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Canadian Sustainability Initiatives for a Greener Future
2022-03-04

Canadian Sustainability Initiatives for a Greener Future

With an abundance of natural resources, and spectacular scenery, sustainability is extremely important to Canadians. While we are increasingly embracing sustainability on an individual level, our government has also enacted several measures to protect natural resources for ourselves and future generations. Here are four ongoing sustainability initiatives in Canada that can lead us to a greener future: 

Single Use Plastic Ban

Although Canadians are recycling more than ever, only 9% of plastic is being recycled annually. A new approach is therefore needed to ensure the entire life cycle of plastic can be addressed. Canada's ministry of environment and climate change made a proposal to ban the use of certain single use plastics, which will be brought into force by late 2022. 

The list includes: 

  • Checkout bags
  • Cutlery
  • Food service ware 
  • Plastic can carriers 
  • Straws 

The plastic ban was finalized by the government of Canada after examining over one hundred scientific studies, along with other evidence. This initiative is anticipated to prevent more than 23,000 tonnes of plastic pollution from infiltrating the environment over a ten-year period. That is equivalent to 1 million bags of litter. 

In order to help individuals and businesses adapt to the new measures, a guidance draft will be published to help support Canadians in protecting the planet. 

Energy Savings Rebate Program

The energy Saving Rebate program offers $200 million over two years to retailers to make energy efficient products more accessible. 

These products include: 

  • Induction stove tops
  • Electric-vehicle home charger stations
  • Washers and dryers
  • Small appliances like air purifiers

Canadians can save up to 25 percent on these items, and retailers are reimbursed by the Government of Canada. This initiative will not only help Canadians save money, but also consume less energy, and fight climate change. 

Actions to Reduce Air Pollution 

The importance of air quality became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies were done on air pollution and revealed that exposure to it increases susceptibility to pneumonia and respiratory viral infections, suggesting that those living in areas with poorer air quality are more likely to contract covid and experience severe symptoms. 

Scientists and researchers have begun raising awareness of the negative health impacts of air pollution, and are offering solutions to improve air quality and fight climate change. 

Some of the solutions adopted by the Canadian government include: 

  • The Air Quality Health Index offers forecasts that are updated twice a day, with air quality conditions every hour
  • Monitoring wildfire smoke forecasts to monitor how the smoke travels 
  • Continuing to collect data related to the correlation between COVID-19 and air pollution. 

All of these actions taken towards reducing air pollution is how Canada intends to meet their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, but nonetheless achievable and necessary.

Zero Emission Vehicle Incentives

Oil and gas, along with transportation, has been Canada’s second-biggest contributor in emitting greenhouse gas. Canada has committed to emitting zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, nearly all cars will need to be electric.

Canada currently offers a rebate program that offers buyers a discount between $2,500 and $5000, and sellers the opportunity to be reimbursed. While this is going to bring us a lot closer to our goal of emitting zero-greenhouse gasses by 2050, it may not be enough to make up 10 percent of sales by 2025, despite being the federal government's original target. 

In addition to the rebate program, the Canadian government is working with the United States to create a new mandate that will require both countries to make and sell more electric cars, so that there is a sufficient supply. Until sustainability initiatives are instilled in every country worldwide, it will not be possible to meet climate targets and stop climate change. 

The well-being of the planet means well-being for the people, present and future. 

By enacting these measures, the federal government acknowledges that greater environmental responsibility can lead to happier and healthier futures for all.

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