Canada Subnational Best Practices


The Province of British Columbia (BC)—BC has long been a leader on climate change. In 2007, a Climate Action Charter with the province and the Union of BC Municipalities, committed to carbon neutrality by 2012 including municipal GGE reporting. As of 2013, 182 of 190 municipalities (96%) had signed on. In 2008, a Climate Action Revenue Incentive program (revenue neutral), equivalent to 100% of what local governments paid as carbon tax came into effect. This was separate to other grant sources.

A world-leading Climate Action Plan began in 2008, foundational for large-scale change in reaching a target to reduce GGE 6% below 2007 levels by 2012. This included more than $1 billion in programs and tax incentives to encourage cleaner choices. Additional GGE targets are a 33% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Results have included transit development, green infrastructure, i.e., community energy systems, building retrofits, fuel efficient fleet vehicles and hydro projects.  Along with California, BC was first to implement a low carbon fuel standard.

Since 2012, BC continues to invest in innovation and infrastructure to reach its 2050 target. $1.9 billion is being directed to: $50 million in clean energy/technology; $831 million for clean transportation; $300 million for transportation infrastructure; $24 million to energy efficiency of homes and businesses; and $704 million for clean electricity infrastructure. Recent policies include carbon neutrality for health authorities and post-secondary institutions. These actions are expected to reduce annual GGE by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050 and 66,000 jobs over ten years. A Climate Leadership Plan (launched 2016) adds sector-specific and international initiatives such as The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition; and Under 2 MOU.

The Hon. Mary Polak, MLA, Minister of Environment (Climate Leadership Plan, 2016)
Mail: Room 112, Parliament Buildings, Victoria BC V8V 1X4
Telephone: (250) 387-1187


Vancouver—Vancouver is committed to its Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) (2011), a strategy to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. In 2015, at the halfway mark and with 80% of actions completed, staff identified more than 50 new actions in collaboration with over 300 internal and external advisors adding to the original suite of 125 priority actions. The result was a new road map to being the greenest city globally. Reduction pathways have included energy efficient buildings, district energy, local food, transportation and vehicle changes, reduced landfill waste and clean electricity. As of 2016, examples of target results include:  climate and renewables – reducing community-based GGE by 33% from 2007 levels, so far a decrease of 15% since 2007. Green buildings—all buildings constructed from 2020 on to be carbon neutral in operations, and a reduction of GGE in existing buildings by 20% from 2007 levels, results being a 20% decrease since 2007. Green transportation—reducing average distance driven per resident by 20% from 2007 levels, results were a 27% decrease. In November 2015, a renewable strategy was endorsed for 100% of Vancouver’s energy to come from renewable sources before 2050. Also, a priority action of the Green Plan is an adaptation strategy (2012) integrating climate change into planning, design and emergency management to prepare for climate change impacts.

Lloyd Lee, Monitoring and Reporting Planner
Mail: Vancouver City Hall, Sustainability Office, 453 West 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
Telephone: (604) 873-7000

Toronto—Toronto’s Climate Change Action Plan (2007) set bold targets based on 1990 levels of 22 million tonnes of GGE per year, of 6% by 2012, 30% by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Budget allocations include: $42 million to conservation measures, $20 million for renewable projects and $22 million to retrofit City facilities. This was followed by a Climate Adaptation Strategy (2008) and a Sustainable Energy Strategy (2009). Toronto surpassed its 2012 target with a 15% reduction in 2011.

Since 1996, the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) partnered with Toronto on over 2,500 projects to eliminate the equivalent of 683,000 tonnes of GGE. Retrofits to City buildings have reduced energy intensity by 25% since 2006. To achieve a target of 80% by 2050, a focus will be will on the use of electrified transit networks and in connecting buildings to low-carbon thermal networks. As of 2012, the City had cut emissions by 49% against 1990 levels through building retrofits, collecting methane from landfills, installing solar PV systems on City properties, connecting City buildings to Deep Lake Water Cooling systems and planting thousands of trees. Also in 2013, a Carbon Credit Policy began.
Results in 2015 alone included 77 BBP projects saving 69,400 tonnes of GGE/year, 47 eco-roofs, a Home Energy Loan Program for low-interest loans, 22 sites reducing peak consumption by 6.79 MW for the province’s Demand Response program, LED retrofits in 27 arenas, a savings of  $160,000, and 89% waste diversion from the City’s 11 largest buildings. Toronto is a member of C40, 100 Resilient Cities and the Compact of Mayors.

Mark Bekkering, Implementation and Support, Environment & Energy Division
Mail: Toronto City Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, M5V 3C6
Telephone: (416) 392-8556

Learn More

BC has been a leader in Canada on climate action and carbon taxes that are revenue neutral. Read more at

Vancouver will be the greenest city in the world by 2020. See how at and

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, follows Vancouver in innovation to reach GGE reduction. See