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Ontario’s top climate policies for the 2022 election

Press Release

April 26, 2022

Pembina Institute recommends provincial policies that will prepare the province for the energy transition

TORONTO — Ontario is heading into an election at a critical juncture for climate action. In advance of the writ drop, national charity the Pembina Institute offers a comprehensive set of policy options for the political parties to consider and voters to watch for on party platforms: Climate policy leadership in Ontario.

The climate crisis is moving the world towards an energy transition that will affect all parts of Ontarians’ lives—from how we move, to how we heat our homes, to how we grow our food.

The federal government’s recent Emissions Reduction Plan sets a course 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. But much of that ERP will depend on the provinces. Therefore, Pembina Institute recommends that all political parties and candidates for election set out an immediate, sustained and coordinated decarbonization strategy. This strategy should involve ministries responsible for transportation, housing, economic development, energy, natural resources, and environment as well as labour, training, and skills development, as well as other orders of government.


“Decarbonizing the transportation and housing sectors is vital to solving the climate crisis. Ontario is poised to be the leader in electric vehicle creation and adoption. However, transitioning to electric at scale will require that provinces secure supply chains, as well as invest in public education and retraining of trades. Provincial governments need to chart a course for a successful transition.”

—  Carolyn Kim, Senior Director, Communities and Decarbonization, Pembina Institute

“Ontario currently has one of the cleanest grids in Canada, but we are on track to be the second largest user of gas-fired electricity generation in the country. As we electrify transportation and buildings, we need to ensure that we can achieve a net-zero grid by 2035 without compromising on the reliability and affordability of electricity.”

—  Saeed Kaddoura, Manager, Electricity, Pembina Institute

As the Ontario election unfolds, senior analysts with the Pembina Institute are available for comment in their areas of expertise. To book an interview, contact Kendall Anderson, Senior Communications Lead, Pembina Institute.


Quick facts

  • Ontario accounts for 22 per cent of Canada’s emissions. Provincially it is the second-highest emitter in terms of absolute emissions (163 Mt).
  • Electricity generation is currently one of the cleanest in the country but as we convert transportation and buildings demand for clean electricity will grow.
  • Ontario has a low rate of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) uptake — less than 2 per cent of cars sold in Ontario are fully electric.
  • International Energy Agency estimating 14 million new energy jobs and 16 million new jobs in energy efficiency worldwide

Pembina Institute’s top recommendations to political parties

Create a climate plan with accountability

  • Commit to reducing emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 with rigorous sectoral pathways to reach this goal.

Decrease carbon pollution from transportation

  • Encourage alternatives to single car travel
  • Adopt a mandatory ZEV sales requirement for personal vehicles by 2030.
  • Establish a medium/heavy-duty ZEV sales target of at least 100 per cent by 2040, at the latest.
  • Commit to electrifying publicly owned fleets, especially public transit and school buses.
  • Offer incentives for EVs
  • Support charging infrastructure and development of the auto sector

Decrease carbon pollution from buildings

  • Work with federal government to develop carbon reduction targets for the building sector for 2030, 2040, and 2050.
  • Work with the federal government on the National Net-Zero Emissions Building Strategy
  • Offer and increase uptake of retrofit programs
  • Phase out reliance on natural gas and oil for heating

Commit to fully decarbonizing Ontario’s electricity grid by 2035

  • Produce clean electricity and use it well
  • Commit to fully decarbonizing Ontario’s electricity grid by 2035
  • Support regulatory reform for rate structure initiatives to enable greater demand side management, electrification, and utility innovation
  • Scale up energy storage pilots, such as battery electric, pumped hydro, and green hydrogen storage.
  • Work with the federal government and neighbouring provinces and states on interprovincial transmission


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