Featured news and resources

FCM’s programs and advocacy help secure new tools that empower municipalities to build stronger communities of all sizes. Explore below to find out what’s new with us.

Tool for municipal clean energy program development

Energy poverty refers to the experience of households or communities that struggle with meeting their home energy needs. Approximately 20 percent of Canadian households in both rural and urban communities face energy poverty, and addressing this challenge requires a clear understanding of the people who experience it and the factors that contribute to it.

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer tool, developed by Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners (CUSP), offers municipalities access to relevant data so they can better understand energy poverty, and other equity and affordability challenges in their communities. The resource is designed to help municipal staff develop equitable and inclusive clean energy programs to meet residents’ needs.

About the Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer

CUSP developed the Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer to support participants in the Local Energy Access Programs (LEAP) project. The LEAP project, launched under FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program’s Transition 2050 initiative, supports CUSP members in using the tool. The project involves 16 municipalities working together to design and deliver clean energy programs. This will accelerate their ability to adopt technologies such as heat pumps, solar energy and electric vehicles. Communities can use these tools to design affordable policies and programs aimed at low-income households.

A large number of Canadian households are struggling with affordability, and home energy costs can be very significant depending on where you live, the type and condition of the home you live in, and how many people live in and earn income in your home. Energy poverty affects nearly 3 million households in Canada, combined with income poverty, 4 million households are struggling economically in one way or another.

– Allison Ashcroft

Gain insights into energy poverty in your community

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer is a pan-Canadian, neighbourhood-scale equity and energy poverty mapping tool. It draws from custom Statistics Canada datasets down to the most disaggregated scale available (neighbourhood level) in major centres. It also includes data on geography, income characteristics, housing tenure, and housing types. Use the tool to help your municipality develop energy programs that achieve deep emissions reductions. The tool can also help you better design programs to meet the needs of low-income people who struggle to pay their energy costs.  

Develop affordable clean energy programs

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer is available to all Canadian municipalities to help:

  • Gain insights into community disparities related to energy costs and burdens
  • Learn about your neighbourhoods by layering several data points related to households and housing (household income and demographics, building characteristics and condition)
  • Reveal inequities at a granular level (neighbourhood)
  • Realize trends influencing energy poverty in Canada
  • Design targeted clean energy programs
  • Apply community data to climate action planning, policies and programing and other equity and affordability initiatives

Use the tool.

Who is this tool for?

This tool will be of particular interest to municipal community energy managers, climate coordinators, environment and sustainability leads along with people working in poverty reduction and social justice.

If you create a new materials using the new tool please advise CUSP so that your work can be profiled on energypoverty.ca and serve as inspiration to other municipal and non-municipal practitioners.

Contact

Allison Ashcroft
Managing Director, Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners
allison@cuspnetwork.ca

Tool for municipal clean energy program development

Energy poverty refers to the experience of households or communities that struggle with meeting their home energy needs. Approximately 20 percent of Canadian households in both rural and urban communities face energy poverty, and addressing this challenge requires a clear understanding of the people who experience it and the factors that contribute to it.

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer tool, developed by Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners (CUSP), offers municipalities access to relevant data so they can better understand energy poverty, and other equity and affordability challenges in their communities. The resource is designed to help municipal staff develop equitable and inclusive clean energy programs to meet residents’ needs.

About the Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer

CUSP developed the Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer to support participants in the Local Energy Access Programs (LEAP) project. The LEAP project, launched under FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program’s Transition 2050 initiative, supports CUSP members in using the tool. The project involves 16 municipalities working together to design and deliver clean energy programs. This will accelerate their ability to adopt technologies such as heat pumps, solar energy and electric vehicles. Communities can use these tools to design affordable policies and programs aimed at low-income households.

A large number of Canadian households are struggling with affordability, and home energy costs can be very significant depending on where you live, the type and condition of the home you live in, and how many people live in and earn income in your home. Energy poverty affects nearly 3 million households in Canada, combined with income poverty, 4 million households are struggling economically in one way or another.

– Allison Ashcroft

Gain insights into energy poverty in your community

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer is a pan-Canadian, neighbourhood-scale equity and energy poverty mapping tool. It draws from custom Statistics Canada datasets down to the most disaggregated scale available (neighbourhood level) in major centres. It also includes data on geography, income characteristics, housing tenure, and housing types. Use the tool to help your municipality develop energy programs that achieve deep emissions reductions. The tool can also help you better design programs to meet the needs of low-income people who struggle to pay their energy costs.  

Develop affordable clean energy programs

The Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer is available to all Canadian municipalities to help:

  • Gain insights into community disparities related to energy costs and burdens
  • Learn about your neighbourhoods by layering several data points related to households and housing (household income and demographics, building characteristics and condition)
  • Reveal inequities at a granular level (neighbourhood)
  • Realize trends influencing energy poverty in Canada
  • Design targeted clean energy programs
  • Apply community data to climate action planning, policies and programing and other equity and affordability initiatives

Use the tool.

Who is this tool for?

This tool will be of particular interest to municipal community energy managers, climate coordinators, environment and sustainability leads along with people working in poverty reduction and social justice.

If you create a new materials using the new tool please advise CUSP so that your work can be profiled on energypoverty.ca and serve as inspiration to other municipal and non-municipal practitioners.

Contact

Allison Ashcroft
Managing Director, Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners
allison@cuspnetwork.ca

Sustainable Communities Awards

Since 2001, these awards have celebrated the most innovative environmental initiatives in Canadian cities and communities of all sizes. The winning projects demonstrate sustainability best practices you can apply to similar initiatives in your community. These awards are presented biannually to outstanding municipal projects in several categories:

  • Asset management
  • Brownfields
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design
  • Transportation
  • Waste
  • Water

Winners in each category are nominated for the Inspire Award, which is given to the project that demonstrates the most creativity and innovation.

Sustainable Communities Awards

Since 2001, these awards have celebrated the most innovative environmental initiatives in Canadian cities and communities of all sizes. The winning projects demonstrate sustainability best practices you can apply to similar initiatives in your community. These awards are presented biannually to outstanding municipal projects in several categories:

  • Asset management
  • Brownfields
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design
  • Transportation
  • Waste
  • Water

Winners in each category are nominated for the Inspire Award, which is given to the project that demonstrates the most creativity and innovation.

Updates to Green Municipal Fund funding offer

To ensure our funding best serves Canadian municipalities, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) occasionally makes updates to application criteria, deadlines and other key components of our funding products. Read below to learn about the latest changes.

Advanced funding disbursement now available for GMF plans, studies and pilot projects

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - GMF now offers advanced grant payments for plans, studies and pilot projects, where available.*

Contact us to find out if your municipality qualifies.

*Conditions apply. Not applicable to Quebec municipalities.

Brownfield capital projects now offers grant with loan option

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - GMF may offer grants to be combined with our existing low-interest loans for brownfield capital projects. Funding amount is determined on a per-project basis. Learn more.

Staff costs now eligible for reimbursement through GMF plans, studies and pilot projects

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - Internal costs incurred by grant recipients, to allocate time to work on the initiative by their permanent or contract employees, are now eligible for reimbursement for GMF plans, studies and pilot projects.*

* For private entities, the proportion of eligible internal staff costs is limited to 10 per cent of total budget costs.

New maximum amounts for GMF pilot projects

AUGUST 29, 2019 - GMF now offers up to $500,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for pilot projects.

Municipalities with a population of 20,000 or less, including municipal partners, may qualify to receive up to 80 per cent of eligible costs.

Interested in learning if your municipality qualifies? Contact us.

Learn more about pilot projects.

GMF capital projects moving to a continuous application process

AUGUST 2, 2019 - As of April 1, 2020, GMF will accept capital project applications on a continuous, year-round basis. While we prepare for this change, you can still download and submit the capital projects initial review form at any time. Application forms will be provided to eligible applicants after April 1, 2020.

Learn more about capital projects

Capital project
Pilot project
Plan
Study
Green Municipal Fund
Sustainability

Updates to Green Municipal Fund funding offer

To ensure our funding best serves Canadian municipalities, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) occasionally makes updates to application criteria, deadlines and other key components of our funding products. Read below to learn about the latest changes.

Advanced funding disbursement now available for GMF plans, studies and pilot projects

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - GMF now offers advanced grant payments for plans, studies and pilot projects, where available.*

Contact us to find out if your municipality qualifies.

*Conditions apply. Not applicable to Quebec municipalities.

Brownfield capital projects now offers grant with loan option

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - GMF may offer grants to be combined with our existing low-interest loans for brownfield capital projects. Funding amount is determined on a per-project basis. Learn more.

Staff costs now eligible for reimbursement through GMF plans, studies and pilot projects

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 - Internal costs incurred by grant recipients, to allocate time to work on the initiative by their permanent or contract employees, are now eligible for reimbursement for GMF plans, studies and pilot projects.*

* For private entities, the proportion of eligible internal staff costs is limited to 10 per cent of total budget costs.

New maximum amounts for GMF pilot projects

AUGUST 29, 2019 - GMF now offers up to $500,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for pilot projects.

Municipalities with a population of 20,000 or less, including municipal partners, may qualify to receive up to 80 per cent of eligible costs.

Interested in learning if your municipality qualifies? Contact us.

Learn more about pilot projects.

GMF capital projects moving to a continuous application process

AUGUST 2, 2019 - As of April 1, 2020, GMF will accept capital project applications on a continuous, year-round basis. While we prepare for this change, you can still download and submit the capital projects initial review form at any time. Application forms will be provided to eligible applicants after April 1, 2020.

Learn more about capital projects

Capital project
Pilot project
Plan
Study
Green Municipal Fund
Sustainability

Case study: Saint John explores options for district energy system

Feasibility Study for a Green Thermal Utility (GTU) District Heating and Cooling Loop in Downtown Saint John

City of Saint John

The City of Saint John studied the feasibility of a district energy system to serve buildings in the downtown area. These systems distribute thermal energy from a central facility to heat and cool multiple buildings.

Saint John's study examined various energy options including raw sewage heat recovery from the nearby waste water treatment plant and energy recovery from  Saint John Harbour seawater and industrial waste. In the end, the recommended approach was to use waste energy from the nearby Irving pulp and paper mill. Initially, 15 buildings would be connected. The district energy system would reduce energy costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and the city's fossil-fuel dependency. It would also encourage the development of green buildings in the heart of the city.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • GHG emissions reduced by 9,500 tonnes per year
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
  • Annual energy savings of $2.2 million
  • Six full-time operations jobs and 200 construction jobs
  • Green development revitalizes the downtown core
  • Building residents enjoy the lack of boilers, furnaces and other equipment

Challenges

  • The lack of a project champion in city government and limited city staffing capacity to oversee the study.
  • Limited understanding of the potential of a district energy system among property managers and owners.
  • Financial constraints at the city, which put the district energy system project on hold in 2011.

Lessons learned

  • Visit district energy sites in other municipalities and consult with managers, designers and developers to clearly understand the potential of these systems.
  • Develop a master community energy plan to list local energy sources, buildings and future infrastructure projects before undertaking this kind of study.
  • Consult early and often with the public and local developers and property managers throughout the project.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Samir Yammine
Energy Manager
City of Saint John, NB
T. 506-648-4667

Case study: Saint John explores options for district energy system

Feasibility Study for a Green Thermal Utility (GTU) District Heating and Cooling Loop in Downtown Saint John

City of Saint John

The City of Saint John studied the feasibility of a district energy system to serve buildings in the downtown area. These systems distribute thermal energy from a central facility to heat and cool multiple buildings.

Saint John's study examined various energy options including raw sewage heat recovery from the nearby waste water treatment plant and energy recovery from  Saint John Harbour seawater and industrial waste. In the end, the recommended approach was to use waste energy from the nearby Irving pulp and paper mill. Initially, 15 buildings would be connected. The district energy system would reduce energy costs, greenhouse-gas emissions and the city's fossil-fuel dependency. It would also encourage the development of green buildings in the heart of the city.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • GHG emissions reduced by 9,500 tonnes per year
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
  • Annual energy savings of $2.2 million
  • Six full-time operations jobs and 200 construction jobs
  • Green development revitalizes the downtown core
  • Building residents enjoy the lack of boilers, furnaces and other equipment

Challenges

  • The lack of a project champion in city government and limited city staffing capacity to oversee the study.
  • Limited understanding of the potential of a district energy system among property managers and owners.
  • Financial constraints at the city, which put the district energy system project on hold in 2011.

Lessons learned

  • Visit district energy sites in other municipalities and consult with managers, designers and developers to clearly understand the potential of these systems.
  • Develop a master community energy plan to list local energy sources, buildings and future infrastructure projects before undertaking this kind of study.
  • Consult early and often with the public and local developers and property managers throughout the project.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Samir Yammine
Energy Manager
City of Saint John, NB
T. 506-648-4667

Big City Mayors meet in Halifax, focus on Tools for Cities

Canada’s Big City Mayors met today in Halifax to discuss how to build on recent progress in the federal-municipal partnership and ensure cities have the right tools to tackle future national challenges.

“From the breakthrough National Housing Strategy and the transformative federal infrastructure plan, Canada’s big cities are driving the national agenda and delivering outcomes like never before,” said newly re-elected Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) chair and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “Today’s meeting was a critical next step for our federal-municipal partnership, not just to help entrench and build on these important gains, but to set our sights on expanding on new tools for cities.”

A key part of the mayors’ agenda was hosting Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Amarjeet Sohi. During their meeting, Minister Sohi provided the mayors with an update on how the Investing in Canada plan was progressing nation-wide, while the mayors offered feedback on the roll out of local infrastructure projects.

Also discussed was the Edmonton Declaration (PDF), which calls on mayors from around the world to ramp up their leadership in driving urgent, evidence-based action on climate change. While cities account for a large amount of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, they are also leading the way on solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“With the challenges of growth and climate change in front of us, mayors know we need new tools to tackle these national priorities,” added Iveson. “But as we’ve seen, remarkable progress is possible when you start with local solutions and a strong federal-municipal partnership. And as we continue to build that partnership, we’re building strong cities and a more livable, inclusive and sustainable Canada.”

The meeting of FCM’s Big City Mayors Caucus kicked off FCM’s four-day Annual Conference dedicated to exploring, strengthening and re-imagining the tools local governments need to build tomorrow’s Canada. 

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population. Its Big-City Mayors' Caucus brings together 22 of Canada's largest cities.

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Big City Mayors' Caucus

Big City Mayors meet in Halifax, focus on Tools for Cities

Canada’s Big City Mayors met today in Halifax to discuss how to build on recent progress in the federal-municipal partnership and ensure cities have the right tools to tackle future national challenges.

“From the breakthrough National Housing Strategy and the transformative federal infrastructure plan, Canada’s big cities are driving the national agenda and delivering outcomes like never before,” said newly re-elected Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) chair and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “Today’s meeting was a critical next step for our federal-municipal partnership, not just to help entrench and build on these important gains, but to set our sights on expanding on new tools for cities.”

A key part of the mayors’ agenda was hosting Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Amarjeet Sohi. During their meeting, Minister Sohi provided the mayors with an update on how the Investing in Canada plan was progressing nation-wide, while the mayors offered feedback on the roll out of local infrastructure projects.

Also discussed was the Edmonton Declaration (PDF), which calls on mayors from around the world to ramp up their leadership in driving urgent, evidence-based action on climate change. While cities account for a large amount of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, they are also leading the way on solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“With the challenges of growth and climate change in front of us, mayors know we need new tools to tackle these national priorities,” added Iveson. “But as we’ve seen, remarkable progress is possible when you start with local solutions and a strong federal-municipal partnership. And as we continue to build that partnership, we’re building strong cities and a more livable, inclusive and sustainable Canada.”

The meeting of FCM’s Big City Mayors Caucus kicked off FCM’s four-day Annual Conference dedicated to exploring, strengthening and re-imagining the tools local governments need to build tomorrow’s Canada. 

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population. Its Big-City Mayors' Caucus brings together 22 of Canada's largest cities.

Media Contact

Question for press and media?

613-907-6395
Big City Mayors' Caucus
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