PRESS RELEASE: Statement in Response to Ontario Government’s Environment Plan

Toronto, ON – November 29, 2018 – Pollution Probe commends the Ontario Government on developing an environment plan, in a short period of time, which addresses the breadth of the environmental challenges facing Ontario’s air, water, land and climate. We also endorse the Government’s commitment to consult with rights holders and stakeholders to further refine the plan.

There are several aspects of the plan that Pollution Probe sees as encouraging. They include:
Clean Water
  • The Ontario government’s commitment to preserve and protect the Great Lakes addresses both legacy issues, that disproportionately affect indigenous and vulnerable communities, and emerging issues. 
  • Real-Time reporting of combined sewer overflows that will better protect the health of recreational users of our waters. We hope that greater awareness will result in actions to reduce the volume and frequency of untreated sewage and contaminated storm water entering our waterways. 
  • Ontario’s government leadership role on plastics pollution in the Great Lakes and also take action through multi-jurisdictional fora such as the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment to advance a closed-loop economy that will significantly reduce plastics pollution in our freshwater.
  • Efforts to curb road salt pollution from both public and private sources to improve the quality of our water and the health of our wetlands and shoreline habitats.
Clean Air
  • Reducing emissions from heavy duty vehicles to protect human health and the environment
  • Targeting specific areas and communities experiencing continuing air quality concerns.
Climate Change
  • Strong commitment to addressing climate resilience through efforts such as a comprehensive risk and impact assessment. 
  • Commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by establishing performance standards and regulations for large emitting industrial sectors.
  • Balance between market mechanisms to foster innovation and ensure the adoption of the best emissions reduction solutions at an affordable cost.
“There is a lot to commend in Ontario’s new environment plan” says Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe. “We also see areas where refinement and additional effort is required.”
With respect to climate change mitigation, Pollution Probe sees significant areas for improvement and believes there are additional opportunities for further greenhouse gas reductions. The United Nations Environment Programme report released earlier this week called for all governments to move faster and with greater urgency to meet the 2015 Paris climate treaty emissions reduction commitments. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario, and the environmental plan provides little information on how the Ontario government will tackle this sector. We are also concerned that the environmental plan does not detail how Ontario will accelerate the deployment of zero emission vehicles, specifically electric and hydrogen, to reduce transportation emissions and realize the economic benefits of these technologies.
“Along with our partners we look forward to working with the government to refine and bolster some areas of the plan, to cost it, and to make sure we make the best use of available public funds to ensure the best environmental outcomes” says Mr. Hilkene.
About Pollution Probe
Established in 1969, Pollution Probe is a national, non-profit organization that exists to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians by advancing policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change. Pollution Probe has a proven track record of working in partnership with industry and government to develop practical solutions to environmental challenges.

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