Pembina applauds City of Toronto’s adoption of a net-zero strategyTransformTO is an important first step, but climate success depends on implementation

Dec. 17, 2021

Toronto skyline from harbour

The City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy will put the City on the path to reaching its goal of net zero by 2040. Photo: Roberta Franchuk, Pembina Institute

TORONTO — The Pembina Institute is pleased that the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy has been adopted by City Council. The actions outlined in the strategy will put the City on the path to reaching its goal of net zero by 2040 — one of the strongest targets set by any government in Canada. We urge the City to implement the plan immediately, working in collaboration with communities, residents, industry, and business.

The City has proposed a series of ambitious actions to reduce emissions from sectors such as energy, buildings, transportation, and waste, including:

  • Establishing a carbon budget and setting interim targets for 2025 and 2030 that will allow the City to track progress towards its net-zero target and help improve accountability.
  • Increasing low- and zero-emitting energy sources by limiting the expansion of natural gas systems and developing strategies to support the deployment of distributed energy resources.
  • Setting mandatory performance targets and limiting the installation of natural gas equipment in buildings.
  • Supporting the build-out of public and private charging stations and exploring the opportunity to offer electric vehicle purchase incentives to encourage Torontonians to buy electric cars.  
  • Expanding biking and pedestrian infrastructure as well as increasing transit service and access to achieve the City’s goal of 75% of school and work trips being through transit, walking or biking.

As the implementation plan is developed there are several decisions that need to be made to turn this net-zero vision into a reality.

  • Massive investment is required from all levels of government, as well as the private sector, to support the implementation of the plan.
  • It will be critical to ensure that underrepresented and equity-deserving groups aren’t disproportionately impacted by rising energy or housing costs.
  • The strategy will require close collaboration with the province and the federal government. For instance, a non-emitting electricity grid and the phase-out of natural gas will require provincial support.
  • It is estimated that 75% of the City’s Net Zero Strategy relies on an upgraded energy distribution system. We encourage the City to approve Toronto Hydro’s proposal to expand its electricity distribution business to ensure that Torontonians have reliable access to electricity.
  • The City needs to establish a clear governance and accountability framework.

With the net-zero strategy now approved, Toronto needs to swiftly take concrete steps to address the above issues in earnest.  



Kendall Anderson
Senior Communications Lead, Pembina Institute



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