Ontario Election 2022: Party Responses to Environmental Questions

With Ontario election 2022 well underway we asked the major provincial political parties a series of questions on the environment. Below you will find their answers.

We made multiple attempts to contact the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario by email and phone, but no response to these questions was recieved from them.

Question 1

We are facing one of the biggest threats to our world: plastics. But the burning of plastics is not a viable solution. When plastics are burned, they release air pollutants (such as particulate matter), heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) and toxic chemicals such as PFAS and dioxins. These pollutants then enter the nearby air, water and food supplies posing a health risk to local communities. Will you commit to:

     a. Banning the burning of plastic?




Yes, Ontario Greens would ban the burning of plastic as it releases pollutants and toxic chemicals into the air.

     b. Setting high standards for re-use and recycling that would require refill or recycling 90 per cent of beverage containers?


Ontario is one of the largest creators of waste per person in the entire world and at current rates we’ll run out of landfill capacity in the next 11 to 14 years. As a province, we need to waste less and reuse more. An Ontario Liberal government will set a goal to divert and recycle 60% of waste from landfills by 2030 and 85% by 2050. We’ll update ineffective waste management and recycling in industrial and commercial sectors and hold polluters accountable for their waste. We’ll also expand the list of products that can be recycled in Blue Bins and implement a landfill ban for food and organic waste.

We’ll prevent plastic products from becoming pollution in the first place by restricting certain harmful single-use products, establishing strong standards for plastics – including how much has to be recycled content – and encouraging businesses to use packaging made from biomass-based polymers. We’ll repeal the Ford Conservatives’ environmentally-harmful changes to legislation, including improving oversight over “advanced recycling” projects.


We will expand the federal government’s list of banned single-use plastics to include water bottles, coffee cups and other unnecessary packaging as well as set high recycling and management standards for printed paper and packaging (Blue Box) materials, and a minimum standard of 85% for plastic packaging by 2030 on a path towards zero waste and a circular economy.

Ontario Greens would adopt clear, stringent, and enforceable extended producer responsibility standards for waste and packaging generated at workplaces, schools, and in public places - the sectors responsible for the majority of Ontario’s waste.

We would also establish a deposit-return system for beverage cartons, refillable glass containers and reusable plastic containers, starting with bottles, cups, bags and food takeout containers and encourage retailers to allow customers to refill their own containers, subject to public health authorization.




Question 2

Highways increase greenhouse gas emission rates, endanger wildlife and jeopardize Ontario’s greenspaces, forests and wetlands. Will you commit to:
     a. Cancelling Highway 413 & the Bradford Bypass?
     b. Maintaining the cancellation of the Mid-Peninsula Highway?


An NDP government will cancel these unnecessary and costly highways, and instead use the billions saved for healthcare, education, housing and public transit.

Investigative reports have revealed that the main beneficiaries of Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass are well-connected developers who are also friends and donors of Doug Ford and the PC Party. These gifts to political insiders will cost taxpayers over $10 billion, while destroying the Greenbelt and prime farmland — and will only result in more traffic congestion over the long-term, not less. Public infrastructure should serve the public interest, not Doug Ford’s developer buddies.

An NDP government will also maintain the cancellation of the Mid-Peninsula Highway.


Ontario Greens will stop building new highways and cancel planned unnecessary highways such as Highway 413, the Bradford Bypass, and the widening of Highway 417.

It is not in our plan to build new highways so we would maintain the cancellation of the Mid-Peninsula Highway.

Instead of building highways, we are committed to building dense, mixed-use connected communities across the province that reduce the need for people to commute in the first place. We know that building connected communities is one of the best things we can do for the environment, as it cuts down on car pollution and spares our natural areas that we depend on from more urban sprawl.


New multi-lane highways through the Greenbelt are not the answer to relieving gridlock and keeping people moving. We’ll stop Highway 413, the Ford Conservatives’ project that would only shave an average of 30 seconds off of commutes while paving over important wetlands and farmland. Instead, we’ll focus on investing in transit and building more walkable, livable communities – investing the significant savings from this unnecessary highway into new and repaired schools, including upgraded ventilation systems. We’ll also pause any further work on the proposed Bradford Bypass until a new environmental assessment is done – since the current assessment hasn’t been updated since 1997. If this assessment fails to meet environmental and community standards, we’ll stop the Bradford Bypass just like Highway 413.

Question 3

Will you commit to fully funding affordable co-op housing to support liveable cities and social equity?


Our comprehensive housing plan, “Building Livable & Affordable communities,” lays out our strategy for making sure everyone has a safe, affordable and accessible place to call home. Ontario Greens will:

     Build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next
decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes.

     Create a seed fund for co-operative housing through direct funding and mortgage support.

     Provide nonprofit housing providers with the support and access to capital needed to purchase rental buildings to maintain affordability in perpetuity and explore preemptive right-to-buy for nonprofits.

     Renew 260,000 community housing units over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy.

     Partner with nonprofits, co-ops, and community land trusts to use public land for permanently affordable rental housing and attainable home ownership options through low-cost long-term leases.


We’ll expand and build new co-op housing by providing the co-op sector with $100 million over ten years – and we’ll modernize the funding formula for co-op housing corporations to continue to provide rental assistance province-wide. An Ontario Liberal government has committed to providing $360 million in annual operating funding province-wide to operate and improve social, supportive and community housing services – funding that will increase as we work together to build more homes. We have also committed a new $1 billion over 10 years to support the preservation and repair of 260,000 existing social and community housing.

An Ontario Liberal government will also establish the Ontario Home Building Corporation and unlock provincial land for home-building. The Ontario Home Building Corporation will be tasked with collaborating with municipalities, not-for-profit housing partners and developers to build, fund, and maintain affordable homes of all types. It will also develop surplus provincial lands, including safely burying more electric transmission lines underground to unlock up to 80,000 acres of land for new homes. The Corporation will receive an historic $15 billion in capital funding subject to strict oversight – including a hard cap on administrative expenses and salaries and a 15-year mandate to ensure housing is built rapidly, cool the housing market and end the waitlist for affordable public housing.

This will include building 138,000 deeply affordable homes – 78,000 new social and community homes, 38,000 homes in supportive housing and 22,000 homes for Indigenous peoples. Further, any homes sold by the Ontario Home Building Corporation will be available only to first-time home buyers, and any proceeds will go directly back into creating more affordable homes.


Yes. The Ontario NDP’s fully-updated housing platform, Homes You Can Afford, commits to creating a new public agency, Housing Ontario, to finance and build 250,000 new affordable and non-market rental homes over ten years, to be operated by public, non-profit and co-op housing providers. The NDP has also committed to supporting the co-op sector by funding a co-op development seed fund, and supporting the Cooperative Housing Federation’s proposal of a Cooperative Housing Trust.

The NDP’s full housing platform can be found here: https://www.ontariondp.ca/housing  


Question 4

Mother Earth — and all life — has an inherent right to flourish, independent of the value people place on it. Furthermore, we depend on nature for our basic needs, our livelihoods, our security, and our continued survival.  Will you commit to developing and adopting a Rights of Nature Legislation?


We’ll repeal the Ford Conservatives’ environmentally-harmful changes to legislation related to conservation, land planning, the environment and endangered species. We’ll also strengthen the powers of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities to prevent flooding and protect green spaces, farmland, drinking water, biodiversity and species at risk. We’ll restore and expand natural infrastructure like wetlands and green roofs and support communities in becoming more resilient to extreme weather through a new $250 million annual fund.

We’ll work closely with municipalities and Indigenous communities to protect and restore Ontario’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and watersheds – including Moose Cree First Nation and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. And we’ll strengthen oversight and environmental protections over gravel and aggregate mining before approving new mines. We’ll clean up the mercury contamination in the St. Clair and English-Wabigoon River system and reduce pollution in Lake Simcoe and the Great Lakes – including lowering road salt runoff harming aquatic ecosystems.


The Ontario NDP government enacted Canada’s first Environmental Bill of Rights over 25 years ago, and the NDP remains committed to ensuring the right to a healthy environment.


Ontario Greens would strengthen the Environment Bill of Rights and restore the independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, to report annually on environmental quality, overall well-being, and government’s progress in achieving climate goals. We will also look for opportunities to give stronger legal rights to critical natural ecosystems like rivers and those who seek to protect them.

Ontario Greens will protect at least 25% of lands and water in Ontario by 2025 and 30% by 2030. We will:
     Work with Indigenous communities to establish Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through their laws, governance and knowledge systems.
     Permanently protect Provincially Significant Wetlands, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest and Provincial Wildlife Areas on Crown land.
     Protect and restore natural areas that sequester carbon and protect biodiversity, including grasslands and peatlands, old growth forests, and ecological corridors between protected areas.
     Double the size of the Greenbelt to include a Bluebelt of protected moraines, river systems, and watersheds that includes the Paris Galt Moraine, Carruthers Creek, Grand River Watershed, and many other critical bodies of water.
     For a more detailed plan, please see our Roadmap to Net Zero.

Question 5

Ontario’s acceptable levels of air pollutants like PM2.5 are roughly 2x as high as that recommended by the World Health Organization. Will you commit to setting stricter targets for air pollution that better align with WHO’s guidance and improve the health of our citizens?




Ontario Greens are committed to improving the environmental determinants of health by prioritizing clean air, clean water, and access to healthy local food in all communities. We will establish and enforce strict industry sector standards for air and water pollution that protect health.

Specific actions would include:
     Update health standards for substances of greatest concern, such as PFAS “forever chemicals”, lead and tritium in drinking water, nitrous oxides (NOx) and fine particulates (PM2.5) in outdoor air, and CO2 and radon in indoor air.
     Require full disclosure of toxic ingredients in consumer products, including fragrances, fast fashion, textiles, cosmetics and personal care products, and flame retardants in furniture.
     Ban the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of PFAS in food packaging, prohibit the use of PFAS in firefighting foam; and adopt strong PFAS drinking-water standards.
     Require the government to consider cumulative effects when setting pollution standards and issuing permits.
     Require industry to virtually eliminate pollution of air and water with persistent toxic substances, as the government promised to do decades ago.
     Improve environmental equity mapping and use it in pollution permitting decisions.
     Increase real-time air monitoring across the province, prioritizing communities with higher levels of pollution, and creating a community notification program to provide real-time data and alerts.


We will work quickly to reduce air pollution from heavily industrialized areas, while also ensuring impacted communities have access to good quality real-time data. We will also review the current penalties regime to ensure bad actors are punished.

Forests help soak up pollution and keep our air clean and a lack of trees, especially in our cities, creates a heating effect and makes us more vulnerable to flooding. We’ll plant 800 million trees over the next eight years as part of the national commitment to 2 billion – focused on restoring ecosystems and protecting drinking water. Planting this many trees will be the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road and will create 2,000 green jobs for graduating students who want to dedicate a year toward nature-based solutions and engaging local communities on climate action.

We will also make a record-level investment in new public transit infrastructure. We will provide transit agencies with operational funding (an additional $375 million annually) to maintain reliable and frequent service. We will strengthen regional transit and invest in establishing and revitalizing public transit in rural, Northern and remote communities. We’ll cut fares to a buck-a-ride and make public transit the cheapest mode of transportation for the people of Ontario. Moreover, our government will encourage biking and strengthen bike infrastructure and safety. All of these will help us reduce emissions from cars and will keep our air clean.

Question 6

With more than 200 species of plants and animals being pushed to the brink of extinction by humans in Ontario, will you commit to:
a. Reversing the provisions that give the Minister of the Environment the power to suspend protections for the growing list of at-risk species, and instead leave this in the hands of experts who are not involved in the land development industry?
b. Stop any further attempts to by-pass the ESA requirements?


Yes. Ontario Greens will:
     Restore the original Endangered Species Act, 2007 and a science-based system for determining species status, recovery, and habitat protection while eliminating exemptions for industry.
     Properly fund and support endangered species recovery efforts and habitat stewardship programs.
     Restore, enhance and expand public green space, including parks, and improve their biodiversity.
     Remove exemptions that allow forestry, mining etc. to damage species and their habitat.
     Properly resource endangered species recovery efforts and habitat stewardship programs.
     Restore public accountability and reporting on endangered species status and recovery.
     Bring back prescribed and Indigenous planned forest burns that reduce the risk of out-of-control wildfires and create habitat.
     Protect pollinators by ending the outdoor use of neonicotinoid pesticides and restricting other pesticides.
     Restore the pesticides classification system and the pesticides advisory committee.
     Regulate new outdoor lighting to include dark sky protection.

B. Yes and we will cancel the Species at Risk Conservation Fund (aka “Pay to Slay”) that allows businesses to simply offset their harm to biodiversity by paying into the fund. Further, we will:
     Restore automatic environmental assessment of public-sector projects, plans and policies, including timber management on Crown lands and regional assessments.
     Include private sector projects that will have long term environmental impacts, including mining and smelters.
     Consider the cumulative effects of projects on landscapes, ecosystems and health.
     Ensure that EAs evaluate the need for a project, and alternatives to building the project, not just how and where to build the project, (except for urgent infrastructure needed to implement this plan, such as transit, active transportation, electricity and electrification.)
     Ensure all assessments consider climate impacts and mitigation (i.e. GHG emission reductions,) and are consistent with Ontario’s Fair Share Carbon Budget.


See #4.


The Ford government weakened the Endangered Species Act, and politicized appointments to the expert scientific committees advising on species-at-risk. The Ford government also introduced unscientific “pay to slay” schemes allowing developers to destroy irreplaceable protected habitats in exchange for a fee. An NDP government would reverse these harmful changes, and ensure that Ontario’s protections for species-at-risk are based on science and the public interest, not the special interests of Doug Ford’s friends and donors.

Question 7

The Greenbelt consists of over 2 million acres of protected land that provides Ontarians with clean air and water, local food, and recreation. Will you commit to:
a. Ensuring stronger protections that stop urban sprawl, development and highway construction from encroaching on the Greenbelt?
b. Setting up frozen urban boundaries for the Oak Ridges Moraine area?


Ontario Liberals created the Greenbelt and we are committed to continue protecting these natural lands. We’ll use a long-term, science-based approach to bring more lands under the Greenbelt’s protection in close collaboration with local and Indigenous communities and farmers. We’ll also designate 30% of our land as protected areas by 2030 – up from 10% – and expand the size and number of provincial parks, including expanding Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park.

More homes need to be built, but we can’t just keep spreading further and further out – encroaching on farmlands, wetlands and other greenspaces. We need to add more family-friendly housing options to the communities where people already live, which means restoring urban intensification requirements that the Ford Conservatives weakened. Preventing urban sprawl will also help Ontarians live closer to the places they work and enjoy – meaning less time commuting and less traffic.


The Ford government has upended the land use planning system with politically-driven Minister’s Zoning Orders benefitting his buddies, and a new growth plan that forces municipalities to sacrifice even more precious farmland, wetlands and natural heritage to costly and unsustainable sprawl. An NDP government will end exclusionary zoning and enable the construction of more affordable “missing middle” housing options — like duplexes, triplexes and townhomes. We will prioritize the development of walkable and transit-friendly complete communities within existing urban boundaries, protecting Ontario’s remaining farmland from being lost forever to unaffordable sprawl. We will also strengthen and expand the Greenbelt, and stop land speculators from using loopholes to poke holes in the Greenbelt, including the Oak Ridges Moraine area.


Yes. Ontario Greens will:
     Double the size of the Greenbelt to include a Bluebelt of protected moraines, river systems, and watersheds that includes the Paris Galt Moraine, Carruthers Creek, Grand River Watershed, and many other critical bodies of water.
     Strengthen the Greenbelt Act and make new highways through the Greenbelt illegal.
     Permanently protect Provincially Significant Wetlands, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest and Provincial Wildlife Areas on Crown land.

Ontario Greens will freeze urban boundaries immediately and permanently protect prime farmland from being lost to non-agricultural use, such as urban sprawl, highways, and gravel mining. We will double the size of the Greenbelt to include a Bluebelt of protected moraines, river systems, and watersheds including the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Question 8

We need to make sure we are investing in energy efficiency and renewables like wind and solar. Will you commit to:
a. Ending investments in nuclear energy? (including canceling plans for an expensive new small modular reactor in the Greater Toronto Area)
b. Phasing out the use of natural gas for power generation?
c. Will you create savings by investing in energy efficiency programs?


In 2021, the Ontario NDP released its Green New Democratic Deal, which we believe is the boldest, most effective — and achievable —climate plan Ontario’s ever had. The plan includes a world-leading building retrofit program that will bring all public sector buildings to net zero by 2030, and all privately-owned buildings to net zero by 2050, while generating $15.2 billion of annual economic activity and creating 100,000 jobs. A centerpiece of this program is a Home Retrofit Program that will provide grants averaging $7,000 to $11,000, plus an easy zero-interest on-bill financing, to help up to 175,000 families a year electrify their homes and make them more energy efficient. The plan can be found at https://www.ontariondp.ca/news/ndp-releases-ontario-s-boldest-ever-clima...  

Under an NDP government, the electrical grid will achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, while maintaining affordability and reliability. We will expand our hydro capacity, increase affordable renewables – including wind and solar power – improve grid scale storage and make major grid interconnections with Québec and Manitoba to enable cost-effective electricity imports.


Ontario Greens will not build any new uranium mines, nuclear plants or reactors that add to our huge pile of dangerous nuclear waste which has already been in “temporary” storage for 50 years.

We will shut down the aged Pickering Nuclear Plant as scheduled or earlier if continued operation is

We will eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation the fastest way compatible with our fair share carbon budget, aiming to phase out fossil gas by 2030.

Ontario Greens will retrofit 40% of existing homes and workplaces to net-zero by 2030 and 100% by 2040 to help people save money by saving energy, while creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs. We will release the pent-up demand for green retrofits by ensuring owners and tenants have access to low-cost financing and incentives to insulate and electrify their home, making sure we focus conservation subsidies on retrofits for those unduly affected by the cost of energy, especially rural, remote, low-income, and Indigenous communities. This will reduce energy bills and protect Ontarians from international energy price jumps.

We will also redirect existing business support programs to help small and medium-sized businesses scale up or transition to the green economy.


Under an Ontario Liberal government, Ontario will transition as quickly as possible to a fully clean energy supply while maintaining reliability and affordability. We will ban new natural gas plants and eventually phase out our reliance on gas for baseload power. As part of our effort to create an efficient, flexible, and zero-carbon electricity system, we’ll eliminate set-up connection fees for rooftop solar charging panels and bidirectional vehicle charging.

Our government will develop a long-term energy plan that includes the right, cost-effective mix of nuclear, hydroelectricity, and renewable sources of energy while reversing the Ford government’s cuts to energy conservation programs. We will implement a methane performance standard for Ontario’s natural gas to reduce emissions from home heating and advance the increased use of renewable natural gas.

Similar to the recently released unpublished scenario in the Independent Electricity System Operator’s report on phasing out natural gas in Ontario by 2030, we expect that by investing in energy storage, low-cost renewables, and energy efficiency, we will decrease costs for ratepayers while reducing our carbon pollution.

Question 9

The terms of reference for the regional assessment for the Ring of Fire were developed by the federal and provincial governments without any First Nations involvement. Recently, the Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat First Nations called for a “mutually and equally co-developed and co-led and co-enforced” regional assessment for the Ring of Fire. Will you commit to beginning an Indigenous co-led (and co-enforced) assessment process for the Ring of Fire?


Ontario Greens are fully committed to ensuring free, informed and prior consent from Indigenous communities for future industrial decisions, including mining in the Ring of Fire. The development needs to be done in partnership with Indigenous communities, provide revenue sharing with both Indigenous communities and municipalities and meet the best sustainable mining practices to limit environmental harm.


We’ll also ensure the Ring of Fire is developed in a sustainable, inclusive and environmentally-conscious way – fully funding road access, facilitating the connection of First Nations communities to the provincial power grid and entering into revenue sharing agreements with Indigenous communities.


Yes. The Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations want the development of the road to the Ring of Fire, and the Ontario NDP is glad they feel they have control over the terms of their environmental assessments, as they should. We also agree that in order for any development to go forward into the Ring of Fire, there would need to be free, informed and prior consent of all impacted First Nations, including the Neskantaga, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat First Nations.

Question 10

Will you commit to supporting alternative electoral methods that better reflect the diversity of public opinion?


When our elections become divisive, people get frustrated and give up on voting. To address this trend, we’ll introduce ranked ballots for the next provincial election followed by an independent review – meaning parties and leaders compete for voters’ second choices in addition to their first choices. Ranked ballots will reward parties that find common ground and that speak to voters’ hopes, not their fears. We’ll broaden Elections Ontario’s mandate to help municipalities implement ranked ballots if they choose. We’ll also appoint a Citizens’ Assembly to review other potential changes to our elections, such as the voting age, voting on the weekend or expanded advanced voting.


Yes. An Ontario NDP government will create a Mixed Member Proportional Voting system. Designed by an independent group of citizens, this revitalized system will be a uniquely made-in-Ontario solution to ensure that every voter’s voice is heard in the legislature, all MPPs and major political parties have a meaningful voice, regardless of which party holds power. The group will be supported by a panel of experts and all of Ontario’s major parties.


While Ontario Greens believe that a form of proportional representation would be ideal, to ensure arm’s length decision-making, we will create a diverse, randomly selected Citizens Assembly on electoral reform with a mandate to provide binding recommendations on modernising Ontario’s electoral system to ensure that every vote counts and the legislature reflects the democratic will of the people. We will also allow municipalities the option to use a ranked ballot voting system for elections.

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