2020 has been a year like no other. COVID-19 has revealed a lot about both our strengths and our vulnerabilities—as individuals, as communities, and as a country. It’s also reinforced the urgency of tackling another global crisis head on: climate change.
This year marks a milestone for FCM’s Green Municipal Fund (GMF), which is celebrating its 20th year of helping Canadian municipalities switch to innovative and sustainable practices, faster. We’ve funded bold municipal initiatives, shared lessons learned across the country, created much-needed resources and brought new solutions to light. That’s needed now more than ever.
We’re proud that the Government of Canada has set the ambitious goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Canadian municipalities influence more than 50 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so meeting this goal can only be achieved through bold action at the local level.
GMF—in partnership with municipalities across the country as well as the federal government—is helping to transform Canada and the lives of Canadians coast-to-coast-to-coast. And we’re helping to realize the potential of a sustainable future that meets both the economic and environmental needs of Canada’s communities.
Our unique mix of funding, training and resources help cities and communities of all sizes in all regions deliver proven triple bottom line results—moving the needle forward on local environmental, economic and social priorities.
To date, GMF has helped complete 1,185 initiatives, with hundreds more in progress nationwide. These incredible projects have avoided 2.7 million tonnes of GHG emissions—the equivalent of taking 608,000 cars off the road. GMF-funded projects also improve the quality of life for Canadians: from community and cultural centres to ice rinks; libraries to active transportation; pools to bike paths.
In 2019-2020, GMF built on its 20-year legacy of municipal sustainability leadership while delivering impressive innovations, enabled by the unprecedented $950M endowment entrusted to it by Infrastructure Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
We mobilized this new federal endowment to launch three new initiatives:
- Sustainable Affordable Housing – a $300M initiative enabling energy efficient retrofit programs and new builds in the affordable housing sector.
- Community Efficiency Financing – a $300M initiative empowering low-rise residential property owners to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.
- Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) program – a $183M partnership with six organizations supporting unique projects in seven major Canadian cities (Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Calgary, Edmonton, Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Ottawa, Montreal Metropolitan Community, and the Halifax region).
We did all this while continuing the success of our existing programming. GMF approved more funding this year than in any year since our inception—close to $92M in loans and grants for capital projects and more than $6.2M in grants for plans, studies and pilot projects.
As Canada moves from pandemic response to recovery, municipalities of all sizes will be vital partners in bringing this country back stronger than ever. Our frontline expertise will be crucial to driving an inclusive, sustainable recovery. With its proven track-record of results, GMF will be there to support Canada’s recovery efforts—while helping communities (and our country) meet their climate goals.
Scaling up GMF’s well-established work can help deliver much-needed stimulus to the front lines, while setting the foundation for a greener Canada. After all, our programming bolsters job creation, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and helps get local economies moving. It also cuts GHG emissions, increases energy efficiency and affordability, while making communities more livable and welcoming. In other words, GMF clearly demonstrates the triple bottom line benefits of investing in municipal sustainability.
GMF’s 2019-2020 annual report highlights both our exceptional track record in municipal sustainability and our potential to do even more. Take a look and see for yourself.
President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities