluating the degree to which each platform advances each of the evidence-based actions needed to address key issues sustaining generational unfairness.  Please visit our methodology page for more information on our approach to assessing party platforms.

On this page, you will find:

  • Summary score table: The climate change policy commitments made by each party in their platform are assigned a score.  This score is determined based on the extent to which the actions proposed by the party advance the actions identified in our solutions framework on climate change  
  • Detailed commentary: In-depth discussion of the platform commitments made by each party that informed the scores, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each commitment.

Gen Squeeze does not tell you who to vote for, and we don’t aim to portray any party in a favourable or unfavorable light.  Our goal is to help voters be as informed as possible about the positions of all of the parties on big issues for generational fairness in Ontario.  Please visit our methodology page for more information on our approach to platform analysis and our commitments to be non-partisan and evidence based.

Punchlines

The Generation Squeeze Lab worked over the past several years to synthesize a comprehensive policy framework to support Canadians to benefit from keeping global temperatures from rising no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Although the framework points to 25 necessary action items, given the limited detail available in the party platforms, we condensed the 25 action items into 17 criteria for evaluating Ontario party promises. 

Some platforms align more with the evidence than others

  • The Green platform leads the way in addressing 15.5 of the criteria to reduce climate change.
  • The Liberals promise to address 12.5.
  • The NDP promise to address 10.5.
  • The Conservatives promise to address 3.

Goals matter

It is hard to evaluate the Conservative platform favourably on this issue when it doesn’t even embrace a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 that gives Ontarians a chance to fend off the worst that climate change has to offer. In Budget 2022, the PCs promise to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels, when science indicates we need to be aiming for 50% reductions. All of the other parties commit to the latter, science-based goal.

The PCs embrace an inadequate goal for 2030 because they make no commitment to carbon budgeting.  This concept calls on governments to be transparent in how the province will ‘spend’ the atmosphere’s scarce capacity to absorb carbon with the same care and detail that governments budget to spend scarce tax dollars.  All of the other parties propose to integrate transparent annual carbon budgeting into their activities.

The Ontario Greens offer the strongest climate plan (which is interesting, because our same criteria did not show the Green party offered the strongest plan in the recent federal election).

The Green party offers the boldest plan to reduce climate change, including the boldest plan to oblige people to pay for their pollution, and recycle the revenue gains into tax rebates and other social dividends – often targeted for disadvantaged groups.  The Green party is also the only party to budget for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies.  The clarity with which the Green party proposes to use these price signals to fight climate change differentiates it from the Liberals and the NDP.

The Liberals plan to strengthen the large emitter carbon pricing program, and the NDP propose to develop a new cap and trade system.  However, both of their platforms offer less detail about the resulting price implications for polluters than do the Greens.

The Conservatives have no plans to increase pollution pricing signals beyond what exists in Ontario because of the federal backstop policy for jurisdictions that don’t develop their own strategy.

The Conservatives and NDP both promise to cap the retail price of gasoline at the pump.

This artificially reduces the pollution price signal, mitigating the market incentives that incline behavioural shifts to cleaner energy and healthier modes of transportation.  The parties may be right that this promise is good politics to woo contemporary voters. But it is not good intergenerational policy, because it exacerbates the climate harms passed onto younger and future generations by accelerating the depletion of the atmosphere’s precious (and now rare) capacity to absorb carbon. 

Beyond capping retail gas prices at the gas pumps, the NDP scores lower than the Liberals for fighting climate change in part because it does not have a concrete plan to move Ontario to 100% clean electricity within the next decade.  The other three parties speak directly to this objective.

 

Approach to Platform Analysis

For the Ontario election, we focus our analysis on the three parties that elect representatives to fill the majority of the seats in the provincial legislature: the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party.  We also include parties that elected at least one MPP who ran in the last election under the banner of that party.  This means that our analysis includes the Ontario Green Party.  We do not include parties with no representatives elected specifically as members of that party.

Our assessment of party commitments on climate change is based on our climate change solutions framework. The framework begins by adopting the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement (to limit climate change to 1.5°) and combines it with a simultaneous goal to increase the wellbeing of all Canadians through the transition to a clean economy. The framework then aggregates and adds to existing policy frameworks including the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the Generation Energy framework, the Re-energizing Canada pathways, the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, and the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. Read more about our framework design here.

We are indebted to Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics for leading our analysis of the platforms that Ontario parties put on offer during the 2022 provincial election.

To support the analysis of party platforms, we've translated our climate change policy framework into 25 key criteria. Parties are assigned points based on their platform's response to each of these criteria. Score range from +1.0 to -1.0, assessed as follows:

Assessment

Points

  No discernible commitments

0

  Commitments are somewhat capable of achieving the goal

0.5

  Commitments are capable of achieving the goal

1.0

  Commitments somewhat undermine progress towards the goal

-0.5

  Commitments undermine progress towards the goal

-1.0

You can learn more about the rationale for our scoring approach and its limitations by reading our detailed methodology page.

Summary score table

The table below summarizes the scores of Conservative, NDP, Liberal and Green party on each of the 25 climate change criteria.

We welcome feedback from parties, including concerns that we may have misinterpreted elements of their platforms when assigning our scores. We commit to revising our scores in light of party evidence that their platforms or other election documents include commitments that align with the evaluation criteria.

Note for mobile/smartphone device users: The table below may not display properly on your smartphone screen. If the table appears to be cut-off, please return to this page on a desktop/laptop computer. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Climate Change Criteria

Party scores

CPC

LPC

NDP

GRN

 CLEAR GOALS AND PRINCIPLES

 

 

 

 

1

Commits to a clear goal of holding climate change to 1.5 degrees

0

1

1

1

2

Demonstrates a commitment to the principle of All Hands on Deck

0

1

1

1

3

Demonstrates a commitment to the principle of No One Left Behind

0

1

1

1

 PILLAR 1: MOBILIZE THE MARKET

 SEND THE RIGHT SIGNALS

 

 

 

 

4

Do the platforms take action to increase pollution taxes?

-1

0.5

-0.5

1

5

Do the platforms take action to lower income taxes?

0

0.5

0.5

1

6

Do the platforms take action to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies?

0

0

0

1

 RAISE MONEY TO MAKE MONEY

 

 

 

 

7

Do the platforms take action to get investors excited?

 


0.5


 

 


0.5


 

 


0.5


 

 


1


 

8

Do the platforms take action to bake sustainability into financial system?

9

Do all the platforms give all Canadians options to invest? 

 CARBON BUDGETING

 

 

 

 

10

Do the platforms take action to ensure that governments provide regular carbons budgets?

0

1

1

1

 PILLAR 2: HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

 HELP CANADIAN BUSINESSES

 

 

 

 

11

Do the platforms take reduce costs and barriers to clean tech deployment

Not enough detail in platforms to score. Relevant info integrated into other criteria.

12

Do the platforms support innovation and explore of clean energy solutions

 HELP CANADIAN WORKERS

 

 

 

 

13

Do the platforms take action to create a clean economy education and skills

0.5

1

1

1

14

Do the platforms take action to push the hiring of Canadian talent first for well-paying clean economy jobs?

 HELP CANADIAN COMMUNITIES

 

 

 

 

15

Do the platforms take action to help towns and cities make transition plans?

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

 PILLAR 3: UPGRADE OUR LIVES WITH A CARBON MAKEOVER

 

 

 

 

16

Do the platforms take action to advance 100% clean and renewable electricity?

1

1

0

1

17

Do the platforms take action to advance clean energy and industry?

0.5

1

0.5

0.5

18

Do the platforms take action to advance clean transportation?

0.5

1

1

1

19

Do the platforms take action to advance zero-emission homes and buildings?

0

0.5

1

1

20

Do the platforms take action to advance smart land use and zero waste?

0.5

1

1

1

21

Do the platforms take action to advance carbon draw down and sequestration technologies and approaches?

0

0.5

0.5

0.5

 WEATHER THE STORM

 

 

 

 

22

Do the platforms take action to reduce risks?

0

0.5

0.5

1

23

Do the platforms take action to protect health and wellbeing?

24

Do the platforms take action to build resilient infrastructure?

25

Do the platforms take action to support vulnerable regions and people?

 

TOTAL SCORE (out of a possible 8)

3

12.5

10.5

15.5

 

Weighted to a total score out of 10 (to more easily compare to other issue areas)*

1.8

7.4

6.2

9.1

*We had to make a judgment call about whether to normalize the score out of 17the number of criteria for which we provided a score; or out of 25the total # of criteria in our climate policy framework. We opted to normalize the score out of 17 in order to present the parties in as favourable a light as possible. However, this represents all parties as being further down the path to our climate goal than is actually the case.

  

Detailed commentary

 

CLEAR GOALS AND PRINCIPLES

 

Criterion 1: Do the platforms commit to a clear goal of holding climate change to 1.5 degrees?

 

All parties except for the Conservatives commit to net zero emissions by 2050. The NDP, Liberals and Green also all commit to achieve a 50% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2030. The Green Party commits to net zero five years earlier than the other parties, but since the Liberals and NDP meet the criterion of net zero by 2050, all three are scored equally. 

Conservative Party. 0. There is no net-zero commitment, and the Conservatives 2030 target is not compliant with holding climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Green Party. 1. The Greens commit to cutting carbon pollution in half by 2030, and hit real net zero by 2045.  

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.  The Liberals also promise to become a net zero government by 2030.  

NDP. 1. The NDP platform commits to reducing Ontario’s emissions by at least 50%below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 2: Do the platforms demonstrate a commitment to the principle of “All Hands on Deck”?

 

All of the parties except the Conservatives commit to working with various levels of society to collaborate on issues necessary to decarbonize Ontario's economy. Each of the NDP, Liberals and Green proposes something a little different, from enshrining carbon budgeting processes in law, to working explicitly with different levels of government and communities to strengthen cooperative action. 

Conservative Party. 0. The platform includes no relevant policy commitments.

Green Party. 1. The Green Party proposes the development of carbon budgets, which would then translate to an equitable burden across Ontario’s emitters. The Greens also promise to introduce the first Zero Carbon Law that “will keep Ontario within our fair share of the world’s total remaining carbon budget” (p. 46), and incorporate legally binding annual progress reporting on pollution reduction plans.

Liberal Party. 1. There is a commitment to create an all-party Cabinet committee to help address carbon emissions as well as improved accountability mechanisms through an independent Environmental Commissioner. There is also a commitment to develop a rural climate action plan and work with the federal government to strengthen carbon tax rebates for farmers.

NDP. 1. The NDP commits to enshrine emissions reduction targets in law and use carbon budgeting to ensure that policy is aligned with the budgets. There is explicit mention of consulting climate scientists, workers, industry, and other experts. There's also a proposal to create a Youth Climate Corps.  The platform includes strong language about partnering with cities and towns, and the federal government – although these themes are less obvious in the sections of the NDP platform specifically about climate change. 

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 3: Do the platforms demonstrates a commitment to the principle of “No One Left Behind”? 

 

All parties except the Conservatives focus on providing various supports to communities and workers adversely impacted by the transition to clean energy. There is a general recognition across the other three parties that explicit programs are needed to expand employment opportunities and to provide training to displaced workers and sectors. 

Conservative Party. 0. The platform includes no relevant policy commitments.

Green Party. 1. The Green platform includes several references to spread energy costs for the energy transition as well as explicit mention of subsidies for Indigenous communities. For example, there are subsidies for rural, low income, and Indigenous communities. There is funding for disadvantaged communities and a proposal to redirect taxpayer subsidies for electricity prices to support climate action. A census is proposed to understand vulnerable jobs and economic sectors that are at risk due to the low carbon transition.

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals commit to invest $9 billion into the clean energy economy, with the objective of creating 25,000 new green jobs, and providing new supports and training for workers affected by the transition. This includes applying a climate equity lens to ensure that communities are supported through the transition to a low-carbon economy.

NDP. 1. The NDP platform commits to creating new jobs for rural and northern areas, as well as for traditional industries that might be adversely impacted by a low carbon transition. The platform commits to use 25% of new cap-and-trade revenue to support northern and low-income families. Finally, the NDP commit to expand Indigenous managed lands to help with fire prevention.

Back to summary score table

 

PILLAR 1: MOBILIZE THE MARKET

SEND THE RIGHT SIGNALS

 

Criterion 4:  Do the platforms take action to increase pollution taxes?

 

This criterion is one half of the broader tax shift reflected in our climate solutions framework. We propose that governments increase prices on pollution, and use the revenue to lower taxes on income. The point is to send a paired signal to the market which simultaneously incentivizes labour and work (the next criterion), and disincentivizes pollution (this criterion).

All the parties except the Conservatives mention some form of carbon pricing or pollution taxation as a means to increase incentives for decarbonization.

The Conservatives commit to reducing gas and fuel prices, which mitigates against putting a price on pollution. The Green Party has the strongest pollution tax proposal, with an increase to the carbon price to over $300 a tonne by 2032. The economy wide cap-and-trade program proposed by the NDP likely would result in more emissions reductions than the current program focused only on large emitters alongside the federal carbon tax – but this is paired with a proposal to cap energy prices, which is contrary to pollution pricing. The Liberal Party is less ambitious, but does commit to strengthening the large emitter carbon pricing program.

Conservative Party. -1. The Conservatives passed legislation to provide “tax relief at the pumps” (p. 61), which reduces both the gas tax and the fuel tax beginning July 2022.  Since both of these tax measures work against sending an adequate carbon price signal, we deduct one full point from the Conservatives on this criterion.

Green Party. 1. The Greens propose to significantly increase the carbon price to $300 a tonne by 2032. The platform also discusses using an offset system to support businesses for compliance with the large emitter program, which results in compliance flexibility that lowers compliance costs period. The Green platform includes strengthened standards for large industrial emitters. A full point is therefore awarded.

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberals propose to strengthen the large emitter carbon pricing program. The platform seems to imply that emissions standards would be significantly increased from their current levels – but more information is needed.  The Liberal platform also includes a commitment to create “a robust carbon offset system to support businesses that reduce their pollution while fostering innovative carbon-cutting solutions” (p. 59). Given the lack of mention of an increase in the carbon price above the current level, the Liberals receive only a half point.

NDP. -0.5. The NDP propose to develop a new cap and trade system, which would likely be more stringent than the current large emitter program.  However, only half a point is awarded as there is limited detail on implementation and the level of effort that would be required under such a system.  Presumably, the cap would be set at a level that aligns with a 50% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.  The NDP platform also proposes to cap the retail price of gasoline through regulation by the Ontario Energy Board.  Since this policy move would work against the carbon price signal, one point is deducted – bringing the total for the NDP on this criterion of -0.5.

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 5: Do the platforms take action to lower income taxes?

 

This criterion is the second half of the broader tax shift reflected in our climate solutions framework. Lower income taxes can be achieved by using revenue from growing taxes on pollution (see criterion 4). The point is to send a paired signal to the market which simultaneously incentivizes labour and work (this criterion), and disincentivizes pollution (the previous criterion).

No party platform includes specific income tax measures. Of note, the Green platform does propose significant investments to help address price impacts on households through rebating carbon price proceeds while maintaining the carbon price signal.

Green Party. 1. The Greens promise to increase the carbon price above the federal benchmark AND return all proceeds to individuals in the form of carbon rebates. The platform commits to target 25% of all public investments to help disadvantaged communities, and to fund “a $6B climate bonus for low-income households by adding a 1% climate surcharge levy on the province’s top 10% income earners” (p. 50). In addition, the Green will redirect the annual $7 billion taxpayer subsidy for electricity prices only to those “in need” (p. 50) – reprofiling remaining funds to support energy efficiency and other climate action.

NDP. 0.5. Like the Greens, the NDP are concerned to support Ontarians who are disadvantaged by action to private pollution.  The platform proposes to ensure “at least 25 per cent of cap-and-trade revenue goes to supports for rural, Northern, and low-income families disproportionately impacted by carbon pricing” (p. 56).  The NDP receive half a point.

Liberal Party. 0.5. No specific policies are mentioned, other than a passing reference on page 78 of the platform that the party will “increase carbon tax rebates to farmers.” We generously award half a point, although we observe that the Liberals are not as strong on this criterion as the Greens or the NDP.

Conservative Party. 0.  No specific policies are mentioned.

Back to summary score table

 

 

Criterion 6: Do the platforms take action to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies?

 

The Greens are the only party that refers to ending fossil fuel subsidies, stating that “Greens will get Big Oil out of our wallets for good” (p. 46).  The party adds in its costed platform (p. 6) that it will “stop fossil fuel subsidies except for farming and fly-in Indigenous communities,” which will save provincial coffers over $2.1 billion in the next your years.  We award the Greens a full point. 

No points are awarded to the other parties.

Back to summary score table

RAISE MONEY TO MAKE MONEY

Given the few commitments made by all of the parties, we present a combined analysis of all three of the criteria that fall into this category:

  • Criterion 7. Do the platforms take action to get investors excited?
  • Criterion 8. Do the platforms take action to bake sustainability into financial system?
  • Criterion 9. Do the platforms give all Canadians the option to invest?

All party platforms mention some sort of financing mechanism to support investment in cleantech.  Both the Greens and the NDP propose a climate bank, whereas the Liberal and Conservative parties discuss using green bonds to help with financing.

Conservative Party. 0.5. The platform commits to issuing more green bonds on an annual basis.  This is a continuation of Ontario’s existing Green Bonds Program, which issued $4.5 billion in 2021-22 for projects advancing clean transportation, energy efficiency and conservation, and climate adaptation and resilience (p. 208).  A half point is awarded for the Conversations support for this investor mechanism. 

Green Party. 1. The Green platform proposes measures to help scale up technology penetration through innovative financing mechanisms, such as a climate bank. Limited additional information is provided on this proposal, however.  The Greens include provisions to provide seed capital and loan loss guarantees to help attract private investment into municipal and commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy programs – also called Local Improvement Charges.  And the Greens are alone among parties in mentioning climate risk disclosure, promising to “require all large public and private organizations to disclose and reduce their carbon footprint and climate-related financial risks” (p. 48).  Combined, the Green receive a full point on this criterion.  

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberal platform commits to issue more green bonds – but has little more to say on the subject.  Since this leaves a great deal open to interpretation, only a (charitable) half point is awarded at this time.

NDP. 0.5. The NDP platform proposes a cleantech bank to be funded by proceeds from cap-and-trade auctions. Similar to the Liberals, only a half point is awarded given a lack of additional detail on this (or other) possible mechanisms to help with climate financing. 

Back to summary score table

RAISE MONEY TO MAKE MONEY

 

Criterion 10: Do the platforms take action to ensure that governments provide regular carbons budgets?

 

This criterion calls on governments to budget for ‘spending’ carbon with the same care and detail they budget for spending tax dollars.

Conservative Party. 0 The Conservative 2022 Budget includes many targets for government revenue, spending, debt and debt/GDP ratios, which they track by year.  By contrast, the Conservatives make no mention of “carbon budgets” or regular targets by which they will make incremental progress toward goals for carbon emissions before 2030 and beyond.  Given that spending the atmosphere’s scarce capacity to absorb carbon is as important for human and economic health as is spending tax dollars, failure to engage in meaningful carbon budgeting is a major economic and health concern.  We award no point.

Green Party. 1. The Green platform (p. 2) promises to “establish a transparent annual carbon budget to reach net zero by 2045.” We award a full point.

Liberal Party. 1 The Liberals don’t use the phrase “carbon budget.”  But they model the concept in some detail in their platform on p. 67 by which they summarize carbon reduction targets for each year from 2022 to 2030 on route to cutting carbon emissions by 50% below 2005 levels as of 2030. We award a full point.

NDP. 1. The NDP platform (p. 55) promises to enshrine our GHG reduction targets into law and use a carbon budgeting process to ensure we can reach them, consulting with climate scientists, workers, industry and other experts.” We award a full point.

Back to summary score table

PILLAR 2: HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

HELP BUSINESSES

There is insufficient information in the party platforms to evaluate the criteria within this category:

  • Criterion 11. Reduce costs and barriers to clean tech deployment
  • Criterion 12. Support innovation and explore of clean energy solutions

Relevant information from the platforms is considered in other criteria throughout this study of the party platforms.

 

HELP WORKERS

Given the few commitments made by all of the parties, we present a combined analysis of all two criteria that fall into this category:

  • Criterion 13. Create a clean economy education and skills strategy
  • Criterion 14. Push to hire Canadian talent first

All parties commit to some level of green jobs creation to support the low-carbon energy transition. The Green Party provides the most detail, whereas the NDP commits to broad labour objectives but does not provide specifics. The Liberal platform identifies a fairly large investment that will generate jobs, referring also to investing in an education program to ensure that Ontario trains the workers needed to fill those jobs. The Conservative 2022 Budget has a strong emphasis on skills and job training, although rarely in the context of discussing jobs and industries need to reduce climate change. 

Conservative Party. 0.5 There is a vague reference to providing workers with the opportunities to develop the skills they need to participate in Ontario’s economic future, including in electric vehicle manufacturing, and “carbon-neutral products.”  Despite the party’s limited focus on investing in skill-development for industries required to reduce climate change, we generously award half a point because skills training receives substantial attention more generally in the Conservative 2022 budget.

Green Party. 1. The Greens propose to increase training opportunities by providing business incentives and certification programs in low carbon technology fields, such as green buildings, biomedical technology, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. The platform also includes a proposal to provide incentives for businesses to hire youth to gain experience in the low carbon economy, including for green retrofits and reforestation. Over four years, the Greens promise one year of free college tuition for 60,000 people as well as a year of guaranteed work in a low carbon economy job. The Greens focus specifically on targeting recruitment to women, Indigenous people, and racialized communities.

Liberal Party. 1. A $9 billion clean economy plan is proposed that would create a significant level of green jobs – the platform estimates 25,000. Page 59 commits to prepare people for these jobs “through no-cost access to new apprenticeships, training and skills building programs. We’ll also apply a climate equity lens, ensuring every community is supported through and included in our transition to a cleaner, greener province and economy.”  We award a full point, although there is less specificity in the Liberal platform than in the Green platform.

NDP. 1. The NDP propose Canadian content provisions for publicly funded transit and vehicle procurement programs.  The platform also commits to developing a labour force strategy, with several programs having specific employment targets – including a target of 1,000,000 jobs in support of the transition to a net zero economy. Finally, the NDP propose to develop innovation hubs to help build the knowledge and capacity to create solid green jobs. A full point is awarded give the focus on labour force development, but there remains a lack of specificity.

Back to summary score table

 

HELP COMMUNITIES

 

Criterion 15: Do the platforms help towns and cities make transition plans?

 

All the parties are very vague on their commitments to helping municipalities. Typically, platforms discuss expanding funding, but the focus does not go much beyond transit. Most of the points under this criterion are awarded for transit commitments, given that no party stepped up to provide a vision to help decarbonize municipalities more generally.

Conservative Party. 0.5. The 2022 Conservative Budget speaks to a government led community transit program in the golden horseshoe, and there's a commitment to continue funding municipal transit – including matching dollar for dollar federal commitments. Half a point is awarded.

Green Party. 0.5. The Green platform includes a requirement for all municipalities to adopt plans for reducing corporate and community emissions on the road to net zero by 2045; and to transfer to municipalities the authorities and tools needed to implement these plans. A fund is to be created to help municipalities build protected bike lanes and develop sharing in rental systems for electric vehicles of all types, with incentives geared towards income. The Greens speaks to supporting smart growth in municipalities, including freezing urban boundaries.  The Greens receive half a point.

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberals commit to build dozens of new transit projects across the province. Community transportation grants for smaller and rural communities are identified, as well as new investments in annual transit operating funding. A half point is awarded.

NDP. 0.5. The NDP platform includes a commitment to restore provincial funding for municipal public transit and paratransit systems to 50% of their net operating cost, as well as expanding transit services.

Back to summary score table

 

PILLAR 3: UPGRADE OUR LIVES WITH A CARBON MAKEOVER

 

Criterion 16: Do the platforms take action to advance 100% clean power?

 

Both the Green and Liberal platforms provide good specificity on how they would advance clean power. The Green platform is very strong in terms of focusing on electrifying end uses, displacing fossil emissions in buildings and vehicles. The Liberal platform focuses on phasing out natural gas fired turbines and pushes for addressing barriers to connecting more renewables into the grid. The Liberals also look at green hydrogen as an option to help decarbonize power.

The Conservative platform provides detail on some innovative approaches to address structural barriers in the electricity market to help with decarbonization. The Conservatives places a heavy reliance on small modular reactors (an very uncertain technology at this point), but does mention renewables and clean hydro imports. There's also a proposal to address institutional barriers in the electricity market to help with decarbonization.

The NDP platform includes no specific commitments regarding a shift to clean electricity generation.

Conservative Party. 1. Small modular reactors are identified as an opportunity to decarbonize the grid, but such technologies are decades away and therefore would have no impact on emissions before 2030. Still, the Conservative 2022 Budget promises to expand hydro capacity and increase affordable renewable power including grid scale storage. Interconnections with Quebec and Manitoba are also discussed as is taking advantage of innovation to better align electricity demand and supply (to address off-peak power surpluses). Clean voluntary energy credit registry is discussed. There is also discussion of a low-carbon hydrogen strategy.

Green Party. 1. The platform pushes for a bunch of end use electrification in buildings, transport, and industrial energy. Homes and businesses would be allowed to earn renewable credits generated for feeding power back into grid from renewable energy sources.  The Green propose phasing our fossil fuel power generation by 2030, and commit to doubling Ontario’s electricity supply by 2040 in order to support the electrification of end uses in transportation and buildings. The Green also propose to electrify transit systems as quickly as possible including added 4,000 electric and fuel cell buses by 2030.

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals commit to transitioning to a fully clean electricity supply, banning new natural gas plants, phasing out reliance on natural gas, eliminating connection fees for rooftop solar, and supporting Indigenous and northern clean energy projects. There is also a proposal to become a green hydrogen powerhouse by supporting the generation, transportation and storage of green hydrogen including refueling stations.

NDP. 0. No mention in the platform.  

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 17: Do the platforms take action to advance clean energy?

 

All party platforms mention some form of support for industrial decarbonization. The Liberal platform has the strongest support for industry, being very specific in the types of policies it will implement. The other platforms tend to provide blanket statements about innovation and support to industry, but with few details. Given the importance of industry to decarbonizing Ontario, party platforms could have done a much better job of identifying policies and priorities to target and support industrial transitions.

Conservative Party. 0.5. There is a proposal develop a critical mineral strategy which is a road map to help develop Ontario as an electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturing hub. Small amounts of money are targeted at the Critical Mineral’s Innovation Fund. Previously committed investments in decarbonizing the Ontario steel sector are mentioned. A half point is awarded given a lack of specificity and a lack of new commitments.

Green Party. 0.5. The platform proposes to set a minimum standard for low carbon public procurement. Redirecting existing business support programs to help small and medium sized enterprises scale up low carbon technology.  The Greens commit to working with the federal government to implement border carbon adjustments to protect Ontario business from competitiveness pressures that arise from misaligned carbon prices between trading partners.  The platform also proposes funding research, demonstration, and commercialization of low carbon industries and low carbon capital investments in existing industries through grants and loans.  The Greens are awarded only half a point, however, given the lack of focus on broader industrial decarbonization.

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals propose using revenue from a strengthened large industrial emitters program (Emissions Performance Standards) to invest in a series of cleantech and green jobs initiatives using grants, tax credits, and loan guarantees. The platform commits to making Ontario a leader in electric vehicle battery manufacturing, and to providing incentives for businesses to invest in energy efficient and low carbon equipment and buildings and vehicle fleets.  To support collaboration on cleantech and public procurement, the Liberals propose to provide low interest loans, as well as funding centres of excellence. A full point is awarded given that several concrete policies are proposed.  

NDP. 0.5. The NDP platform commits to investing cap and trade revenue in technology to help industry compete and work with a variety of partners to lower industrial emissions. The NDP also promise mining related green innovation investments to help the mining sector. A half pointed is awarded given the limited range of policy proposals and lack of specificity.

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Criterion 18: Do the platforms take action to advance clean transportation?

 

All the parties commit to expanding transit services and infrastructure in Ontario, and to expanding zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) charging networks.  All the parties except the Conservatives commit to providing ZEV purchase incentives.  The Green and Liberal platforms are differentiated from the Conservative and NDP platforms in that they propose specific ZEV mandates, which will accelerate the decarbonization of transportation.

Conservative Party. 0.5. A primary climate policy goal of the Conservative platform is creating the next generation of vehicles in Ontario by securing auto production mandates to build electric and hydrogen hybrid vehicles. The Conservatives allocate nearly $100 million to improve electric vehicle charging networks, including rural charging stations. The platform also speaks to transit investments, including subway and Go train upgrades.  A full point is not awarded given the limited focus on decarbonizing end-use transportation, as well as the strong focus of the Conservatives on building new roads and lowering fees on car licencing – both of which would mitigate against decarbonization in transportation.

Green Party. 1. The Greens propose to scale up innovation and production for electric vehicles through a technology innovation fund and a proposed climate bank. These commitments are complemented by plans to develop an electric vehicle manufacturing strategy and an industry supply chain strategy.  The Green platform promises cash incentives of up to $10,000 for consumers who purchase a fully electric vehicle, plus $1,000 for the purchase of electric bikes. The Green propose to phase out the sale of new gas and diesel powered vehicles of all types by 2030, and to set standards for zero emissions vehicles in urban areas. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure also would be improved through the use of incentives and an amended building code.  Finally, the Green platform also plans to fund schools to buy zero emitting electric buses, and to prioritize public transit by cutting fares and restoring cost sharing for transit users.

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals commit to cancel the 413 highway and reduce transit fares to help with congestion. A detailed list of transit improvements are aimed at expanding public transit throughout the province, and finishing transit plans already funded. Similar to the Greens, the Liberals propose an $8,000 electric vehicle purchase incentive, as well as subsidies for electric bikes and charging equipment. The platform also includes a commitment to ensure all new passenger vehicles sold in Ontario are zero emitting by 2035, along with zero emission mandates for medium and heavy duty vehicles.  The Liberals commit to electrifying public transit and other government vehicles.

NDP. 1. The NDP platform commits to developing a comprehensive zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) strategy.  This includes support for the auto sector to ramp up the production of electric vehicles, extending charging networks, and providing a $10,000 ZEV incentive for households.  The NDP also refer to transitioning the provincial government vehicle fleet to an all electric (and Canadian made) fleet by 2030. The NDP commit to  support municipalities with funding transportation networks, and to expanding Go train and light rail services.

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Criterion 19: Do the platforms take action to advance zero-emission homes and buildings?

 

All the parties except the Conservatives talk about decarbonizing Ontario building sector. The Green platform has the most comprehensive program, focusing on reducing fossil fuel use in buildings and using building codes to help decarbonize the sector overall. The NDP has an ambitious target to retrofit buildings in the province, and are awarded full points as a result. While the Liberals make general reference to building codes and providing grants and loans to upgrade buildings, specific commitments are lacking.

Conservative Party. 0. The Conservative platform does not include any commitments on decarbonizing buildings.

Green Party. 1. The Green platform proposes to focus conservation subsidies to retrofit buildings so that energy costs are reduced for vulnerable populations, including rural, remote, low income and Indigenous communities. The Greens will ban natural gas in new buildings by 2025, and propose that 40% of existing homes and workplaces would be retrofitted with heat pumps, improved conservation measures and solar by 2030 – and 100% by 2040. Building codes would be amended to ensure commercial and residential structures are aligned with net zero by 2028, with aggressive GHG targets for government buildings. The NDP would deliver funding for schools to make energy efficiency and ventilation improvements.

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberal platforms includes commitments to reduce emissions from homes and buildings, including interest free loans and grants of up to $3,000/year, to support households and business retrofits.  The Liberals also propose to retrofit public sector buildings, including schools, hospitals, post-second institutions, and social housing.  To ensure more energy efficient and climate resilient infrastructure going forward, the Liberals propose to update building codes.

NDP. 1. The NDP platform commits to retrofit 5% Ontario buildings per year to meet high performing energy efficiency standards and create green jobs, as well as upgrading public school buildings to make them carbon neutral and climate resilient.  To facilitate access to retrofit programs, the NDP will create a single window and provide up front financing.  The platform bills this as part of what the NDP calls its “conservation-first model to energy planning in Ontario” (p. 10).

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Criterion 20: Do the platforms take action to advance smart land use and zero waste?

 

All parties except the Conservatives focus on smart land use and promoting zero waste. The Greens speak to locally produced food and addressing emissions from landfills. Both the Liberals and the NDP commit to significant tree planning and improving waste management to reduce emissions. The Conservative platform doesn’t mention land use or zero waste.

See also our discussion of draw down in the following criterion. 

Conservative Party. 0.5. Land use and waste receive little attention in the Conservative 2022 budget, with the exception of promising not to grow housing “in the Greenbelt, maintaining the government’s steadfast commitment to protecting this valued area.”  We generously award half a point.

Green Party. 1. The Greens propose to provide start-up funding and land for community owned healthy food markets, community gardens rooftop growing spaces, and other smart land use actions, as well as tax incentives for local food and beverage manufacturers who purchase locally grown food. The Green platform promises to enhance the urban tree canopy through legal protection of urban trees, as well as dedicating existing infrastructure funding towards supporting healthy urban forests. To reduce waste, recycling standards and producer responsibility standards are promised, including expanding the ban on single use plastics, banning food waste from landfills, and setting targets for consumption.

Liberal Party. 1. The Liberals promise to “[p]revent urban sprawl and restore urban intensification requirements” (p. 16). Specific commitments include expanding the Greenbelt, and increasing the number of protected areas and provincial parks.  The Liberals propose to reduce waste by cutting landfill use by more than half, diverting and recycling 60% of waste from landfills by 2030 and 85% by 2050, and harnessing organic waste to produce renewable natural gas and to reduce methane emissions.

NDP. 1. The NDP platform includes a number of commitments to cut waste, including expanding the producer-responsibility model of waste diversion to include more sectors and higher recycling targets; banning non medical single use plastics by 2024; and expanding recycling and composting services.  The NDP promise a provincial food strategy, and mandatory Agricultural Impact Assessments for any projects proposed on agricultural.  The NDP also commit to expanding the Greenbelt, and expanding access to parks and green spaces.

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Criterion 21: Do the platforms take action to advance carbon draw down and sequestration technologies and approaches?

 

The Conservatives are silent on carbon draw down.  Platforms for the Liberals, NDP and Greens include some general commitments regarding agriculture and expanding tree canopies/forests. 

Conservative Party. 0. The Conservative platform does not include any commitments on carbon draw down.

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberals propose to plant over 800 million trees over the next eight years. The platform also commits to building a more “resilient and sustainable agricultural sector by supporting best practices that keep soil healthy and maximize carbon storage” (p. 61).

NDP. 0.5. The NDP platform doesn’t directly reference drawing down or sequestering carbon.  The party does commit to plant one billion trees by 2030. Other promises on agriculture don’t mention this sector and its potential role in carbon draw down.  The half a point we award is charitable, given limited action.

Green Party. 0.5. The Green propose to revise crop insurance programs to support farming practices that support soil health and carbon sequestration, and incentivising practices to transform agricultural waste into biogas.  The Green platform doesn’t include tree planting, but does reference enhancing urban tree canopy targets, and dedicating 15% of the existing infrastructure funding for green infrastructure, including urban forests.

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WEATHER THE STORM

Given the few commitments made by all of the parties, we present a combined analysis of all four of the criteria that fall into this category:

  • Reduce risks
  • Protect health & wellbeing
  • Build resilient infrastructure
  • Support vulnerable regions & people

The platforms are weak on addressing the impacts of climate change and the need to adapt. The Green Party has the most specific level of detail on some proposed solutions. A full point is awarded to the Green Party because specific policies and programs are mentioned, whereas the liberal NDP platforms are much more generic. The parties need to do a much better job in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and the need for Ontario to adapt to a changing climate.

Conservative Party. 0. The Conservative platform simply reiterates the past program it had developed with no new or additional measures.

Green Party. 1. The Green platform proposes to increase consultation to reduce the risks of flooding, and mandate setbacks along lakes, rivers and floodplains. A climate adaptation fund is proposed, funded by a dedicated adaptation levy, to help prepare infrastructure for climate risks and to help other climate sensitive sectors like agriculture and forestry withstand the effects of climate change. The Greens also propose using nature-based solutions to help reduce the climate risk to private and public lands. 

The Greens commit to creating a plan on managing health risks across several climate impact areas, including extreme heat and wildfire smoke. Interestingly, the Greens also propose to “improve environmental determinants of health by prioritising clean air, clean water, and access to healthy local food in all communities” (p. 10). 

Liberal Party. 0.5. The Liberal platform includes a commitment to build resilience to climate change into new buildings through building code improvements, and to work with municipalities, real estate and insurance leaders to explore better ways to reduce flooding risks to homes and buildings. 

NDP. 0.5. The NDP platform proposes to implement climate stress tests on all provincial infrastructure, develop a provincial action plan on flooding, and invest in forest fire protection.

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Ontario Voter's Guide: Climate change
Ontario Voter's Guide: Climate Change
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Ontario Votes 2022
Ontario Votes 2022