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2000 Planning — Co-winner 4

Richmond Hill, Ontario

Clean Air Initiatives

Population: 132,030

The Town of Richmond Hill has implemented a number of programs, policies and awareness initiatives focused on reducing ozone and fine particulate levels in the air, including a SMOG Alert Advisory Plan, and on raising awareness of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The Town of Richmond Hill, Ontario, is located within the highly populated Greater Toronto Area. Due to an increasing number of smog alerts from 1993 to 1998, the town council became concerned about the health problems related to air quality. In July 1998 council adopted a clean air action plan into its Official Plan to help its staff reduce emissions from town facilities and services. The town hoped to set an example for local businesses and other municipalities.


Ride-share Program

1n 1997 there was no record of any ride sharing. As of August 2000, nine per cent of employees participated on a regular basis.

Transit Initiatives

Use of transit by town staff more than tripled (from six in 1997 to 21 in 2000).

Clean Air Commute Program

In 1999, 64 employees participated in the "leave your car at home" event.

The citizens of Richmond Hill and other communities have recognized the town's successful implementation of the program. The Region of York, using Richmond Hill as an example, has since approved a similar program

Lessons Learned

It was critical to the success of the town's programs to have full support of the senior management and council. The commitment and work of the Clean Air Committee was crucial in keeping the momentum of the programs going and in ensuring that all parties were well informed about initiatives.

The most difficult task was unexpected: to develop human resource policies regarding the Telework program. This required input from the town's Salaried Employee Association and Union. Teleworking was specific to certain employees and clear parameters were needed. Perception of the teleworking program by the residents of Richmond Hill was also important. They were advised of the program and assurance was given that there would be no difference in the level of service provided to the community.

Page Updated: 21/12/2015