I hope that you had a safe and happy Family Day weekend in February. I am looking forward to being back in the Legislature and continuing to work hard for you, your family and our community.

In this update, I explain what our government is doing to combat the damaging effects of greenhouse gases (GHG) on our environment and address climate change.

Families and businesses are already feeling the impact of climate change right here in Ontario. Extreme weather such as flooding causes damage to property and infrastructure, which increases the cost of our food, threatens outdoor activities we love, and melts winter roads that provide critical seasonal access to remote northern Indigenous communities. It affects every aspect of our lives, so it is our collective responsibility to fight climate change together to ensure our children benefit from a cleaner planet.

On January 1, 2017, our government introduced cap and trade. Ontario selected a cap and trade approach to pricing carbon because it guarantees GHG emission reductions at the least expensive price possible for families and businesses versus a carbon tax. In fact, a carbon tax would cost Ontarians almost four times more.

By legislation, Ontario must invest every dollar collected from cap and trade, in a transparent way, back into green projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Through this plan we will create good jobs, help families and businesses become more energy-efficient, and accelerate our shift to a prosperous low-carbon economy and a more sustainable province while ensuring support for green projects like transit, electric vehicle incentives, housing retrofit programs and much more.

Ontario’s environmental and clean tech sector leadership is worth an estimated $8 billion in annual revenues and $1 billion in export earnings. There are already 3,000 ‘green’ companies employing 65,000 people in Ontario.

From the proceeds of Ontario’s cap and trade program, we have already announced:

  • Investments of up to $514 million in grants and interest free loans for college and university repairs and retrofits, including $7 million for the University of Toronto Scarborough. Examples of types of projects funded include: boiler replacements, energy efficient windows, and solar panel installations.
  • Programs from the Green Ontario Fund designed to help Ontario’s farmers and food and beverage processors reduce greenhouse gas pollution and adopt low-carbon technologies.
  • Funding for 180 projects at 98 hospitals across the province, including 117 heating, ventilation, and air conditioning projects, 35 lighting projects and 28 projects that address other energy efficiency needs at hospitals, including more than $425,000 at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital.
  • Rebates for homeowners to renovate their homes to reduce their carbon footprint. Rebates are offered for insulation, energy efficient windows, ground source heat pumps, smart thermostats, and more.

Find out more about projects for homeowners as well as other projects funded by our cap and trade program at  http://www.greenon.ca.

I am proud of our government’s leadership that puts Ontario in the best position for long-term economic growth, allowing us to benefit from the opportunities and new jobs that will come with this transition.

You can contact me at my Constituency Office at 300 Kingston Road, Pickering, by phone at 905-509-0336 or by email at tmaccharles.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.  Please subscribe to my e-newsletter:  http://tracymaccharles.onmpp.ca.