• New C40 Cities analysis highlights the transformational economic and health benefits for Canadians of investing in city-led efforts to secure a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Call by Canadian mayors to accelerate investments in electric vehicles, building retrofits and clean energy, including a goal of rapidly replacing all remaining coal with renewables.

The Government of Canada should prioritise investments into Canadian cities in order to create millions of jobs, meet the nation’s ambitious climate goals, and accelerate recovery from COVID-19, according to new research released today by C40 Cities.  

C40’s report, Canada: The case for an urban green and just recovery urges directing COVID-19 stimulus funding towards the climate solutions already being delivered by Canadian mayors, such as building retrofits, clean energy and sustainable transport, in order to create jobs and tackle the climate crisis. Among the report’s key findings, investment in a green and just recovery in 12 major cities in Canada is shown to: 

  • Achieve a 2/3 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, highlighting how cities can put Canada on track to deliver on its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and help achieve the urgent task of limiting global heating to below 1.5°C.  
  • Create and support nearly 3 million good, sustainable jobs by 2030 across major Canadian cities and their supply chains.
  • Cut harmful air pollution by up to 32%, preventing almost 4,000 premature deaths in major Canadian cities over the next decade. 
  • Deliver wider economic benefits of C$37 billion from improved health by reducing air pollution and increasing public transport and active travel. 
  • Canada has already put forward a promising recovery and economic stimulus plan that clearly recognizes the importance of investing in climate action and a national transition to clean energy. However, C40’s analysis shows that, to capture the enormous economic, social, and health benefits of a green and just recovery, Canada must prioritize bold investment in cities at a greater scale and faster pace. 

Amongst the specific calls to action for the Canadian Federal Government included in the research are:

  • Support provinces to rapidly decarbonize the whole electricity grid, providing sufficient policy and financial support to replace all remaining coal with renewables as swiftly as possible. 
  • Support for electrification of cars, vans and trucks – 75% of all private vehicles in major Canadian cities in 2030 will need to be electric, requiring an average replacement of 5% per year. Given Canada’s current level of electric vehicles, which stands roughly at 0.5%, significant federal support will be needed to accelerate change.
  • Support for a faster pace of building retrofits. Current plans will only cover the costs to annually retrofit 0.2 to 0.3% of Canada’s housing stock over the next seven years. The rate of retrofits in major Canadian cities needs to reach 6.5% of the urban housing stock every year between 2020 and 2030.

Canada: The case for an urban green and just recovery was released today at a launch event hosted by C40. At the virtual event, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson joined fellow mayors William Peduto of Pittsburgh, Sylvester Turner of Houston, and Valérie Plante of Montréal, to discuss their commitment to accelerating cities’ green and just recovery. 

Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, said: “Climate change is currently having significant impacts on our social fabric and municipalities’ financial bottom line. As a result, Canadians are asking governments at all levels to take action and move towards a low carbon future. Investing in low carbon and green initiatives such as renewable and resilient energy transition strategies, the building of carbon-neutral communities, public transit and other low carbon transportation options ensures we’ll be able to mitigate the effects of climate change while capitalizing and diversify our economy. A win-win for our economic and ecological future.” 

William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, said: “Pittsburgh has a long-established connection to Canada. It’s closely intertwined in our DNA. As we develop the just energy transition it’s important that we share the lessons of our past, while fostering a common future. A green and just recovery is a shared path that Pittsburgh looks forward to traveling along with our Canadian friends and colleagues.”

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