On June 8, the Ontario government released its much anticipated five-year Climate Change Action plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and help move Ontario to a low-carbon economy. The plan is intended to drive consumers and businesses to adopt low carbon energy solutions in homes, vehicles and workplaces. It is intended to provide business certainty and a stable investment climate, by defining where revenue raised will be spent. The program is expected to raise about $1.9 billion annually by selling pollution emission credits from a cap and trade market with Quebec and California.

What retailers should expect going forward:

A Green bank will be established to deploy and finance low-carbon energy technologies to reduce carbon pollution from Ontario homes and business buildings (i.e. replacing oil furnaces and electric baseboard heaters with solar and air-source heat pumps). The fund will be primarily used by the large emitters to change their business processes wherever possible.

To assist fuel distributors, Ontario plans to provide funding to fuel distributors for high blend sustainable biofuels and infrastructure upgrades.

A new Green Commercial Vehicle Program will be set up to provide incentives to businesses that want to buy low-carbon commercial vehicle and technologies to reduce emissions. This initiative will have a potential impact on retailers’ transportation fleets.

Ontario intends to establish a requirement that as of 2018, all newly built commercial office buildings and workplaces must provide charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Ontario plans to update the Building Code with the long-term energy targets to come into effect by 2030 at the latest, and will consult on those changes over the next several months.

The delivery model to help transition businesses to use low carbon technologies will be finalized in the second half of 2017. RCC plans to participate in consultations with utilities to ensure retail opportunities are included in the outcomes.

Each year Ontario will prepare and make public an annual report that describes the progress of the actions set out in the action plan.

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) believes the Action Plan should be viewed as a work in process and will be adjusted along Ontario’s path to a low carbon and greener economy. All the actions described in the document will need to be balanced against how they will potentially impact Ontario’s competitiveness going forward. RCC will participate during the consultation process to ensure retailer opportunities are maximized.

To see the full array of action plan items, the link to the plan can be found here.


A cap and trade program is a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. It limits the amount of emissions that can come from the economy (the cap) and then allows those covered by the cap to trade among themselves (the trade) in a flexible manner which creates a price on carbon pollution. In 2015, Ontario Green Investment Fund was created to promote household and businesses to install energy efficient equipment, including windows and furnaces (potential opportunity for retailers).

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Gary Rygus, Director Government Relations (Ontario) at: [email protected] or 416-467-3744