Climate Solutions that Work: Bringing Community Benefits and Climate Action Together

Toronto Environmental Alliance

Year: 2018

Governments around the world are grappling with the urgency to address climate change. Every level of government has a role to play in ensuring we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the impacts of climate change.

In recent years, the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada have all made major announcements on their plans to invest in climate actions. The Province of Ontario has committed to investing $5-9 billion by 2020 through the climate action plan to be paid for by Ontario’s new cap and trade system. As a result of these government plans, billions of dollars will be invested in our communities which presents an opportunity to create a wide-range of community benefits such as job creation, poverty reduction, and improvements to social housing and public health.

To explore how to leverage this unique opportunity, we began a cross-sectoral partnership between the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, Social Planning Toronto and the Toronto Environmental Alliance. With support from the Atkinson Foundation, we undertook a research study to identify best practices for leveraging climate actions to create a range of community benefits.

Over the course of nine months, we researched and identified more than twenty projects across North America and the United Kingdom that have helped achieve environmental and social benefits. We conducted in-depth interviews with participants from a select number of the case studies which helped us identify key approaches and best practices for designing projects that implement climate actions to achieve community benefits.

This report highlights key approaches and best practices that will be essential within Toronto and Ontario to leverage community benefits from investments in climate actions.

Read the report

Table of Contents


The Opportunity 

Best Practices for Leveraging Community Benefits from Climate Actions
• Retrofits and weatherization projects with a triple bottom line 
Case Study: Rising Sun Energy Center
• Breaking cycles of poverty with green building projects
Case Study: BUILD Inc
• Training and support for accessing jobs in the green economy  
Case Study: BladeRunners
• Building bridges with employers and unions  
Case Study: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Utility Pre-Craft Training program
• Fostering government leadership and political champions
Case Study: Grid Alternatives
• Coalitions paving the way forward 
Case Study: Enhabit
• Bridging the opportunities in Toronto 
Case Study: Building Up