Municipal GHG Challenge Fund Opening Doors to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new Municipal GHG Challenge Fund is a federally-funded and provincially administered program designed to help the province meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. This is an exciting opportunity for municipalities to receive substantial funding. The way it works is simple: municipalities can apply for funding through the GHG Municipal Challenge Fund website found here if they have a project of any size that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any Ontario municipality may qualify – so long as the proposed project has a measurable reduction in GHG emissions for the province.

There is about $100 million slated for this year and it will likely repeat yearly. Financing is available for up to 100% of costs, but priority is given for projects that provide up to 50% of funding. Financing is available for capital/construction costs of implementing the project – but not for planning or document procurement. Municipalities must apply by November 14 this year, and will know if their project has been funded by February 2018. Projects that reduce GHG emissions that are currently underway can still apply for funding, subject to some restrictions.

Municipalities that wish to apply must have three things (unless they are a very-small municipality or a northern municipality where there is more flexibility):

  • Community-wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory;
  • Community-wide GHG emissions reduction target;
  • And Community-wide strategy/plan to reduce GHG emissions.

These things must be provided along with the application and calculations detailing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the project will reduce. Details about all of these things can be found at the previously mentioned website.

A recent update on the government funding site notes that many municipalities are interested in the funding but do not have these items completed. As the interest in the fund is quite high…

“the eligibility requirements for the first round of funding will be opened to allow all municipalities to apply, so long as applicants demonstrate a commitment to completing their community-wide GHG inventory, targets and plan within 18 months, through a council resolution. If approved for funding, the council resolution must occur before the transfer payment agreement is completed.”

All applications will be scored according to the program criteria, and if theses items are not included in the submission, it will impact the applicants score in the “Alignment with Municipal GHG Planning” section.

Funding has very few limitations – any size and scale is allowed. Some examples provided during a webinar included replacing vehicle fleets with lower emissions equivalents, replacing recreation center heating systems with biofuel boilers, implementing a bike-sharing program, building solar farms to replacing other power generation facilities or upgrading a facility to improve its efficiency. There are very few restrictions beyond lowering the net emissions produced by a given municipality.

Applications are due November 14th; if your municipality has a project in mind, but need assistance calculating GHG reductions, making a community GHG inventory or other planning elements around submitting your proposal give us a call. Cambium’s engineers and technicians can help create these documents. Check our Environmental Compliance Approval Services page for a listing of the services.