E-News Fall/Winter 2020

Welcome to Pollution Probe’s Fall/Winter 2020 e-newsletter!

The days are getting shorter, but we’re busier than ever! Since our last newsletter, we’ve released several reports on some long-term projects, and, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, taken some new initiatives to even greater heights thanks to our network of dedicated supporters.

November is, of course, the month in which we traditionally hold our annual Gala, and this year, our Gala was unlike any we’ve held before!

Read on to find out more…

Gala Conference

Pollution Probe’s annual Gala is the pinnacle of our year – a chance to reflect, take stock, celebrate our work and accomplishments, thank our supporters, and shine a light on inspirational individuals and organizations who share our values. This year, the Gala was, for the first time, a virtual event and free to attend.

Pollution and climate change disproportionately affect the vulnerable and marginalized. This year, through a Gala Conference featuring two plenary panels made up of a diverse range of expert guests, we focused on Environmental Equity – how we, as a community dedicated to the protection of the environment, can work together to ensure that equity and social justice become fundamental elements of sustainable development. 

Everyone should be able to participate in, and benefit from, a healthy environment and the creation of a sustainable, low-carbon society in Canada.

Circular Economy + Plastics

Since 2018, when Canada adopted the Oceans Plastics Charter to take action on ocean plastic pollution, we’ve taken the lead on making sure similar work is being done for Canada’s freshwater systems, where plastic pollution is every bit as much of an issue.

This summer, together with an amazing group of partners including the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR)Boating Ontario and the University of Toronto Trash Team, we launched the  Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, working with marinas across the Canadian side of the Great Lakes to install cutting-edge plastic capture technology that will remove litter from the waterways, after which it will be analyzed and recycled wherever possible. Through outreach, engagement, and research, we’ll be raising awareness of the plastic problem and encouraging action to prevent more plastic from ending up in the water.

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup launched with Seabin and LittaTrap™  technology installed in 11 marinas, thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to CGLR.

GLPC logo with text

Since its launch, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup has been growing fast! Thanks to funding from the Ontario government to Pollution Probe for the project, we’ve been able to effectively double the size of the initiative in its very first year. We’ve welcomed Nova Chemicals as lead corporate sponsor, providing sustaining funding to support the initiative over the next few years. While many of the marinas in the GLPC participant network have been able to join thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Ontario Government, several marinas with their own devices have also joined, sharing data and resources and helping broaden the scope and impact of the initiative. Recently, we also welcomed Western University and Lambton College as research partners to take the lead on analyzing the debris collected by capture and cleanup devices at several participating marinas. It is now already the largest initiative of its kind in the world!

Learn more and sign up for news and updates at the official website we've built for the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup!


Every city and jurisdiction in Canada is unique, and each has its own energy system, with its own constantly evolving needs and priorities. Innovative approaches are needed to meet these changing needs. Pollution Probe partnered with QUEST on the Innovation Sandboxes project to support and create infrastructure for innovation that will help jurisdictions across Canada develop new and improved policies, regulations and programs to keep their energy systems clean, affordable, and sustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is that communities have the resources, governance structures, and policy support to build resilience and maintain reliable, sustainable energy systems.

Over the past few months, the project team has been hard at work, releasing two reports on what Innovation Sandboxes are and how and why they can be used across Canada to benefit our energy systems. Click the report covers below to find out more!


Our transportation program develops strategies to reduce environmental impacts from the transportation sector, particularly those that contribute to air pollution and climate change. From 1990 to 2018, emissions from this sector grew by 53%, and are expected to continue increasing rapidly past 2030. In 2018 the transportation sector was the second largest source of GHG emissions in Canada, accounting for 25% or 185 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

In a new report, we present a comprehensive guide to ways in which Canadian cities can encourage the use of Zero-Emission Vehicles across all modes of transport, and in the process significantly reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions as well as road congestion.

ev charge

Finding ways to increase the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in Canada is a major component of our work. Last year, we highlighted how EV charging is a significant challenge for people living in multi-unit apartments and condos or houses without garages or driveways. To help address these challenges, we’ve released a Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) to demystify the often-complex process of installing and maintaining EV charging infrastructure in these buildings. With more options for charging available, more Canadians can make the choice to drive EVs and help bring down air pollution and GHG emissions across the country.

10 Years On: Pollution Probe at the Forefront of the EV Movement in Canada

10 years ago, on November 21, 2010, Pollution Probe was part of the first-ever consumer EV pilot project in Canada , with Mercedes-Benz Canada and Toronto Hydro. A decade on, Bryce Conacher, one of the drivers who came on board for that first pilot, reminisces about his experiences and shares his thoughts on why, today, he still believes "Your Next Car Should be Electric."


Watersheds throughout the Great Lakes Basin face unprecedented pressures from population growth, urban expansion, economic development, pollution, and a rapidly changing climate. The cumulative impacts of these stresses are affecting the ability of Great Lakes watersheds to effectively adapt to change, contributing to a number of challenges for our natural, economic, and social systems. Promoting more sustainable cities and industries through proactive, evidence-based policies and planning is critical for ensuring the health of Great Lakes ecosystems and communities.

In 2018, Pollution Probe and the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) initiated a multi-year project with support from the RBC Foundation to leverage big data and smart computing capabilities to support an improved approach to watershed management and adaptive decision-making in the Great Lakes. Phase 3 of this multi-year project will see the development and implementation of a novel, cloud-based solution called DeX-Terity— a platform that will connect, and analyze large volumes of data and information quickly through the use of smart computing solutions.

Pollution Probe and CGLR are working with researchers from York University to develop and test a basic working prototype of the DeX-Terity platform to prove out the value and core capabilities of the solution with key users on the path to designing, building, and testing the end-solution.