Environmental organizations call for amendments to Bill 23

The David Suzuki Foundation and The Atmospheric Fund are among organizations calling for the government to maintain environmental protections.


Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

The David Suzuki Foundation and The Atmospheric Fund are among organizations calling for the government to  amend the More Homes Built Faster Act, Bill 23, in order to maintain environmental protections as well as keeping Toronto’s Green Building Standard in full force.

“Bill 23 will greatly reduce environmental protection for wetlands, woodlands and other sensitive green spaces, and prohibit conservation authorities from protecting these areas. It will leave vast swathes of Ontario’s few remaining and most important habitats largely unprotected,” writes the David Suzuki Foundation. “It will also drive low-density, sprawling development in the suburbs and weaken Toronto’s Green Standard, which is essential for the city to lower its building emissions.If we really want to address the housing crisis, we need well-designed, low-cost family homes and climate-friendly communities supported by transit.”

The Atmospheric Fund writes that: “Municipalities have carefully crafted green standards to ensure new construction is environmentally, socially, and economically responsible. These requirements support their climate commitments, reduce the burden on our strained electricity system, and generate local economic value. The More Homes Built Faster Act (Bill-23), which is being fast-tracked through the Ontario legislature, will take away their authority and inadvertently undermine the affordability benefits that energy-efficient, climate-resilient buildings provide to owners and tenants.”

The organization notes that the “clauses in the legislation narrow site planning authorities to an extent that they will prevent municipalities from addressing energy efficiency and climate change in new buildings. This legislation as written would override council-approved sustainable design standards in Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Markham, and other municipalities across Ontario. They risk causing disorder in the development process as municipalities with green development standards would have to redesign existing processes, creating uncertainty for both development departments and developers across Ontario.”

“Ultimately, excluding energy, sustainability and climate from consideration in the planning process will leave new housing exposed to spiraling energy costs and carbon prices,” writes The Atmospheric Fund.

Both organizations are encouraging Ontario residents to sign letters to their political representatives to address these concerns.

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