For the 27 million Canadians living in cities, it’s notable that the new Liberal government has made some important commitments to urban sustainability. The Party’s on-line election platform has an overwhelming raft of content, so we’ve put together a summary of the key elements that focus on climate change, cities, and the low-carbon economy. We hope this record of the tangible commitments made during the election can act as a reference point for measuring this government’s progress over time.


First,  Climate Change – GHG targets, carbon price, and investment in low-carbon solutions.

“We will end the cycle of federal parties – of all stripes – setting arbitrary targets without a real federal/provincial/territorial plan in place,” Trudeau says.

Key actions promised:

With the COP climate summit in Paris in 6 weeks, he has committed that within 90 days of the conference, he will formally meet to establish a pan-Canadian framework for combating climate change.

The government will join with provinces and territories to put a price on carbon and reduce carbon pollution.

Trudeau commits to establishing national emissions-reduction targets and ensuring that the provinces and territories have targeted federal funding to meet these commitments.

A $2 Billion “Low Carbon Economy Trust” will provide funding to projects that materially reduce carbon emissions under the new pan-Canadian framework.

He has also committed to phasing out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the “medium-term” –  no hard dates are set.

To find out more, read the platform on climate change or full policy on Canada’s Environment and Economy


Second, Infrastructure for resilient communities

The Liberals have committed to investing in sustainable infrastructure to make communities safer and more resilient.

Key actions promised:

Significant new investments in green infrastructure including local water and wastewater facilities, clean energy, and climate resilient infrastructure such as flood mitigation systems and infrastructure to protect against changing weather.

A boost in investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years.

Read the infrastructure platform for resilient communities.


Third, Social Infrastructre for Communities

Prioritizing investment in affordable housing, seniors’ facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure is the focus of the party’s commitment.

Key actions promised:

Over the next decade, the Liberals plan to invest almost $20 billion more in Canada’s social infrastructure. Iit sounds hopeful that cities might have a committed federal partner and receive infrastructure funding. Trudeau’s platform highlights Toronto’s Alexandra Park revitalization and commits to enabling future success stories in communities across Canada.

Read the platform on social infrastructure or full policy on Economic Security for Families.


Fourth, Supporting Technology & Innovation

Kick-starting investment in innovation is intended to grow the economy, reduce carbon emissions, and create middle class jobs. Trudeau emphasizes investing in entrepreneurs and business innovation, especially in manufacturing.

Key actions promised:

Over three years, the Liberals plan to invest $200 million each year in a new “Innovation Agenda” to significantly expand support for incubators and accelerators, and an additional $100 million each year in the Industrial Research Assistance Program. They promise to work closely with the provinces and territories to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy to protect Canada’s energy security; encourage energy conservation; and bring cleaner, renewable energy onto the electricity grid.

Improved energy efficiency standards for consumer and commercial products, new financing instruments to encourage investments in energy-saving retrofits to Canada’s industrial, commercial, and residential buildings are promised.

Hoping to lead by example, the federal government will increase the use of clean technologies, support clean transportation by adding electric vehicle charging stations at federal parking lots, and rapidly expand the federal fleet of electric vehicle.

Read the platform on green jobs and innovation.


Fifth, Urban Infrastructure

The New Building Canada Fund is an important source of infrastructure funding for Canadian communities, but more than 70% of its funding locked away until after 2019. Trudeau promises to make the New Building Canada Fund more focused and transparent.

Key tangible actions:

Providing separate investment streams for public transit and infrastructure, and enabling the New Building Canada Fund to make greater investments in Canada’s transportation system.

Establishing the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to provide low-cost financing for new infrastructure projects and to provide loan guarantees and  to provinces and municipalities. This will include, for the first time, federal government support for both large- and community-scale renewable energy projects. According to the platform, the new Canada Infrastructure Bank will issue Green Bonds to fund projects like electric vehicle charging stations and networks, transmission lines for renewable energy, building retrofits, and clean power storage.

Read the platform on the New Building Canada Fund.


Sixth, but definitely not last, Investing in  Public Transit

Trudeau promises to fund transit in cities to address congestion, cut air pollution, and strengthen the economy.

Key tangible actions:

Trudeau commits to giving provinces, territories, and municipalities the long-term, predictable federal funding they need to make transit plans a reality.  Over the next decade, the Liberals pledge to quadruple federal investment in public transit. We’ll be watching and working with Move the GTHA to see funding for Metrolinx’s “The Big move” transit plan materialize

Read the public transit platform or the full investment plan.


The photo of Justin Trudeau on a forest walk, borrowed from his campaign page, positions him as an environmental advocate. He does look comfortable among those Redwoods, and we look forward to him being equally comfortable driving down urban GHG emissions.