Municipalities play an integral part in providing the solution to one of the biggest challenges of our time: achieving Canada’s climate change and sustainability targets. Today the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has highlighted the work of its Green Municipal Fund (GMF) in its 23rd annual report.

Endowed by the Government of Canada, GMF provides Canadian communities with a globally unique approach to funding and capacity building support that empowers them to adopt high-performing climate solutions and practices that reduce pollution, improve energy efficiency, and revitalize public infrastructure faster, while also delivering economic and social benefits such as jobs and affordable housing.

These high-performing climate solutions and practices at the local level are made possible through eight key GMF initiatives: the Community Efficiency Financing, Low Carbon Cities Canada, Sustainable Affordable Housing (SAH), Partners for Climate Protection, the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative, Community Buildings Retrofit (CBR), GMF core funding and the Municipal Net-Zero Action Research Partnership.

“Municipalities have influence over half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and own 60% of all public infrastructure. They are a big part of the solution to build a more sustainable Canada. That is why it is so crucial the right tools and funding are accessible to them to help bring their local initiatives, and that of their partners, to life,” said Alan DeSousa, council chair of GMF.

“The release of today’s 23rd annual Green Municipal Fund report shows that 22 years after its launch, FCM’s GMF continues being one of those important tools and sources of funding. The report indicates continued progress in 2022-2023 in the number of projects supported, further contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. With GMF and the local projects it supports, a greener future together is possible, and we can stay optimistic to reach the important goal of net-zero by 2050.”

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According to the report, in 2022-2023, GMF’s key initiatives have enabled local communities to:

  • Retrofit or build 3,908 affordable units to avoid nearly 3,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions thanks to the SAH initiative. The National Affordable Housing Corporation’s net-zero affordable housing complex, a pilot project in Regina, SK is one example of a project contributing to this achievement amongst others.
  • Reduce household GHG emissions by 30 percent annually through local CEF-funded programs such as the Better Homes Ottawa Loan program, which will finance energy upgrades for 500 homes, saving up to 48 percent on energy use and costs per year.
  • Fund through CBR the retrofitting of 25 community buildings such as the Pictou County Wellness Centre, NS to increase the buildings’ energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.
  • Develop valuable skills and expertise in sustainability with 4,111 participants in webinars, workshops, training sessions and peer learning sessions.

Since its inception in 2000, GMF has completed a total of 1,447 funded projects, which have helped avoid 2.87 million tonnes of GHG emissions, and saved 895,893 gigajoules of energy. That’s the equivalent of eliminating GHG emissions from 880,547 cars for a year, and the average annual energy consumption for 166 arenas.

GMF’s sustained efforts in partnership with the federal government to bring municipalities’ climate action to life have also continued to contribute to our economy. Local climate action driven by GMF’s support is part of the answer to that as in over 20 years, $665 million in wages and salaries have been paid to households thanks to the program.

GMF also understands that we won’t be able to reach our environmental goals if we don’t support local action in communities of all sizes. Thanks to its commitment to equitable allocation of funding and capacity building initiatives, in 2022-2023, small, rural and remote communities, received $24.5 Million in funding, which is nearly 14% of GMF’s yearly funding.

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“The Green Municipal Fund is helping Canadians to fight climate change and build more sustainable communities in every region of the country,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. “The Government of Canada will continue to be a partner for Canadian municipalities in deploying solutions that deliver clean air and good jobs — including green buildings, zero-emissions transportation and energy efficiency projects.”

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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