Green 13 signs on to Joint Letter and Statement to Mayor and Council: In support of fully funding TransformTO
January 23, 2018
Green 13 has signed on to the following letter which has been sent via post to Mayor Tory and every member of Toronto City Council. This is a demonstration of the robust and diverse support behind the City's long-term climate goals and important areas of intersecting work.
January 23, 2018
Mayor Tory and Toronto City Councillors 100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Dear Mayor Tory and Toronto City Councillors,
We applaud Council’s unanimous adoption of TransformTO on July 4th, 2017. This plan presents an unprecedented opportunity to engage Torontonians in achieving the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, while building vibrant and resilient communities. However, we are concerned that the TransformTO plan has not been included in the preliminary 2018 operating budget.
We need the leaders of our City to once again show unanimous support for this plan. To achieve Toronto’s Council-mandated GHG reduction targets and the co-benefits the plan offers, Council needs to fully fund TransformTO in the 2018 budget. This investment should reflect an acceleration towards achieving the City’s 2030 GHG reduction target, rather than delaying the start of critical actions outlined in the plan. Toronto is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and Council must recognize that the costs of inaction will far exceed the costs of implementing this plan.
The plan’s actions should not be separated into individual business cases that receive piecemeal funding. The plan must be funded and implemented in its entirety. The full bundle of TransformTO actions will allow us to take advantage of the many benefits the plan has to offer: better transit and active transportation options, the creation of good green jobs, health benefits, and poverty reduction.
Support for TransformTO should take place in tandem with an equally firm commitment to funding TOProsperity. Taken together, these two critical, mutually reinforcing investments will improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the City’s residents, including the most vulnerable members of our communities. In adopting these plans City Council has given Torontonians hope for a stronger, more resilient and equitable city of the future. Council must now ensure that the costs of these programs are included within annual budgets and supported by additional revenue tools where needed.
TransformTO represents a great opportunity for Toronto to reaffirm its place in the global movement of cities demonstrating climate leadership. The health and well-being of current and future generations will depend on the choices we make now. For this reason we call upon
Mayor John Tory and City Council to protect our city, economy and health, and to once again show unanimous support by fully funding and implementing the TransformTO plan.
Attached for your consideration is a joint statement with our specific calls to action for the funding and implementation of the TransformTO plan.
Alliance for a Just Toronto
Citizen's Climate Lobby
Council of Canadians (Toronto)
Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) Environmental Defense
Enviromentum, a project of Tides Canada For Our Grandchildren
Green Majority Media
Green Neighbours 21
Noor Cultural Centre
Ontario Clean Air Alliance People's Climate Movement (GTA) Project Neutral
Toronto Environmental Alliance
Toronto Youth Environment Council (TYEC)
Fully Fund TransformTO in the 2018 City of Toronto Budget
We call upon Mayor John Tory and City Council to:
● Fully fund the TransformTO plan in the 2018 Operating Budget. This includes funding all of the planned actions on the timeline proposed in the plan, the fund key positions to execute this work, and making the necessary investments to leverage funding from other levels of government.
● Make critical, mutually reinforcing investments in TransformTO and TOProsperity, which will improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the City’s residents. Council has adopted these plans and is responsible to ensure that the implementation and operating costs for these programs are included within annual budgets, and if necessary, implement new revenue tools to fund them.
● Direct staff to apply and prioritize a social equity lens to its planning decisions. The adoption of TransformTO and TOProsperity has solidified our City’s commitment to community benefits, such as access to affordable transit and housing. Investing in these actions today will have a lasting impact on social equity in our City.
● Direct staff to apply and prioritize an intergenerational lens to planning decisions. Young people will be the ones living with the future impacts of decisions Council takes today, which have irreversible environmental and social consequences. We encourage Council to be visionary and leave a legacy of city-building for future generations of which we can all be proud.
● Recognize that the GHG reduction actions in the climate plan are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and for the City to achieve the low-carbon pathway, it will require an investment in the full bundle of actions as outlined in the TransformTO Report Results of Modelling Greenhouse Gas Emissions to 2050.
● Begin the process of creating over 327,000 new person years of employment, through the accelerator campaign to generate high-skilled jobs in energy retrofits and the construction of new low-carbon buildings. Job training and placement programs can generate the co-benefits of helping low-income residents to access work opportunities, creating better housing conditions, and significantly reducing emissions from buildings.
● Commit to resourcing ongoing engagement with communities in designing programs and implementing low-carbon and co-benefit actions. This includes funding skilled positions to work with communities to realize the full potential value of residents’ contributions to achieve the objectives of TransformTO.
● Treat 2050 GHG reduction target “80% by 2050” as a minimum target. This target falls far short of the international commitment that Canada made at COP21 to limit global warming to less than 2oC. Much steeper GHG-reduction curves are needed to stay
under the 2o limit. While the interim target of reducing emissions by 65% by 2030 is a step in the right direction, we must take immediate steps to ensure we meet this target.
● Commit to examining the City’s risk exposure as it experiences more frequent and severe extreme weather, and undertake a comprehensive study to quantify the costs of climate change over the next 30 years to help inform future decisions on mitigating risks and impacts. Council must
recognize that there are significant financial costs of inaction if the City proceeds with a “business as planned” scenario.
● Champion the City’s commitment to Leadership through City Action in the TransformTO plan by applying a climate change mitigation lens to all City operations and programs (including City agencies and corporations). Council must implement a framework for considering the impacts of climate change and GHG emissions in all budgetary and policy decisions taken by Council, as well as opportunities to spur innovation and catalyze community action.
● Act on Toronto Public Health's Climate Change and Health Strategy, which outlines the current and potential health impacts of climate change, which include increased incidence of food system impacts, degraded air quality, illness, injury, disease, and premature death. Investments in TransformTO’s actions can mitigate these impacts and create a wide range of health benefits such as cleaner air, improved indoor air quality, decreased mortality rates, and better access to healthy food.
The time to act is now. Current and future generations are counting on Council to lead Toronto towards a healthy, equitable and prosperous future.