Some actions that could help bring about a low-carbon future are within the direct scope of influence of the municipality. However, many more are not. Enhanced building codes, more stringent fuel efficiency standards, and renewable generation policy are all examples of actions that fall outside of municipal jurisdiction.
Although other orders of government are responsible for these actions, municipalities still have the ability to influence the relevant policies. For example, the Province of Ontario maintains its Environmental Registry, which “contains ‘public notices’ about environmental matters being proposed by all government ministries covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights. The public notices may contain information about proposed new laws, regulations, policies and programs or about proposals to change or eliminate existing ones.” When items are posted on the Registry, municipalities can provide comments directly, through advocacy groups, or both.
Guelph has participated in joint advocacy efforts through such organizations as:
- The Clean Air Partnership
- Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow
- Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Each of the above organizations uses a similar approach to prepare responses to policy and program proposals, as well as proactive efforts to recommend new programs or changes. First, the organization prepares a draft version, then circulates it for comment among members, incorporates those comments into another draft version, and then provides a final review and member approval before making the submission. Some examples of successful advocacy efforts were:
- The Ministry of Energy Municipal Energy Plan Program, which supports projects to create or enhance CEPs
- Amendments to allow Local Improvement Charges for energy upgrade projects on private property
- Revision to the Combined Heat and Power Standard Offer program
 About the Registry. Environmental Registry, Province of Ontario, 2018, www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/content/about.jsp?f0=aboutTheRegistry.info&menuIndex=0_1&language=en
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