E-News Spring 2023
Spring has sprung! Our Circular Economy, Transportation, Water, and Energy teams are springing into action as they continue to tackle today’s most pressing environmental issues. From the eventful Great Lakes Week, with multi-million dollar investments announced, to welcoming Pollution Probes’ new Director of Transportation, this spring was blooming with excitement! This newsletter will also cover:
- Piloting a route to electrifying school buses
- Sponsoring and co-hosting Great Lakes Day
- Ontario’s Provincial Day of Action on Litter
- Pollution Probe’s engagement in upcoming community events
- The latest report on Decarbonizing Residential Heating
Piloting a route to low-emission buses
Electrifying school buses not only reduces harmful diesel pollutants that children are exposed to, but it also significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. One key challenge of school bus electrification is a lack of real-world data related to energy consumption and operational costs.
Pilot programs that involve real-world data collection from electric buses inform energy consumption and maintenance cost data that is critical for fleet operators to identify the electrification potential of their routes as we transition to low-emission buses. Our ongoing first-of-its-kind electric school bus pilot in Calgary aims to uncover several valuable insights that will play a role in accelerating electric bus deployments across Canada! We’ve been part of the conversation on electric school buses lately – see us on the Weather Network and in the Toronto Star.
Pollution Probe hires a new director, transportation
Meet our new team member, Cedric Smith, Director, Transportation. Cedric joins us from the Pembina Institute,
where he worked as a program manager and specialized in areas including electric vehicle adoption and manufacturing policy, as well as future skills and sustainable finance. Welcome, Cedric!
$420M Investment for the Great Lakes
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau announced plans to invest $420 million to preserve and restore the Great Lakes and ensure resiliency of the communities and people that depend on them. We welcome this commitment to our Great Lakes, as we have – and continue to – advocate for much-needed investments into our lakes and river systems.
Budget 2023: Investing in Freshwater Protection and Coordination
This 2023 budget establishes Canada as a frontrunner in safeguarding freshwater resources by committing a substantial investment of $650 million over years. This funding will be dedicated to enhancing monitoring, evaluation, and restoration initiatives in crucial water bodies across the nation, including the Great Lakes, Lakes Winnipeg, Lake of the Woods, St. Lawrence River, Fraser River, Saint John River, Mackenzie River, and Lake Simcoe. Furthermore, an extra $22.6 million over the course of three years will be allocated to foster improved collaboration and coordination in freshwater protection endeavors.
Pollution Probe has played a significant role in advocating for the establishment of a Canada Water Agency that operates independently. The recent funding announcement marks a crucial advancement towards making this a reality. These remarkable investments directed towards the preservation and rehabilitation of freshwater resources underscore its crucial significance to communities across the nation, as water consistently remains one of the top public concerns.
Great Lakes Day on the Hill 2023
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River make up about one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater. The lakes border two countries, and within those two countries, eight American states and one Canadian province. In recognition of the importance of our Great Lakes, Pollution Probe co-hosted the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Day on the Hill on May 1st, 2023, in Ottawa.
We participated in a series of roundtables with co-hosts, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Invasive Species Centre and the Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association, to tackle the big issues of the day including Canadian Government investment to preserve and restore the Great Lakes and protection of Canada’s freshwater Protection and Coordination Budget for 2023. During an evening reception, attendees discussed the importance of freshwater systems with local MPs.
The organizations released a joint statement that commends the Government of Canada on historic investments made for Great Lakes protection and restoration. The group is committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government, Indigenous communities and stakeholders to revitalize the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to improve the quality of life that they sustain; outlining a number of shared priorities for advancing equitable restoration, revitalization, and resilience in the Great Lakes region.
Ontario’s Provincial Day of Action on Litter
On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, Pollution Probe celebrated the fourth annual Provincial Day of Action on Litter! Ontario’s annual Day of Action on Litter encourages individuals, students, municipalities, and businesses across the province to work together to raise awareness about the impacts of litter and waste by participating in a litter cleanup. See more about this province-wide cleanup using the hashtag on Twitter #actONlitter.
Circular Economy Events
This past Spring, Pollution Probe Celebrated Earth Day at Downsview Park, promoting our circular economy and water work while providing supplies for a local litter clean up. Then, we participated in an amazing evening at Meaford Town Hall with Adam Shoalts in support of our GLPC partner, the Big Canoe project.
On May 27th, Pollution Probe eagerly anticipates the Cherry Beach Blossom Event, a gathering organized by the Shoreline Revival Group. Additionally, on June 10th, we are excited to participate in the Kingston Waters Cleanup event alongside our
friends Swim Drink Fish, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, and Neptune Salacias Diving. This extraordinary underwater and shoreline cleanup presents a remarkable opportunity for us to actively engage with our community and create a positive impact together.
Decarbonizing Residential Heating
The vast majority of energy used in Canadian buildings is for heating, and natural gas is the most common heating fuel, especially in dense urban areas. To attain a net-zero energy system by 2050, we must transition away from fossil fuels.
The decarbonization of space heating in Canada will present major challenges, given the deeply embedded natural gas infrastructure, extremely cold winter temperatures seen in many parts of the country, and the need to maintain accessibility, affordability, and reliability of heating services.
Electrification with heat pumps is the most common low-carbon solution promoted, but the effects on peak electricity demand, especially in areas with cold winters, could lead to major cost increases and will be technically and politically difficult.
Other potential solutions include low-carbon gases such as renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen; a hybrid solution is