It is at the community level that Canada’s environmental and economic challenges meet. Small towns and large cities are on the front lines of environmental problems such as waste management, water quality and transportation. At the same time, they are where most of the country’s economic activity occurs – and where economic hardships are most keenly felt. Constrained by provincial law, many municipalities are looking for innovative solutions. SP focuses on developing a broad array of market-based instruments to help municipalities address environmental concerns while creating new sources of revenue.

Top Policy Research Priorities
  • Smart Budgets for Sustainable Communities
  • Market Tools for Sustainable Transport

Incenting the Nature of Cities: Using Financial Approaches to Support Green Infrastructure in Ontario

This report provides the rationale for local governments to consider green infrastructure strategies and introduces six market-based tools that are used across Canada and the United States to support such strategies. These tools include stormwater user fees and fee discounts; stormwater credit trading; grants, rebates and installation financing; development charges; development incentives; and habitat compensation banks. The report also describes a pioneering strategy to integrate the value to municipalities of existing green infrastructure, into formal local government asset management systems.

B.C. Climate Leadership Plan Phase 2 Consultation - Submission from Sustainable Prosperity

Sustainable Prosperity is pleased to provide the Province of British Columbia feedback on its second phase of consultation for the development of its 2016 Climate Leadership Plan. The comments presented in this submission are drawn from Sustainable Prosperity’s Policy Brief: ‘Provincial Climate Action Plans and Local Governments – Lessons from BC’, which was released on January 14, 2016.

Sustainable Prosperity's Submission to the Ontario Standing Committee on Social Policy

Our Sustainable Communities program focuses on analyzing and developing a broad array of market-based instruments to help municipalities address environmental concerns while boosting their economies and improving their fiscal capacity.

Because prices are a strong influence on decisions, in order to achieve their policy goals governments will need to work to align prices with those goals. Where prices are pulling in the direction of policy goals, it will be much easier to achieve those goals. Governments in

Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review Submission

Sustainable Prosperity (SP) welcomes this opportunity to comment on the 2015 coordinated review of four provincial plans working to manage growth, protect the environment and stimulate the economy of Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region. Land use planning is a complex and multi-dimension field. SP’s research is focused on the role of public policy to set price signals that support sustainable land use choices.

Government of Ontario Development Charges System Review

SP Submission

Development charges are important in helping municipalities to achieve fiscal sustainability. They can:

  • allow municipal governments to recover the financial costs that new developments impose on them;
  • help ensure horizontal equity and;
  • provide a potential incentive to efficient forms of development.

In order to achieve these goals, development charges need to be structured properly. A number of problems introduced by Ontario's 1997 legislative amendments need to be corrected. Key changes needed include:


Sustainable Communities

Sustainable Communities

About the Project

The goal of this project is to shed light on the relationship between economic activity and the environment by exploring the linkages between changes in our natural capital and our measures of productivity generally, and through the construction of an environmentally adjusted measure of productivity specifically.

While it is now commonly accepted that economic activity and the state of our environment are linked, many economic measures still fail to incorporate the environment – both the things we draw from it and the pollution we release into it. By developing and calculating measures of productivity that include natural capital, Canada may be able to better understand these linkages. This, in turn, may lead to the identification of strategies that can help Canada become more efficient and innovative in the use and protection of natural capital, and thus more productive and more prosperous.

Using the forestry sector as a case study, this project aims to construct an environmentally adjusted measure of multifactor productivity. In doing so, we aim to add another layer of understanding to the environmental and economic performance of this sector. The proposed measure will have relevance to the Canadian economy as a whole.