Ontario Communities Sustainability Report, and other comparables

October 16, 2007

In August 2007, the Pembina Institute published Ontario Community Sustainability Report – 2007:

Primary Authors: Ray Tomalty, Mark Anielski and Don Alexander
Secondary Authors: Jeffrey Wilson, Alexandra Jozsa, Murtaza Haider, Daniel Casey and Federico Cartin-Artega
Project Director: Mark Winfield

“This study provides a snapshot of the sustainability of selected communities across Ontario in recent years. The study employs 33 indicators in three broad categories (smart growth, livability and economic vitality) to develop an overall community sustainability index for 27 Ontario municipalities. The municipalities include major cities, regional municipalities and medium- and smaller-sized cities from across the province. The sample of municipalities includes communities experiencing high, medium and low levels of population and population growth.
The objective of the report is to inform and provide a basis of measurement for communities and the province for urban sustainability policies and program development. The municipal rankings are intended to serve as benchmarks against which individual communities can compare and assess the nature of their comparative advantages — strengths in urban form, livability, and economic vitality — with respect to other communities while also addressing their weaknesses. The indicator framework and rankings can also serve as a baseline of current conditions and a marker for referencing future results, in the event similar studies are undertaken in the years to come. This should offer some indication of the direction in which Ontario municipalities are moving over time.
The case studies draw out some of the challenges and successes that municipalities in Ontario are experiencing and point to some potential solutions. The study seeks to inform the debate on community sustainability and smart growth in Ontario as the provincial government continues its major reform of the planning system with ambitious goals to stem sprawl and promote community sustainability in the GGH and throughout the province.”

The Report (2.4 MB, 114 pp.) and the Excel spreadsheets are accessible from:
http://www.pembina.org/pub/1512 from where the above text was also copied.

Press coverage: Andrew Thomson, “Greenbelt drags down eco ranking” (August 27, 2007, C1) and Editorial, “Greenbelt fails green test” (August 28, C4), The Ottawa Citizen.


Other recent reports on comparative studies involving Ottawa-Gatineau:

Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, Hazardous Waste in Ontario: Progress and Challenges, September 2007.

“Since CIELAP issued its Open for Toxics reports in 2000 and in 2003, the provincial government has made significant progress to address hazardous waste in Ontario. There remain, however, a number of regulatory gaps and many areas for improvement. This paper reports on the progress made and and offers recommendations for future improvement in this area.”

Download the report (715 KB) and a Factsheet from:


Press coverage: Dave Rogers, “‘Unfair’ study ranks Ottawa top hazardous waste producer – Councillor says rankings count trucked leachate, ignore piped water” (September 7, 2007).  (The Councillor was Peter Hume.)


Appleton Charitable Foundation, Inaugural GreenApple Canada National Sustainable Urban Transportation Report Ranks 27 Canadian Cities,  September 21, 2007.

“The first ever Canadian national ranking of sustainable urban transportation practices has placed Victoria and Vancouver first and second in a study of 27 Canadian metropolitan areas. Ottawa-Gatineau and Winnipeg rounded out the top placing cities. The inaugural GreenApple Canada Smart Transportation Rankings were announced today by the Appleton Foundation, in conjunction with the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia at a national press conference in Vancouver.”

Download all or part of the report from:


Press coverage: Mohammed Adam, “Ottawa’s pollution record among best of a bad lot: critics” (September 22, E3) and Editorial, “Raise the bar on green cities” (September 24), C4, The Ottawa Citizen.


Note well: Apparently based on Statistics Canada data, Ontario’s chief energy conservation officer, Peter Love, presented Mayor Larry O’Brien with a plaque recognizing the people of Ottawa as the most energy conserving in the land.” (Jake Rupert, “Ottawa tops the list in energy conservation,” The Ottawa Citizen, September  22, E8.)


Finally, The Community Foundation of Ottawa issued its second annual Vital Signs report.  Download the 28-page report (2.22 MB), a black&white version (1.63 MB), portions or extra content from here.

Press coverage: Patrick Dare, “Environment hurt by growth of city: report  — Vital Signs update gives Ottawa a poorer score than 2006 survey,” The Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 2007, C3.