As promised in their election campaign, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative (PC) government has begun dismantling the Cap and Trade program, including the investment fund known as the Green Ontario Fund. This has left many people with questions about how this will affect the growth of sustainable businesses in Ontario, and the organizations that support those businesses, like Sustainable Hamilton Burlington.
While there will be many changes under the new government, the PC’s platform and planning is not incompatible with sustainable business. Indeed the new Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (which replaced the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change) states that it is “(l)eading to healthier communities and economic prosperity through the protection of Ontario’s air, land and water” – a sentiment that is very similar to our own vision of communities “where people thrive in a healthy natural environment and a vibrant, resilient economy.” In our own work and through our membership in the Green Economy Canada Network, we will certainly be encouraging the new government to look for opportunities to make investments that will keep innovative Ontario businesses in a leadership role in the new economy.
Some of you may be wondering how this will effect the day to day operation of Sustainable Hamilton Burlington? The answer is “very little”. Our long term goal has always been to be self-sufficient based on membership fees – our only responsibility should be to our members and our community. So these cuts do not mean that our organization will be in any way reducing our work or our commitment to our members.
While we are sorry that we can no longer connect our members with some of the great incentives and investments that were available under Cap and Trade/The GreenON Fund, we will work to make members aware of any incentives that become available from the new government – just as we will continue our research on incentives offered by foundations, other organizations, and the federal government.
It’s even more important now to support our members in the transformations they are making, in order to demonstrate to the larger community how sustainable practices improve the bottom line for businesses. We are still here and more determined than ever to help our members to realize the benefits of business sustainability in whatever ways we can.
(This blog post was originally published in our July 2018 newsletter)