Dismantling Ontario’s cap-and-trade system would be a setback for the commercial real estate sector and the many trades and professions it employs, one of its prominent industry organizations maintains. The Greater Toronto chapter of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) urges candidates in the upcoming provincial election to protect carbon pricing and recognize the potential economic benefits to be reaped from building retrofits and adoption of sustainable management practices.
“Cap-and-trade in Ontario is creating new markets and job opportunities, and it is providing the critical resources for skills development, research and implementation needed for significant market transformation,” states the chapter’s recently released declaration of its top three priorities for the incoming government.
It argues the proceeds from carbon pricing are key to funding the research, development and commercialization behind innovation, and for the incentives that support the adoption of new products and technologies. Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 likewise spurs building upgrades and fuel-switching initiatives that have positive spinoffs for employment, consumers’ savings and the comfort and quality of the built environment.
“The Province needs to create incentives and minimum performance levels for existing buildings, and support the development of good data practices, skills training and financial tools to enable an effective retrofit marketplace,” CaGBC Greater Toronto asserts.
Facilitation of the denser low-rise and mid-rise housing commonly dubbed the “missing middle” is the chapter’s third designated action area for provincial government. It calls for continued development within the existing urban boundaries of the Greater Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara regions along with strategies to reduce the costs and timing of the approvals process.
“Housing supply can not come at the expense of natural capital,” CaGBC Greater Toronto asserts. “It is possible to increase housing supply in ways that are more affordable and sustainable for both residents and cities. However, this requires better alignment of planning, fiscal policy and political leadership.”