April 22nd, 2022

On Earth Day, Horwath announces Ontario’s first Youth Climate Corps

Youth Climate Corps a part of NDP commitment to plant one billion trees by 2030

HAMILTON – On Earth Day, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she will establish Ontario’s first Youth Climate Corps to give young Ontarians and climate activists paid hands-on work experience, and a role in fighting the climate crisis.

“The fires, floodwaters and intense storms are already here, and they’re getting worse. No one is more affected by the climate crisis than young people. They didn’t contribute to climate change — but they’re going to suffer the harshest consequences of this catastrophe,” said Horwath. “It’s easy to be cynical about where we are and our progress in fighting the climate crisis. But it absolutely doesn’t have to be this way.”

The Youth Climate Corps program will give young Ontarians the opportunity to gain knowledge and training to level-up their skills through a paid program that will also count towards post-secondary credit. Participants will work on climate projects to restore and enhance Ontario’s natural landscape, including contributing to the NDP’s commitment to plant one billion trees by 2030 with the goal of reducing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions through natural carbon sequestration.

The NDP’s Climate. Jobs. Justice. A Green New Democratic Deal is the boldest climate plan Ontario has ever had — the province’s best chance at a livable future. In it, Horwath and the NDP commit to reaching net-zero by 2050.

The NDP’s Green New Democratic Deal was built with inputs and ideas from industry, labour, climate scientists, First Nations, educators and everyday Ontarians. Highlights of the plan include:

  • A mandate for all newly built public, residential and commercial buildings to be net-zero emissions by 2030, alongside a world-leading building retrofit program
  • Ontario’s first zero-emissions vehicle strategy, ramping up electric vehicle sales to hit a 100 per cent target by 2035
  • A new cap-and-trade program
  • Electrifying all municipal transit by 2040
  • Giving $600 to households to install electric vehicle charging stations at home, and requiring new homes to have vehicle charging capacity
  • Restoring the powers of the Environment Commissioner

Horwath also said this plan is in complete contrast to Doug Ford and the Conservative’s anti-environment crusade the past four years.
“Doug Ford’s been keeping up an assault on the environment, so that his buddies can benefit. He cancelled a program to plant 50 million trees in the province. He ripped electric vehicle charging stations right out of the ground, and he’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bulldoze wind farms,” said Horwath. “This election is one of the most important in a generation, because it’s the choice is between the NDP’s climate plan, and Doug Ford’s war on the environment. I know we can come together, and finally have a government that starts to fix what’s broken.”
Background: overview of key commitments
Bring Ontario to net-zero emissions

  • Reduce Ontario’s GHG emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, targets consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most ambitious aspects of the Paris Agreement.
  • Enshrine our GHG reduction targets, and interim targets, into law, using a carbon budgeting process to ensure 2030 and 2050 targets are met.
  • Restoring the powers of the Environment Commissioner of Ontario
  • A new, equitable, cap-and-trade system to replace the federal carbon backstop

Change how we move: Transform transportation

  • Electrify the GO Train network on an accelerated timeline
  • Fund municipal transit systems to 50 per cent of their net operating costs and enable immediate service improvements, more transit routes, and increased ridership with more affordable fares
  • Electrify all municipal transit fleets by 2040
  • Implement Ontario’s first comprehensive zero-emissions vehicle strategy, which in part includes:
  • A province-wide electric vehicle sales target of 15 per cent by 2025, 45 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035
  • Strong incentives to Ontarians who purchase electric vehicles, excluding luxury vehicles, with a particular focus on those made in Canada
  • Completely electrifying government fleets by 2030
  • Financial incentives for Ontario manufacturing to re-tool in order to produce zero-emissions vehicles
  • Giving $600 to households to install electric vehicle charging stations at home, and requiring new homes to have vehicle charging capacity

Change how we build: Retrofit program

  • A world-leading building retrofit program to improve energy efficiency, retrofitting five per cent of Ontario buildings per year
  • By 2030, all newly built public, residential and commercial buildings will conform to net-zero standards
  • By investing in retrofits, between 2022 and 2030 Ontario could see more than $15.2 billion added to annual GDP, which should create 100,000 good jobs

Guaranteed jobs

  • Training and support for the next generation of workers, as well as workers at all stages of their career, funding and fast-tracking workers with industry experience
  • New community-run recruitment centres for the skilled trades
  • Job training programs specifically in colleges and training institutes in Northern Ontario
  • Specific program focus on training people from marginalized communities, and those typically excluded from skilled trades, including women, racialized people, and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Establish Ontario’s first Youth Climate Corps.

Transition the electricity supply

  • Bring emissions from electricity to 2017 levels, and achieving zero emissions by 2030
  • Expand hydro capacity, increase intermittent renewables including wind and solar power, create more grid scale storage, increase rooftop solar capacity on buildings, and major grid interconnection with Quebec and Manitoba to enable electricity imports

Protect water and green spaces

  • Increase protection of Ontario parks and expand access to green spaces
  • Develop a Provincial Food Strategy and a Provincial Water Strategy

Cut down waste

  • Develop a robust and comprehensive waste diversion strategy for the public sector

Protect people’s health

  • Support for accessible and culturally relevant public health campaigns to ensure all Ontarians have accurate, up-to-date information about the climate crisis and health risks associated with air and water pollution

Foster climate change resilience

  • Restore funding and power to conservation authorities
  • Plant one billion trees by 2030
  • Expand the Greenbelt

Background: costing and funding
New investments of $40 billion will be required to fund initiatives including improved transit, investments in retrofits and infrastructure, job training and placement and support for communities adversely affected by climate change.
This is in addition to the existing $31 billion budget.
Paying for these new investments will primarily come from two sources: carbon pricing and green bonds.
The federal government’s carbon pricing backstop requires that provinces with their own pricing programs generate emission reductions equivalent to or greater than what the federal program would generate in that province. The NDP’s carbon pricing plan will exceed federal emissions reduction targets, and generate revenue approximately equivalent to what the federal program would generate in Ontario – an estimated $30 billion between 2022 and 2026.
In addition to the $30 billion dollars generated by the cap and trade program, an NDP government would raise another $10 billion in the existing green bonds program between 2022 and 2026. This is slightly more than the $2 billion a year the current government is already raising through this program.