A Greener Future for Ottawa

Improving our quality of life through bold climate action

Catherine speaking at a podium
Making Ottawa a truly sustainable city will directly improve the quality of our lives. We need bold action to get there, as we know that the cost of inaction is simply too high. 

Catherine’s plan will move Ottawa to net-zero emissions by 2050, boost climate resilience, and make it a better city to live in.

With Catherine as Mayor, we will live in a city with green buildings, safe walkable neighbourhoods, and a tree canopy that helps cool our homes. Our city will offer bike infrastructure, electric vehicle charging stations, and transit that is good for the planet and works for people. 

As Mayor, Catherine will seek to ensure the full participation of Indigenous peoples in the development of climate mitigation strategies, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Indigenous Peoples' values and views must help guide City decisions that impact the environment.

Catherine’s strategy proposes key commitments consistent with Ottawa’s Council-approved Climate Change Master Plan and facilitates the investments needed to make them a reality.

Preserving and growing the greenspace we need

Ottawa needs greenspace for our communities to enjoy, and a tree canopy to cool our neighbourhoods. We will work to halt and reverse nature loss to ensure a healthy ecosystem.

Catherine walking through a dense patch of trees
Protecting the greenbelt 

As Mayor, Catherine will work with the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, Indigenous communities, and local elected officials to turn the Greenbelt into a national urban park

Increasing our tree canopy and halting nature loss

We will invest in new protected greenspaces, and increase protection of existing greenspace. We will focus on city cooling by increasing the tree canopy to 40% by 2030 across Ottawa, focusing first on the neighbourhoods that need it the most, such as Barrhaven and the downtown core. This will cool our city by reducing the impact of heat waves.

We will help homeowners across Ottawa plant trees by expanding the Trees in Trust planting program, especially in the aftermath of tree loss resulting from severe storms.

We will protect our rivers and watershed to ensure that Ottawa continues to have the safest drinking water. It must be safe for residents to swim, fish, and play in our rivers.

Greening buildings to reduce emissions and save on energy costs 

Catherine has a comprehensive plan to reduce emissions from buildings, including new construction, city buildings, and residential homes. Here is what our plan entails:

  • The City will require net-zero emissions buildings in all new construction by 2030. 
  • Incentivize homeowners’ deep retrofits of residential homes, including through leveraging the Better Homes Ottawa loan program and existing federal programs.
  • Achieve deep retrofits of City buildings by partnering with Hydro Ottawa to lower emissions and save money within a seven-year payback period.
  • Work toward retrofits of 30% of large buildings by 2040, and 80% by 2050, through a financing program, together with the Ottawa Climate Action Fund.
  • We will implement a new green roof bylaw for new large buildings beginning in 2024 and smaller buildings in 2025.
  • We will invest in local renewable energy generation and storage. This will include utilizing incentives for local solar power generation, starting with rooftop solar on City buildings.
  • We will also invest in safe, inclusive, passive energy and net-zero affordable housing.

Improving waste diversion

Many residents want to compost, but don’t have the option. We will aggressively roll out green bin organics collection in all multi-residential buildings where the City collects waste by 2025. Further, we will develop a robust strategy to make recycling programs work better, with the goal of diverting at least 70% of our waste, comparable to leading municipalities, thus extending the life of Trail Road landfill.

We will expand the conversion of organics and wastewater into renewable biogas, while working hard to keep organics out of the landfill.

Building healthy, walkable communities

We will build healthy, walkable, 15-minute neighbourhoods with the infrastructure we need to stay safe while moving around our city.

Whether you need to walk, bike, drive, or take transit, our city will offer you choices that help our planet. 

To reduce emissions from transportation, we will accelerate electrifying Ottawa’s fleet of buses and make Ottawa a world-class city for cycling. We will limit road widening and will prioritize the safety and maintenance of existing road and sidewalk infrastructure. 

Installing electric charging stations across the city

To encourage both electric vehicles and e-bikes, we will install new public charging stations across the city. We will also require EV charging stations in new multi-residential buildings starting in 2025. 

Ending costly urban sprawl

Urban sprawl is costly to all of us, including both the cost of developing outside the boundary as well as the increase in greenhouse gas emissions for our planet. Catherine is committed to maintaining our current urban boundary and ensuring that no more agricultural land around Ottawa is slated for urban development. 

Strengthening climate resilience for our city

After the severe storm damage last spring, it’s clear that Ottawa needs better preparation for emergencies. As Mayor, Catherine will review the  City’s emergency preparedness and response during recent disasters.

Here are our other plans to protect Ottawa from climate impacts:

  • Reduce stormwater runoff by restoring wetlands and other natural infrastructure along rivers and watersheds. These investments in nature will reduce our vulnerability to heat waves and protect our infrastructure from floods. 
  • Provide resources for homeowners, renters and other building owners to reduce the risks of flooding and other weather-related damages.
  • Work to prevent the physical and mental health impacts of climate change on people who are most impacted — seniors, people in precarious housing situations, etc. — and deliver adapted emergency response services to extreme weather events.
  • Complete Ottawa’s climate vulnerability assessment and develop a climate resiliency strategy by 2026.

Introducing good governance and accountability around climate action

As Mayor, Catherine commits to introducing good governance and accountability practices on climate action. Importantly, this will include divesting fossil fuel investments held by the City of Ottawa.

Catherine will create a Chief Climate Officer (CCO) position to ensure climate and nature impacts are at the centre of every major decision the City makes. The CCO will be responsible for assessing and disclosing the climate and nature impacts of major City decisions in areas like land use, budget, purchasing, and construction; will oversee implementation of the climate plan across all City operations and departments; and will liaise with citizen groups through a climate advisory panel on the progress and implementation of the City’s climate plan. 

Further, we will ensure the City adopts a “buy clean” procurement policy. We’ll reduce emissions from City operations by 75% by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2040. The City of Ottawa will lead by example in all procurement for its own operations.

Partnering with Indigenous communities 

Climate action must be grounded in reconciliation. 

Our City’s commitments must respect the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) while leading the City through a path of reconciliation. The values of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples must help guide City decisions that impact the environment.

The UNDRIP provides a framework for reconciliation, as well as cooperative relations based on the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith. Among the UNDRIP’s four themes is the right to free, prior and informed consent.

As your Mayor, I will consult and work alongside Indigenous community members and leaders to ensure the principles of reconciliation are reflected in City decision-making. 

Mobilizing Ottawa’s business community for climate action 

Ottawa can become an internationally recognized hub for clean technology development, scale-up and adoption. As Mayor, Catherine will work to attract capital investment from all levels of government, institutional and private investors into Ottawa’s local business community and create good green jobs. 

Catherine in conversation at a community garden

We plan for Ottawa to provide a central resource for small and medium enterprises to reduce their carbon footprint and deliver practical climate solutions to Ottawa residents. 

Supporting local agriculture 

We plan to invest in building demand for, and increasing supply of, locally produced foods. Further, we will work with local farmers to develop a regenerative agricultural policy.

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