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The election of a new mayor for Toronto in June 2023 is an opportunity to express strong support for the full implementation of the Net Zero by 2040 Strategy. Toronto needs a mayor committed to taking immediate and meaningful action to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, with clear strategies on how they will fund and implement the actions needed to achieve a reduction in heat-trapping pollutants of 65% below 1990 by 2030.

The next mayor of the City of Toronto must get serious about the Climate Emergency. Strategic plans will be effective only if the required funding is made available. For that reason, Toronto environmental organizations are asking all mayoral candidates to signal to the city's voters that they are committed to taking action to head off the worst effects of human-caused global warming by signing a pledge to commit to:

Emissions Reduction
If elected mayor of Toronto, I pledge to do everything in my power and use all means available to ensure that the City of Toronto fully funds all actions in its TransformTO Net Zero strategy, keeping on track to meet 2025, 2030 and 2040 climate targets in the reduction of heat-trapping pollution.

Climate Adaptation
If elected mayor of Toronto, I pledge to do everything in my power and use all means available to see that the City of Toronto implements an effective plan to help communities prepare for and respond to the now-unavoidable impacts of climate disruption.

See which candidates signed the Climate Commitment Pledge.

Toronto is a leader in global climate action. In 2017, Toronto City Council unanimously approved TransformTO, the City's ambitious climate action strategy. In 2019, Council declared a Climate Emergency, and adopted a stronger emissions reduction target for Toronto – net zero by 2050. In that same year, the City unveiled its first Resilience Strategy aimed at addressing climate change and growing inequities. In December, 2021, recognizing the increasing urgency of the climate threat and the lack of significant progress to date, Council adopted the Net Zero by 2040 Strategy.

Other recent initiatives include:

  • building one of the world's largest waste energy transfer projects
  • enabling sustainable building practices through accelerated implementation of the Toronto Green Standard
  • being the first major North American city to introduce a carbon budget, and
  • having many actively engaged residents taking action.

Key achievements in 2022 include:

  • A Climate Advisory Group has been established, with 26 members providing expert advice on TransformTO implementation through an equity lens.
  • Using waste heat from sewers and cold lake water, the City is increasing the supply of local renewable energy to reduce fossil fuel use in buildings and facilitating one of the largest sewer heat-recovery projects in the world.
  • Toronto Green Standard Version 4 has also raised the bar for high performance, low-emissions new buildings.
  • More than 100 electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in Green P parking lots around the city. By the end of 2024, more than 650 charging ports will be available on-street and in Green P lots.
  • Toronto’s Net Zero by 2040 Strategy won the American Planning Association Sustainable Communities award in 2022.
  • Toronto was the winning municipality for Emissions Reduction Targets in Climate Reality’s National Climate League standings for 2022. (see page 51) These standings are an annual review of climate actions implemented across Canada. Particular mention was made of Toronto’s commitment to “bending the curve” more sharply and aiming to reach net-zero more quickly than other municipalities.

Below is a chart showing emissions reductions progress so far.  

Despite these achievements, much more needs to be done. The Net Zero by 2040 Strategy is just a plan. It has to be implemented, and that requires much more funding than the City has currently allocated. 

70% of emissions are from cities and Toronto is Canada's largest city, so what we do matters.